King James Bible Dictionary



The Bible

Bible Usage:


  • Included in Eastons: Yes
  • Included in Hitchcocks: No
  • Included in Naves: Yes
  • Included in Smiths: Yes
  • Included in Websters: Yes
  • Included in Strongs: Yes
  • Included in Thayers: Yes
  • Included in BDB: Yes

Strongs Concordance:

Easton's Bible Dictionary

Conjugal infidelity. An adulterer was a man who had illicit intercourse with a married or a betrothed woman, and such a woman was an adulteress. Intercourse between a married man and an unmarried woman was fornication. Adultery was regarded as a great social wrong, as well as a great sin.

The Mosaic law (Numbers 5:11-31) prescribed that the suspected wife should be tried by the ordeal of the "water of jealousy." There is, however, no recorded instance of the application of this law. In subsequent times the Rabbis made various regulations with the view of discovering the guilty party, and of bringing about a divorce. It has been inferred from John 8:1-11 that this sin became very common during the age preceding the destruction of Jerusalem.

Idolatry, covetousness, and apostasy are spoken of as adultery spiritually (Jeremiah 3:6, 8, 9; Ezekiel 16:32; Hosea 1:2:3; Revelation 2:22). An apostate church is an adulteress (Isaiah 1:21; Ezekiel 23:4, 7, 37), and the Jews are styled "an adulterous generation" (Matthew 12:39). (Comp. Revelation 12.)

Naves Topical Index

General references
Genesis 20:3; 2 Samuel 12:14; Job 24:15-18; Job 31:1; Job 31:9-12; Proverbs 2:16-19; Proverbs 5:3-22; Proverbs 6:24-29; Proverbs 6:32-33; Proverbs 7:5-23; Proverbs 9:13-18; Proverbs 22:14; Proverbs 23:27-28; Proverbs 29:3; Proverbs 30:18-20; Proverbs 31:3; Isaiah 57:3-4; Jeremiah 3:1; Jeremiah 5:7-8; Jeremiah 7:9-10; Jeremiah 23:10; Ezekiel 18:5-6; Ezekiel 18:9; Hosea 4:1-2; Hosea 4:11; Matthew 5:28; Matthew 5:32; Matthew 15:19; Matthew 19:9; Mark 7:21; Mark 10:11-12; Mark 10:19; Luke 16:18; James 2:11; Acts 15:20; Acts 15:29; Romans 1:28-29; Romans 1:32; Romans 7:3; 1 Corinthians 5:9-10; 1 Corinthians 6:15-16; 1 Corinthians 6:18; 1 Corinthians 10:8; 2 Corinthians 12:21; Galatians 5:19; Galatians 5:21; 1 Timothy 1:9-10; 2 Timothy 3:6; 1 Peter 4:3-4; 2 Peter 2:9-10; 2 Peter 2:14; Jude 1:7; Revelation 2:20-22; Revelation 9:21
Lasciviousness; Rape; Sensuality; Sodomy; Whore; Whoredom

Exodus 20:14; Deuteronomy 5:18; Matthew 5:27; Matthew 19:18; Luke 18:20; Romans 13:9; James 2:11; Leviticus 18:20; Leviticus 19:29; Deuteronomy 23:17; Acts 15:20; Romans 13:13; 1 Corinthians 5:9-11; 1 Corinthians 6:13; 1 Corinthians 6:15; 1 Corinthians 6:18; 1 Corinthians 10:8; Ephesians 4:17; Ephesians 4:19-20; Ephesians 5:3; Ephesians 5:11-12; Colossians 3:5; 1 Thessalonians 4:3-5; 1 Thessalonians 4:7

