Question: A person of Muslim faith has brought to me a question in argument pointing out a flaw of the scripture over the unfair treatment of women in the scriptures.
The scripture that is brought before me is from Deuteronomy 22:28-29. I will quote what the person of Muslim faith actually wrote: “If a man happens to meet a virgin who is not pledged to be married and rapes her and they are discovered, he shall pay the girl’s father fifty shekels of silver. He must marry the girl, for he has violated her. He can never divorce her as long as he lives. One must ask a simple question here, who is really punished, the man who raped the woman or the woman who was raped? According to the Bible, you have to spend the rest of your life with the man who raped you. The Prophet Muhammad says [volume 9, book 86, number 101] narrated by Aisha: ‘It is essential to have the consent of a virgin (for the marriage).'”
Answer: First let us look at the verses in question: “If a man finds a young woman who is a virgin, who is not betrothed, and he seizes her and lies with her, and they are found out, then the man who lay with her shall give to the young woman’s father fifty shekels of silver, and she shall be his wife because he has humbled her; he shall not be permitted to divorce her all his days.” (Deuteronomy 22:28-29 New King James Version)
“The seducer of an unbetrothed virgin was obliged to take her as wife, paying the customary bride price and forfeiting the right of divorce (vv. 28, 29). Probably the father’s rights mentioned in Ex 22:17 continued to have precedence.” (The Wycliffe Bible Commentary)
In those days if a woman was not a virgin she had very little chance of ever getting married. As harsh as it may seem to us today, for her to marry him who had “raped” her, I am sure it was far better than the alternatives. For her to have to be single the rest of her life in that society would have been a real disgrace and a hardship. In other countries besides Israel no telling what her chances would have been in her condition. God knew what He was doing by giving this law. “These miscellaneous laws pertain to the sanctity of virginity (vv. 13-21 and the penalties of illicit sexual behavior (vv. 22-30). The latter section is an elaboration of the seventh commandment (Ex. 20:14).” (Spirit Filled Bible)
I hope this helps,
Gary T. Panell
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