photorealistic ancient Jewish girl and man caught adultery 3 2

I Never Knew What the Bible Say about Rape until now!

Did the Bible instruct Victims to their Rapists?

bible rape
bible orders rapist to marry victim for free

What does the Bible say about Rape?

In one of the deconstruction video clips, Kristi left her faith partly because of this verse in the Bible that orders a rapist to marry his victim for free 

"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 her father fifty shekels of silver. He must marry the young woman, for he has violated her. He can never divorce her as long as he lives."

- Deuteronomy 22:28-29, NIV (New International Version)

"How can a just and loving God give a rule that allows a rapist to go almost scot-free and instead force the victim to marry him?"

But before we begin, let us briefly mention the background for this text and the history of women's rights.

  • "Deuteronomy" is derived from the Greek and means "copy" or "repeated". In Hebrew, the book of Deuteronomy was titled "Devarim", which means "words". It is the last book of the Torah, supposedly written by Moses before the Israelites entered the promised land. 
  • The book of Deuteronomy is a repeat of the laws accumulated in the books of Leviticus and Exodus. It contains 199 of the 613 Jewish commandments.
  • Women had limited rights in ancient times, from the time of the Bible. It was not until the 19th century that the women's rights movement took off and formed what we have today.

I totally agree with Kristi's point of view based on her video and understanding.

But I was intrigued. So I looked up the KJV (King James Version) and found the following:

"If a man find a damsel that is a virgin, which is not betrothed, and lay hold on her, and lie with her, and they be found; Then the man that lay with her shall give unto the damsel's father fifty shekels of silver, and she shall be his wife; because he hath humbled her, he may not put her away all his days." -Deuteronomy 22:28, KJV

This verse does not translate as "forced" or "rape".

So how do you explain? Was there a mistranslation?


Table of Contents
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    First, let's take a look at the context of Deuteronomy 22:22-29 and asks,

    What does the Bible say about rape?

    Deuteronomy 22:23-29 summarizes the laws protecting women's rights. Focus on the words in bold.

    23 If a damsel that is a virgin be betrothed unto an husband, and a man find her in the city, and lie with her;

    24 Then ye shall bring them both out unto the gate of that city, and ye shall stone them with stones that they die; the damsel, because she cried not, being in the city; and the man, because he hath humbled his neighbour's wife: so thou shalt put away evil from among you.

    25 But if a man find a betrothed damsel in the field, and the man force her, and lie with her: then the man only that lay with her shall die.

    26 But unto the damsel thou shalt do nothing; there is in the damsel no sin worthy of death: for as when a man riseth against his neighbour, and slayeth him, even so is this matter:

    27 For he found her in the field, and the betrothed damsel cried, and there was none to save her.

    28 If a man find a damsel that is a virgin, which is not betrothed, and lay hold on her, and lie with her, and they be found;

    29 Then the man that lay with her shall give unto the damsel's father fifty shekels of silver, and she shall be his wife; because he hath humbled her, he may not put her away all his days."

    OK. Let's start deconstructing the deconstructed!

    We will go step-by-step.


    Deconstruct #1 - Original Hebrew Text

    Let's look closely at the original Hebrew words used for Deuteronomy 22:28.

    Focus on the words "seizes her" and the corresponding Hebrew word, תָּפַשׂ Hebrew Lexicon (H8610) "taphas". I know you don't know how to read Hebrew. I don't know either. Just be patient and follow my train of thought.

    Note: Hebrew text reads from RIGHT to LEFT

    Deuteronomy 22:28

    - Deuteronomy 22:28, Hebrew Text Translation

    Note: Hebrew is read from right to left 

    Below is a detailed explanation for the Hebrew word תָּפַשׂ Hebrew Lexicon (H8610) used for "seizes".


    The Hebrew text for Deuteronomy 22:28 as shown above, uses the word תָּפַשׂ or "taphas" (H8610) which means to "seize", "lay hold" or "wield". 

    It is used in many contexts when one holds or handles something, as in many examples above. 

    There is no mention of "force" in this verse. So it doesn't mean rape.

    Both the man and woman in this verse had consensual sex at the moment of the act.

    Are you still with me?

    Now, let's compare this v28 with the previous law, Deuteronomy 22:25 about rape.

    Focus on the word "forces", or in Hebrew, חָזַק  (H2388)"chazaq"

    Deuteronomy 22:25

    Here the text uses the Hebrew word חָזַק meaning \"force\" or (H2388) \"chazaq\"

    Here the text uses the Hebrew word חָזַק meaning "force" or (H2388) "chazaq"

    This implies "rape" when talking about having sexual relations.

    So whenever there is a mention of "lie with" or having sex with someone,

    • without the word חָזַק "chazaq or
    • any phrase that does not suggest the use of force or
    • in a conversation or implied action that the act was consensual

    Then rape did not occur.

    It is possible that the woman in question may feel regret after the act. But it cannot be considered rape because she consented to having sexual intercourse at that point in time in the first place.

