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The word used in verses 14, 17, and 18 is bətûlîm, “evidence(s) of virginity.” This is from bətûlâ, “virgin”, which is used in verse 19 to describe a woman thus evidenced. It refers to the custom of retaining a blood-stained sheet or cloth from the bed where a marriage is consummated. The blood (dam betulim) is said to “prove” the bride’s virginity as it ...

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