So I was surprised that there are people who didn’t know about Deuteronomy 22:28-29:
28 If a man meets a virgin who is not engaged, and seizes her and lies with her, and they are caught in the act, 29 the man who lay with her shall give fifty shekels of silver to the young woman’s father, and she shall become his wife. Because he violated her he shall not be permitted to divorce her as long as he lives.
To be fair, I have heard only one sermon that I can remember about this passage so maybe I’m being a little harsh about people’s ignorance, but even people who claim they’ve read the whole bible tell me this so…
The male *cough* pastor expounded on how this made sense. He said it would be just awful for the man to be forced to marry the girl. (No rape culture here, nothing to see, move along,)
Anyway, I decided to do a little research on this passage and found, as usually happens, the lengths to which Christians go to in order to “make sense” of this is absurd. I’ve only just begun my research but so far I’ve only found a few things. This seems to be a passage most pastors avoid nowadays. For this particular blog entry I want to focus on Matthew Henry and the use of his commentary on this matter to point out that, sadly, Christians are no less prone to twisting the truth and quoting out of context and downright lying than anyone else.
Matthew Henry’s commentary on the passage:
V. If a damsel not betrothed were thus abused by violence, he that abused her should be fined, the father should have the fine, and, if he and the damsel did consent, he should be bound to marry her, and never to divorce her, how much soever she was below him, and how unpleasing soever she might afterwards be to him, as Tamar was to Amnon after he had forced her, v. 28, 29. This was to deter men from such vicious practices, which it is a shame that we are necessitated to read and write of.
Now, despite my desire to do so, I am not going to go off and talk about how Matthew Henry was your typical misogynistic pastor, proved by him claiming that this “forced to marry” rule was meant to deter rape. His words out him as a f*cking idiot.
As I read through a few transcribed sermons and some blog entries I found a regular use of Matthew Henry’s words…to prove that this passage is NOT saying that the act was rape.
The authors do this by only quoting part of his words:
. . . if he and the damsel did consent, he should be bound to marry her, and never to divorce her, how much soever she was below him and how unpleasing soever she might afterwards be to him” (Commentary on the Whole Bible, ad loc.).
While Matthew Henry clearly states that this is a case of rape, people are running around quoting half his words to claim that it’s not. And 99.9999% of Christians will just accept this as truth.
The truth is almost all theologians throughout the centuries have always believed this was about rape.
The truth is Matthew Henry twisted scripture by claiming the woman had a say in the matter. Nowhere in the passage is this even intimated.
The truth is we all jump through a lot of ridiculous hoops to justify what the Bible teaches.
The truth is it’s all a lie.
Footnote: What type of omniscient, loving god could be so wicked as to not afford a woman justice after a rape simply because she was not betrothed to another man? If God really had a hand in authoring the bible as conservatives claim, then he obviously thinks that the rape of a young girl is no big deal and that she should be subjected to her rapist’s abuse the rest of her natural life. If that doesn’t explain to you why the church is silent on abuse, nothing will.