Atheist critics attempt to assail God’s character by claiming He excused the men of Israel when they abused the women. That is because women were considered less to God, and so God would wink at any mistreatment of the fairer sex.
An example of that is found in Deuteronomy 22:28, 29 which states,
28 “If a man finds a young woman who is a virgin, who is not betrothed, and he seizes her and lies with her, and they are found out,
29 “then the man who lay with her shall give to the young woman’s father fifty shekels of silver, and she shall be his wife because he has humbled her; he shall not be permitted to divorce her all his days.
That passage, it is claimed, describes a young woman who is violently raped by a thuggish man, and rather than being punished, he is told that if he marries her all will be forgiven. The young woman has no choice in the matter. She and her family must comply. And they can never get divorced.
Atheists often complain that it is passages like that one that makes them hate religion.
So are the biblio-haters right? Does the Bible teach that rape victims must marry their rapist, assuming they aren’t married to begin with? A modern day example would be the college freshman coed who gets date raped at a Saturday night frat party forced to marry her frat boy rapist.
Some preliminary remarks before we even delve into providing a response.
First, as I noted in an article on the sex-trade and the Bible, atheists love to abuse those types of passages in the OT. They always cite them out of historical context and often times butcher the translation. But who says atheists like to play fair in these discussions?
After they quote their pet verse, the atheists proclaim how Christians are ignorant of their own Bibles because they cherry-pick verses. Christians need to be consistent, argues the atheist. If they are gonna hate on gays and not allow them to be married, for example, they need to be prepared to own slaves and not eat lobster. That of course is a dishonest, lazy way of offering objections because it doesn’t seek to truly engage the position.
But secondly, and more to the point, why, according to the atheist’s particular view of the world, is this law a “bad” thing? Why should we care? Why should it make them “hate religion?”
Keep in mind that atheism believes humans are merely biological, gene replicators trying their hardest to pass their genes on to the next generation in order to survive. What’s with all the moral outrage over a female gene replicator being told to reproduce exclusively with an exceptionally aggressive male gene replicator? Those two individuals are just a couple of highly evolved hominids operating according to chemical reactions. Do atheists get morally outraged with alpha male primates “raping” young female primates and adding them to the “harem” as it were?
The atheists are inserting all of this phony talk of justice, violating the wills of persons, right and wrong, etc. Under the conditions by which atheists claim the world works, they are wanting me to see some glaring inconsistency with how I as a Christian believe the world works. But aren’t we all just gene replicators living out life according to the chemical reactions of our genetic program? If my genetic program insists female gene replicators should reproduce exclusively with aggressive male gene replicators, what exactly is the problem?
But moving along to reality, how exactly then do I understand this text?
Deuteronomy is outlining instructions for life within a theocratic society, a society whose purpose is to live separately from their surrounding nations and are set apart as a holy nation of people belonging to YHWH. Within that society, YHWH provides instructions on how to deal with situations that will arise among His people, that would include relationships, marriage, and sadly, sexual sin. Israel, in spite of being a distinct, “holy” nation, is a nation comprised of sinners who will at times act sinfully.
Deuteronomy 22:13 ff., addresses laws pertaining to sexual morality and regulates a variety of scenarios that would potentially surface among the people of Israel. That includes situations involving premarital promiscuity, infidelity, affairs, and rape.
If one were to read the text carefully, there is a law addressing rape found in 22:25-27. It reads,
25 “But if a man finds a betrothed young woman in the countryside, and the man forces her and lies with her, then only the man who lay with her shall die.
26 “But you shall do nothing to the young woman; there is in the young woman no sin deserving of death, for just as when a man rises against his neighbor and kills him, even so is this matter.
27 “For he found her in the countryside, and the betrothed young woman cried out, but there was no one to save her.
The word “forces” describes a man who sees a woman and rapes her. The text says it is akin to a man rising against his neighbor and committing murder. In such a case the rapist is executed. Nothing happens to the girl. Those three passages clearly speak about rape and what happens to the rapist and victim.
However, 22:28-29 describes a much different situation.
The atheist will point to the word “seizes” as translated in the NKJV and other English translations and claim the word means rape. That isn’t totally accurate. The word has the basic idea of “to grasp” or “seize” and doesn’t necessarily mean rape in a violent sense. The context will determine that. The only modern translations that translate the word as “rape” that I could find were the NET and the TNIV, but I believe they offer a woefully bad translation that does not represent the passage. I say that for at least three reasons.
