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Archive for December, 2013

In many conversations and religious discussions I have heard people condemn Christianity and Christians because some passages in the Bible make it appear that rape is acceptable. The proof scripture that is used most frequently is found in Deuteronomy 22:22-28. Here I will share the scripture and give my rebuttal.

“22 If a man is found sleeping with another man’s wife, both the man who slept with her and the woman must die. You must purge the evil from Israel. 23 If a man happens to meet in a town a virgin pledged to be married and he sleeps with her, 24 you shall take both of them to the gate of that town and stone them to death—the young woman because she was in a town and did not scream for help, and the man because he violated another man’s wife. You must purge the evil from among you. 25 But if out in the country a man happens to meet a young woman pledged to be married and rapes her, only the man who has done this shall die. 26 Do nothing to the woman; she has committed no sin deserving death. This case is like that of someone who attacks and murders a neighbor, 27 for the man found the young woman out in the country, and though the betrothed woman screamed, there was no one to rescue her. 28 If a man happens to meet a virgin who is not pledged to be married and rapes her and they are discovered, 29 he shall pay her father fifty shekels[b] of silver. He must marry the young woman, for he has violated her. He can never divorce her as long as he lives.”
The word shakab that is translated “rape” in the Deuteronomy 22:28 means “to have sexual relations with”, “lie with” etc., and does not indicate forced intercourse. The verse gives the idea that they slept together consensually and were being secretive and then they were discovered. The word translated “rape” in Deuteronomy 28:30 (“You will be pledged to be married to a woman, but another will take her and rape her.”) is what we would actually define as rape, or being violated. That word is shagal The woman in verse 28 was to be married to the man who slept with her because she had been humiliated, she was not betrothed to a man, and would never be allowed to marry or have a “normal” life otherwise. The man is punished in a way as well because he cannot divorce her, nor can he marry another woman.

Don’t forget verses 25-26 “But if out in the country a man happens to meet a young woman pledged to be married and rapes her, only the man who has done this shall die.Do nothing to the woman; she has committed no sin deserving death.” This instance uses shakab “to lie with” but says previously that she was “forced” or “prevailed upon” (depending upon the translation) to sleep with him, so it indicates that she was probably unwilling but it is not clearly stated (he could have convinced her to do it willingly). The man is stoned because he slept with a woman who was not his betrothed; though she might possibly have been willing there is no way to tell when they were alone in the countryside, and even if she had screamed no one would hear to come help her. If, however, he sleeps with a betrothed woman in the city and she does not scream, both are to be put to death for committing adultery.

Another verse referenced is 2 Samuel 2:11-12: “This is what the Lord says: ‘Out of your own household I am going to bring calamity on you. Before your very eyes I will take your wives and give them to one who is close to you, and he will sleep with your wives in broad daylight. 12 You did it in secret, but I will do this thing in broad daylight before all Israel.’”

David’s punishment is essentially that the same thing that he did to Uriah will be done to him. Because David had Uriah killed and secretly slept with his wife, David was going to have the same thing done to him, except in public knowledge; he will see and know that his women are being loved (shakab) by other men. It says nothing about rape (shagal). Some have noted that God has caused the women to commit adultery. I would argue that he did not cause it, but simply allowed it. But that is another story.

 

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