Red Weddings in Canaan

Elspeth gave a party to encourage wives to be loyal to their husbands. During that, someone told a joke about loving their husband’s strength. This caused some emotional terrorists to start planting rape bombs; specifically “marital rape”. The idea of marital rape is an IED in our culture that is used to scare women into rebelling against their husbands. The impact of the charge of “marital rape” is to create a prisoner’s dilemma between a husband and wife; the exact inverse of the prescription in 1 Corinthians 7 for the husband to surrender his body to his wife’s sexuality and the wife to her husband’s.

The main bomb-maker left, but not before G.I. Evangelical Joe showed up to make the world safe from terrorists by giving into their demands.

[W]hile the Bible does not say anything directly about marital rape in the Torah, it also does not say anything about abortion, and for the same reason; they were crimes mostly unthinkable to the Hebrews.Along the same lines, few states had bans on offing people in a VW microbus until Jack Kervorkian came along. Nobody thought there was a need.

The idea that the Israelites found abortion unthinkable is to put them on an imaginary pedestal of immense proportions. These are the people who will on-again-off-again sacrifice their  live-born babies on altars of Molech and other pagan gods. While we recognize that modern abortion is precisely the same in spirit, those Israelites were literally and manifestly worshipping foreign gods; sacrificing birthed, nursing, loved infants in full knowledge of their deeds. From this faulty start of romanticizing the Israelites he continues:

But it does not follow that forcing one’s wife was acceptable. It’s simply history, which is descriptive, not prescriptive–as Michigan residents who campaigned to stop assisted suicide would tell you, no?

For a place in the Torah that indicates the Hebrew attitude towards marital rape, let’s consider Deut. 21:10-14, which describes the treatment of captive women who are sexually desired by their captors.

It was, of course, the custom of invading pagans to rape all the young women when they conquered a city–she got to be a sex slave at best, a prostitute or dead if she were not as lucky. When she was no longer attractive, she would be sold into an even more humiliating slavery unless she found someone to protect her by some miracle.

Not the Israelites–a man got to provide for a pagan woman for a month, letting her mourn and getting to know her (perhaps gaining consent to the marriage) before he married her. He could not treat her as a slave, or sell her as one, and….

….even slaves were not to be treated ruthlessly. Now if a gentile woman merits this protection, what about a woman of Israel?

See what I’m getting at here? And this is why Peter (1 Peter 3:7) and Paul (Col. 3:19) tell the largely Gentile church…..more or less how to treat their wives like the Jews had been told to do.

The first error of the commenter I just quoted is that his idea of Peter’s encouragement for husband’s to be kind (1 Peter 3:7) and Paul’s warning for husbands not to be harsh (Colossians 3:19) is to base his judgment of what is kind or harsh solely on his own preferences. He doesn’t seem to take into account that he might be a bit effeminate; as we often see among modern American Evangelicals.

What follows this paragraph is most of my responding comment. This post is already long and it’s only getting started, but if are cruisin’ for a bruisin’ you can read the whole thing here.

I don’t think you’ve read that right at all. Deuteronomy 21:10-14 says:

10 “When you go out to war against your enemies, and the Lord your God gives them into your hand and you take them captive, 11 and you see among the captives a beautiful woman, and you desire to take her to be your wife, 12 and you bring her home to your house, she shall shave her head and pare her nails. 13 And she shall take off the clothes in which she was captured and shall remain in your house and lament her father and her mother a full month. After that you may go in to her and be her husband, and she shall be your wife. 14 But if you no longer delight in her, you shall let her go where she wants. But you shall not sell her for money, nor shall you treat her as a slave, since you have humiliated her.

First of all: The whole chapter of Deut. 21 (not that it was originally in chapters) is about taking responsibility for those around you, while remaining innocent yourself. The preceding verses (v. 1-9) concern how the town nearest a found murdered body is responsible for making atonement for that murder, while also proclaiming their own innocence (if they are).

The section immediately after the captives (v. 15-17) talks about giving the firstborn his due regardless of a father’s favor for the son or the mother. Like the people in the city near the victim, the father does not get a choice about who is nearest himself (i.e., his firstborn): He must still honor him.

The next section (v. 18-21) is about how to deal with a rebellious son who refuses to repent by having all the men of the whole town take responsibility for killing the rebellious son and ridding their town of evil.

