Cultural context does not excuse the condoning of rape

Deuteronomy 22:28-29 states:

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.

Biblical apologists defend this passage by saying that back in those days, if a woman was not a virgin and not married, nobody can marry her according to Leviticus 21:13-15.

13 “‘The woman he marries must be a virgin. 14 He must not marry a widow, a divorced woman, or a woman defiled by prostitution, but only a virgin from his own people, 15 so that he will not defile his offspring among his people. I am the Lord, who makes him holy.’”

Furthermore, Deuteronomy 22:13-21 says that if a man marries a woman who claims to be a virgin and decides to accuse her of not being one, her parents have to get proof of their daughter’s virginity in the form of bloody sheets from the wedding night.

13 If any man take a wife, and go in unto her, and hate her,

14 And give occasions of speech against her, and bring up an evil name upon her, and say, I took this woman, and when I came to her, I found her not a maid:

15 Then shall the father of the damsel, and her mother, take and bring forth the tokens of the damsel’s virginity unto the elders of the city in the gate:

16 And the damsel’s father shall say unto the elders, I gave my daughter unto this man to wife, and he hateth her;

17 And, lo, he hath given occasions of speech against her, saying, I found not thy daughter a maid; and yet these are the tokens of my daughter’s virginity. And they shall spread the cloth before the elders of the city.

18 And the elders of that city shall take that man and chastise him;

19 And they shall amerce him in an hundred shekels of silver, and give them unto the father of the damsel, because he hath brought up an evil name upon a virgin of Israel: and she shall be his wife; he may not put her away all his days.

20 But if this thing be true, and the tokens of virginity be not found for the damsel:

21 Then they shall bring out the damsel to the door of her father’s house, and the men of her city shall stone her with stones that she die: because she hath wrought folly in Israel, to play the whore in her father’s house: so shalt thou put evil away from among you.

So in ancient Jewish society, it was pretty darn important for girls to be virgins until they were married and to only ever have sex with their husbands.  The apologist position on forcing women to marry their rapists is that it ensures that the women will be taken care of and not abandoned by society, a society that created the corner that nonvirgin women were backed into in the first place.

So rapists were forced to marry their victims.  Let’s say the rapist decided he was tired of his wife, so he went out and raped someone else.  He was caught, and he was stoned to death.  (I’m assuming that if the man is already married, he gets murdered, unless the marry-your-rapist clause kicks in again and he ends up with a second wife.)  Now his first rape victim/wife is all alone, and nobody else can marry her because of Leviticus 21:13-15 despite the fact that she did absolutely nothing wrong.

13 “‘The woman he marries must be a virgin. 14 He must not marry a widow, a divorced woman, or a woman defiled by prostitution, but only a virgin from his own people, 15 so that he will not defile his offspring among his people. I am the Lord, who makes him holy.’”

Also note that nowhere is it stated that the crime that the man is punished for is rape.  The crime is causing a girl to no longer be a virgin or defiling another man’s wife.  Deuteronomy 22:22 says that in the case of a man raping a girl who is already married, then they both are to die.

22 If a man be found lying with a woman married to an husband, then they shall both of them die, both the man that lay with the woman, and the woman: so shalt thou put away evil from Israel.

If a woman is merely engaged to be married and is still a virgin, then Deuteronomy 22:23-27 kicks in.

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.

It doesn’t say this directly, but according to Leviticus 21:13-15, the woman, who was oh so mercifully not murdered along with her rapist, is now unmarryable.  So any apologist that says that forcing a woman to marry her rapist is somehow a favor done for women in ancient Jewish society is completely off the mark and should read the bible at least once in his or her lifetime.