Deuteronomy 22:28 Is NOT About Rape
Today We will be taking on the infamous claim that Deuteronomy 22:28 forces a rape victim to marry her rapist. This issue is derived mainly from the failure of the NIV to accurately translate the bible into English. This is also indicative to why secular extremists love using the NIV to quote their cherry picked scriptures to prove a point that doesn't really exist.
Let us first read the entire block of scriptures associated with the topic for context.
(Deuteronomy 22:22-29 King James Version) 22 If a man be found lying with a woman married to an husband, then they shall both of them die, both the man that lay with the woman, and the woman: so shalt thou put away evil from Israel.
23 If a damsel that is a virgin be betrothed unto an husband, and a man find her in the city, and lie with her;
24 Then ye shall bring them both out unto the gate of that city, and ye shall stone them with stones that they die; the damsel, because she cried not, being in the city; and the man, because he hath humbled his neighbour's wife: so thou shalt put away evil from among you.
25 But if a man find a betrothed damsel in the field, and the man force her, and lie with her: then the man only that lay with her shall die.
26 But unto the damsel thou shalt do nothing; there is in the damsel no sin worthy of death: for as when a man riseth against his neighbour, and slayeth him, even so is this matter:
27 For he found her in the field, and the betrothed damsel cried, and there was none to save her.
28 If a man find a damsel that is a virgin, which is not betrothed, and lay hold on her, and lie with her, and they be found;
29 Then the man that lay with her shall give unto the damsel's father fifty shekels of silver, and she shall be his wife; because he hath humbled her, he may not put her away all his days.
When reading the NIV, verse 28 is translated as follows:
28 If a man happens to meet a virgin who is not pledged to be married and rapes her and they are discovered.
This is simply not true and one of the very reasons I will NEVER recommend the NIV as a credible bible. It belongs in the dump, not in your home.
But I digress, the claim is made that the phrase "lay hold on her", in the KJV, is rapey and is proof the NIV is correct. I say, the author would have used the same exact phrase he used in verse 25 if he meant to describe rape. Remember verse 25 says "force her, and lie with her" which is what the KJV uses to describe rape.
First of all in Deuteronomy 22:28, the Hebrew word for the phrase “lay hold of” is:
Original Word: תָּפַשׂ
Part of Speech: Verb
Phonetic Spelling: (taw-fas')
catch, handle, lay, take hold on, over, stop, surely, surprise,
A primitive root; to manipulate, i.e. Seize; chiefly to capture, wield, specifically, to overlay; figuratively, to use unwarrantably -- catch, handle, (lay, take) hold (on, over), stop, X surely, surprise, take. (http://biblehub.com/hebrew/8610.htm)
The key word in that list of words is TO MANIPULATE. This is why this verse is a direct cross reference to Exodus 22:16 which says:
"And if a man entice a maid that is not betrothed, and lie with her, he shall surely endow her to be his wife."
This is the same exact situation as in Deuteronomy 22:28. In fact Deuteronomy is in fact a repetition of a lot of the same stuff from Exodus.
Now, if we look at Deuteronomy 22:25, the Hebrew word for the phrase, "and force/forces" is:
Original Word: חָזַק
Part of Speech: Verb
Phonetic Spelling: (khaw-zak')
aid, amend, catch, cleave, confirm, be constant, constrain,
A primitive root; to fasten upon; hence, to seize, be strong (figuratively, courageous, causatively strengthen, cure, help, repair, fortify), obstinate; to bind, restrain, conquer -- aid, amend, X calker, catch, cleave, confirm, be constant, constrain, continue, be of good (take) courage(-ous, -ly), encourage (self), be established, fasten, force, fortify, make hard, harden, help, (lay) hold (fast), lean, maintain, play the man, mend, become (wax) mighty, prevail, be recovered, repair, retain, seize, be (wax) sore, strengthen (self), be stout, be (make, shew, wax) strong(-er), be sure, take (hold), be urgent, behave self valiantly, withstand. (http://biblehub.com/hebrew/2388.htm)
There is one fundamental truth about taphas (Deuteronomy 22:28). You will NEVER, throughout the entire Old Testament, find this word being used for a verse with rape ANYWHERE. You will, however, find that chazaq is used a few times times in verses of Rape across the Old Testament.
Deuteronomy 22:25: But if a man find a betrothed damsel in the field, and the man FORCE HER, AND LIE WITH HER (chazaq): then the man only that lay with her shall die:
2 Samuel 13:14 (verses 10-14 for context): Howbeit he would not hearken unto her voice: but, being stronger than she, FORCED HER, AND LAY WITH HER (chazaq).
Judges 19:25: But the men would not hearken to him: so the man took (chazaq) his concubine, and brought her forth unto them; and they knew her, and abused her all the night until the morning: and when the day began to spring, they let her go.
Even in other verses where a rape occurred, and chazaq isn't used, you'll notice a fundamental lack of the word tephas, and I'm sure that is because the author wanted there to be no confusion as to where a rape occurred. Typically the King James will consistently use phrases like "force her", "lay with her by force", "force her, lie with her", "forced her", "lay with her", and "ravaged".
I think the Author was smart in using chazaq in relation to multiple rape verses while isolating taphas for a verse that is provably about consensual sex through seducing a woman. This is further revealed by the phrase "and they be found". They were CAUGHT in the act and, what we would call a shotgun wedding, ensued along with a payment to the father for deflowering the woman (humbling her by taking her virginity).
Deuteronomy 22:28 is not rape, never was rape, and never will mean rape. How else does one get passionate with a woman other than "laying hold on her" in the heat of passion, and so on and so forth? It certainly DOES NOT say force her and lie with her, which would have indicated rape just like, again, it did in verse 25. The biggest nail in the coffin to this argument, being in verse 25, is that rape is an offense punishable by DEATH. So if verse 28 is rape why is the man not stoned to death?
I hope this helps you all in your walk with Christ and studying the scriptures through hermeneutics.
See also Deuteronomy 22:28-29 and Rape: https://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?article=5197