What’s with this test for an unfaithful wife?


“‘The priest shall bring her and have her stand before the Lord. Then he shall take some holy water in a clay jar and put some dust from the tabernacle floor into the water. After the priest has had the woman stand before the Lord, he shall loosen her hair and place in her hands the reminder-offering, the grain offering for jealousy, while he himself holds the bitter water that brings a curse. Then the priest shall put the woman under oath and say to her, “If no other man has had sexual relations with you and you have not gone astray and become impure while married to your husband, may this bitter water that brings a curse not harm you. But if you have gone astray while married to your husband and you have made yourself impure by having sexual relations with a man other than your husband”— here the priest is to put the woman under this curse—“may the Lord cause you to become a curse among your people when he makes your womb miscarry and your abdomen swell. May this water that brings a curse enter your body so that your abdomen swells or your womb miscarries.”
“‘Then the woman is to say, “Amen. So be it.”  Numbers 5:16-22
            This is an unusual test by our standards—a sort of truth sermon that promised to punish the woman for lying about her adultery.  But instead of looking at the crazy potion and horrific side effects, let’s look at why it’s in the Bible.
            First of all, the marriage bed is sacred and should not be tampered with.  This test showed the extent God emphasized to make sure it was pure.
            Second, the purpose of the test was to cause fear and fear is a good deterrent at times for committing sin.
            Finally, it showed the importance of confession and telling the truth.  There are always consequences for lying and sneaking around someone’s back.  This test showed the importance of all these purposes and cleared up any jealousy that crept into the relationship.
            If the man was wrong, there were consequences too for shaming his wife so he had to be pretty convinced of infidelity to continue down this road.