– to a Rapist?!!
When people criticize the Bible, nothing seems to rile them more than the Mosaic laws regarding polygamy, slavery, and the rape of girls who were not previously betrothed to marry. On the surface, it looks like God endorses these evils, but that is certainly not the case. Some people are confused by these laws and are deterred from Christianity as a result, when they might otherwise be persuaded.
Rebels actually love it that the Bible contains these laws because, in their mind, it justifies their discarding the whole Bible and living as selfishly as they please. Some who knowingly serve satan seize on the verses to virulently drive away from the Bible anyone who might be seeking to find joy and peace in Jesus Christ.
Why would anyone take a negative attitude towards these laws? Why would they not suspect that love and mercy is at the heart of these laws, seeing as the Bible also says that God is Love and He would much rather show mercy than to have to deal out judgment? Could it be that a root of bitterness has blinded their heart? Are they angry at God for abuses they have suffered in life, perhaps from their parents raising them in a harsh manner? Have they interpreted tragic events in their lives as God's judgment on them and, therefore, they want nothing to do with Him?
God desires truth in the inward parts. When we stop being in denial about our bitterness, then our eyes can see more clearly what is in God's Word. We can see His love and mercy and believe more easily that He really does forgive our sins and wants to bless us, in spite of our ongoing weaknesses and failures.
He is not a harsh, demanding God who wants to impose a lot of rules on us. He actually has only two rules that form the basis for all the rules He listed in the Old Testament: Love the Lord your God with all your heart, and mind, and strength, and love your neighbour as yourself.
God actually hates polygamy, slavery, and rape; making laws to ameliorate them does not mean that He approves of those evil things. He instituted one man to one woman marriage to teach mankind about getting connected to Him through the Jesus Christ and growing in a spiritually intimate, ever deepening, love relationship with their Creator that produces "children," which is the fruit of the Spirit: Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Goodness, Faith, Meekness, Self–control, etc...
Producing children is the outcome of heterosexual sex, which is why God ordained and endorses only man to woman marriage. Marriage is supposed to bear fruit, a godly seed, a new generation to serve God and operate in His wisdom and power to fight corruption in the Earth.
Receiving Jesus as our Saviour is the only way a soul is saved. Jesus said that no man comes to the Father, except through Him. Our relationship with God has to be legitimate. This is why He forbids fornication, requiring marriage vows to be made before sexual activity is endorsed. Jesus raised the issue to His disciples that God never intended for marriage to be anything other than just one man and one woman. It is because of the symbolism of having a legitimate, intimate relationship with God.
Not being faithful to that one spouse undermines the symbolism and spiritual purpose of marriage. A one man to one woman marriage demonstrates the command to have no other gods. In this case, the competing god is Lust. Our relationship with God is at its best when we yield only to Him, not to the selfish desires of our flesh. Likewise, God is faithful to us. That does not mean that He does not love anyone else. God forbid. We all need God to love us. It means that He bears with us in our imperfections and failures and helps us become better people, even Christ–like, which should be our goal.
Also, His laws steer us towards maximum fulfillment; to err from them damages us emotionally, mentally, and spiritually because it goes against our inherent design. A microwave oven catches fire if we put metal in it; it wasn't designed for metal. God designed us to be good, not selfish and evil. He wired us for love. We destroy ourselves when we serve Self, instead of God.
Owning another person and dictating their lives is also a horrible sin. God designed ALL of us to rule in our own sphere of life, to take dominion over the Earth in regards to getting what we need from it in an ethical, responsible way, but that does NOT include lording it over others and making decisions for them that ought to belong to them alone.
And surely, nobody in their right mind can believe that it is acceptable to force a person to have sex against their will, to do such an atrocity against their soul and body. In Deuteronomy 22:26, God said through His prophet Moses that rape is like murder and the helpless victim is not guilty of sin.
In Old Testamant times, God was dealing with people who were raised in a backwards culture where men did pretty much as they pleased and did not recognize the equality of women, nor of their fellow men if they were not as clever or as strong as they in getting what they wanted from life. God was patient with them in their depravity, not excluding them from fellowship with Him because of it. He gave laws that protected women, children, and slaves from being totally oppressed, until continued fellowship with Him led people out of their depravity to the point where they recognized that women, children, and their fellow men have basic equal rights that forbid mistreatment and should be voluntarily respected.
In the case of rape where there was no possibility of a girl preventing it, a man was obliged to pay her father a large fine and marry her, if she was not betrothed, and never allowed to divorce her. The last part of this rape law made selfish men think twice about taking what they wanted, if they could never get rid of the woman afterwards.
