EJ&T: Family
Every Jot and Tittle: All the commandments in the Bible

EJAT Search

Introduction

  1. Commandments about the Commandments
  2. Commandments about God
  3. Other Gods and Beliefs
  4. Holy Things and Holy Days
  5. Priests, Levites, Nazarites, and Prophets
  6. Business, Law, and Government
  7. Slavery, War, and Genocide
  8. Crime and Punishment
  9. Sex, Homosexuality, and Circumcision
  10. Marriage, Divorce, Children, and Human Life
  11. Women
  12. Animals, Agriculture, and the Environment
  13. Animal Sacrifice
  14. Health, Diet, Alcohol, Clothing, and Personal Hygiene
  15. Jesus's Commandments
  16. Just for Christians
  17. Good Rules
  18. Fortune Cookie Commandments

Maimonides's List
-248 Positive Mitzvot
-365 Negative Mitvot

List of all the commandments in the order of their occurrence in the Bible

SAB iPhone App

Every Jot and Tittle: All the commandments in the Bible



Chapter 10: Marriage, Divorce, Children, and Human Life

If you're looking for the Bible's definition of marriage, you won't find it in it's commandments, at least not in the Hebrew Scriptures. Instead, you'll learn that a man who has sex with an unmarried woman must marry her; that a woman who is not a virgin on her wedding night must be stoned to death; and that a man who suspects that his wife has been unfaithful must use "the Law of Jealousies" to determine her guilt or innocence. (If guilty, her belly will swell and her thigh will rot.)

The New Testament doesn't exactly clear things up. In fact, many of its commandments seem to either oppose marriage or to just barely tolerate it. Paul says, for example, that only weaklings who can't control themselves should marry. For everyone else the general rule is this: If you're not married, don't get married, and if you are married, don't have sex. (There's no time for it, because Jesus is coming!)

The Bible is clear about divorce, though. A man can divorce a woman for pretty much any reason. (Like if he finds some uncleanness in her.) Or it was clear, anyway until Jesus came along. (Jesus said divorce is never allowed -- well, except maybe when the wife fornicated.)

On polygamy, the Bible commands a husband who takes another wife to either continue to feed and have sex with his first wife or else set her free. It also instructs polygamists who have both beloved and hated wives.

For such a big book, the Bible doesn't say much about children. It says they should fear and obey their parents. And it commands parents to give their firstborn sons to God; to not force their daughters to become whores; and to beat their children (to save their souls from hell).

There are no commandments about abortion, but there are two that imply that a mother's life is of more value than that of a fetus. The Bible also puts a dollar value on human life, with newborn babies and fetuses worth nothing at all.


Marriage
Divorce
Polygamy
Children
Abortion and Human Life

Marriage

(Numbered P and N links are to the positive and negative commandments on Maimonides's list.)

  1. If you seduce and have sex with an unmarried woman, you must marry her.
  2. If a man entice a maid that is not betrothed, and lie with her, he shall surely endow her to be his wife. Exodus 22:16
    Maimonides
    P220: The law of the seducer - Ex 22:16

  3. If her father refuses to give her to you, you must pay him the customary price for virgins.
  4. If her father utterly refuse to give her unto him, he shall pay money according to the dowry of virgins. Exodus 22:17

  5. Don't marry your wife's sister while your wife is still alive.
  6. (Or uncover her nakedness just to vex your wife. Wait until your wife dies and then marry her sister.)
    Neither shalt thou take a wife to her sister, to vex her, to uncover her nakedness, beside the other in her life time. Leviticus 18:18
    Maimonides
    N345: Don't have intercourse with your wife's sister during your wife's lifetime - Lev 18:18
    Punishment: Death

  7. Don't take your brother's wife.
  8. (If you do, you and your brother's wife will die childless -- because it would uncover your brother's nakedness.)
    If a man shall take his brother's wife, it is an unclean thing: he hath uncovered his brother's nakedness; they shall be childless. Leviticus 20:21

