Exodus 22:16
And if a man entice a maid that is not betrothed, and lie with her, he shall surely endow her to be his wife.
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(16-31) The remainder of the chapter contains laws which it is impossible to bring under any general head or heads, and which can, therefore, only be regarded as miscellaneous. Moses may have recorded them in the order in which they were delivered to him; or have committed them to writing as they afterwards occurred to his memory.

(16) If a man entice a maid.—The seduction of a maiden is regarded more seriously in primitive than in more advanced communities. The father looked to receive a handsome sum (ἕδνα) from the man to whom he consented to betroth his virgin daughter; and required compensation if his daughter’s eligibility as a wife was diminished. If the seducer were a person to whom he felt it a degradation to marry his daughter, he might exact from him such a sum as would be likely to induce another to wed her; if he was one whom he could accept as a son-in-law, he might compel him to re-establish his daughter’s status by marriage. It might be well if modern societies would imitate the Mosaic code on this point by some similar proviso.

He shall surely endow her—i.e., pay the customary sum to the father. See Deuteronomy 22:29, where the sum is fixed at fifty shekels of silver.

22; 1 - 31 Judicial laws. - The people of God should ever be ready to show mildness and mercy, according to the spirit of these laws. We must answer to God, not only for what we do maliciously, but for what we do heedlessly. Therefore, when we have done harm to our neighbour, we should make restitution, though not compelled by law. Let these scriptures lead our souls to remember, that if the grace of God has indeed appeared to us, then it has taught us, and enabled us so to conduct ourselves by its holy power, that denying ungodliness and wordly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present world, Titus 2:12. And the grace of God teaches us, that as the Lord is our portion, there is enough in him to satisfy all the desires of our souls.See the marginal references. 6. If fire break out, and catch in thorns—This refers to the common practice in the East of setting fire to the dry grass before the fall of the autumnal rains, which prevents the ravages of vermin, and is considered a good preparation of the ground for the next crop. The very parched state of the herbage and the long droughts of summer, make the kindling of a fire an operation often dangerous, and always requiring caution from its liability to spread rapidly.

stacks—or as it is rendered "shocks" (Jud 15:5; Job 5:26), means simply a bundle of loose sheaves.

If a man entice a maid, by persuasions, promise of marriage, allurements, or rewards. But if she were betrothed, it was punished with death, Deu 22:23,24.

And if a man entice a maid, that is not betrothed,.... For one might be betrothed according to the custom of those times, and not be married, or the nuptials consummated, and so be yet a maid or virgin; but being betrothed, it made the case different, because such an one was as a wife to a man: but the case here supposed is of a maid not betrothed, and also not forced, but yielding to the solicitations of a man, as is implied by her being enticed; which signifies his gaining upon her affections, and obtaining her consent by expressing strong affection for her, and making large promises to her, and so both by words and gestures prevailing with her to yield to his desire:

and lie with her; in a way of carnal copulation; and such an action between two single persons, by consent, is what is called simple fornication: if this was done in a field, the maid was supposed to be forced, since there she might cry out, and not be heard; but if in a city, she is supposed to be enticed, and consent, since if she cried out she might be heard; this the Jewish writers gather from Deuteronomy 22:23, though the law there respects a betrothed damsel:

he shall surely endow her to be his wife; give her a dowry in order to be his wife, or, however, such an one as he would or must give if she became his wife, even one suitable to her rank and dignity, whether he married her or not; for he was not obliged to it whether he would or not, and in some cases could not if he would, as follows.

And if a man entice a maid that is not betrothed, and lie with her, he shall surely endow her to be his wife.
16. a marriage-price] Heb. môhar, Arab, mahr; i.e.—not a ‘dowry,’ but—the price paid for the wife to her parents or family, according to ancient Hebrew custom (cf. Genesis 34:12, 1 Samuel 18:25). The same custom prevailed anciently, and prevails still, in many other parts of the world (see Post, Familienrecht, pp. 157 ff., 173 ff.): cf., for instance, the Homeric ἕδνα or ἔεδνα, Il. xvi. 178; Od. xvi. 391 f., xxi. 160–162, &c.; and, for Arabia, W. R. Smith, Marriage and Kinship in Ancient Arabia, p. 78 f. The môhar was paid at the time of betrothal; and its payment ratified the engagement. The amount varied naturally with the relative circumstances of the two parties; and was a subject of mutual agreement between the suitor and the girl’s family (cf. Genesis 34:12).

16, 17. Compensation for the seduction of an unbetrothed maiden The unmarried and unbetrothed daughter counts as part of her father’s property; by the loss of her virginity her value is diminished; her father consequently has a claim for compensation; and the seducer must pay the price sufficient to make the girl his wife. Comp. Deuteronomy 22:28-29 (where, however, the case contemplated is one not of seduction, but of rape). The seduction of a betrothed maiden is regarded as virtually the same thing as adultery: this is dealt with in Deuteronomy 22:23-27.

Verse 16. - If a man entice. Rather "seduce." He shall surely endow her to be his wife. In the East a man commonly pays money, or money's worth, to the parents in order to obtain a wife. The seducer was to comply with this custom, and make over to the damsel's father the sum of fifty shekels of silver (Deuteronomy 22:29), for his sanction of the marriage. If the father consented, he was compelled to marry the girl, and he was forbidden to repudiate her afterwards (ibid.). Exodus 22:16The seduction of a girl, who belonged to her father as long as she was not betrothed (cf. Exodus 21:7), was also to be regarded as an attack upon the family possession. Whoever persuaded a girl to let him lie with her, was to obtain her for a wife by the payment of a dowry (מהר see Genesis 34:12); and if her father refused to give her to him, he was to weigh (pay) money equivalent to the dowry of maidens, i.e., to pay the father just as much for the disgrace brought upon him by the seduction of his daughter, as maidens would receive for a dowry upon their marriage. The seduction of a girl who was betrothed, was punished much more severely (see Deuteronomy 22:23-24).
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