In the Holy Scriptures, not one story of sexual relations outside of marriage has a happy ending. Shame is heaped upon the parties that willfully participated in fornication. Lot’s daughters chose wrongfully—to their shame and thus brought about two nations who were perpetually at odds with Israel (Gen. 19:30-38). Sarah encouraged Abraham to take a second wife, and it brought about strife within the family and brought about another nation that would trouble God’s chosen people later (Gen.16). Shechem fell in love with Dinah, the daughter of Jacob. He took her and had relations with her before marrying her. This act brought about his death and that of his father and all of the men of his city (Gen. 34). One widely known story is the one of King David with Bathsheba. He saw her, he wanted her, and he took her. The result was a man murdered and a child destined to die (2 Sam. 11–12:23). I could go on and on. God makes it clear from the beginning that the sexual relationship is a special one that should be treated as such.
Read Deuteronomy 22:13-21.
- Were the woman and her parents to be prepared to defend her claim of purity (Deut. 22:15-17)?
- Once false charges were proven as false, was the husband allowed to do this to her again at some time in the future (Deut. 22:18-19)?
- If the charges were proven to be true, what would happen to the woman (Deut. 22:20-21)?
What did this accomplish?
Read Deuteronomy 22:22-30.
- What would happen to a man and a married woman found having relations together (Deut. 22:22)?
What did this accomplish?
- If a man finds a betroth (engaged) girl in the city and lies with her what is to be done with them (Deut. 22:23-24)?
What does this accomplish?
- If a man finds a girl who is engaged outside or away from the city, forces her and lies with her, what will happen to them (Deut. 22:25-27)?
What is this compared to in verse 26?
Was there any sin in her in this instance?
- Does God make a distinction between the woman who tries to stop such a thing but is unable to find help and the woman who could have found help and did not seek it?
- If a man finds a virgin girl, who is not engaged, and lies with her, what should happen to them (Deut. 22:28-29)?
Having started their relationship this way, can he ever put her away?
There are protections given to the woman who does NOT choose to have relations outside of marriage. When the woman makes the choice to violate that purity, she is condemned to death. There’s no distinction for how many times she has done such a thing for her to be said to have “played the harlot.” One time, by choice outside the bonds of marriage, is the same as many times and results in her being a harlot. God puts a high value on our purity. He condemns men who will take it forcefully away, and He condemns the woman who willingly gives it away.
The Shulamite woman in Song of Solomon called herself a “wall” (Song of Solomon 8:10). Her brothers said “We have a little sister, and she hath no breasts: What shall we do for our sister in the day when she shall be spoken for? 9 If she be a wall, we will build upon her a palace of silver: And if she be a door, we will inclose her with boards of cedar” (Song of Solomon 8:8-9).
Until she’s of age, they will build up her defenses. If she’s already a sturdy wall, they will supplement that. But if she’s a door, then they will board her up with strong boards. When she was older (“my breasts were like towers”) she called herself a wall. She protected herself. Her breasts were not welcome signs; they were towers. Towers on buildings are designed to keep people out and make it hard to get to the top. She protected herself after it was no longer her brothers’ responsibility.
King David’s daughter, Tamar, kept her head when in a frightening and distressing circumstance (2 Sam. 13:1-23). She did everything she could to prevent what her brother Amnon intended. She knew that no matter how much he said he loved her (2 Sam 13:1) if he did such a deed before making her his wife, he was disgracing them both (2 Sam. 13:11-13). His true desires were shown after he violated her. According to the Law of Moses, he still could have married her, but he threw her away without any care. Leaving her after he had defiled her was an even greater disgrace and misuse of Tamar (2 Sam. 13:15-16). She valued her purity; he did not.
There are many places to study this topic—Proverbs 5 is all about avoiding the pitfalls of fornication/adultery. Just because it’s written to a male does not mean that the same principles do not apply to a female!
Proverbs 6:20-27 is much the same as chapter 5. Wise King Solomon apparently saw the dangers of the flesh as something to drive home to his student! The one committing adultery is compared to a thief. If you know it’s wrong to steal a candy bar from a store, then you should also know that it’s wrong to take away from a married woman what is rightfully hers – her husband’s attention (1 Cor. 7), or what rightfully belongs to the husband.
Remember Philippians 4:8-9: “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. 9 Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.”
And James 3:16-18, “For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work. 17 But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy. 18 And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace.”
Temptations stay furthest away when one is too busy doing good to give the lure any time to fester in the heart.
- “Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body” (1 Cor. 6:18).
- “Flee also youthful lusts; but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart” (2 Tim. 2:22).
- “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you” (James 4:7).