The last section (v. 22-23) about not leaving up a man hung on a tree. It puts the responsibility for a criminal to avoid God’s curse on the heads of the innocents and executioners near the dead criminal; who is responsible for his own death. It is also a foreshadowing of Christ’s crucifixion, and Joseph of Arimathea’s coming righteousness.

Keep that idea of imposed and imposing responsibility in mind. The context here (v. 10-14) of the taking of wives from female captives is: Accepting full responsibility even under duress, adverse conditions, mental anguish, and outside your control, and how to do that while maintaining innocence. So let’s look at v. 10-14 again.

10 “When you go out to war against your enemies, and the Lord your God gives them into your hand and you take them captive, 11 and you see among the captives a beautiful woman, and you desire to take her to be your wife, 12 and you bring her home to your house, she shall shave her head and pare her nails. 13 And she shall take off the clothes in which she was captured and shall remain in your house and lament her father and her mother a full month.

Here’s the picture: Battle-hardened men who are sick of death, pitiless towards the enemy, unfazed by tears, away from their wives and no marital prospects from home in sight are going to be tempted to take a woman. They will justify it by

  1. That’s what the enemy would do.
  2. By rights these women ought to be dead with their kinsmen.[1]

God, being the creator and fan of marriage that He is, says:

“Ok, but slow your roll. You have a right to take a wife, but be sure you want to exercise your right because there’s no going back.

Here’s a good test to see if you really want her, or if you’re just trying satisfy some temporary urges: Bring her into your home–the home of her family’s slaughterers. This is going to upset her wildly. Take a good look at that. Also: Make sure you’re not beguiled by her beauty or ornamentation. Shave off her lovely hair, cut those pretty nails, and get rid of the snazzy clothes she was wearing and put on some of the clothes of her family’s killers. Take another good, long look at her now: bald and grungy; weeping so that she slobbers and snots all over her prisoner’s garb. Do this for a full month.

During that time, she’s probably not going to eat right; loose skin; bags under her eyes; maybe some sores from malnutrition or lying in one place for days on end. She’ll probably try to escape. That’s not going to endear her to your family. They’ll have to restrain her while she’s kicking and gouging and scratching (another good reason to get rid of those nails!) She’ll probably get wounded; a black eye; maybe a tooth knocked out. There’s a good chance she’ll try to hurt herself; even kill herself. If she does, those scars aren’t going to be pretty, and everyone will know how they got there. Some women will just go crazy, or she might lose the will to live and start soiling herself. Immense grief can do that.

But, at the end of that month, if you still want her then go ahead. Here’s how:

After that you may go in to her and be her husband, and she shall be your wife.

You’re going to have to go in there and take her. There is a good chance some crying may be involved when you–longtime enemy and the killer of her family–try to put yourself into her. You’re gonna have to push through that. Luckily, her nails have only been growing for a month, but if she’s not too weak from poor nutrition, injuries gained while trying to escape, etc.–there’s a good chance you’re going to have to use some force. Nevertheless, if you do you can be her husband, and sheshall be your wife. You don’t have to ask her because she’s been delivered into your hand, and you’ve made a vow.

Now, I’m serious about that vow.

14 But if you no longer delight in her, you shall let her go where she wants. But you shall not sell her for money, nor shall you treat her as a slave, since you have humiliated her.

You’re going to have to see this through for the rest of your life. She’s not a slave. She’s not a commodity. She’s not a concubine. She’s your wife; the whole bald-headed, baggy-eyed, poorly-dressed, soiled, and supremely resentful shooting’ match of a woman is one flesh with you. If that isn’t what you want, then don’t go into her. You’ve already put her through the wringer. Just let her go, man.

What we have is a set of verses that says a lot about what men should expect to forbear at times within a marriage: resentment, ugliness…generally some hard times and hard feelings. Those verses also practically prescribe what modern ears will hear as “marital rape”. It wasn’t rape, though. It was a form of wedding as set down in God’s word.

My sense is that, ultimately, the commenter is experiencing the American Problem; (I say that as a fellow American.) and specifically an American Evangelical Christian problem. Our penchant is to see the Israelites, God, and life generally through the lens of recent good-old days of American culture and history instead of looking plainly at what he called the descriptive history. (Good term, by the way.) When the Israelites are obedient, to us they resemble WWII-1950s Americans as shown in American propaganda: Tough on the bad men, winsome to the bad women, and positively permissive to the good women. That wasn’t even life in WWII-1950s American…much less bronze age Canaan.

