Deuteronomy 22:20
But if this thing be true, and the tokens of virginity be not found for the damsel:
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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]. No text from Poole on this verse.

But if this thing be true,.... Which the husband of the damsel laid to her charge, that she was no virgin when married to him, and she had committed whoredom, of which there was plain proof:

and the tokens of virginity be not found for the damsel; by her parents, or those who had the care of her; or no sufficient reason could be assigned for the want of them, through any family defect, or any disorder of her own; which, as Maimonides (z) says, the judges were to inquire into.

(z) Hilchot Ishot, c. 11. sect. 12.

But if this thing be true, and the tokens of virginity be not found for the damsel:
20. But if this charge be true, etc.] If the physical signs were alone relied on a miscarriage of justice was possible. Other evidence, however, may have been forthcoming. Indeed it is possible that the clause, the tokens, etc., is not original.

Deuteronomy 22:20In the other case, however, if the man's words were true, and the girl had not been found to be a virgin, the elders were to bring her out before the door of her father's house, and the men of the town were to stone her to death, because she had committed a folly in Israel (cf. Genesis 34:7), to commit fornication in her father's house. The punishment of death was to be inflicted upon her, not so much because she had committed fornication, as because notwithstanding this she had allowed a man to marry her as a spotless virgin, and possibly even after her betrothal had gone with another man (cf. Deuteronomy 22:23, Deuteronomy 22:24). There is no ground for thinking of unnatural wantonness, as Knobel does.
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