Deuteronomy 22:26
But to the damsel you shall do nothing; there is in the damsel no sin worthy of death: for as when a man rises against his neighbor, and slays him, even so is this matter:
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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]. Not an act of choice, but of force and constraint. But unto the damsel thou shalt do nothing,.... Neither fine her, nor beat her, and much less punish her with death:

there is in the damsel no sin worthy of death; because what was done to her was done without her will and consent, and was what she was forced to submit unto; but the Targum of Jonathan adds, that the man to whom she was betrothed might dismiss her from himself by a bill of divorce:

for as when a man riseth against his neighbour, and slayeth him, even so is this matter; as when a man comes unawares upon another, and lays hold on him, and kills him, being stronger than he, and none to help; so is the case of a woman laid hold on by a man in a field, and ravished by him, where no help could be had; and depriving a woman of her chastity is like taking away a man's life; from this passage Maimonides (c) concludes, that impurities, incests, and adulteries, are equal to murder, to capital cases relating to life and death.

(c) Hilchot Yesode Hattorah, c. 5. sect. 10.

But unto the damsel thou shalt do nothing; there is in the damsel no sin worthy of death: for as when a man riseth against his neighbour, and slayeth him, even so {k} is this matter:

(k) Meaning, that the innocent cannot be punished.

26. thou shalt do nothing] Sam. LXX, ye shall, Pl. as in Deuteronomy 22:24.

no sin worthy of death] See introd. to Deuteronomy 22:13-30.

riseth against … and slayeth him] Deuteronomy 19:11, but here Heb., using a stronger vb, unnecessarily adds life from Deuteronomy 19:6; Deuteronomy 19:11.In 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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