[b-hebrew] virginity & Deuteronomy 22

michaelabernat9001 at sbcglobal.net michaelabernat9001 at sbcglobal.net
Tue Jul 17 23:07:24 EDT 2007


Bryant,
I cannot see how Wenham's interpretation fits eiter Josephus or Philo.
Josephus comments on this passage, ". . .let her be stoned, because she did 
not preserve her virginity till she were lawfully married. . ."

Philo refers to the same passage in The Special Laws III, "When those men 
who marry virgins in accordance with the law, {6}{#de 22:13.} and who have 
sacrificed on the occasion and celebrated their marriage feast, and who yet 
afterwards preserve no natural affection for their wives but treat them with 
insolence, and behave to freeborn citizens as if they were courtesans, if 
they seek to procure a divorce, and to being able to find any pretext for 
such a separation, then betake themselves to bringing forward false 
accusations, and from an absence of any clear grounds of impeachment direct 
all their charges at things which cannot be made certain, and come forward 
and accuse them, saying that though they fancied that they had been marrying 
virgins, they found on the first occasion of their having intercourse 
together, that they were not so. When, I say, these men make such charges 
let all the elders be assembled to decide on the case, and let the parents 
of the woman who is accused also appear, to make their defence in this their 
common danger. (81) For in such a case, not only are their daughters 
themselves in danger, as to their reputation as having preserved the 
chastity of their bodies, but their guardians are likewise imperilled, not 
only because they have not kept them safe till the important period of their 
marriageable age, but because they have given in marriage as virgins those 
who have been defiled by others, deceiving and imposing upon those who have 
taken them to wife. (82) Then if they appear to have justice on their side, 
let the judges impose a pecuniary fine on those who have invented these 
false accusations, and let them also sentence those who have assaulted them 
to corporeal punishment, and let them also pronounce, what to those men will 
be the most unpleasant of all things, a confirmation of their marriage, if 
their wives will still endure to cohabit with them; for the law permits them 
at their own choice to remain with them or to abandon them, and will not 
allow the husbands any option either way, on account of the false 
accusations which they have brought."

Further, Rashi's comments on Deuteronomy 22:20 makes it clear that the 
husband was falsely accusing her of having sex with another man after they 
became engaged.

Sincerely,
Michael Abernathy



----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Bryant J. Williams III" <bjwvmw at com-pair.net>
To: "Isaac Fried" <if at math.bu.edu>; "Uri Hurwitz" <uhurwitz at yahoo.com>
Cc: <b-hebrew at lists.ibiblio.org>
Sent: Tuesday, July 17, 2007 11:49 AM
Subject: Re: [b-hebrew] virginity


> Dear Isaac,
>
> In a article by Bruce Waltke, TWOT, Vol. 1, pp. 137-138. In commenting on 
> an
> article by Gordon Wenham, "Betulah 'A Girl of Marriageable Age,'" VT
> 22:326-348, Waltke says,
>
>    "But Wenham does call into question the conclusion that word must mean
> 'virgin' in Deut 22:13-21 because he offers a plausible interpretation
> assuming the general meaning "nubile adolescence." In the first place,
> 'betulim,' tokens of virginity (vv 14, 15, 17, 18) is morphologically the
> regular form for abstract nouns in biblical Hebrew designating age groups
> (cf. NE'URIM, "youth"  ZEQUNIM, "old age"). Moreover, according to him, 
> the
> "tokens of virginity" called for by the elders are not the sheets of the
> wedding night but garments stained by blood during her last period, and by
> producing these the girl's parents count refute the jealous husband's
> complaint that his wife was with child by another man while she was still 
> in
> her Father's house. Finally, he argued that this interpretation admirably
> suits the sentence that if such tokens could be produced she should be
> stoned to death "because she wrought folly in Israel by playing the harlot
> IN HER FATHER'S HOUSE" (Deut 22:21). Thus the "tokens" served  as a test.
> proving that she was not pregnant when was married. If she was not 
> pregnant,
> she was presumed to be a virgin. If this interpretation of 'betulim' is
> correct then this would further sustain the thesis that 'betula' is a 
> "girl
> of marriageable age," since the onset of menstruation would be the 
> clearest
> sign that she had attained that age.
>
>    Since Wenham has presented a strong case that the interpretation test
> not one of virginity but of chastity, one must concede that 'betulim' or
> 'betula' does not speak of virginity in this disputed text."
>
> Furthermore, Waltke comments, "Like Greek PARQENOS, Latin VIRGO, German
> JUNGFRAU, Betula originally meant "young marriageable woman" but since she
> was normally a virgin it not difficult for this meaning to become attached
> to the word. This more technical meaning is a later development in Hebrew
> and Aramaic and is clear it meaning by the Christian era. When the change
> took place is not clear.
>
>    What is clear is that one cannot argue that if Isaiah (7:14) in his
> famous oracle to Ahaz had intended a virgin he could used betula as more
> precise term that alma."
>
> It would seem, then, that Waltke and Wenham agree that since betula is a
> young girl of marriageable age, then alma would necessarily mean about the
> same, but closer to the "ladies in waiting." These "ladies in waiting" 
> would
> also be of marriageable age and, possibly, married (young woman). This 
> would
> mean that alma would include the daughters of the queens and concubines of
> the harem which would fit quite well with the context of Song of Solomon 
> 8.
>
> The fact that alma is used in Isaiah 7:14 gives enough ambiguity to the
> prophecy to allow the angel in Matthew 1 to refer to this passage as a
> fulfillment of it in the dream to Joseph, Son of David.
>
> En Xristwi,
>
> Rev. Bryant J. Williams III
> ----- Original Message ----- 
> From: "Isaac Fried" <if at math.bu.edu>
> To: "Uri Hurwitz" <uhurwitz at yahoo.com>
> Cc: <b-hebrew at lists.ibiblio.org>
> Sent: Tuesday, July 17, 2007 4:20 AM
> Subject: Re: [b-hebrew] virginity
>
>
>> Uri,
>>
>> It would be interesting to hear from you what you think the bible
>> means by BTULAH and BTULYIM. According to Deuteronomy 22:13-21 the
>> life of a woman may depend on this definition.
>>
>> Isaac Fried, Boston University
>>
>> On Jul 16, 2007, at 8:14 PM, Uri Hurwitz wrote:
>>
>> > Now that the discussion took a clear anatomical turn,one
>> >   may ask whether  such  anatomical aspects really belong
>> >    in a list dealing with linguistic matters?
>> >
>> >   Uri Hurwitz
>> >
>> >
>> > ---------------------------------
>> >  Get your own web address.
>> >  Have a HUGE year through Yahoo! Small Business.
>> > _______________________________________________
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>> >
>>
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