How this American Problem manifests in the current sexual and marital culture is that guys who say the things he’s said stand aside and congratulate themselves when a man is thrown in prison for what is considered “marital rape”. Those same men will merely cluck their tongues when a wife cheats or divorces; perhaps mumbling something about praying for her while they mow her yard (paging Empathologism) during the ensuing “separation to allow for prayer and healing”. If they’re really “strong Christians” maybe they pray for that man who is being divorced to be broken, to see himself as broken, and pray for his own repentance. I think we can congratulate ourselves on that brokenness: Mission accomplished! But where’s the equality, man?

That last paragraph is important because it’s true-to-form even if it’s hypothetical. It happens all the time, and much more frequently than instances of so-called “marital rape”. And the reason that frequency is important is because we can see that not only is “marital rape” a bone-headed idea in the abstract, but in the concrete…how our modern and corrupted view of marital relations actually plays out. The false idea of “marital rape” is part and parcel of a larger propaganda scheme that intends to drive wives from husbands.

[1]Notice also that her mother is dead and will be mourned alongside the dead father; who presumably was killed by the Israelites. Despite what the commenter tried to sell: Women were not spared by default. In fact there are many places where God tells the Israelites to kill everyone. God Himself wipes out everyone in Sodom; man, woman, and child. The Flood killed everyone including babies. That doesn’t mean we can kill with impunity, but it does mean that even killing itself is not always immoral. The right and the intent matters, even when considering sexuality or killing.

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44 thoughts on “Red Weddings in Canaan

  1. @CC:

    This is a great post. The way you’ve laid down clearly what these verses meant and the context of it (which is extremely important but usually not set at the start) is something I’ve not heard from the many pulpits I’ve sat in front of.

    It also speaks about God’s mercy and intent, which goes against the practices, beliefs and thoughts in the pagan (now secular) societies.

  2. Appreciate the linkage, Cane. I also appreciated your bringing into focus the reality of war and what was commanded and expected of the Israelites as they conquered Canaan.

    It’s astonishing the way we impose our modern sensibilities onto Old Testament history.

    This was actually a beautiful post, if that makes sense.

  3. What we have is a set of verses that says a lot about what men should expect to forbear at times within a marriage: resentment, ugliness…generally some hard times and hard feelings. Those verses also practically prescribe what modern ears will hear as “marital rape”. It wasn’t rape, though. It was a form of wedding as set down in God’s word.

    All that.

    Really good, Mr C.

  4. The notion that marital rape is just one of the option along the pathway to escaping marriage is something people need to see. There are dozens of these hypothetical violations, so many and so often cited they are cliche, they are auto-phrase generated in discussions of sex in marriage and of divorce, That’s why i and I suspect many men feel compelled to disclaim them in context of making any pro-marriage point. I did it parenthetically in Elspeth’s thread. ie. I know we age, I know we get infirm, I know accidents happen and disable us, knowing those are the things of discussing sex in marriage with Christian women and evangelical lift chaser men.

    These preserve the path for the herd. They are the wide-out riders that keep errant herd members from straying off into real truth beyond the boundaries of the funnel they are rushing the herd headlong into. Divorce endorsement at the least harmful level, and divorce execution at the most.

    The corpus of all these ideas that close off rational scriptural Christian considerations of divorce are too well designed to be the work of man (or woman). They are the work of powers we should not willingly cooperate with. Screwtape and wormwood loved it when folks thought they did virtuous things at demonic prompting.

  5. I believe that they were called to slaughter everyone because the bloodline had been infected by angels procreating with human women, leading to the offspring spoken of in Gen 6. That makes the most sense to me and fits.

    Though they would not be allowed to marry them in that case either, so it is outside the case you discuss here.

    The required ruthlessness was for those in Canaan, not opponents in general.

  6. Pingback: Is there marital rape or not | Reflections on Christianity and the manosphere

  7. @Empath

    Screwtape and wormwood loved it when folks thought they did virtuous things at demonic prompting.

    Excellent point.

    @Brad

    The required ruthlessness was for those in Canaan, not opponents in general.

    Everything in its season.

  8. The main bomb-maker left, but not before G.I. Evangelical Joe showed up to make the world safe from terrorists by giving into their demands.

    I don’t care who ya are, that’s funny right there.

  9. [W]hile the Bible does not say anything directly about marital rape in the Torah, it also does not say anything about abortion, and for the same reason; they were crimes mostly unthinkable to the Hebrews.Along the same lines, few states had bans on offing people in a VW microbus until Jack Kervorkian came along. Nobody thought there was a need.

