Deuteronomy 22: Rules for Rape and other things


The first part of this chapter is about making sure you don’t steal your brother’s (fellow cult member) donkey and cows. If you find them unattended, return them. If you don’t know who they belong to hold them until the owner comes looking for them. There are also rules about not sowing a field with diverse seed and not wearing mixed fabrics. The rest of the chapter deals with the rape of women.

  • If a man takes a wife and hates her and claims she wasn't a virgin, the parents have to bring out the cloth with the blood stain proof of the hymen tear.
    • If they have the proof she was a virgin, the man will be chastised, has to pay the family 100 shekels of silver and has to keep the woman as his wife for the rest of his days.
    • If they don’t have the proof, she will be stoned to death.
  • If a man is found lying with a married woman, they are both to be stoned.
  • If a man finds a virgin in the city and rapes her, they are both to be stoned, because it’s her duty to cry out for help, and if she didn’t, then she is guilty of adultery.
  • If a man finds a woman in a field and rapes her, only the man will be killed. Because even if the woman screamed for help, no one would have been there to help her.
  • If a man rapes a virgin not betrothed, he is to pay the family 50 shekels of silver and marry her forever. 

In other words:

Don’t take things that don’t belong to you and if you are a woman being raped, scream for help or everyone will think you wanted it.

Favorite bit:

Deuteronomy 22:6 – if you find a birds nest in a tree and the dam is sitting on her eggs, leave her along.  Deuteronmy 22:7 but feel free to take her young, just leave her the eggs.

Silliest bit:

Deuteronomy 22:11 – don’t mix your fabrics

Least favorite bit:

(Deuteronomy 22:17-22) Basically, a woman has to prove she was a virgin with the hymen test. The problem is that can tear on its own through physical exertion. No penetration required.  It’s not a good indicator of virginess. And really, the whole, she has to be a virgin is so annoying anyway. Why does ANYONE care whether a woman has sex before you or not?

2nd Least favorite bit:

If you don’t scream for help sufficiently, then you must have wanted it. Victim blaming for rape victims. Lovely. (Deuteronomy 22:24)  What this basically means is that if you are planning to have a tryst – do it someplace secluded. That way if you are caught, at least one of you will survive.

Moral Lesson Learned:

  • Don’t steal your neighbors unattended stuff. (Deuteronomy 22:3)
  • If you are a woman being raped – try to get away and call for help (Deuteronomy 22:24)