First, the idea here is a guy taking a girl who isn’t “betrothed” to be married. The word betrothed helps to define the context. She isn’t engaged, nor has she been pledged to another man, so she is probably young, still living at home with her parents.
Next, the verse says “and they are found out” or “discovered.” “To be discovered” means that the couple didn’t want to be found out. The implication being that his or her family found out they had sexual relations with each other. This would mean the girl could very well had been a willing participant in the sexual sin.
Contrast that situation with the one described in the previous three verses. There it is clear a girl is raped. The fact that she cries for help indicates she was attacked. In that situation, the guy is executed. Now, in verses 28, 29, both the guy and the girl are “discovered,” and rather than being executed, the guy is told to marry the girl. It would be a rather odd regulation if in one instance, the guy is executed for his attack, yet in the next, he is allowed to marry his victim. It’s nonsensical, to be exact.
Third, the situation described in Deuteronomy 22:28, 29 reads almost exactly like Exodus 22:16, 17. In fact, Deuteronomy is more than likely a reiteration of those verses in Exodus,
16 “If a man entices a virgin who is not betrothed, and lies with her, he shall surely pay the bride-price for her to be his wife.
17 “If her father utterly refuses to give her to him, he shall pay money according to the bride-price of virgins.
Here we have described for us a man who “entices,” or better, “seduces” a young girl and sleeps with her. It is not a rape at all, but is something that is quite common between teenagers even in our day. That being, a young man who sweet-talks a girl into liking him and he gets her into bed, or in the case of our modern society, in the back of his second-hand Dodge van. Rather than being raped, she is willingly compliant.
When they are found out, the guy isn’t executed because he didn’t violently attack her. He is given the option to marry her along with paying fifty shekels of silver to the family for his foolish, piggish behavior.
Also notice that Exodus 22:17 gives the option for the father to refuse the marriage. In other words, he can tell the young man to take a hike and not come back. The young man is still required to pay the bride-price, or the dowry the family would have received when the daughter was engaged.
So to say that the Bible makes a girl marry her rapist is just patently absurd.
In the last few days I’ve had this kind of thing on a purely securlar forum. Someone brought up yet again creationism, and in the course of the thread the claim God or the bible ‘sanctions genocide and rape’. I thought the fact rape carried a death penalty ought to clear up the nonsense about it being sanctioned. But no, Deut 20 was quoted to show murder, rape, slavery, and even paedophilia are sanctioned. Largely coined by the painfully inept Sceptics’ Annotated Bible.
Having dismantled this argumentation and trying to get them to take the meaning of the text at face value – war brides got married as per Deut 21, and marriage is not rape etc., the result was predictable. Trolling. I’m trying to defend barbaric values. This would almost be amusing in one sense, atheists reading this into the bible really have ceased to be able to think (…claiming to be wise they became fools, for this reason God gave them up to a base mind and improper conduct…), the very thing they accuse Christians of not doing. Yet it is sad to see the condition of the natural man, this running away from God, the effect of being dead in trespasses and sins. I said seeing rape here is an example of ‘creation ex nihilo’, and to be aware of making the sceptics’ annotated their ‘imaginary friend’!
It’s not even as though the discussion at this point was primarily about whether God exists and the bible is the record of his dealings with mankind. It’s about taking a few sentences of English prose and noting it means what it says on the tin.
The exchange rate for the truth really is a lie.
That is excellent help, Fred.
Oh yeah, the other thing I thought of when I saw that billboard was in Philippians when Paul rejoices that Christ is preached even if for the wrong reasons. Hopefully, someone will see that billboard and be compelled to read the Bible or maybe even find this blog!
Aww, what happened to all the interesting comments?
Sorry. I deleted them. I wanted to start fresh.
Abusing the Scripture is a favorite pastime of atheists. They need to get a life.
The most important part here is the worldview question. Just answering the challenge results in an endless series of moved goalposts. You answer their claim, “oh yeah, well what about…”, answer it, repeat 50 or 100 times, and they’ll start recycling already-answered ones.
Challenging them on their worldview puts the issue right where it belongs, the atheist problem of evil. Namely, they know some things are evil, but their worldview is utterly bankrupt to explain it or deal with it.
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I guess that is where I totally miss some of the non believers and skeptics argument. As you so aptly pointed out, according to an atheist/humanist world view there are actually no morals, only biological imperatives. Then the arguments they make based on “morality” don’t even make sense. By the way, I really have enjoyed your posts, thanks for the great lessons.
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If the Bible claims to be moral, wouldn’t it make sense to make sense of that/wrestle with it?
