Re: Lev. 18:18, 22 (LXX)
On 13 Sep 1994, STEVE SCHAPER wrote:
> In a message dated 09-10-94 "Gregory Jordan (ENG)" wrote to Steve Schaper:
> "(> or expect more rigorous punishment for rape than Moses gives [i.e.,
> "(> marriage]).
> Um, the penalty for fornication was marriage. The penalty for rape was
> execution, and the only instance I know of where the strict rules of evidence
> requiring two or more eyewitnesses who agree in their testimony were dropped.
> If an alleged rape took place out of earshot, without witnesses, the woman was
> believed and the man she charged was to be put to death.
In Lev. 19:20 it says that a slave girl could be raped even if she was
betrothed, with the only punishment being a sacrifice to God - nothing
for the slave's fiance.
In Deut. 22:23-24 it says that sex between a man and a betrothed
woman in town (and thus, presumably consensual) was death for both of
them; if they did so in the countryside, the woman was assumed to have
tried to scream for help, so only the man was executed.
IF however, the woman raped was *not* betrothed, she had to marry
her rapist, who only payed her father 50 shekels of silver and promised
not to divorce her (Deut. 22:28-30). This must have been similar to our
idea of a "shotgun wedding."
So a man could rape an unbetrothed girl with relative impunity,
apparently. The girl, on the other hand, had to live with her rapist for
life. It *may* be that this passage doesn't deal with rape (the wording
could be otherwise construed), but even if it doesn't, it remains that
there was no harsh punishment for rape appearing in the Pentateuch.
It may be that unwritten custom gave a woman's male relatives the
right of vengeance - cf. the Dinah episode in Gen. 34. The sneaky
savagery there implies the kind of unwritten-law retaliation.
I first learned about this whole problem when I was reading a book
on modern Israeli law, which is loosly based on Moses's law. It said
that Israel's legislators had a hard time formulating a modern rape law
because there was nothing similar under Moses.