This must have applied only to a rape where no beating, torturing, or maiming occurred. Rape was shocking enough; such things would have outraged the community more and been treated with greater severity in the manner of an eye for an eye, possibly substituting large financial compensation if the culprit could afford it and the girl's father accepted it on her behalf. The eye for an eye law applied even to slaves, if their mistreatment was severe enough.
Fathers were not commanded to give their daughters in marriage to a rapist. Logically, that in itself implies that they had the option to refuse. That law was given to place power for compensation in the parents' hands on their daughters' behalf, rather than to let a man get away with rape, though they were not intruding on another man's claim to her. The ones who raped married women and betrothed girls didn't get away with it; it was commanded to put them to death.
Men who raped unattached girls were not put to death, though their crime was just as grievous to those girls as it was to women who were engaged or married. The husbands and fiancés were not inclined to forgive, but the fathers and brothers of unmarried girls might restrain their inclination to murder or castrate the culprit for the daughter's sake. She might otherwise not have a chance to marry because most men in that culture insisted on their wives being virgins, unless they were virtuous widows.
Neighbours probably looked the other way if the male relatives beat the tar out of the perp. Some of them might have joined in. Giving him a beating might have satisfied some the fathers before they gave their consent, but not all fathers agreed to give their daughters in marriage to the rapist. In fact, Exodus 22:16–17 says:
"If a man seduces a virgin who is not betrothed and lies with her, he shall give the bride price for her and make her his wife. If her father utterly refuses to give her to him, he shall pay money equal to the bride price for virgins."
This was a law that dealt with a situation where the girl consented to have sex. Undoubtedly the option to refuse was also the prerogative of fathers whose daughter was forced. Even in a primitive society of lunkheads, there rise to the top, like cream in a pail of milk, men who develop sensitivity and fairness towards those under their legal guardianship.
A loving father would consider it a travesty to let a man who raped his daughter marry her and could refrain from giving her in marriage to him. The fine ensured that the daughter's dowry was increased, which might induce another man to marry her, though she was no longer a virgin. A loving father would make sure that, in spite of the lure of an increased dowry, the man was a much better choice than the rapist. If she remained unmarried, the fifty shekel fine helped pay for her on–going support in her father's house, or bought her some extras that she wanted, or perhaps was used as capital to start a business to give her some independence.
Sometimes a girl wanted to marry the rapist, perhaps because she felt prior attraction to the man and was forgiving, but more likely because most men wanted to marry virgins and she did not want to remain forever unwed and without children.
Even Tamar, who was beautiful and a princess, urged her brother Amnon to marry her because she had doubts that anyone else would want to, and some of her disgrace would be removed when they wed (if her father permitted it, which is doubtful as it would be incest).
When he rejected her after the rape, it was even more of an insult. Men likely wondered what was so odious about her that Amnon despised her after they had sex. Did she seduce him or trick him into it? Did she have a bad smell? Was she really bad at sex? Did she have unbearably annoying habits? Was she a shrew in her private life? Was her body hideously scarred or deformed under her clothes? Tamar was right. His rejection increased the hardship of the rape and nobody else wanted to take a chance on her and be the object of other men's intrusive curiosity, disdain, or ridicule.
Another reason a girl might want to marry her rapist is because she could never be divorced, no matter how much she behaved like a shrew and did other things to make him pay for her humiliation, if she perceived that he was a man who could be pushed and would not beat or murder her.
When a man refused to let a rapist marry his daughter, it heaped more shame on him. It told the community that the father despised the man, that he saw no redeeming qualities in him. It would be similar to the disgrace of throwing a shoe at the man, which was a symbol of disgust among the Israelites. The man would be disgraced for the rest of his life and likely to remain unmarried, as other women and their families would not be willing to be tainted with his scandal, unless they were so desperate or degenerate that they would accept such a scoundrel.
The possibility that a father might not permit a rapist to marry his daughter was also a deterrent, if a man supposed that raping a girl he was obsessed with could force her to marry him when she was not willing to do so. He would be forever disgraced and possibly doomed to being single for the rest of his life with no legitimate heirs, if her father refused.
What if he had gotten the girl pregnant, but her father still refused to let him marry her? His child would be illegitimate, possibly sent off to live with relatives or given to a childless couple or person to adopt, so that they would have someone to look after them in their old age.
The girl's father had rights over the child, if he did not let the rapist marry her. Even if the family kept the child, there would be a curse on it and the child refused entry to the congregation of the Lord, as well as its descendents to the tenth generation. This law was given to warn people that having children outside of marriage would make it harder for their offspring to serve God and be accepted in society, not because God had anything against the children.