Forgiveness of, instances of
Judges 19:1-4; John 8:10-11

Penalties for
Genesis 20:7; Genesis 26:11; Genesis 38:24; Exodus 22:16-17; Leviticus 19:20-22; Leviticus 20:10-12; Leviticus 21:9; Numbers 5:11-30; Deuteronomy 22:13-29; Deuteronomy 27:20; Deuteronomy 27:22-23; 2 Samuel 12:10-12; Jeremiah 29:22-23; Ezekiel 16:38; Ezekiel 16:40-41; Ezekiel 23:45; Ezekiel 23:47-48; Malachi 2:5; John 8:4-5; 1 Corinthians 5:1-13; 1 Corinthians 6:9-10; 1 Corinthians 10:8; Galatians 5:19; Galatians 5:21; Ephesians 5:5-6; Hebrews 13:4; Revelation 18:9-10; Revelation 21:8; Revelation 22:15


General references
Jeremiah 3:2; Ezekiel 16:15-16; Hosea 1:1-11
Whoredom; Idolatry

Instances of adultery:

Instances of adultery:
Genesis 19:5-8

Genesis 19:31-38

Genesis 34:2

Genesis 35:22

Genesis 38:1-24

Potiphar's wife
Genesis 39:7-12

The Levite's concubine
Judges 19:2

The Gibeahites
Judges 19:22-25

Judges 11:1

Judges 16:1

Sons of Eli
1 Samuel 2:22

2 Samuel 11:1-5

2 Samuel 13:1-20

2 Samuel 16:22

Exodus 32:6; Exodus 32:25; Jeremiah 29:23; Ezekiel 22:9-11; Ezekiel 33:26; Hosea 7:4

Matthew 14:3-4; Mark 6:17-18; Luke 3:19

Samaritan woman
John 4:17-18

The woman brought to Jesus in the temple
John 8:4-11

1 Corinthians 5:1-5

Ephesians 4:17-19; 1 Peter 4:3

Smith's Bible Dictionary

(Exodus 20:14) The parties to this crime, according to Jewish law, were a married woman and a man who was not her husband. The Mosaic penalty was that both the guilty parties should be stoned, and it applied as well to the betrothed as to the married woman, provided she were free. (22:22-24) A bondwoman so offending was to be scourged, and the man was to make a trespass offering. (Leviticus 19:20-22) At a later time, and when owing, to Gentile example, the marriage tie became a looser bond of union, public feeling in regard to adultery changed, and the penalty of death was seldom or never inflicted. The famous trial by the waters of jealousy, (Numbers 5:11-29) was probably an ancient custom, which Moses found deeply seated

(But this ordeal was wholly in favor of the innocent, and exactly opposite to most ordeals. For the water which the accused drank was perfectly harmless, and only by a miracle could it produce a bad effect; while in most ordeals the accused must suffer what naturally produces death, and be proved innocent only by a miracle. Symbolically adultery is used to express unfaithfulness to covenant vows to God, who is represented as the husband of his people.)

Webster's 1828 Dictionary

ADUL'TERY, noun [Latin adulterium. See Adulterate.]

1. Violation of the marriage bed; a crime, or a civil injury, which introduces, or may introduce, into a family, a spurious offspring.

By the laws of Connecticut, the sexual intercourse of any man, with a married woman, is the crime of adultery in both:such intercourse of a married man, with an unmarried woman, is fornication in both, and adultery of the man, within the meaning of the law respecting divorce; but not a felonious adultery in either, or the crime of adultery at common law, or by statute. This latter offense is, in England, proceeded with only in the ecclesiastical courts.

In common usage, adultery means the unfaithfulness of any married person to the marriage bed. In England, Parliament grant absolute divorces for infidelity to the marriage bed in either party; and the spiritual courts divorce a mensa et thoro.

2. In a scriptural sense, all manner of lewdness or unchastity, as in the seventh commandment.

3. In scripture, idolatry, or apostasy from the true God. Jeremiah 3:8.

4. In old laws, the fine and penalty imposed for the offense of adultery

5. In ecclesiastical affairs, the intrusion of a person into a bishopric, during the life of the bishop.

6. Among ancient naturalists, the grafting of trees was called adultery being considered as an unnatural union.