Deuteronomy 22:13–21—Why is the method of testing chastity different here than in Numbers 5?
Problem: The Numbers text instructed that chastity be tested by drinking bitter water and seeing if the woman’s stomach would swell (see comments on Numbers 5:13–22). But, Deuteronomy 22 provides the blood stained sheet from the wedding night as evidence of virginity (cf. vv. 14–17).
Solution: The two situations are different. The Numbers passage is a test for alleged unchastity after marriage. And the Deuteronomy text deals with alleged unfaithfulness before marriage.
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This excerpt is from When Critics Ask: A Popular Handbook on Bible Difficulties (Wheaton, Ill.: Victor Books, 1992). © 2014 Norman Geisler and Thomas Howe. All rights reserved. Used by permission. Click here to purchase this book.