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Why Command Marriage Between Rapist and Victim?
by Gregory John Monroe
1/17/2016 / Education
At first glance, a lot of the Mosaic Laws seem to not make sense. That's the case for the one written in Deuteronomy 22: 22-29. On the surface, it's not only incomprehensibly shocking; it comes across even as barbaric.
It says, "If a man happens to meet a virgin who is not pledged to be married and rapes her and they are discovered, he shall pay the girl's father fifty shekels of silver. He must marry the girl, for he has violated her. He can never divorce her as long as he lives."
Whoa! That freaking boggles the mind. If the scriptural passage is left alone, we can't help but wonder if God is condoning rape and letting the offender get off easy? But of course, we can't leave it alone. There's got to be more to it, knowing that it's not our Father's will for a woman to be raped. Consider the following.
We know that rape wasn't condoned because if a man raped a married woman, he would be stoned to death (Deuteronomy 22: 25).
So we should consider the "command to marry" law to be an attempt to rectify a wrong. For if the woman were unmarried, she would be stigmatized. She would be undesirable for marriage to anyone else. In that culture, without a husband or father to provide for her, she'd become a castaway. She'd be doomed to a life of poverty for something that wasn't her fault.
The law's intent, then, was to provide justice for the victim by taking care of her. That's why the perpetrator was to be responsible for her well-being during the rest of his life.
Taking into account, however, that the victim might not want the marriage, another of the Mosaic Laws could be put into play. It stipulated that the woman didn't have to marry if her father determined that she'd be provided for (Exodus 22: 16, 17).
So in this way, the "command to marry" law was not designed to force marriage upon the victim, but instead to simply, and compassionately, secure her and her children's future.
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