Deuteronomy 22:23
If a damsel that is a virgin be betrothed to an husband, and a man find her in the city, and lie with her;
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Deuteronomy 22:23-27. PURITY OF THE BETROTHED.

(24) His neighbour’s wife.—It is evident from the language of this precept that a betrothed virgin in Israel is regarded as a wife. The man who humbles her “hath humbled his neighbour’s wife.” This illustrates the language of Matthew 1 Joseph, when Mary was found with child, sought to put her away (as though she were already his wife). The angel said to him, “Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife.” He “took unto him his wife.” From the construction of this law it follows that Jesus was the son of Joseph, according to the Scripture. The Evangelists do not seem to think it worth while to prove that He was the son of David except through his father (in law).

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]. By this betrothing she had actually engaged herself to another man, and was in some sort his with, and therefore is sometimes so called, as Genesis 29:21 Matthew 1:20. If a damsel that is a virgin be betrothed unto an husband,.... But not married, not as yet brought home to her husband's house, and the marriage consummated; for the Jews distinguish between being betrothed or espoused, and married; and generally there was some time between the one and the other. And a wife was obtained in this way by three things; by money, which was the most usual; and by writing, which was to be done before witnesses, and with her consent; and by copulation, which, though valid, was not so much approved of (a). There is a whole treatise in the Misnah, called Kiddushin, or Espousals, which largely treats of this matter:

and a man find her in the city, and lie with her; with her consent, as might be presumed by her not crying out, when, had she, she might have been heard, being in a city; and her being there also makes against her, since, being betrothed to a man, she ought to have abode in her father's house till her husband fetched her home, and not to have gadded abroad in the city, where she was exposed to temptation.

(a) Misn. Kiddushin, c. 1. sect. 1.

If a damsel that is a virgin be betrothed unto an husband, and a man find her in the city, and lie with her;
23. betrothed] see on Deuteronomy 20:7.

in the city] Cp. Deuteronomy 22:24. In the city she would have been heard had she cried, but as she did not she must have been a consenting party.

23–27. Of Intercourse with a Betrothed Virgin: (1) Deuteronomy 22:23 f., with her consent, in which case both she and the man are stoned, as in the case of Adultery (Deuteronomy 22:22), for the bride-price having been paid at betrothal the woman is as good as married (Genesis 29:21, Joel 1:8); (2) Deuteronomy 22:25-27, without her consent, in which case the man alone dies and nothing is done to the woman. These two laws are peculiar to D. Note in Deuteronomy 22:24 the Pl. address, and also in Deuteronomy 22:26 according to Sam. LXX, but Heb. has here the Sg.

For such cases Ḫammurabi has but one law, § 130: If a man has ravished another’s betrothed, who is virgin, while still in her father’s house, and has been caught in the act, that man shall die, but the woman go free. Among the Arabs if the woman is unmarried her relatives are not obliged to kill her, but no one may marry her (Musil, Ethn. Ber. 210).In such a case the parents of the young woman (הנּער for הנּערה, as in Genesis 24:14, Genesis 24:28, according to the earliest usage of the books of Moses, a virgin, then also a young woman, e.g., Ruth 2:6; Ruth 4:12) were to bring the matter before the elders of the town into the gate (the judicial forum; see Deuteronomy 21:19), and establish the chastity and innocence of their daughter by spreading the bed-clothes before them. It was not necessary to this end that the parents should have taken possession of the spotted bed-clothes directly after the marriage night, as in customarily done by the Bedouins and the lower classes of the Moslem in Egypt and Syria (cf. Niebuhr, Beschr. v. Arab. pp. 35ff.; Arvieux, merkw. Nachr. iii. p. 258; Burckhardt, Beduinen, p. 214, etc.). It was sufficient that the cloth should be kept, in case such a proof might be required.
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