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Verses

Does the Bible command a rape victim to marry their rapist according to Deuteronomy 22:28-29 ?

Hello H,

Thank you for contacting ProofDirectory.

It is clear from the context of Deuteronomy 22:28-29 that rape is not being debated here: “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, 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” (Deuteronomy 22:28-29).

Here the Hebrew word seizes (chazaq) means to take “hold of” which does not involve violence or force. The context meaning of verses 28-29 makes it clear that both parties are guilty in the act because the woman does not cry for help.

Deuteronomy 22:28-29 does not speak of rape at all but rather what should be done if two people have an affair out of wed-lock and the girl is a virgin. Practically, a man has sexual intercourse with a young woman who is not betrothed to anyone. Their action has been known to others, the man cannot simply leave her since no one else will want to marry woman who has lost her virginity (cultural). In this case, God holds both parties accountable, instructing them to get married and stay together.

On the other hand, in the previous verses in Deuteronomy 22: 25-27, we find that it clearly speaks of rape: “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.  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.  For he found her in the countryside, and the betrothed young woman cried out, but there was no one to save her.”

In verses 25-27, the context is clearly speaking of rape because the text uses the words “forces her” in verse 25 and the woman “cried out” (v. 27) for help but she was in the country and no one was there to help her. Furthermore, the text says that the man who committed this crime of rape should be put to death (v. 25) but that nothing should be done to the woman since “there is in the young woman no sin worthy of death” (v. 26).

Basically, the Bible does say that two people who are not married should get married if they have slept together, and in the case of rape, the rapist should be put to death and the woman be considered innocent.

In His service,
ProofDirectory Team
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