    "Then how about the Hebrew word עִנָּ֔ה (H6031) "anah" which was used in Deuteronomy 22:29 as well as other rape cases in the Bible like 2 Samuel 13:14? and Genesis 34:1-31"

    Yes. The Hebrew word עִנָּ֔ה was used in both 2 Samuel 13:14 and Deuteronomy 22:29.

    And because of this, many skeptics point out that this Hebrew word, עִנָּ֔ה "anah" must refer to "rape" or "force". 

    However, if you do look closely into the context of all the stories, not all cases involving עִנָּ֔ה are actually rape cases because the women in question were silent about the incident.

    You can read and analyze Genesis 34:1-3 for yourself and find that the story does not involve "force" or rape. We can discuss it again in another post if anyone needs it.

    For now, we shall focus on the actual rape case in 2 Samuel 13:14 and compare how the Hebrew word עִנָּ֔ה "anah" was used.

    Focus on the words "humble" in Deuteronomy 22:29 and the word "forced" in 2 Samuel 13:14. Both are the same word עִנָּ֔ה (H6031).

    The word עִנָּ֔ה (H6031) "anah" means to "humble, "defile" or "bow down" or even reduce in value. By itself, it has no links to rape or sex.

    However, when עִנָּ֔ה is used together in the context of a sexual act, it often only refers to the consequence of that sex act, causing a virgin woman (pure) to lose her virginity (become impure). So far, this has always been used with reference to sex with virgins.

    I am still trying to find this word עִנָּ֔ה being used in the context of a married woman within the Bible. Let me know if you do find one.

    In 2 Samuel 13:14, the context was that prince Amnon was stronger than the girl Tamar and had sex with her without her consent.

    This action had caused her to be "defiled" or "debased"-lower  in social value or status as a woman, from a virgin (pure) to one that is not pure. Hence the use of the word עִנָּ֔ה.

    It does not mean "force" or "rape". It merely indicates that her social value as a woman has changed.

    Through the act of rape, Amnon had "עִנָּ֔ה" or "humbled" Tamar, reducing her social status as a woman from virgin to non-virgin.

    "Why then was the word "force", and not "humble", used as a translation for עִנָּ֔ה in 2 Samuel 13:14?"

    The above interlinear translation used the word "forced" correctly because the context in this story was that Amnon did "force" on Tamar because he was "stronger", and eventually Amnon עִנָּ֔ה or "defiled" the girl, reducing her social value as a woman.

    In those days, being a virgin was an important asset for a young, unmarried Jewish woman. It is shameful if one loses her virginity, whether through consent or otherwise.

    If you were to read the entire episode in 2 Samuel, you would find that Tamar was actually not against marrying Amnon. And she wanted the union to be official. Amnon, unfortunately, could not resist his lust.

    Furthermore, Tamar may have protested earlier in the story, but I believe she gave in to Amnon, thinking that he, as a prince, would be honourable to marry her after that.

    But to her horror, Amnon rejected her and banished her from his sight. 

    "If this word does not refer to rape, then do you have any evidence that this Hebrew word עִנָּ֔ה was also used in the context of consensual sex?"

    Yes! You can see that the Hebrew word עִנָּ֔ה was also used in the context of consensual sex in Deuteronomy 22:24 below.

    This law was about consensual sex between a man and a virgin betrothed to another. Under Jewish law, this is considered adultery and punishable by death.

    Look out for the word עִנָּ֔ה "in-inah" or "humbled".

    If this word עִנָּ֔ה is used to mean rape or forced, why is it being used in Deuteronomy 22:24, which reference a law about consensual sex?

    In conclusion, we have clearly shown that the word עִנָּ֔ה (H6031):

    • refers ONLY to a change in the social value of a woman from a virgin to a non-virgin
    • does not have any links to rape, consensual sex, or "forced upon."

    Because the word was also used in context of consensual sex, where a virgin who is betrothed commits adultery (Deuteronomy 22:24)


    OK! That's a lot to take in. Slowly dissect the above and check my claim on your own. Remember: Don't trust what I say! Check it out yourself!

    Let me know if you need further clarifications on deconstruct #1 in the comments below.

    Deconstruct #2 - Similar Laws in Exodus

    As mentioned, "Deuteronomy" means "copy" or "repeated". The book of Deuteronomy is therefore a collection of laws repeated in the books of Exodus and Leviticus.

    So where else can you find this same law?

    Let us compare the above v28-29 with Exodus 22:16-17

    "16 And if a man entice a maid that is not betrothed, and lie with her, he shall surely endow her to be his wife.

    17 If her father utterly refuse to give her unto him, he shall pay money according to the dowry of virgins."

    - Exodus 22:16-17

    Do you see the similarities?

    Both laws regarding the treatment of women have the same outcome and penalty.

    Hence, the man who seduces and sleeps with a virgin will seek permission from the father for marriage, as above.

    However, the family or the girl may or may not agree to the marriage, as per Jewish law. The man in question must then support the girl by paying the penalty of a dowry for virgins, or, for that matter, 50 shekels of silver.

