Re: Matt. 5 - porneia

From: F. Holly Mitchell (
Date: Thu Oct 02 1997 - 12:22:30 EDT


> > > Bathsheba was as guilty as David; it takes two to tango.
> >
> > Is this position really defensible? The power disparity between these two
> > was tremendous. When she is summoned into the presence of the king, (who
> > has the power of life and death over both herself and her husband) can
> > we actually expect her to "Just say no"?
> To our modern ears, perhaps not; but such a position clearly made sense to
> the authors in the period in which this was written. Compare, for
> instance, the actions taken against a rape vicitm as described in
> Leviticus. As I recall it, if she is attacked "out in field" --where
> presumably no one could hear her if she cried for help-- then she has
> recourse against her attacker. Whereas if she is raped closer to town
> --i.e. where she could, at least in principle, have cried for help-- she
> is essentially guilty of adultery.

An excellent point. And I agree wholeheartedly: by the letter of the
law, she *is* guilty. But when we're dealing with DaBaR YHWH, isn't it
appropriate to consider the possible intent behind what's written? The
lexicons of both Gesenius and Davidson tell me that DaBaR can mean 'cause'
or 'reason', as well as 'word'.

You are *much* more familiar with Hebrew than I am, so please correct me
if I'm going in the wrong direction on this. But as you reminded us
earlier, Jesus urges us to consider the reason behind the law. I would
argue that the purpose of the Levitacal rape law is either to prevent
gross misuse of power (which David did; no one in his court could have
reasonably been expected to prevent his actions with Bathsheba even if she
had been foolish enough to cry out), or (more likely) to prevent a man
from *taking* the property of another (David pretty clearly violated
Uriah's property rights).

I realize we've strayed from the greek text and hope any who are offended
will forgive me. I promise to reply off list next time. :-)

God Bless,
Ginger (assistant to Holly)

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