  9. The Law of Jealousies: What a man must do when he suspects that his wife has been unfaithful.
  10. If a man suspects his wife of being unfaithful, he reports it to the priest.
    And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, If any man's wife go aside, and commit a trespass against him, And a man lie with her carnally, and it be hid from the eyes of her husband, and be kept close, and she be defiled, and there be no witness against her, neither she be taken with the manner; And the spirit of jealousy come upon him, and he be jealous of his wife, and she be defiled: or if the spirit of jealousy come upon him, and he be jealous of his wife, and she be not defiled: Then shall the man bring his wife unto the priest, and he shall bring her offering for her, the tenth part of an ephah of barley meal; he shall pour no oil upon it, nor put frankincense thereon; for it is an offering of jealousy, an offering of memorial, bringing iniquity to remembrance. Numbers 5:11-15
    The priest then makes her drink some "bitter water."
    And the priest shall bring her near, and set her before the Lord: And the priest shall take holy water in an earthen vessel; and of the dust that is in the floor of the tabernacle the priest shall take, and put it into the water: And the priest shall set the woman before the Lord, and uncover the woman's head, and put the offering of memorial in her hands, which is the jealousy offering: and the priest shall have in his hand the bitter water that causeth the curse: Numbers 5:16-18
    If she is guilty, the water makes her thigh rot and her belly swell.
    And the priest shall charge her by an oath, and say unto the woman, If no man have lain with thee, and if thou hast not gone aside to uncleanness with another instead of thy husband, be thou free from this bitter water that causeth the curse: But if thou hast gone aside to another instead of thy husband, and if thou be defiled, and some man have lain with thee beside thine husband: Then the priest shall charge the woman with an oath of cursing, and the priest shall say unto the woman, The Lord make thee a curse and an oath among thy people, when the Lord doth make thy thigh to rot, and thy belly to swell; And this water that causeth the curse shall go into thy bowels, to make thy belly to swell, and thy thigh to rot: And the woman shall say, Amen, amen. And the priest shall write these curses in a book, and he shall blot them out with the bitter water: And he shall cause the woman to drink the bitter water that causeth the curse: and the water that causeth the curse shall enter into her, and become bitter. Then the priest shall take the jealousy offering out of the woman's hand, and shall wave the offering before the Lord, and offer it upon the altar: And the priest shall take an handful of the offering, even the memorial thereof, and burn it upon the altar, and afterward shall cause the woman to drink the water. And when he hath made her to drink the water, then it shall come to pass, that, if she be defiled, and have done trespass against her husband, that the water that causeth the curse shall enter into her, and become bitter, and her belly shall swell, and her thigh shall rot: and the woman shall be a curse among her people. Numbers 5:19-27
    If the woman is innocent, no harm done -- she is free and will "conceive seed." In any case, "the man shall be guiltless from iniquity, and this woman shall bear her iniquity."
    And if the woman be not defiled, but be clean; then she shall be free, and shall conceive seed. This is the law of jealousies, when a wife goeth aside to another instead of her husband, and is defiled; Or when the spirit of jealousy cometh upon him, and he be jealous over his wife, and shall set the woman before the Lord, and the priest shall execute upon her all this law. Then shall the man be guiltless from iniquity, and this woman shall bear her iniquity. Numbers 5:28-31
    Maimonides
    P223: The law of a suspected adulteress - Num 5:12-13
    N104: Don't mingle olive oil with the meal ­offering of suspected adulteress - Num 5:15
    N105: Don't put frankincense on the meal ­offering of suspected adulteress - Num 5:15
    Punishment for breaking N104 or N105: Whipping

  11. Don't marry non-believers.
  12. Neither shalt thou make marriages with them ... so will the anger of the LORD be kindled against you, and destroy thee suddenly. Deuteronomy 7:3-4

    And I contended with them, and cursed them, and smote certain of them, and plucked off their hair, and made them swear by God, saying, Ye shall not ... take their daughters ... for yourselves. Nehemiah 13:25

    Maimonides
    N52: Don't intermarry with the heretics - Dt 7:3
    Punishment: Death

  13. Don't let your children marry non-believers.
  14. Thy daughter thou shalt not give unto his son, nor his daughter shalt thou take unto thy son. For they will turn away thy son from following me, that they may serve other gods: so will the anger of the LORD be kindled against you, and destroy thee suddenly. Deuteronomy 7:3-4

