It's no secret that the Bible has some scriptures in it that are hard pills to swallow and tough to explain. I am an explorer by nature so when I find these scriptures I do deeper level study to gain better understanding. I decided to share some of that deeper level study via my blog. I'm not a Bible scholar, I'm just a girl studying the Bible in school and trying to understand my Abba and His ways more and more each day. Though I have done thorough research I recommend you too do some deeper level study on these topics as well.
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
Wait what?!? Yes you read right in the Old Testament the Bible tells rapist that they must marry their rape victims. Crazy, absurd, are you sure God? When I first read this scripture I had a wave of emotions but I knew God's character. I know my Abba is love, so I did some deeper level study on this scripture. There are three parts to understanding this scripture. Culture of the time written, what it meant then, what it means today.
Culture of the time written
During the time in which this was written the only women that would get married were virgins. There is another verse in this chapter that speaks of those who are engaged to be married. This particular verse is speaking of those women who are raped that are not yet engaged. In this culture and time if a woman was found not to be a virgin before marriage she had no chance of ever getting married. Her life was basically over in short and she would have been an outcast.
What this verse meant then
As twisted and messed up as it may seem in our western, 2012 mindsets this verse was provision for the rape victim and protection. God even recognizes that she is violated and He says because you did this to her you now have to be the one to marry her. She will not be put to shame because you violated her and made a bad decision. Not only does the rapist have to marry her but He also has to STAY married to her and he can never divorce her. This culture was known for blaming the woman for seducing the rapist and God offers no punishment to the victim yet He seeks to preserve her dignity by saying any man that does this act can not just leave this woman but He must become one with her (through marriage) and He can never leave her ever, oh and He also MUST pay the price for her. I know this is a hard pill to swallow for some of us but keep in mind God is love and these women lived in a different time and had different mindsets. Deuteronomy 22:28-29 was put in place to keep men from acting without a just consequence and also to keep women from being treated as an outcast.
What this verse means for us today
Is this verse suggesting that rapist today should marry their rape victims? I don't think so however it is hope for the victim to see that God is not blaming her, the man is fully at blame for violating her and He has provided a way to preserve her dignity and restore her worth. The violation one feels after experiencing something so traumatic can not be put into words. The countless nights of not being able to sleep, the random moments where the experience replays in your head, the times where your body feels like a trap and you can't even stand being in your own skin, God says I have provided a way for you to be restored. I wish I could tell you why God allows this to happen. I wish I could make the tears and pain go away. I wish I could give you back your virginity but I can't. Jesus did not just die for the sin we've committed but also for the sin committed against us. He is a healer who wants to restore your life.
my prayer for you is that you would allow Jesus to restore you. that you would forgive those who have violated you whether it be emotionally, sexually or psychically. I pray that you would accept the love God so freely gives and that you would walk boldly into the process of deliverance as God sets you free from your pain. In Jesus name, Amen :-)
If you are a victim of rape I urge you to find a trusted friend you can talk to about this experience and if you have never been to the doctor concerning what happened to you I strongly encourage you to do so. For more info on rape help for yourself or helping someone who has been raped visit rainn.org