Quote# 112159

Question: "Does Deuteronomy 22:28-29 command a rape victim to marry her rapist?"

Answer:
Deuteronomy 22:28-29 is often pointed to by atheists, skeptics, and other Bible attackers as evidence that the Bible is backwards, cruel, and misogynist, and therefore, not the Word of God. At first glance, this passage seems to command that a rape victim must marry her rapist. Is that the correct interpretation of the text, and if so, how is that not horribly unfair to the woman? This issue is actually addressed in two passages, both of which are below:

Deuteronomy 22:28-29 “If a man meets a virgin who is not betrothed, and seizes her and lies with her, and they are found, then the man who lay with her shall give to the father of the young woman fifty shekels of silver, and she shall be his wife, because he has violated her. He may not divorce her all his days."

Exodus 22:16-17 “If a man seduces a virgin who is not betrothed and lies with her, he shall give the bride price for her and make her his wife. If her father utterly refuses to give her to him, he shall pay money equal to the bride price for virgins."

Together, these passages clearly state that if a man has sex with a virgin who is not betrothed (regardless of whether or not it was rape or consensual) he is obliged to marry her. He should have sought her father's permission first, negotiated a bride-price, and taken her as his wife. Because he did not, he is punished for this—he now must pay up (he can't opt out any more) and marry her (which could be a major punishment in itself if this was a foolish, spur-of-the-moment act and she really wasn't the right woman for him!).

Also note that "he may not divorce her all his days" – this initially doesn't seem significant but is actually a major punishment. Deuteronomy 24:1-4 (restated more clearly in Matthew 5:32 and 19:9) allowed for divorce, but only in the case of sexual immorality (the word "uncleanness" refers to this and was translated as such in the LXX). This man now may not divorce his wife even for this reason, but is obliged to continue to support her all his life whatever she does.

But her father is ultimately in authority over her, as her head, until he hands this authority over to her husband. If the man is unsuitable, the father can refuse to give his daughter to him. How many fathers would give their daughter to a rapist? Not many. So, in general, a rapist would actually have to pay a 50 silver shekel fine to her father, and not get a wife at all.

The answer to the question is in Exodus 22:17 - the woman does NOT have to marry a rapist, she must only do what her father says.

Note that throughout the Old Testament no rape victim is ever recorded as being forced to marry a rapist. However it is plausible that there could be circumstances in which a father would choose to have his daughter marry a rapist. In 2 Samuel 13, Amnon, a son of David, rapes his half-sister, Tamar. Tamar was not forced to marry Amnon. Interestingly, though, Tamar seemed to have wanted to marry Amnon after the rape (2 Samuel 13:13-16). Why would she desire such a thing? In that culture, virginity was highly prized. It would have been very difficult for a woman who was not a virgin, and especially a woman who had been raped, to find a man to marry her. It seems that Tamar would have rather married Amnon than live desolate and single the rest of her life, which is what happened to her (2 Samuel 13:20). So Deuteronomy 22:28-29 could be viewed as merciful to the woman, who, because of the rape, would be considered unmarriageable. In that culture, a woman without a husband would have a very difficult time providing for herself. Unmarried women often had no choice but to sell themselves into slavery or prostitution just to survive. This is why the passage leaves marriage to the discretion of the father, because every situation is different, and it is better to be flexible than have a blanket rule.

Also note that the penalty for having sex with an unbetrothed virgin is completely different from the penalty for sex with a married or betrothed woman. Sex with a married or betrothed woman is adultery and was to be punished by the death of both if consensual, or the death of the man if it was rape (Deuteronomy 22:22-27).

Got Questions Ministries, GotQuestions.org 19 Comments [8/24/2015 3:11:47 AM]
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Submitted By: Chris
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niv

"the woman does NOT have to marry a rapist, she must only do what her father says."

which mean no one will ask her what she want to do, and her rapist will only have to pay fine. the same book give harsher punishments for working in Shabbat or disobeying one's parents. not to mention, in a culture where woman's value is determined solely by virginity, most fathers would rather give their daughter to the rapist, because she couldn't find another husband.

it was a vile system, and it is good thing that there isn't one modern nation that use this book as basis for its laws.