    The land, unto which ye go to possess it, is an unclean land with the filthiness of the people of the lands, with their abominations, which have filled it from one end to another with their uncleanness. Now therefore give not your daughters unto their sons, neither take their daughters unto your sons. Ezra 9:11-12

    And I contended with them, and cursed them, and smote certain of them, and plucked off their hair, and made them swear by God, saying, Ye shall not give your daughters unto their sons, nor take their daughters unto your sons. Nehemiah 13:25

  15. If a man accuses his wife of not being a virgin on her wedding night, and her parents are unable to produce the bloody sheets to disprove the accusation, then the men of the city shall stone her to death.
  16. If any man take a wife, and go in unto her, and hate her, And give occasions of speech against her, and bring up an evil name upon her, and say, I took this woman, and when I came to her, I found her not a maid: Then shall the father of the damsel, and her mother, take and bring forth the tokens of the damsel's virginity unto the elders of the city in the gate: And the damsel's father shall say unto the elders, I gave my daughter unto this man to wife, and he hateth her; ... But if this thing be true, and the tokens of virginity be not found for the damsel: Then they shall bring out the damsel to the door of her father's house, and the men of her city shall stone her with stones that she die: because she hath wrought folly in Israel, to play the whore in her father's house: so shalt thou put evil away from among you. Deuteronomy 22:13-21

  17. If a man falsely accuses his wife of not being a virgin on her wedding night, then the he can never divorce divorce her.
  18. (And he must pay her father 100 shekels of silver.)
    If any man take a wife, and go in unto her, and hate her, And give occasions of speech against her, and bring up an evil name upon her, and say, I took this woman, and when I came to her, I found her not a maid: Then shall the father of the damsel, and her mother, take and bring forth the tokens of the damsel's virginity unto the elders of the city in the gate: And the damsel's father shall say unto the elders, I gave my daughter unto this man to wife, and he hateth her; And, lo, he hath given occasions of speech against her, saying, I found not thy daughter a maid; and yet these are the tokens of my daughter's virginity. And they shall spread the cloth before the elders of the city. And the elders of that city shall take that man and chastise him; And they shall amerce him in an hundred shekels of silver, and give them unto the father of the damsel, because he hath brought up an evil name upon a virgin of Israel: and she shall be his wife; he may not put her away all his days. Deuteronomy 22:13-19
    Maimonides
    P219: The law of the defamer of a bride - Dt 22:19
    N359: Don't divorce a woman after falsely bringing an evil name upon her - Dt 22:19
    Punishment: Whipping

  19. When a man takes a new wife, he shall not do any business; he shall be free for one year to cheer up his new wife.
  20. When a man hath taken a new wife, he shall not ... be charged with any business: but he shall be free at home one year, and shall cheer up his wife which he hath taken. Deuteronomy 24:5
    Maimonides
    P214: The bridegroom shall devote himself to his wife for one year - Dt 24:5
    N311: Don't take a bridegroom away from his home - Dt 24:5

  21. If a man dies before his wife has a child, his widow must not marry a stranger.
  22. If brethren dwell together, and one of them die, and have no child, the wife of the dead shall not marry without unto a stranger. Deuteronomy 25:5a

  23. Rather, she must marry her dead husband's brother.
  24. If brethren dwell together, and one of them die, and have no child, the wife of the dead shall not marry without unto a stranger: her husband's brother shall go in unto her, and take her to him to wife, and perform the duty of an husband's brother unto her. Deuteronomy 25:5b
    Maimonides
    P216: Law of the Levirite Marriage - Dt 25:5
    N357: Don't have intercourse with a woman subject to Levirate marriage - Dt 25:5
    Punishment: Whipping for both the woman and the man

  25. When a man marries his dead brother's wife, the firstborn son receives the dead brother's name.
  26. And it shall be, that the firstborn which she beareth shall succeed in the name of his brother which is dead, that his name be not put out of Israel. Deuteronomy 25:6

