Tuesday, September 06, 2016

Marriage and Violence (7)

After reading my series on Marriage and Violence, a reader asked me to comment on Deut 22:28-29.

This verse has to be taken in context of other similar scriptures. The case in Deut 22:28-29 is different from the verses that precede it where the girl is forcibly raped.

It describes a situation where a man “seizes” a girl and lies with her. He Hebrew word for seize “taphes” is not a strong word. It means to grab hold. The man has used minimal force.

The couple are discovered, so it seems that although she was seized, she did not resist strongly (as described in Deut 22:24), but goes along, perhaps out of fear.

Once they had sexual intimacy, the two becomes one, so in God’s eyes they are married. This is why the man is expected to marry the girl. The only way for the girl to avoid the marriage would be for her to divorce the man and annul the marriage.

The scripture provide the girl with strong protection. The man has to pay a penalty of 25 shekels to her father. If did not have that silver, he would have to bond himself to work for the girl’s father until he had earned.

The girl is able to divorce the man, but he is not able to divorce her. So the protection lies in her flavour.

Ex 22:10 still applies. The man would have to pay a dowry to the girl’s father in trust for her well-being. If the marriage does not work out, the girl could divorce him and keep the dowry for her financial support. She would be able to retain the penalty the man paid to her father.
God’s law puts protection in place for a girl in a situation where most cultures would have left her vulnerable.

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