Atheism, the Bible, Rape and EvilBible.com, part 4 of 6

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  1. Can't possibly thank you enough for this, all of your Biblical studies and for stating God's Word in truth here. Thank you ever so much. Your hard work has helped me w/ my fear and concerns that were coming into play. It all makes sense now-thanks again for everything.

  2. Indeed this is a good solution Mariano! A well reasoned and historical-contextualized answer.

    I do think that there is another possibility that is worthy of mention here though:

    We must always remember that the Biblical books must be interpreted first and foremost by the culture in which they were written.

    This is ture even if one doesn't care or doesn't believe in any God.

    For that reason, even if your excellent lexical argument is ever refuted (don't hold your breath) and this is indeed a rape scenario, the fact would be that the world of the Ancient Near East in which this verse was written, the command presented would be a very shocking, ideed merciful solution.

    Just for arguments sake, lets say a young woman is raped in the Hebrew community this verse is addressing. In that society, as in all aocieties of the ANE, even though the act was considered wrong, the young woman would be considered "defiled" or "unclean" even beyond the Hebrew sensitivites for such cleanliness. Young men would be encouraged by their families to seek out other young virgin girls who lacked such "un-cleanliness".

    A ridiculous social practise to-be-sure (as if we don't have a few of our own along the lines of murdering our own children and allowing memebers of our species who are of the same gender to retain the delusion that there isn't anything wrong with their attempts at some kind of carnal [though not in any way "sexual"] relationships with each other) but the fact would be that if/once that girls support network (her family) died or was cut out of her life in some other way, she would be cast to the wind with no hope of survival at all.

    This verse would then demand that the rapist take her into his home and social network to support her as long as he lived (with her sharing full in all the rights of a wife's inheritance once he passed).

    So either way...

  3. Even taking for granted everything you've said: Deut 22:28-29 implies that if a woman is raped *in town* and does not scream out, we must assume she consented, the rapist must pay a fine, and she must be required to marry the rapist. In effect the text implies that rape victims have a responsibility to scream out. But rape victims surely don't have that responsibility because sometimes rape victims (even ones who were raped 'in town') fail to scream out either because they can't or because they're terrified.

  4. I think you're wrong in arguing that the woman in verse 28 was merely seduced. Exodus 22:16 describes seduction, and uses the word "pathah" (entice, deceive, seduce), but does not use the word "taphas." It looks to me that every other time the word "taphas" is used in the OT regarding a person being acted on by someone else, the implication is "seized by force."


    I do agree with you that the Bible does not condemn raped women to a life of rape, I just think your explanation on why is wrong. We live in a culture where sex is considered a private matter and marital rape was only recently outlawed; the ancient Jews lived in a culture where sexual obligation was more publicly discussed and marital rape was recognized.

    In Mosaic Law, at least as God's people understood it (Jesus essentially endorses the Shammaite understanding of the OT law in Matthew 19:9 - he disagrees with them only in saying men are *allowed* to divorce rather than *ordered* to), divorce was allowed based on one partner's refusal to fulfill the obligations of marriage. So when Deuteronomy 22:28-29 says the man must marry her, *but can't divorce her*, this meant that the woman had NO obligations in marriage, while he had ALL the obligations of marriage.

    The fact that people interpret Deuteronomy 22:28-29 as justifying lifetime rape reflects the fact that our culture ignores marital rape; the ancient Jews did not ignore men who raped their wives the way we do, so the law did not mean the woman faced a lifetime of rape. It meant the man faced a lifetime of slavery, either slavery in the sense of having to serve the woman for the rest of their lives (when it came to richer men), or literal slavery in order to pay the exorbitant bride price (in the case of poorer men).

    David Instone-Brewer's "Divorce and Remarriage in the Bible", although not specifically about rape, does clearly explain the differences between marriage among the ancient Jews as well as at the time of Christ and the early church, versus marriage as it is understood today, and points out what this means in terms of Deuteronomy 22:28-29. God took rape much more seriously than most moderns do.


    I agree that rape victims don't have that responsibility, and I don't think Mosaic Law insists that women scream even in towns. Tamar, in II Samuel 13. does not scream at the time of the rape, but the Bible is clear that she was raped. Deuteronomy 22:24 is an example of "case law"; the underlying logic is that evidence that the woman was unwilling to start with is all that is necessary.

    One Jewish school of thought argues that, "In cases of rape, a woman is generally presumed not to have consented to the intercourse, even if she enjoyed it, even if she consented after the sexual act began and declined a rescue!" (http://www.jewfaq.org/women.htm)

    There's a quote from the Torah is much more graphic than that one , but the point is that under ancient Jewish law the woman was considered innocent in illicit sexual situations unless the evidence against her was overwhelming.

    Under Biblical law, in cases where it's his word against hers, and she says it was rape, you take her word for it. This follows the general Biblical principle that the more powerful person has the greater responsibility. It also fits with what we know of male and female physiology; one of the very few differences between men and women that hold cross culturally are that men are more aggressive, and they also have greater upper body strength, meaning it's both more likely and much easier for the average guy to overpower the average woman.

    God holds men accountable for ignoring a woman's "no," even if she was too frightened or intimidated to actually verbalize it.

    shilohmm from LiveJournal