Atheists says the word for "seized" (her) have a violent conotation, since this is the one that is used in scripture, is that true?

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.

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    Welcome to BE.se @Caio Santos... Questions such as this need a reference to demonstrate that atheists actually claim this. It would also be helpful to include the quote in question. Commented May 1, 2023 at 23:19
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    The man is reuired to give a (very substantial) dowry. Then he must dwell with her for life. That is hardly 'condoning rape'. The proscription covers all possibilities and all possible accusations or non-accusations. It proscribes social order. And it proscribes such for a lifetime. Down-voted and voted to close (for lacking clarity and detail to the point of not even quoting the text). Please see the Tour and the Help as to the purpose and functioning of this, an hermenutic site.
    – Nigel J
    Commented May 1, 2023 at 23:30

2 Answers 2


Decidedly not.

These passages do describe penalties for rape, but far from condoning rape they emphatically condemn it.

If we back up to verse 25 we will see that the rapist, in that circumstance, is punished by death.

Verse 29 describes a circumstance that in modern times would be referred to as a "shotgun wedding". A shotgun wedding does not condone rape; it protects the financial & social interests of the woman who was the victim. If a selfish man has limited a woman's prospects for marriage (this is especially true in an ancient near-Eastern culture), he will now be financially responsible for her needs for the rest of his life.


Moses here is describing the punishment for rape, and the penalties for such an act. In this case, he is describing the violation of an innocent girl of maiden. An unmarried woman, who, if seized (raped) by a man would be forever tarnished. So, what is being spelled out here is the Three-Fold punishment to be imposed in such an instance.

First 50 Shekels of silver is to be paid to the father (1.5 pounds of silver), the amount that would be paid by the bridegroom were she to marry, which would be nearly impossible since she was no longer a virgin, and Jewish men would not marry a tarnished woman.

Second, the man was forced to marry the woman. This was likely imposed as a deterrent to rape since if you were found to have raped the woman, you not only paid the family, but you also had to marry the woman.

Third, you could not divorce the woman, further serving as a deterrent. In a consensual marriage, you were able to end it in divorce. However, under the circumstances of a rape, the man must remain married for all of his/her days.

So if you read what is really going on here, (Deut 22: 28-29) it is not a man being rewarded. I see where you might look at it by today’s thinking and feel he is being rewarded, but in reality, in those days, under the Jewish religion and the Laws of Israel, this is how people lived. If you read the verses before Deut: 28-29, (Deut 22: 22-26), there are varying degrees of punishment for sexual unfaithfulness and impurity, and you see that if a married woman willingly sleeps with another man, both are stoned. If a woman is “forced”, even the married woman is unharmed, but the man is still punished. However, it is only the unmarried girl that is protected. So, while the man is not imprisoned, he is made to pay the family. He is also made to care for his victim and pay for her the rest of her life. If he were killed, she would be left to suffer her entire life with no husband and with no one to care for her.

So while it may not make sense to you in the 21st century, 4,000 years before the birth of Christ I think it makes sense.

  • Yours seems to restate the argument from the existing answer. While you offer some additional perspectives, I don't think this is significant enough to warrant posting a second answer with the same line of reasoning.
    – tripleee
    Commented May 2, 2023 at 6:43
  • I guess you meant "2000 BC" or "4000 from now"? The oldest parts of Dtn where written about 1000 BC.
    – PMF
    Commented May 2, 2023 at 6:47

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