[b-hebrew] Deut. 22:22-29

K Randolph kwrandolph at gmail.com
Wed Jan 23 09:52:56 EST 2008

There is another very important thing to keep in mind, and that is
government. Ancient Israel in Biblical days was set up to be a theocracy,
with its attendant laws even concerning thoughts. Our modern governments are
supposedly neutral concerning religions, where it is the duty of the
religion to prescribe morals while the main duties of government are to keep
the peace and to provide a venue for justice in disputes. I do not consider
a difference in governmental structure to signal a difference in morality.

Here in this verse, we must first deal with the linguistic questions before
considering if this refers to differences in morality. Is this a description
of rape, which all moralities consider wrong? I say "No" while others on
this list say "Yes".

The question is not the meaning of $KB, which the majority uses merely means
to lie down, followed closely by the formulaic "lie with one's fathers"
referring to the state of death. When used in relation to sexual activity,
it is used for both licit and illicit activity. (Incidentally, looking at a
concordance and checking the actual uses, BDB were wrong in their
characterization that when it refers to sexual activity, it almost always
refers to illicit sexual activity. That they were wrong is not surprising.)

The question is with TP%, does it necessarily mean a forceful overcoming, as
in grabbing a woman in order to rape her? Or can it mean holding as in
hugging? Again looking at a concordance, the word is used in a wide range of
contexts that include forceful capture as well as non-forceful holding.
Because it is used for a non-forceful holding, that leaves the door open
that in this verse the taking hold of the woman is non-forceful, as in
seduction rather than rape. Then looking at the parallel verse in Exodus
22:16 where the verse clearly refers to seduction and not rape, one cannot
insist that here it means rape.

A final issue is to look at the actual treatment of rape where there is no
question that it was rape, and there the sentence is always death. That
death is not the sentence here indicates that here the verse refers to
seduction, not rape.

My conclusions based on the above linguistic analysis is that Deuteronomy
22:28 does not refer to rape, rather to seduction with the woman possibly a
very willing accomplice (in other words, that she even could have initiated
the seduction).

Does this verse indicate a difference in morality? My conclusion is that it
does not.

Karl W. Randolph.

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