8/24/2015 3:38:34 AM

Ebon

So your answer is essentially yes.

8/24/2015 4:15:19 AM



So, a woman in that society was mere goles to be traded? Men were so superficial as to not overpass the fact that the woman was not Virgin but not by choice? You are not helping, you are making it even worse

8/24/2015 4:33:38 AM

Kuno


Together, these passages clearly state that if a man has sex with a virgin who is not betrothed (regardless of whether or not it was rape or consensual) he is obliged to marry her. He should have sought her father's permission first, negotiated a bride-price, and taken her as his wife. Because he did not, he is punished for this—he now must pay up (he can't opt out any more) and marry her (which could be a major punishment in itself if this was a foolish, spur-of-the-moment act and she really wasn't the right woman for him!).


And of course the woman’s opinion on the whole issue is not of interest to anyone…

But her father is ultimately in authority over her, as her head, until he hands this authority over to her husband. If the man is unsuitable, the father can refuse to give his daughter to him.[…] The answer to the question is in Exodus 22:17 - the woman does NOT have to marry a rapist, she must only do what her father says.

But that’s not what Deuteronomy says. Are you saying the Bible is contradicting itself?

And again, the woman in question has absolutely no say in the matter.

Deuteronomy 22:28-29 could be viewed as merciful to the woman, who, because of the rape, would be considered unmarriageable. In that culture, a woman without a husband would have a very difficult time providing for herself. Unmarried women often had no choice but to sell themselves into slavery or prostitution just to survive. This is why the passage leaves marriage to the discretion of the father, because every situation is different, and it is better to be flexible than have a blanket rule.

Wouldn’t it be easier if God just added a passage like “Just because a woman is no longer a virgin doesn’t mean she is somehow worthless, and this is up to and including being a victim to rape.”?

8/24/2015 5:04:02 AM

Meishayuri

The talking snake, burning bush, and pillar of fire were all legit too, right?

8/24/2015 5:20:00 AM

Malingspann

IN A WORLD...where a perpetrator of male-on-female rape is regarded *not* as having violated *her* as a *person* but as having *vandalized* the vagina-equipped, humanoid PROPERTY of ANOTHER MAN! [/Don LaFontaine]

8/24/2015 5:59:04 AM

Dr. Razark

"The answer to the question is in Exodus 22:17 - the woman does NOT have to marry a rapist, she must only do what her father says."

Yeah, you're not really helping make your case here.

The problem that you're not addressing is that women are not livestock to be bought and sold.

8/24/2015 6:55:11 AM

Doubting Thomas

Claims that atheists use bible passages to claim the bible is backwards, cruel, and misogynist, then gives "correct" explanations for those passages which are clearly backwards, cruel, and misogynist.

8/24/2015 6:57:25 AM



This is a repeat for the record but it was a while ago.

8/24/2015 7:09:54 AM

OHP

++"Interestingly, though, Tamar seemed to have wanted to marry Amnon after the rape (2 Samuel 13:13-16). Why would she desire such a thing? In that culture, virginity was highly prized. It would have been very difficult for a woman who was not a virgin, and especially a woman who had been raped, to find a man to marry her. It seems that Tamar would have rather married Amnon than live desolate and single the rest of her life, which is what happened to her (2 Samuel 13:20). So Deuteronomy 22:28-29 could be viewed as merciful to the woman, who, because of the rape, would be considered unmarriageable."

What a stunning defense. "It was horrible, yes, but it saved them from suffering the baseless persecution of victims that our other indefensibly stupid and evil teachings and rules would have brought upon her."

8/24/2015 8:00:26 AM

Musicalbookworm

You are trying to use this to tell me the Bible isn't misogynist?

8/24/2015 8:54:11 AM

Canadiest

"Note that throughout the Old Testament no rape victim is ever recorded as being forced to marry a rapist."

Note that from this moment on "Things that aren't in the Bible" cannot be used as arguments, especially as a counter against Scriptural commands.