I have spent a lot of time feeling too judged to ask questions, I feel I owe it to stick up for anyone wrestling with genuine concerns/issues/questions.
Also a lot of people are coming with incomplete knowledge/facts or attitudes shaped by others. That leaves room for misconceptions, particularly if the people who try talking to you about it don’t seem reasonable or interested in helping you sort through it.
When Amnon raped Tamar, he afterward forced her to leave his living quarters This is Tamar’s response to him: “No, because this wrong in sending me away is greater than the other that you have done to me!”
Why would her rapist sending her away be more wrong than raping her was?
Very good post Fred. I saw some of our church guys sharing this on facebook
Jimmy – out of curiosity, where did you see this article linked? All of the sudden my hits spiked to several hundred. I was curious where folks were coming from.
DavidM – I think she was confronting him with his sin because she realized him doing what he did would have worse consequences than owning up to it, which would be death, let alone the scandal that would plague the kings household. That’s my take.
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I have always understood the difference not as rape or not rape but as betrothed or not betrothed. It seems to me like an ordinance – a means of using law to deal with the fallout of something that never should have happened morally speaking – that allows a father to marry his daughter to someone if it’s appropriate but allows him to refuse if that’s appropriate. In any case, the material realities receive some restitution. People forget that sex produces children. We forget, partly because we have a mass theft system in place where the one responsible for the conception is not necessarily the one who will pay child support (DNA tests these days help). Strangers may be forced to pay. This is not a small part of the reason sex has become after-school entertainment rather than something to be respected as a life and death matter or a sizable economic project. Even girls do not see their own sexuality as all that sacred. If a baby should appear strangely as a result, kill the baby. More civilized? I don’t think so. Women and girls are used and discarded. Children are murdered. In the case of rape in our society, the rapist is punished – quite possibly very lightly. What does the girl get?
Aren’t we just lovely?
I have a bit of pushback on this article. First, let me make clear that I totally agree that critics take these passages out of historical context in order to attack the Bible. Please don’t take anything I have to say as a defense of the critics position. My difficulty lies with the fact that in defense of the Bible you seem to end up ignoring the historical context as well. In short, your apology tends to assume a modern context just as much as the critics. In addition, your analysis uses some problematic hermeneutics. I wish to offer a different analysis of the passages in question which, hopefully, avoids both of these problems.
To start, I will start with simpler aspect of your analysis – the problematic hermeutics.
1. You say that Deut 22:25-27 are verses that address rape. This is incomplete. Instead, the passage is about sex with betrothed virgin. In verse 23 and 24 deal with a case where it can be reasonably established that the betrothed virgin did not resist the sex (she did not cry out in a place where she would almost certainly be heard). Vs 25-27 then deal with a case where such can’t be proven and thus it is to be assumed that the act was resisted by the woman. To read vs 25-27 as a general law against rape is highly problematic given both the immediate context and what the passage says. To reduce vs 25-27 to being about rape makes no more sense than reducing vs. 23,24 to being about premarital sex.
IOW, having sex with a betrothed woman was a death sentence for the man whether it was forcible or whether the woman consented – as far as the man was concerned it didn’t matter. The only difference was what would happen to the woman. And as far as the law was concerned, if the woman was raped in the city and didn’t cry out, then she still suffered the death penalty.
So, the proper contrast for vs. 25-27 is not with vs. 28,29 but with vs 23,24. That is, if the woman was not betrothed, then the death penalty for both cases of vs. 23-27 would not apply, rape or not.
2. You say that the word for “seized” is not speaking about rape while the word translated “forced” is. However, this doesn’t seem to bear out in how those words are used elsewhere in Scripture.In general terms, if the word for “seized” has an object another person, the context makes clear that the action is contrary to the person’s wishes, if not outright forcible. If there is an exception to this, I can’t find it. So, for it not refer to a woman being “seized” against her will would be a highly unusual usage of the word.
Furthermore, the word translated as “forced” does not usually take on that meaning. It more generally refers to strength, hardness or firmness. Now yes, in *context* it very clearly refers to forcible sex, but such is not inherent in the word itself. In fact, in general, the word for “seized” is more often used to denote an act against the objects will than the word for “forced”. There is absolutely nothing inherent I can find in the latter word which would cause one to say that the one is about rape while the former is not.
Now, yes, if vs. 25-27 was a contrast to vs. 28,29, then that would be a strong indication that one is talking about rape while the other is not. However, in context, the clear contrast for vs. 25-27 (forcible sex with betrothed girl) is not to vs. 28,29 (seizing of the non-betrothed girl) but instead to vs. 23,23 (tacit consensual sex with betrothed).
