It was always my understanding that Numbers 5:11 in the Hebrew Bible refers to an abortive procedure. However...
When I brought it up in my OT ex class the other day, several of my classmates were shocked by this and adamantly denied this possibility. I guess I had always assumed that the "bitter water that carries the curse" was an abortive. Here is the passage as it is found in the NRSV.
I should add, as this is incredibly important, that the NIV (my least preferred edition) translates "uterus drop and womb discharge," to "abdomen swell and thigh waste away" (whatever the hell that's supposed to mean) and I pointed out in class that this might be the source of some of the confusion. However, even provided with a more accurate translation, another student suggested that a body of evidence exists that this is, in fact, not sanctioned abortion - but rather some other form of poison that generates a prolapsed uterus.
I think this is ridiculous - given the Israelites probable desire to maintain their patrilineal descent patterns it would seem most logical that a man, upon returning from afar, and suspecting his wife of being pregnant, would immediately demand an abortion to prove that she had cheated on him. There would be no reason to keep the child when there was no way the man could have been thought to be its father, rather, the abortion would provide excellent proof of the woman's infidelity.
My question (finally!) is whether or not this "body of evidence" actually exists regarding this disturbing chapter in the OT and if there have been books written on this topic.