  27. If a man refuses to "go in unto" his dead brother's wife, she shall loosen his shoe and spit in his face.
  28. And if the man like not to take his brother's wife, then let his brother's wife go up to the gate unto the elders, and say, My husband's brother refuseth to raise up unto his brother a name in Israel, he will not perform the duty of my husband's brother. Then the elders of his city shall call him, and speak unto him: and if he stand to it, and say, I like not to take her; Then shall his brother's wife come unto him in the presence of the elders, and loose his shoe from off his foot, and spit in his face, and shall answer and say, So shall it be done unto that man that will not build up his brother's house. Deuteronomy 25:7-9
    Maimonides
    P217: Chalitzah (taking off the shoe) - Dt 25:9

  29. A man who refuses to have sex with his dead brother's wife shall be called "him that has his shoe loosed."
  30. And his name shall be called in Israel, The house of him that hath his shoe loosed. Deuteronomy 25:10

  31. Be satisfied with your wife's breasts.
  32. Let her [your wife] be as the loving hind and pleasant roe; let her breasts satisfy thee at all times; and be thou ravished always with her love. Proverbs 5:19

  33. Don't talk to your wife.
  34. Keep the doors of thy mouth from her that lieth in thy bosom. Micah 7:5

  35. Don't marry the daughter of a strange god.
  36. (That would be an abomination and would profane God's holiness.)
    Judah hath dealt treacherously, and an abomination is committed in Israel and in Jerusalem; for Judah hath profaned the holiness of the LORD which he loved, and hath married the daughter of a strange god. Malachi 2:11

  37. If you can't control yourself, get married.
  38. (It's better to marry than to burn.)
    It is good for a man not to touch a woman. Nevertheless, to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband. 1 Corinthians 7:1-2

    I say therefore to the unmarried and widows, It is good for them if they abide even as I. But if they cannot contain, let them marry: for it is better to marry than to burn. 1 Corinthians 7:8-9

  39. To avoid fornication and Satan's temptation, have sex whenever your spouse requires it.
  40. Nevertheless, to avoid fornication ... Let the husband render unto the wife due benevolence: and likewise also the wife unto the husband. ... Defraud ye not one the other ... that Satan tempt you not for your incontinency. 1 Corinthians 7:2-5

  41. If you're not married, don't get married.
  42. (Paul says this isn't really a commandment. It's just his advice.)
    I would that all men were even as I myself. 1 Corinthians 7:7

    I say therefore to the unmarried and widows, It is good for them if they abide even as I. 1 Corinthians 7:8

    Now concerning virgins I have no commandment of the Lord: yet I give my judgment ... it is good for a man so to be. 1 Corinthians 7:25-26

    Art thou loosed from a wife? seek not a wife. 1 Corinthians 7:27

  43. A married believer should stay with an unbelieiving spouse, unless the unbelieving spouse decides to leave.
  44. If any brother hath a wife that believeth not, and she be pleased to dwell with him, let him not put her away. And the woman which hath an husband that believeth not, and if he be pleased to dwell with her, let her not leave him. ... But if the unbelieving depart, let him depart. A brother or a sister is not under bondage in such cases: but God hath called us to peace. 1 Corinthians 7:12-15

  45. If you are married, don't have sex.
  46. (There's no time for it. Jesus is coming.)
    The time is short: it remaineth, that both they that have wives be as though they had none. 1 Corinthians 7:29

    Divorce

  47. If you take a wife, and you find some uncleanness in her, divorce her and kick her out of your house.
  48. When a man hath taken a wife, and married her, and it come to pass that she find no favour in his eyes, because he hath found some uncleanness in her: then let him write her a bill of divorcement, and give it in her hand, and send her out of his house. Deuteronomy 24:1
    Maimonides
    P213: The law of marriage - Dt 24:1
    P222: The law of divorce - Dt 24:1

