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Exodus 22:16
“If a man seduces a virgin who is not engaged to anyone and has sex with her, he must pay the customary bride price and marry her. 17But if her father refuses to let him marry her, the man must still pay him an amount equal to the bride price of a virgin.

How was this different from rape?

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    'Seduction' might be considered a form of coercion. But it is not an act of violence. – Nigel J Sep 12 at 20:22
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    The passage does not differentiate between consensual and non-consensual acts, if that's what you had in mind; in other words, it includes rape, but is not reduced to such (relatively rare) cases; its decisions apply to all acts of premarital intimacy, without distinction, most of which are usually voluntary in nature. – Lucian Sep 12 at 20:44
  • Down-voted for two reasons: for starters, the question is either badly phrased, or logically incoherent; secondly, I find it somewhat suspicious when otherwise pertinent answers are down-voted for no apparent reason; this site is not meant to be (mis)used for propaganda purposes, wherein logically correct and/or factual statements are unjustly censored for no other reason than diverging from certain ideological beliefs. – Lucian Sep 12 at 20:58
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https://global.oup.com/obso/focus/focus_on_sexual_violence/#:~:text=Biblical%20Hebrew%20does%20not%20have,the%20modern%20notion%20of%20consent.

From the outset, there are difficulties in discussing rape in the Hebrew Bible. Biblical Hebrew does not have a single word that unambiguously means "rape." A related difficulty is that biblical law seems to limit women's control of their own sexuality, which makes it difficult to apply the modern notion of consent.

Deuteronomy 22 sheds some light on this, NIV:

22 If a man is found sleeping with another man’s wife, both the man who slept with her and the woman must die. You must purge the evil from Israel.

23 If a man happens to meet in a town a virgin pledged to be married and he sleeps with her, 24you shall take both of them to the gate of that town and stone them to death—the young woman because she was in a town and did not scream for help, and the man because he violated another man’s wife. You must purge the evil from among you.

25 But if out in the country a man happens to meet a young woman pledged to be married and rapes her, only the man who has done this shall die. 26Do nothing to the woman; she has committed no sin deserving death. This case is like that of someone who attacks and murders a neighbor, 27for the man found the young woman out in the country, and though the betrothed woman screamed, there was no one to rescue her.

28 If a man happens to meet a virgin who is not pledged to be married and rapes her and they are discovered, 29he 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.

With respect to the definitions of rape and consent, we are living in a different time, space, and culture today.

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The short answer to the question is "NO". The language here is actually one of "enticement" as the operative word is פָּתָה (pathah), which occurs about 28 times in the OT Hebrew (eg, Gen 9:22, Judges 14:15, 16:5, etc) and is always associated with something pleasant or being enticed or deceived and never implies "rape". BDB gives the following meanings for this word:

persuade, woman Hosea 2:16 (figurative,׳י subject), seduce, virgin Exodus 22:16; entice, husband Judges 14:15; Judges 16:5; a man to sin Proverbs 1:10; Proverbs 16:29.

Thus, Ex 22:16 might be translated something like: "If a man seduces/entices a virgin ... "

If the author had wanted to imply rape, then there are a number of other words available such as:

  • עָנָה (anah), eg, Gen 34:2, Judges 19:24, 2 Sam 13:12, 14, etc)
  • כָּבַשׁ (kabash), eg, Est 7:8
  • טָמֵא (tame), eg, Gen 34:5
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Exodus 22 Wasn't it a case of rape?

Exodus 22:16-17

“If a man seduces a virgin who is not engaged to anyone and has sex with her, he must pay the customary bride price and marry her. 17But if her father refuses to let him marry her, the man must still pay him an amount equal to the bride price of a virgin.

Deuteronomy 22:28-29 (NASB)

28 “If a man finds a girl who is a virgin, who is not engaged, and seizes her and lies with her and they are discovered, 29 then the man who lay with her shall give to the girl’s father fifty shekels of silver, and she shall become his wife because he has violated her; he cannot divorce her all his days.

How was this different from rape?

It is a case of rape whether it is by seduction or seizure, the end result was the same. The serpent seduced Eve by its cunning, Adam was not, yet they both sinned. The same Law penalty applied for Exodus 22:16-17 (seduction) and Deuteronomy 22:28-29 (seizure)

Exodus 22:16-17 and Deuteronomy 22:28-29 show that it is premarital fornication, they had to get married and there was no divorce option in such cases. Since there was no longer a divorce option available, this probably would cause a man or a woman to resist in the temptation of sharing in fornication.

A man or woman may feel that she/he is beautiful/handsome and so I will have a good time even though she/he is not the type I want to marry. In this way, the Law deterred immorality by causing any would-be offender to weigh the long-term consequences of fornication​ of having to stay with the other party throughout his life.

The Law also lessened the problem of illegitimacy. God decreed:

Deuteronomy 23:2 (NASB)

2 No one of illegitimate birth shall enter the assembly of the Lord; none of his descendants, even to the tenth generation, shall enter the assembly of the Lord.

Hence if a man who seduced a virgin had to marry her, their fornication would not result in an illegitimate offspring among the Israelites.

If a man seduced an unengaged virgin, he had to take her as his wife; even if the father flatly refused to give her to him, he had to pay her father the purchase price for virgins (50 shekels -approx USD 120 ) the usual bride-price, because her diminished value as a bride would now have to be compensated for. This is so because not many Israelites would want to marry her.

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