DEFINITION OF THE DAY (RAPE)

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      RAPE-  Crime of engaging in sexual intercourse with another without consent, by force and/or deception. Mosaic law required a man who had seduced a virgin to pay the bride price and offer to marry her (Exod 22:16-17). The rape of an engaged woman was a capital offense (Deut 22:25-27). In other cases of rape, the offender was required to marry his victim and was not permitted to divorce her (Deu 22:28-29). Lot’s daughter made their father drunk and then reaped him (Gen 19:30-35). Shechem raped Dinah by force (Gen 34:1-2). The men of Gibeah gang raped a Levite’s concubine and so brutalized her that she died (Judg 19:25). Ammon’s rape of his half sister Tamar was a premeditated act involving both deception and force (2 Sam 13:1-22). This account reveals the mind of the rapist whose uncontrolled desire quickly turned to fierce hatred for his victim (13:15). Rape was one horror associated with the fall of Jerusalem (Lam 5:11; Zech 14:2).

The Mosaic code highlighted the victim’s rights, both to monetary compensation and to recovery of dignity. This quest for dignity was a driving force behind acts of retaliatory violence recorded in the narrative texts. These texts, however, suggest the ease with which the victim is forgotten in the spiral of vengeful violence.

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