Deuteronomy 22:19
And they shall amerce him in an hundred shekels of silver, and give them to the father of the damsel, because he has brought up an evil name on a virgin of Israel: and she shall be his wife; he may not put her away all his days.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
Deuteronomy 22:19. Give them unto the father of the damsel — Because this was a reproach to his family, and to himself, as such misconduct of his daughter would have been ascribed to his neglect of properly instructing or watching over her. He may not put her away all his days — Thus he was deprived of the common benefit which every Israelite had who did not like his wife, which was to sue out a divorce.22:13-30 These and the like regulations might be needful then, and yet it is not necessary that we should curiously examine respecting them. The laws relate to the seventh commandment, laying a restraint upon fleshly lusts which war against the soul.The fine was to be paid to the father, because the slander was against him principally as the head of the wife's family. If the damsel were an orphan the fine reverted to herself. The fact that the penalties attached to bearing false witness against a wife are fixed and comparatively light indicates the low estimation and position of the woman at that time. 13-30. If a man take a wife, &c.—The regulations that follow might be imperatively needful in the then situation of the Israelites; and yet, it is not necessary that we should curiously and impertinently inquire into them. So far was it from being unworthy of God to leave such things upon record, that the enactments must heighten our admiration of His wisdom and goodness in the management of a people so perverse and so given to irregular passions. Nor is it a better argument that the Scriptures were not written by inspiration of God to object that this passage, and others of a like nature, tend to corrupt the imagination and will be abused by evil-disposed readers, than it is to say that the sun was not created by God, because its light may be abused by wicked men as an assistant in committing crimes which they have meditated [Horne]. Unto the father of the damsel; because this was a reproach to his family, and to himself, because such a miscarriage of his daughter would have been ascribed to his evil education.

He may not put her away all his days; which seems to have been his design in this false accusation, and therefore that liberty of a divorce which is permitted to others, Deu 24:1, shall be denied to him. And they shall amerce him in an hundred shekels of silver,.... Which was about twelve pounds of our money; this was double the dowry he would have been obliged to have given her, if he had put her away; which he might have done with less trouble, and with a greater certainty of being rid of her; but being willing to save that expense, took this wicked method to accuse her falsely; and therefore is fined double that sum:

and give them unto the father of the damsel; as a sort of satisfaction or reparation for the scandal brought upon him and his family; if the damsel was fatherless, Maimonides (y) says, she was to have them herself:

because he hath brought up an evil name upon a virgin in Israel: defamed her among her neighbours and acquaintance, or brought a false accusation against her in court; alleging she was not a virgin when he married her, when she was one, which was a very great injury to her character:

and she shall be his wife, he may not put her away all his days: and so he was disappointed in his view of getting rid of her, and obliged to retain her as his wife, though hated, and was not suffered to divorce her as long as he lived; which was permitted and connived at in other men, and which he might have done before, without bringing such a charge against her; all which must be very mortifying to him, as to be whipped, to pay a fine, keep his wife, and not allowed ever to divorce her.

(y) Hilchot Naarah Betulah, c. 3. sect. 1.

And they shall amerce him in an hundred shekels of silver, and give them unto the father {i} of the damsel, because he hath brought up an evil name upon a virgin of Israel: and she shall be his wife; he may not put her away all his days.

(i) For the fault of the child becomes the shame of the parents: therefore he was recompensed when she was faultless.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
19. amerce] Or fine, also in E, Exodus 21:22. On the estimate of the silver shekel as = 2sh. 9d., this came to £13. 15sh. It is paid to the father who had been responsible for his daughter’s integrity (cp. Deuteronomy 22:16, I gave my daughter to this man) and whose family name had been damaged by the slanderer; but also the national name, cp. a virgin of Israel. By § 127 of Ḫammurabi the false accuser of another man’s wife was branded.

and she shall be his wife] Heb. emphatic; and to him shall she (continue to) be to wife. It is just that he should not be free of his obligations to her, for the motive of his slander had been to get rid of her. But for her it is rough justice. A woman could not divorce a man. By § 142 of Ḫammurabi, if a woman repudiated her husband her past was investigated, and if she had no vice but the husband had belittled her she took her marriage portion and went back to her father’s house.Laws of Chastity and Marriage. - Higher and still holier than the order of nature stands the moral order of marriage, upon which the well-being not only of domestic life, but also of the civil commonwealth of nations, depends. Marriage must be founded upon fidelity and chastity on the part of those who are married. To foster this, and secure it against outbreaks of malice and evil lust, was the design and object of the laws which follow. The first (Deuteronomy 22:13-21) relates to the chastity of a woman on entering into the married state, which might be called in question by her husband, either from malice or with justice. The former case is that which Moses treats of first of all. If a man took a wife, and came to her, and hated her, i.e., turned against her after gratifying his carnal desires (like Amnon, for example, 2 Samuel 13:15), and in order to get rid of her again, attributed "deeds or things of words" to her, i.e., things which give occasion for words or talk, and so brought an evil name upon her, saying, that on coming to her he did not find virginity in her. בּתוּלים, virginity, here the signs of it, viz., according to Deuteronomy 22:17, the marks of a first intercourse upon the bed-clothes or dress.
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