    In ancient times, about 2500 BC, the salary of an unskilled worker in ancient Mesopotamia was one shekel per month. 50 shekels would amount to little more than 4 years of livelihood. 

    That's a lot of money!

     Deconstruct #3 - Making Sense of the verse

    Still not convinced?

    Then perhaps you could scrutinize Deuteronomy 22:28, which says, "..and when they were found out.."

    What is the purpose of this phrase?

    Isn't it obvious that both the virgin and man had consensual sex (either being seduced or otherwise) and are hiding from everyone because they are fearful of what they have done? Both feared the consequences of their actions under Jewish law.

    If the girl was raped, only the man would be fearful. He will be stoned to death if the girl reports to the authorities, which she is likely to do.

    Both are afraid of being discovered and feel ashamed because the act, when caught, may lead to death by stoning!

    Therefore, it doesn't make sense that this law, Deuteronomy 22:28, refers to rape.

    Deconstruct #4 - Repeated Laws that Contradiction

    Let us suppose that the skeptics are right and that the law of Deuteronomy 22:28-29 refers to "rape".

    Does it make sense to have the same crime of "rape" repeated twice (v25-27 and v28-29) in the same chapter? 

    Of course not! And worse, both laws contradict each other!

    Remember that "rape" is a serious crime, and it is tantamount to murder, as was written in Deuteronomy 22:26; which, under Jewish law, it is punishable by stoning to death.

    Whether the girl is married or otherwise, rape is rape.

    Is there a difference?

    I believe, with such harsh laws, rape was almost negligible in the olden days. Perhaps they were afraid to report? What do you think?

    If you do find any evidence that contradicts what I say, please let me know. Because I am still learning.

    But since these laws protect women's rights, why would any rape victim not report but instead suffer the consequences of social persecution?

    Moreover, even if she did not report, won't her family members learn about it eventually and report it to the authorities?

    No Jewish woman who had been raped would remain silent, especially when the law protects their rights as women.

    So the argument that the law in Deuteronomy 22:28-29 instructs rape victims to marry their "rapist" is false. It doesn't make any sense whatsoever, given the arguments above.

    Evidently, while the inspired word of God in the old manuscripts is infallible, humans make mistakes in the copying, translation, and interpretation of the Bible.

    With the wrong translations and interpretations, laypersons like you and me tend to jump to the wrong conclusions about biblical concepts, sowing seeds of doubt regarding the authenticity of the Bible.

    Skeptics just love to take apart Biblical concepts like these, using wrong transliterations and poor research to attack and denounce the Bible and God.

    Interestingly, the skeptics will do whatever it takes to prove that the Bible is a scam. Some argue for the sake of arguing, just to confuse young Christians and lead them astray.

    We, Christians, must therefore be alert and careful at all times.

    Attacks can come from believers and non-believers.

    "Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves."

    - Matthew 7:15

    Let your Bible be your guide. We must always test and seek out the truth using the original source and your KJV Bibles. Ask questions all the time and pray for the guidance of the Holy Spirit.


    So what does the Bible say about rape?

    In summary, the laws relating to sexuality for men and women in Deuteronomy 22 show the following:

    Verse Laws Penalty
    23 - 24 A man had sex with a virgin woman (betrothed) (consensual sex) Adultery. Both man & woman stoned to death
    25 - 27 Man raped a virgin woman (betrothed). The word "forced" was used. Rape. Only the man (RAPIST) stoned to death
    28 - 29 Man "lay hold" and "lie with" a virgin (not betrothed).  Seduced or consensual sex Consensual Sex. When found out, the man must seek permission for marriage or pay penalty

    These laws protecting women's rights are consistent throughout the Old Testament.

    The Bible does not instruct rape victims to marry those who have raped them. 

    Rape is never allowed in the Bible. Rapists are stoned to death!

    Do these Jewish laws still apply directly to Christians?

    No. Christ came to fulfill the Jewish law once and for all. When He died on the cross, He ended the Mosaic law for His followers. In other words, as followers of Christ, we only need to follow Christ's commandments instead of the Jewish law of sacrifice and rituals. Christ came as the ultimate sacrifice for sin for all.

    What are the Commandments of Christ?

    Christ gave two important laws to His disciples: love (Matthew 22:37-40 Mark 12:28-31, and John 13:34). Obeying these two laws encompasses the 613 Jewish laws (Matthew 22:40) found in the Old Testament.

    • Love God with all your heart, soul and mind
    • Love your neighbour as yourself

    We will discuss this in more detail in another post in the future, if need be.

    Final words

    Humans are imperfect creatures because of sin.

    We make mistakes. So we must be careful of Bibles that are not translated correctly.

    The best Bible that I would recommend for Bible research, in my opinion, are

    I have learned a great deal when dealing with this topic today.

    And I would like to thank Kristi for her deconstruction videos that helped provide a different perspective on biblical concepts so that I could research and grow my faith.

    So should you leave Christianity because of this verse?

    What do you think?

    Let me know in the comments below.

    And have a great, wonderful day!

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