There’s a lie making the rounds again in the pro-abortion camp that says not only does the Bible NOT condemn abortion, but that God actually condones it. There are various passages they use in which God passes judgment and babies die (which is a horrible argument for abortion since God is the one doing the killing, which is His right), but the worst proof text they use is Numbers 5:11-31.
This passage details what the nation of Israel was supposed to do when a man suspected that his wife had committed adultery. There is a test that she has to take that basically consists of her drinking water with dirt from the tabernacle floor in it, and recite a statement that she has not committed adultery. There’s other details but this is the basic part.
And here’s where the confusion starts. The passage says that if she is guilty, the water will 1. Bring a curse, 2. Cause bitterness in her, 3. Cause her thigh to waste away, 4. Cause her belly to swell, and 5. Make her barren.
Of all the English versions I could find, every one of them translates the phrase “yarek n’pil” in some variant of “thigh waste away (or rot)”. With one exception. The New International Version translators, for some reason, decided that everybody else is wrong, and the words for “thigh waste away” should be translated as “womb miscarries.”
Not only is this a stretch linguistically, but it makes no sense logically, because if the woman is guilty, then this thing happens and she’s barren, but if she is NOT guilty, verse 28 says that she will then “conceive children.” Which wouldn’t make any sense if she was ALREADY PREGNANT, as the pro-abortion people (and the NIV translators) think with their interpretation of this verse.
So the next time someone tells you that Numbers 5 shows that God approves of abortion, you can tell them that the passage has absolutely nothing to do with abortion, and stop reading the NIV.