When people repent of their sins and receive Jesus as their Saviour, it renders all curses against them illegal and gives them grounds in God's courts of justice to have the effects of them removed, including the curse of illegitimacy if they were conceived outside of marriage, or curses they brought onto their innocent children before they were saved. This is what the Bible means in 1 Corinthians 7:14, "For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband; otherwise your children would be unclean, but now they are holy."
A loving father might allow the rapist to marry his daughter, if he discerned that the man was not altogether a bad person and his daughter was willing. If the man repented of his crime and was determined to treat the girl well from then on, he would let him have her for his wife. He would probably make him jump through some hoops first to prove that he was changed for the better. Even afterwards, he would probably be closely watched.
In those days, it was the custom for men to leave their parents' house to live near or with the bride's family, in order for her family to observe him and ensure that he treated their daughter well, until he won their trust. This custom, which God initiated, is why Jesus said that a man should leave his father and mother and cleave to his wife, not the wife leave her parents to cleave to her husband.
There is the example of Rebekah, whose family gave her a choice about taking up the offer of marriage to Isaac, though he was a prince and it would bring prestige to them if she married him. He was wealthy and powerful, but Rebekah would have to leave her family. They would not be around to protect her. Abraham was famous for his integrity and wisdom and this son's birth was a miracle. Surely he had the best kind of upbringing and the gifts that were heaped on her and her family demonstrated that Abraham and Isaac were generous. Eliezar, Abraham's steward, also impressed her as a man who could be trusted and he surely told Rebekah of Isaac's talents and virtues. This all gave her the confidence to take the chance of leaving her family to marry him.
Of course, in regards to the rape law, there were selfish men who had no consideration for their daughter's feelings or well–being in their husband's home, just as there were selfish men who took advantage of polygamy being legal to take more than one wife, though some only took another wife to have children, if their first wife was barren.
There are examples of Israelite men in the Old Testament who did not have more than one wife, even when the wife was barren, as in the case of Samson's parents. Isaac had only one wife, no concubines, though he could have afforded to support them and it was twenty years before Rebekah conceived. Abraham would have been faithful to Sarah, if she had not told him she wanted him to take her handmaid as a concubine to give her a child. After he sent Hagar away, he did not take another concubine until after Sarah died. Noah had only one wife, though he was a prince. It is likely that Joseph, though he was handsome, wealthy, and powerful, was completely faithful to his wife, Asenath, the daughter of his former master.
The rape law showed what was in those father's hearts, and whether their fellow citizens could regard them as good men and trustworthy. If a man did not have proper compassion for his daughter, his own flesh and blood, what kind of man was he to be entrusted with matters where he had the power to put other men in a bind? If men did not place much value on women, a man who married his daughter to a brute did not give them much concern. Thus, the rape law also sifted the hearts of those who were aware of the rape and its outcome. If those who trusted a man who forced his daughter to marry a rapist were cheated by him, well, they had it coming, didn't they?
The Bible is curiously silent concerning sex with children. This is to demonstrate that it should be absolutely unthinkable to engage in sexual activity with a child, even to the worst kinds of sinners. The subject shouldn't even need to be brought up. It was brought up in later times in Israel's history, after they went in bondage to Babylon and absorbed depraved pagan culture, and this evil is reflected in some of the writings of the Talmud where some degree of pedophilia is permitted. The Talmud is not the same book as the Torah, which is the book Christians recognize as holy, inspired by God. The Talmud's decrees were inspired all right, BUT NOT BY GOD! It is satan who comes to kill, steal, and destroy a child's innocence and set the course of their life on the path of destruction.
David was God's choice of king because he could handle that level of power better than anyone else in Israel at that time, but he showed his flaws, not just in committing adultery with another man's wife and then having him murdered to cover up his sin, but also in not adequately punishing his son for raping his half–sister, thus leaving her innocence unvindicated.
Not coming down hard enough on Amnon caused some people to assume that Tamar seduced her brother and cried rape afterwards to cover up her sin. Amnon's refusal to accept blame and his revulsion towards his sister afterwards, though it was really his own guilt that bothered him, gave support to their suspicions. David made a lot of mistakes, but his willingness to see his blame when God confronted him with his errors, and to repent, was a redeeming attribute and another major reason why God chose him to be king.
The rape law helped girls to be more concerned for their safety and their future, and doing all they could to prevent themselves from putting themselves in danger, not just from being raped, but also from being raped and murdered by a man who would kill them to evade discovery. When you consider that aspect of the law, it further reveals God's love and concern for vulnerable girls.