  49. A divorced wife may marry another man, but if her new husband divorces her because he hates her too (or if he dies), then her former husband must not remarry her.
  50. (That would be an abomination to God.)
    And when she is departed out of his house, she may go and be another man's wife. And if the latter husband hate her, and write her a bill of divorcement, and giveth it in her hand, and sendeth her out of his house; or if the latter husband die, which took her to be his wife; Her former husband, which sent her away, may not take her again to be his wife, after that she is defiled; for that is abomination before the LORD. Deuteronomy 24:2-4
    Maimonides
    N356: Don't remarry your divorced wife after she has remarried - Dt 24:4
    Punishment: Whipping

  51. Put away all your strange wives.
  52. We have trespassed against our God, and have taken strange wives of the people of the land ... Now therefore let us make a covenant with our God to put away all the wives ... according to the counsel of my lord, and of those that tremble at the commandment of our God; and let it be done according to the law. Ezra 10:2-3

  53. If your wife commits adultery, divorce her.
  54. (Like God divorced backsliding Israel when she committed adultery)
    And I saw, when for all the causes whereby backsliding Israel committed adultery I had put her away, and given her a bill of divorce. Jeremiah 3:8

    Polygamy

  55. If a man takes another wife, he must continue to feed, clothe, and have sex with his first wife.
  56. If he take him another wife; her food, her raiment, and her duty of marriage, shall he not diminish. Exodus 21:10
    Maimonides
    N262: Don't afflict your esposed Hebrew bondmaid - Ex 21:10

  57. If, after taking a second wife, a man fails to feed, clothe, and have sex with his first wife, he must set her free.
  58. And if he do not these three unto her, then shall she go out free without money. Exodus 21:11

  59. If you have two wives, one beloved and another hated, and your firstborn son was born of your hated wife, then give him twice the inheritance of your beloved wife's firstborn son.
  60. If a man have two wives, one beloved, and another hated, and they have born him children, both the beloved and the hated; and if the firstborn son be hers that was hated: Then it shall be, when he maketh his sons to inherit that which he hath, that he may not make the son of the beloved firstborn before the son of the hated, which is indeed the firstborn: But he shall acknowledge the son of the hated for the firstborn, by giving him a double portion of all that he hath: for he is the beginning of his strength; the right of the firstborn is his. Deuteronomy 21:15-17

    Children

  61. Give your firstborn son to God.
  62. Sanctify unto me all the firstborn, whatsoever openeth the womb among the children of Israel, both of man and of beast: it is mine. Exodus 13:2

    The firstborn of thy sons shalt thou give unto me. Exodus 22:29

    Also the firstborn of our sons, and of our cattle, as it is written in the law, and the firstlings of our herds and of our flocks, to bring to the house of our God, unto the priests that minister in the house of our God. Nehemiah 10:36

  63. Don't burn your children to death.
  64. And thou shalt not let any of thy seed pass through the fire to Molech. Leviticus 18:21

    There shall not be found among you any one that maketh his son or his daughter to pass through the fire. Deuteronomy 18:10

    Manasseh ... did that which was evil in the sight of the LORD. ... For he ... caused his children to pass through the fire in the valley of the son of Hinnom. 2 Chronicles 22:1-6

    He [Ahaz] burnt incense in the valley of the son of Hinnom, and burnt his children in the fire, after the abominations of the heathen. 2 Chronicles 28:3

    Maimonides
    N7: Don't hand over any of your children to the Molech - Lev 18:21
    Punishment: Stoning

  65. Fear your mother and father.
  66. Ye shall fear every man his mother, and his father. Leviticus 19:3
    Maimonides
    P211: Respect your parents - Lev 19:3

  67. Don't force your daughter to become a whore.
  68. Do not prostitute thy daughter, to cause her to be a whore. Leviticus 19:29

  69. Don't kill fathers for things their children did, and vice versa.
  70. The fathers shall not be put to death for the children, neither shall the children be put to death for the fathers: every man shall be put to death for his own sin. Deuteronomy 24:16
    Maimonides
    N287: A Judge must not receive testimony from a litigant's relatives - Dt 24:16

  71. Don't set light by your father or mother.
  72. Cursed be he that setteth light by his father or his mother. And all the people shall say, Amen. Deuteronomy 27:16

