If any man take a wife, and go in to her, and hate her,
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Deuteronomy 22:13-30. LAWS OF CONJUGAL FIDELITY.
(13-21) Virginity.—The law in these verses will be best appreciated by considering its effects. The maidens in Israel would be compelled to guard their maidenliness and innocence, as they valued their lives. Jealousy and caprice on the part of the husbands, in view of this law, would be avoided as likely to incur discredit and serious penalties. A fine of 100 shekels (as in Deuteronomy 22:19), or 50 (as in Deuteronomy 22:29), was no light matter for a nation who found a quarter shekel sufficient for a present to a great man (1Samuel 9:8), and half a shekel too much for a poll-tax on the men of military age (1Chronicles 21:3, and Exodus 30:15; Nehemiah 10:32). The law of the jealousy offering in Numbers 5:12-31, must also be taken into consideration, as guarding the fidelity of the wife. It would be most unadvisable for either man or woman so to act as to bring themselves under the penalties here described. The tendency of these laws would be to make all men watchful and careful for the honour of their families.
(21) She hath wrought folly in Israel.—This expression should be noticed. It appears for the first time in Genesis 34:7, very shortly after the bestowal of the name Israel (Genesis 32). It would almost appear that the name entailed a higher standard of behaviour upon Jacob’s family, after the hand of the Holy One had been laid upon their father. A separate code of rules were binding upon the chosen people from the very beginning of their history. Hardly any point is made of more importance, from the birth of Isaac downwards, than the purity of the chosen seed.Deuteronomy 22:13. If any man take a wife — And afterward falsely accuse her. What the meaning of that evidence is, by which the accusation was proved false, the learned are not agreed. Nor is it necessary for us to know: they for whom this law was intended, undoubtedly understood it.Numbers 15:38 and its note. Go in unto her, i.e. hath had carnal knowledge of her. If any man take a wife, and go in unto her, and hate her,
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)13. If any man, etc.] For this opening cp. Deuteronomy 21:15; Deuteronomy 21:18; Deuteronomy 21:22. Take a wife, Deuteronomy 21:11, etc.
and hate her] Note this feature in the case; the man had entered on marriage merely for the satisfaction of his passions, and when this was achieved turned against his wife by a revulsion of feeling known in such characters.
13–21. Charges against a Bride. He who, from a base motive, falsely accuses his wife of unchastity before marriage shall after solemn rebuke from the elders be fined 100 silver-pieces and have his right of divorce withdrawn (Deuteronomy 22:13-19); but if such a charge be true she shall be stoned to death (Deuteronomy 22:20 f.).—No direct address to Israel except in the closing formula which is Sg.
The physical evidence, on which the woman is acquitted, was regarded as essential by many ancient races and is still called for and displayed (not only in judicial cases but after all marriages) by certain tribes in Syria, Egypt and Morocco (see further Driver’s note; Westermarck, Hist. of Human Marriage, 123 f.); but its absence is by no means conclusive proof of a woman’s previous unchastity, nor is it certain that the original form of this law so regarded it (see on Deuteronomy 22:20). Musil (Ethn. Ber. 208 ff.) gives differing instances of the treatment of this case among the fellahin and Arabs. With the former the man at once puts his bride away; if her relatives repay him the bride-price he must be silent; if he speaks and the bride has really been guilty, they kill her; if she is innocent he is killed. A jury of matrons decides but the production required above Deuteronomy 22:17 is not demanded. With the Sharari the man returns the bride to her family. With the Terâbîn, if the man accuses his bride he has to flee before her relatives, and put himself under the protection of a strong man, who opens up communication with them. The bride’s representative applies for a ‘Minshâd’ decision ‘that thereby he may make white my honour which he has blackened,’ which is given only by the representatives of certain clans, to whom each party pays 1000 piasters. If the judge finds the charge false the man pays the father of the bride 100 lira, but if he accepts not the decision he is dishonoured and no one may protect him. If the bride is guilty, her punishment depends on her relatives, and compensation is made to the man, who can however still keep her. The innocent party receive back their 1000 piasters.
13–30. Six Laws on Cases of Unchastity
Of these the first five prescribe the procedure in criminal cases:—1st. Of a Husband’s Charges against His Bride (Deuteronomy 22:13-21); 2nd. Of Adultery (Deuteronomy 22:22); 3rd. Of Dishonouring a Betrothed Virgin with her consent (Deuteronomy 22:23 f.); 4th. Of the Same without her consent (Deuteronomy 22:25-27); 5th. Of Dishonouring an Unbetrothed Virgin (Deuteronomy 22:28 f.); while the 6th forbids Marriage with a Father’s Wife (30 [Deuteronomy 23:1]). Of the first five each opens similarly to each of the group Deuteronomy 21:15-23, i.e. with an if, and differently from those of the group Deuteronomy 22:1-12, and they share with the former group and with Deuteronomy 19:1-13, and other laws, these marks:—the elders are the public authority, Deuteronomy 22:15 ff., cp. Deuteronomy 19:12, Deuteronomy 21:3; Deuteronomy 21:19 f.; neighbour (not brother, characteristic of the Sg. passages) is used, Deuteronomy 22:24; Deuteronomy 22:26, cp. Deuteronomy 19:4 f., Deuteronomy 19:11; Deu 19:14; field (sadeh) in its wider sense, Deuteronomy 22:25; Deuteronomy 22:27, cp. Deuteronomy 21:1; and sin worthy of death (ḥeṭ’-maweth), Deuteronomy 22:26, cp. Deuteronomy 19:6, Deuteronomy 21:22. The direct address to Israel is seldom used, and the form varies. In the closing formulas, Deuteronomy 22:21-22; Deuteronomy 22:24, it is Sg. and Sg. also in the body of the 4th law, Deuteronomy 22:24 (unless this be editorial), but Sam. LXX have Pl. In the body of the 3rd law, Deuteronomy 22:24, it is Pl.
In considering these plain-spoken laws it is just to remember that with all their imperfections they represent an advance in social ethics; an upward stage in the struggle against debasing practices and the animal passions of men. That we do not need some of them to-day is due to the fact that their enforcement under religious sanction was needed at the time of their origin. It is only ignorance or ingratitude which can cavil at their spirit or their form.Verses 13-29. - The laws in this section have the design of fostering purity and fidelity in the relation of the sexes, and also of protecting the female against the malice of sated lust and the violence of brutal lust. (For the case supposed in ver. 13, cf. 2 Samuel 13:15. On the whole section see Michaelis, 'Laws of Moses,' pt. 2. § 92; Niebuhr, 'Description de l'Arabie,' Deuteronomy 8; Burckhardt, 'Bedwins,' p. 214.) Exodus 5:3. The command is related to the one in Leviticus 22:28 and Exodus 23:19, and is placed upon a par with the commandment relating to parents, by the fact that obedience is urged upon the people by the same promise in both instances (vid., Deuteronomy 5:16; Exodus 20:12).
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