I was talking to a Christian the other day and I mentioned that the Bible didn’t say anything condemning rape. My Christian friend corrected me by pointing out Deut 22:25-27. But it seems that he took the verse out of context.
Let us just take a look at the verse that my friend pointed out using my favorite Bible tool, the BlueLetterBible.org:
But if a man find a betrothed damsel in the field, and the man force her, and lie with her: then the man only that lay with her shall die:
But unto the damsel thou shalt do nothing; [there is] in the damsel no sin [worthy] of death: for as when a man riseth against his neighbour, and slayeth him, even so [is] this matter:
For he found her in the field, [and] the betrothed damsel cried, and [there was] none to save her. (Deut 22:25-27)
Well that certainly does say that the rapist should be put to death. So that must mean that rape is morally wrong, right? Well, not so fast. Let’s look at the very next verse:
If a man find a damsel [that is] a virgin, which is not betrothed, and lay hold on her, and lie with her, and they be found;
Then the man that lay with her shall give unto the damsel’s father fifty [shekels] of silver, and she shall be his wife; because he hath humbled her, he may not put her away all his days. (Deut 22:28-29)
In other words, rape is just a property dispute. The key issue in the first verse was that the woman was “betrothed.” She belonged to someone else. But in the latter verses the woman was a virgin and didn’t belong to anyone. The rapist had damaged the goods as it were and so was then legally obligated to purchase the damaged goods (i.e. the woman).
Not only does this group of verses not state that rape is morally wrong, it actually shows that women are property. This is just one of the reasons why the Bible is not a good guide for morality. If someone where to state that rape was not morally wrong in today’s society, they would and ought to be treated as insanely dangerous.
Today we rightfully consider rape to be one of the most immoral acts someone can do and yet it isn’t even in God’s top ten list of things not to do. According to the Ten Commandments, it is more immoral to work on Saturday than it is to rape someone.