In short, I find this contrast of “seized” vs. “forced” to be extremely problematic.
3. You claim that “to be discovered” means that the couple didn’t want to be found out. Two big problems with this:
a. The girl had substantial incentive to be discovered. To be married in that culture was a substantially higher social standing for a woman. Her being willing to have consensual sex with the guy would imply that she would be willing to be married to him – something she could guarantee by being discovered.
b. The girl had little incentive to not being discovered. After all, if she lost her virginity and subsequently was married to someone else she would face the death penalty if her husband found out she wasn’t a virgin (Deut 22:13-21).
So, given that biggest upsides were to her being discovered and the biggest downsides were if the act remained secret, the idea that girl didn’t want to be discovered in a case of consensual sex doesn’t hold up well. In short, However, the exact opposite was true for the guy. It was he, not the girl, who had reason for the act to remain hidden.
Furthermore, the same holds true regardless of whether or not vs. 28,29 refers to rape or consensual sex. In both cases, it is the guy alone who had reason to fear discovering and not the girl. In short, “to be discovered” tells us nothing about whether the sex was consensual or not – it applies equally well to both cases and for the same reasons.
4. You say: “Third, the situation described in Deuteronomy 22:28, 29 reads almost exactly like Exodus 22:16, 17.”
Actually there is a substantial difference. Two of them. The words used to describe the incident are quite different. As noted earlier in every other case I can find, if “seized” has another person as its object, then it is clearly against their will (I invite you to find a counter example). Yet the word in Exodus 22 has a substantially different connotation. Now, maybe, if the penalties for such an act were identical then you would have a stronger point. But they are not. In the case of “enticing” the girl, the penalty is either marrying her or paying her bride-price. Yet in the case of “seizing” the girl, the penalty is both a cash penalty as marrying her *without the option to divorce her*. That last is a very significant departure from the other.
Furthermore, they are described in very different ways. In the case of the woman being “seized” it is said that the man “humbled” her. No such description is given the case of her being “enticed”. By itself, this may not be significant, but note that this word is used to describe the 3 most prominent cases of rape elsewhere in Scripture. Dinah (Gen 34:2), Tamar (2 Samuel 13:12,14,22 – note, often translated as “forced” in those passages) and the concubine (Judges 20:5. It is also used to describe what would have happened to the daughters of the host (Judges 19:24) and the rape of the women after the defeat of Judah (Lam 5:11). In short, this word is very prominently associated with rape in Scripture.
In short, there are substantial and good reasons to think the passages are speaking of different sorts of cases.
That sums up my negative arguments, now for my positive arguments….
In order to make a positive argument about Deut 22:28.29, let me first set the historical context as best I can. Let me say upfront that I am no expert, but I am reasonably certain that what I say is well-founded.
First of all, women held a substantially inferior position in Hebrew culture in comparison to modern culture. I say this not to judge that culture. The concerns of ancient society were very different than modern society and one SHOULD NOT be judged in light of the other. It is essential for understanding that Scripture be read in its own historical context – to fail to do this is to essentially misunderstand what is written in Scripture.
That being said, it is easily shown that women held a substantially inferior position in that culture. Here are some examples which are pertinent to this topic:
a. Inheritance was a familial affair – it was important to the culture that an inheritance remain within the family. Thus, inheritance by women was severely limited. They had no part in the inheritance of sons. As a wife their inheritance from their husband was tied to their having sons, else the main inheritances passed to other males within the family (see the case of Naomi and Ruth).
b. Their ability to earn a living on their own was extremely limited. If they had no family to support them they were bound to be destitute. As far as I can tell, the only family obligated to support them were their fathers (before marriage), husbands and sons. A woman of child-bearing age might also be able to obligate a close relative of her husband to take her on as a wife. A woman making it on her own was simply not part of the culture.
c. Women could not divorce. And, in practice (though not in the spirit of the Law), they could be divorced with relative ease.
d. Sex before marriage carried HUGE penalties for them. If a woman was not a virgin, her prospects for marriage were extremely dim. Loss of virginity was nearly equivalent to loss of all status and potential for long term economic stability.
e. In general, women were dominated by men all their lives. Yes, there were many cultural and economic incentives for men to treat the women in their care with respect and care, but such inequality or power and standing between the sexes couldn’t help but shape how women viewed sex. Modern concepts of consent and romance would have been foreign to their thinking. For instance, they had little say in who they married; they were expected to have sex willingly with a person who they may have barely known; and they had little or no recourse if they had an unhappy marriage. That’s just how it was – consider how that might have shaped their outlook about sex.