  73. Put away any of your sons and daughters that were born of your strange ex-wives.
  74. We have trespassed against our God, and have taken strange wives of the people of the land ... Now therefore let us make a covenant with our God to put away all the wives, and such as are born of them, according to the counsel of my lord, and of those that tremble at the commandment of our God; and let it be done according to the law. Ezra 10:2-3

  75. Children, obey your parents.
  76. Forsake not the law of thy mother. Proverbs 1:8

    Keep thy father's commandment, and forsake not the law of thy mother. Bind them continually upon thine heart, and tie them about thy neck. Proverbs 6:20-21

    Children, obey your parents in all things: for this is well pleasing unto the Lord. Colossians 3:20

  77. Beat your children and don't stop just because they cry.
  78. (And you'll save their souls from hell.)
    Chasten thy son while there is hope, and let not thy soul spare for his crying. Proverbs 19:18

    Withhold not correction from the child: for if thou beatest him with the rod, he shall not die. Thou shalt beat him with the rod, and shalt deliver his soul from hell. Proverbs 23:13-14

    Correct thy son, and he shall give thee rest. Proverbs 29:17

  79. Seek a godly seed.
  80. She thy companion, and the wife of thy covenant. And did not he make one? Yet had he the residue of the spirit. And wherefore one? That he might seek a godly seed. Malachi 2:15

    Abortion and Human Life

  81. If a man causes the death of a fetus, he shall pay the woman's husband whatever the judges decide.
  82. If men strive, and hurt a woman with child, so that her fruit depart from her, and yet no mischief follow: he shall be surely punished, according as the woman's husband will lay upon him; and he shall pay as the judges determine. Exodus 21:22

  83. But if the woman is injured, the man who caused her injury shall be injured in the same way.
  84. And if any mischief follow, then thou shalt give life for life, Eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, Burning for burning, wound for wound, stripe for stripe. Exodus 21:23-25

  85. Put a dollar value on human life according to the following table.
  86. The Value of Human Life
    Age Sex In Shekels of Silver In 2014 US Dollars
    less than one month
    (Newborn babies and fetuses)
    male 0 0
    female 0 0
    one month to 5 years male 5 $36.40
    female 3 $21.84
    5 to 20 years male 20 $145.60
    female 10 $72.80
    20 to 60 years male 50 $364.00
    female 30 $218.40
    over 60 years male 15 $109.20
    female 10 $72.80

    Thy estimation shall be of the male from twenty years old even unto sixty years old, even thy estimation shall be fifty shekels of silver, after the shekel of the sanctuary. And if it be a female, then thy estimation shall be thirty shekels. And if it be from five years old even unto twenty years old, then thy estimation shall be of the male twenty shekels, and for the female ten shekels. And if it be from a month old even unto five years old, then thy estimation shall be of the male five shekels of silver, and for the female thy estimation shall be three shekels of silver. And if it be from sixty years old and above; if it be a male, then thy estimation shall be fifteen shekels, and for the female ten shekels. Leviticus 27:3-7
    Maimonides
    P114: Valuation of a person - Lev 27:2-8

  87. Humans who are devoted to God cannot be sold or redeemed.
  88. (Every devoted thing is most holy to God.)
    Notwithstanding no devoted thing, that a man shall devote unto the LORD of all that he hath, both of man and beast, and of the field of his possession, shall be sold or redeemed: every devoted thing is most holy unto the LORD. Leviticus 27:28

  89. Humans who are devoted to God must be killed.
  90. None devoted, which shall be devoted of men, shall be redeemed; but shall surely be put to death. Leviticus 27:29

  91. Don't value human life.
  92. Cease ye from man, whose breath is in his nostrils: for wherein is he to be accounted of? Isaiah 2:22

See also:

Commandments about commandments
Teach the commandments to your children.
Command your children to obey all of the commandments.

Women
If a man is found raping an unbetrothed virgin, he must marry her, give her father fifty shekels, and can never divorce her.
Wives obey your husbands (as though they were Jesus).

Jesus's Commandments
Don't divorce your wife (unless she has fornicated).
Don't divorce your wife (even if she has fornicated).
Don't marry a divorced woman.
Let little children come to Jesus.


Chapter 11: Women