by Shira Fischer

Wayward Wives

According to the Bible, when a man suspects his wife of adultery, he may initiate a ritual to test her faithfulness. The couple travels to a priest who makes the woman (the sotah) drink bitter water mixed with the dust of the floor of the holy place. The priest loosens her hair, takes a “jealousy” sacrifice from her, and makes her swear an oath. If guilty, the water will make “her belly swell and her thigh fall,” but if she is innocent, she will conceive (Numbers 5:11-31).

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