All of this combined together to make it so that marriage for a woman was equivalent to social standing and economic stability while lack of marriage was equivalent to lack of both. Bearing a son reinforced both. Having a dowry/bride-price also helped as it gave her some source of finance not tied to inheritance. Losing her virginity would mean a loss of all this as she would lose nearly all value on the “bride-market”. No long term social standing, no long term financial stability, and no dowry/bride-price on which she could survive after her father died. Once her father died she would be set adrift in society with no one obligated to provide for her. Any brothers she might have would inherit everything and have obligations to their own families first and foremost. She could expect to be destitute for the rest of her life. Turning to prostitution would be a step up for such a woman. One cannot overstate the societal and economic penalties for a woman who lost her virginity.
So, in that culture if a virgin was raped, it had MUCH wider and longer-lasting consequences than the violent violation of her body and self. It was a virtual sentence to poverty and extremely low social standing. Given that, what could be the solution? There is what I believe Deut 22:28,29 addresses. For one, they could have a dowry/bride-price paid to them by the perp. That would make up some for their being essentially unmarriable and all that would mean for them economically and socially – they would still lose most all potential for a higher societal standing but at least would have some protection against being totally destitute. But given the real upsides to being a wife (and one who *couldn’t* be divorced), the chance to be a mother would erase all the long-term downsides that would normally come from her losing her virginity. Now yes, given modern attitudes about sex and consent this would still be unthinkable. But, the typical girl in such a culture would have radically different attitudes about sex. After the very least she would have grown up fully expecting to have little, if any, say over her sexual partner. Consent and sex simply wouldn’t tied together all that strongly in her way of thinking.
So, if one absorbs the cultural imperatives and economic realities realities of such a society, then it becomes considerably more conceivable that being married to your rapist would be a an acceptable solution. With that in mind, look again at the cases of Dinah and Tamar again. Not a lot of specifics are given in the case of Dinah, but it does seem that Abraham had no particular objection to his daughter marrying her rapist. Her brothers objected but it appears they did so mostly because of the fact that he was a gentile. In the case of Tamar, while she was horrified that her brother would rape her, she seems even more troubled that he is throwing her out the act. Its as if she is expecting something from him – some obligation that was tied to her not being thrown out. I would assert that she was expecting that he would do what the law required and marry her. At the very least, her response to the rape was very different than what one would expect in modern society. Even her response to him before he actually carries through with the rape shows this to be true. Notice her solution to his getting ready rape her – just go to our father and he is sure to let you marry me. If that is her attitude toward a man about to rape her, what does that say about her general attitudes towards sex?
In summation, my argument is this:
1. Deut 22:28,29 is speaking of rape. Both the use of “seized” and “humbled” use to describe the act make the context pretty clear. The addition penalty of “marriage without be able to divorce her” reinforces this. The story of Tamar seems to line up perfectly with the expectations set for in Deut 22:28.29 as well.
2. The main reason why such a resolution to a case of rape seems so unacceptable to the modern reader is because we approach it with modern attitudes about sex, consent, marriage, status of women – all of which would have been incomprehensible to people of that culture. The same holds true for many other objections critics raise from the OT law. Its not that they aren’t wrong about the OT Law being objectionable to modern sensibility – it most certainly is and for an apologist to deny it leads to all sorts of problematic reasoning and interpreting. The problem is that its fallacious in the first place to read an ancient text in light of modern cultural expectations. The objections which flow from such a reading expose one’s lack of understanding and prejudices instead of the problems with the text. Conversely, the proper apologetic approach is to expose the full reality of the historical context as best you can.
Reblogged this on The Christian Individualist and commented:
Just in case you’ve ever heard the myth that the Bible requires rape victims to marry their rapists.
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So what this article says is that not all rape victims were forced to marry their rapists and some women who were forced to marry the man they’d had sex with weren’t raped.
Don’t get me wrong, that’s better than the popular perception of any raped woman had to marry her assailant. But it still leaves all the women who weren’t betrothed who were raped who do fit in that category.
The fact that some rape victims were required by law to marry their attackers (unless their fathers decided otherwise) while all the rapist got was a fine remains unacceptable.
