Moses covers laws concerning virginity, accusations of misconduct and rape. These carry stiff penalties for those involved and for their families.
When looking at divorce in other parts of the bible we find the man needs little cause for requesting one and the woman is left without recourse. But the issue of virginity at the time of marriage is not one of these situations.
If the wife’s virginity is called into question right away she has protection by her family and under the Law IF she is really a virgin. The marriage bed sheets are given to the bride’s parents with the bloodstain of breaking the hymen upon it. This served as their proof of their daughter’s purity and her protection under the Law. Her husband could not divorce her for any reason if she was found innocent of the charges. If this bloodstain was not present it was presumed she had engaged in intercourse prior to her wedding night and if challenged she would be killed.
How many women today can say they would have had this evidence on their wedding night? The numbers are getting smaller and smaller every year. I wouldn’t even be able to lay claim to that as my future husband and I didn’t wait for the wedding night. I was a virgin to my husband but not to the date.
So many people think nothing of virginity any longer. It is a disposable commodity and too soon squandered. Once lost it can never be reclaimed. God intended this one-time event to be special and cherished between two people who were committed to spend their lives together. But even He recognized our sinful condition and addressed cases where it was taken instead of given.
God addresses rape in two different circumstances. The first is in the city and the second in the country. The woman was expected to cry for help if she was being forced into sexual acts against her will AND He expected that those within hearing range would come to her rescue. In the city her cries should have roused many but in the country there was likely none to hear her.
Today, crying rape, even in the city, is not likely to bring the help needed. You are more likely to get help crying “fire” than crying “rape” or “help.” So many people “don’t want to get involved” and turn a deaf ear to the cries of those in need. “Somebody else will help.” “It’s none of my business.” “I don’t have the time.” “It’s not my problem.” My answer to ALL of these excuses is what if it was your wife, mother, or daughter? Wouldn’t you want someone to help them? BE THE SOMEONE. IT IS YOUR PROBLEM AND YOUR BUSINESS. MAKE TIME!!!
The penalties for rape only applied to women who were betrothed/engaged. A virgin who is raped, no matter where as far as I can see, winds up with her rapist being her husband for life. He cannot divorce her. I don’t know how I feel about that. Rape isn’t about sex it is about power. I would expect the power aspect to be played out in other ways throughout their life together. The fact that she was no longer a virgin precluded her from finding a suitable husband so marrying her rapist was her only option for security. Women had so few rights during bible times that these kinds of power imbalance relationships may not have been that different from the normal home environment.
Sleeping with another man’s wife was one of the issues God addressed in His original Ten Commandments. It was punishable by death to both parties. This penalty included one who was sleeping with one’s own father’s wife. God did not tolerate “bedroom bingo” in His people.
As we noticed with God’s Laws we saw last time, He wants a pure people. Paul tells us that sexual sin is the only sin that we commit against the body itself. God cares about every part of our being. And He can forgive sexual sin. He can renew the heart. He can’t give you back your virginity but He can heal the hurt that led to its loss.
Father God, thank You for healing my heart. I know You have forgiven me but Satan still tries to bring the pain of guilt back to me. Thank You for loving me enough to restore me in Your eyes.
I pray for the women who find themselves in sexual situations beyond their control. Either by rape, slavery, or forced prostitution. I pray for the men who also find themselves in these kind of situations. It is no longer just a female problem. Hold them in Your arms Lord. Send them rescuers. Let them know it is NOT their fault.
I pray for the girls and boys who treat their virginity so casually or with disdain. They have no idea the precious gift they are throwing away so carelessly. I pray my country wakes up! I pray my grandchildren treasure this gift and save it for the one they will spend their whole lives with. Give their parents wisdom to teach them and me wisdom to assist, even with a story of warning if need be. Protect their hearts, minds and bodies Lord.