Keil and Delitzsch Commentary - Deuteronomy 22:23 - 22:23

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Keil and Delitzsch Commentary - Deuteronomy 22:23 - 22:23

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This Chapter Verse Commentaries:

In connection with the seduction of a virgin (נַעַר, puella, a marriageable girl; בְּתוּלָה, virgo immaculata, a virgin), two, or really three, cases are distinguished; viz., (1) whether she was betrothed (Deu 22:23-27), or not betrothed (Deu 22:28, Deu 22:29); (2) if she were betrothed, whether it was (a) in the town (Deu 22:23, Deu 22:24) or (b) in the open field (Deu 22:25-27) that she had been violated by a man.

Deu 22:23-24

If a betrothed virgin had allowed a man to have intercourse with her (i.e., one who was not her bridegroom), they were both of them, the man and the girl, to be led out to the gate of the town, and stoned that they might die: the girl, because she had not cried in the city, i.e., had not called for help, and consequently was to be regarded as consenting to the deed; the man, because he had humbled his neighbour's wife. The betrothed woman was placed in this respect upon a par with a married woman, and in fact is expressly called a wife in Deu 22:24. Betrothal was the first step towards marriage, even if it was not a solemn act attested by witnesses. Written agreements of marriage were not introduced till a later period (Tobit 7:14; Tr. Ketuboth i. 2).

Deu 22:25-27

If, on the other hand, a man met a betrothed girl in the field, and laid hold of her and lay with her, the man alone was to die, and nothing was to be done to the girl. “There is in the damsel no death-sin (i.e., no sin to be punished with death); but as when a man riseth against his neighbour and slayeth him, even so is this matter.” In the open field the girl had called for help, but no one had helped her. It was therefore a forcible rape.

Deu 22:28-29

The last case: if a virgin was not betrothed, and a man seized her and lay with her, and they were found, i.e., discovered or convicted of their deed, the man was to pay the father of the girl fifty shekels of silver, for the reproach brought upon him and his house, and to marry the girl whom he had humbled, without ever being able to divorce her. This case is similar to the one mentioned in Exo 22:15-16. The omission to mention the possibility of the father refusing to give him his daughter for a wife, makes no essential difference. It is assumed as self-evident here, that such a right was possessed by the father.