Where and who are the disciples families?
What cultures are represented in Israel at Jesus' time?
What religion did the Egyptians practice in Moses time? What other cultures were there?
What's going on in Rome at this time?
What about a little thing called the rest of the fucking world?

I'm pretty sure there's a story of Jesus preventing a stoning. Now tell us of a stoning story, we know these not only happened but are still happening, why no nice story about a dad and his sons out for a lovely day of stoning sinners? After all it and you lot joyously celebrate Genocides and bears tearing lippy kids apart.

and notice how a major point goes over your head. I want that girl, girls wishes don't count and that law is in place there, rape her, she's mine. Interesting that in modern times your concern is still about HIM being "forced" into something.

8/24/2015 9:32:56 AM



How this is fstdt?!

8/24/2015 11:04:43 AM

Dr. Razark

@ #1849607

How is treating women as livestock based only on an ancient book not fundie?

8/24/2015 11:31:04 AM

Yossarian Lives

I'd like to think that we've moved way beyond the archaic morality supported by the Bible that no longer has any justification in a modern, secular society. It may have made some sense in Biblical times, when views against rape victims were not as they are with more enlightened thinking, but we've moved beyond this way of thinking (they were horrific to the victim), no matter how hard you try to drag us back. We have seen the light and exposed Biblical morality for the ancient, patriarchal mess that it is, and we don't want to regress because of the morals of a Bronze age God with Bronze age thoughts.

"which could be a major punishment in itself if this was a foolish, spur-of-the-moment act and she really wasn't the right woman for him!"

It's also a punishment for the woman who has to live with her rapist for the rest of her life (I presume you'd allow for no divorce). Besides, I cannot agree that marrying a woman that you don't love is a suitable punishment for someone who has violated the victim in such a way.

"But her father is ultimately in authority over her, as her head, until he hands this authority over to her husband. If the man is unsuitable, the father can refuse to give his daughter to him."

We've long seen the flaws of holding women back and refusing them to be their own person equal to men. The danger of this, ignoring the issues surrounding the fact that women aren't fucking property (thank goodness most people are rational enough to spit upon this notion), is that it's completely reliant on an altruistic father that will know what's truly best for the daughter, which is, of course, not to marry a fucking rapist and push for a true punishment. Though, this wouldn't be common under your system.

In cases where men are raped by other men, would the raped man have to marry the rapist?

8/24/2015 11:31:16 AM

Dizzy Dripping

If you were trying to prove that the Bible is not backwards, cruel and misogynistic then you failed miserably.

1. The passages you cite treat a woman as the property of men, therefore objectifying her. Raped women (unmarried women who are forced into sex I assume) in this context become 'damaged goods' that must be paid for.

2. "The woman does NOT have to marry a rapist, she must only do what her father says." And if her father says that she has to marry her rapist then, yes, she does have to marry her rapist.

3. Funny how being forced to marry a rapist is only considered to be a punishment for the rapist. Sure it isn't a free pass for a man to continue raping this woman. What am I saying? Of course it's a free pass because a lot of Christian fundamentalists (and MRAs) believe that once the ring is on her finger- she has to say yes every time. The so-called punishment for the man seems more like a punishment for the woman who was raped.

8/24/2015 1:26:25 PM



@everybody
To be fair, many priests and theologians(and rabbis) are encouraged not to try to sugarcoat or justify it, for fear to make the case even worse. They are advised to say that it was a bad idea, a concession made to the primitive misogynist environment of the región(it was also present in Babylonian codes, for example). Because, it is used to demonstrate that the people of God are backwards and misogynistic. Guess what? With your reasoning, you are actually confirming it

8/25/2015 4:26:49 AM

OHP

@#1849935:
We're not using it to make you look that way. If you believe these things are acceptable, you ARE that way. We're merely commenting on the readily apparent.

If you don't believe these things are acceptable then I must ask why you're defending a religion that does.

8/25/2015 9:49:18 PM

Goomy pls

Forcing a rapist to marry his victim for the rest of their lives is just asking for trouble. The rapist has no accountability.

9/7/2015 10:54:53 PM

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