[b-hebrew] Definite Article 7:14

Isaac Fried if at math.bu.edu
Sun Jul 15 21:27:30 EDT 2007


You appear to me to evade the point: A man comes to his wife on the  
wedding night and finds her to be certainly lacking virginity. The  
wife swears to the effect that she has never been with another man  
before. Then what?

Isaac Fried, Boston University

On Jul 15, 2007, at 7:00 PM, Harold Holmyard wrote:

> Dear Isaac,
>> We need to distinguish between physical virginity and chastity.
> HH: The law is not talking about the issue you brought up. It is  
> talking
> especially about whether the woman had sex before marriage or not. God
> is not like us. He says what he means.
>> Deuteronomy 22:13-21 makes clear that lack of physical virginity  
>> means
>> nothing, since we know, and the ancient Hebrews certainly knew as
>> well, that a girl may inadvertently lose her virginity for no  
>> fault of
>> her own.
> HH: This is not the subject at all. In the 1800's in the case of  
> Beduins
> and lower classes of the Moslems in Egypt and Syria, the parents would
> take possession of the spotted bed clothes directly after the marriage
> night. They did for just this reason of being able to disprove the  
> later
> false accusation of a malcontent husband. The issue is a moral one.  
> The
> Deuteronomy law was a warning against bogus accusations of promiscuity
> in order to get out of a new marriage that one regretted. It was a
> warning of the dire consequences of promiscuity prior to marriage. God
> legislated these matters. The words mean what they say.
>> The threat of verses 20-21 is a theoretical one to impress upon the
>> accusing husband the seriousness of his allegations. It is
>> inconceivable that the ancient Hebrews would stone a woman to death
>> for sheer lack of virginity.
> HH: First, it is not inconceivable, because plenty of other Mosaic  
> laws
> threaten death or similar consequences for sexual sins. Second, the  
> law
> codes of the ancient world could be very harsh. If you read the law
> codes of other ancient peoples like the Assyrians, you will see  
> that it
> is not at all inconceivable.
> Yours,
> Harold Holmyard
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