Tarsier if the passage you’re referring to is Deuteronomy 22:28-29 “28 “If a man finds a young woman who is a virgin, who is not betrothed, and he seizes her and lies with her, and they are found out, 29 “then the man who lay with her shall give to the young woman’s father fifty shekels of silver, and she shall be his wife because he has humbled her; he shall not be permitted to divorce her all his days.” The fact that they are “found out” seems to be in contrast to other verses where either a girl 1) “has no sin deserving as death, for just as when a man rises against his neighbor and kills him, even so is this matter.” for “[she] cried out, but there was no one to save her” (Deuteronomy 22:25-27–quoted in full below) 2)a bethrothed woman who did not cry out shall be put to death, and the man because he violated his neighbor’s wife.
To be found out she probably would have been in range of help, and being familiar with the law aware of her duty to cry out if she was unwilling. What if she did cry out and nobody helped? I don’t know, maybe the case would have been brought forth to a prophet who could bring the word of the Lord to the people? But what if it happened in a gap between prophets like the 400 years before Jesus? Maybe there would have been a convening of a counsel, like there was to determine if a man intentonally or accidentally killed his neighbor (like someone whose axe head came off the handle while chopping wood and killed his neighbor) or maybe the law would have been enforced. We’re also dealing with a God who could strike down sinners, and he probably could have called forth more prophets if He wanted to, so maybe we’re unnecessarily limiting what He could do in such a case.
Also I think part of the reason for having them marry goes back to the purpose God had in mind for sex—the joining as “one flesh” of a man and a woman which Jesus said “So they are no longer two, but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together let man not seperate” (Matthew 19:6) Which I think has to do with how God didn’t make us for divorce or casual physically-intimate relationships, but rather for committed lasting relationships, where each person loves and gives for the other. (i can give verses that helped shape that opinion if you like)
Another point is God has made a new covenant now. Jesus talked about how previously God allowed for divorce because of the hardness of people’s hearts, but how from the beginning it was not meant to be so. Or how before adultery was just the physical act, but now even looking at a woman lustfully counts as adultery. It also talks about how “formerly God overlooked the times of ignorance, but is not calling for all men to repent” (Acts 17:30-31) As well as declaring that out of the thought come evil thoughts, adulteries, murders, fornications, thefts, false witness, slanders, that those are what defiles a man. That a day of judgment is coming, that God’s wrath must be poured out on sins, that either that judgment will fall upon us, or upon Jesus–God’s sin offering in our place. I know some say that hell is unjust, but the Bible speaks of judgment being more tolerable for some than others, that people will be judged by their own words, deeds, judgments, that those who didn’t know better will recieve a less severe punishment. I don’t think anyone is going to be able to face God on judgment day and believe their punishment isn’t fair. Also God is “righteous and just to forgive us our sins when we confess them”, He offers a way out.
(my point being it’s not treated the same way anymore)
Feel free to keep talking about your objections or questions. I think it’s a great way to challenge or expand your beliefs.
Deuteronomy 22:25-27: “25 “But if a man finds a betrothed young woman in the countryside, and the man forces her and lies with her, then only the man who lay with her shall die.
26 “But you shall do nothing to the young woman; there is in the young woman no sin deserving of death, for just as when a man rises against his neighbor and kills him, even so is this matter.
27 “For he found her in the countryside, and the betrothed young woman cried out, but there was no one to save her.”
It would be more accurate to say that rapists were required to marry their victims. In that culture, a raped woman would become destitute. No one would marry her, and she would have an extremely bleak economic and social future to look forward to. In short, in that culture, the social and economic consequences of the rape were worse than the rape itself.
What the law did is force the rapist to provide both economic stability and social standing to a woman who would otherwise have little or no chance at either. Yes, from a modern perspective this solution seems worse than that crime, but in that culture, the opposite would be true. They would have no concepts of modern attitudes towards rape, marriage, sex, women’s rights, etc. Given the very limited alternatives for a raped unmarried woman, the law did well by the victim and provided significant deterrence to a would be rapist.
Don’t fall into the error of judging an ancient culture by your own culture’s standards – particularly when those standards are largely possible only because of modern technology.
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This is nonsense of course. First, think of the time in which they are living. How many people in those days would have had 50 silver shekels to pay for anything?!?! The rapist would have had to go into hock for a bundle to pay this. Secondly, the woman he raped became his wife – he had to provide for her for the rest of his life and *could not divorce her* no matter what! And society in those days was VERY down on men who didn’t take care of their wives and families. So for that one single act on the one single day, it not only cost the rapist a fortune but forced him to live with the consequences of his actions every day for the rest of his life.