    Goodness gracious these people are swimming in it. The reason there is no mention of marital rape is because there was no such thing. What would be the point in paying the price of the bride if you could then be accused of taking what you already paid for?

  10. He doesn’t seem to take into account that he might be a bit effeminate; as we often see among modern American Evangelicals.

    And if I may add as we often see among modern Western society en mass.

  11. @JDG

    And if I may add as we often see among modern Western society en mass.

    I paused when I chose that word (effeminate) because while I wanted to get across the negative tone, I also wanted it to be a substantive term. From time to time I realize there are these little rots in myself, but we have to choose to cut them out; not nurse them.

  12. I assume a man and a woman marry because they love each other, and seeing how sex is a fundamental aspect of loving a spouse then withholding it under the guise of rape shows some pretty deep issues including, but not limited to trust.

    A woman withholding sex under the guise of marital rape is withholding love and denying respect, killing the two things that make a relationship between man and woman work.

    Marriage in someways, is also meant to be an imitation of God’s relationship to man and helps us understand how God sees us and how we should see God.

    Is it any wonder then, whenever the Israelites are rebelling against God, the Old Testament language describes Israel as a harlot, whore, prostitute, adulterer, slut, etc.. God correctly understood that one of the greatest ways a woman shows love to her husband is through sex, and he also understood how lamentable it is when the wife gives it to another man other than her husband or withholds it. The Israelites reading these passages could think “Oh man, us following other Gods is just as bad (probably worse) as our wives having sex after other men! Withholding our best sacrifices is like women withholding loving sex! God doesn’t just want any sacrifice just like man doesn’t want duty, obligation, once a month sex.”

  13. “….Shave off her lovely hair, cut those pretty nails, and get rid of the snazzy clothes she was wearing…”

    Like so many obscure commands in the OT, this is a disease control measure. Many diseases are spread by lice. Shaving the head gets rid of head lice, discarding the clothing gets rid of (most of) the body lice, and trimming the fingernails gets rid of the lice eggs that are lodged underneath due to scratching.

    The OT even says, that if you obey the commandments, you won’t get the “diseases of the Egyptians”. What could be clearer?

  14. @Cyberdrifter

    Welcome.

    You’re not wrong it’s an error to read it solely as an instruction manual on how to improve your temporal existence.

    Sins, like lice, are nearly invisible infestations that hide out and multiply in what should be the glorious places (a woman’s hair is her glory). They jump unseen from person to person even if the sin-infested host does not mean to transmit them; even if he doesn’t know they are there.

    Of all the infestations and diseases of the gentiles that needed to be purged from God’s people lice is but one. There were many more sins of pride, vanity, greed, envy…lots of things that need to be ridded. So, it’s not that this law isn’t about lice. It’s that you should consider lice more closely. Everything God made teaches us about His glory.

  15. Cane, ou go off the rails quickly. Let’s take a look, specifically, at your comments about abortion. You argue that post-natal infanticide in service to false gods–violating prohibitions of murder and worship of Molech–indicates that pre-natal infanticide was acceptable back in the day.

    Now I could argue this on the archeological evidence–surgery was indeed nearly unthinkable 3200 years before Joseph Lister made surgery safe, and you will find piles of infant bones outside ancient brothels in the region, but not fetal bones–but much more interesting to me is the broader implication.

    Namely, you are arguing against my point that the Torah is not a comprehensive summary of right and wrong–that somehow that because the Torah does not specifically ban rape in marriage, that there is no such thing. Alright, let’s apply that to abortion….you willing to go there? Or are you willing to concede that at times, our modern situations leave us where we need to interpret His word in the affairs of today’s life?

    Put gently, I think you argued yourself into a particularly repulsive box with that one, more or less making a quasi-Biblical case for abortion. Yuck.

    No less an interesting box is when you criticize my view of the term “harsh” as modernistic. Well, for starters, I’ve looked up the Greek–have you?–and I’ve come to the conclusion that the level of violence needed to force an unwilling woman to have sex is “harsh”. I’ve also taken a look at Ephesians 5:28, and I observe that there aren’t any examples of a man showing self-love by beating the living Hell out of himself in Scripture.

    So I’m going to have to suggest you spend some time with some good commentaries and Mssrs. Kittel and pick up some Koine Greek before you accuse me of being the one with the merely cultural view of a word, dear brother.

    More or less, what I think you’re doing is assuming that when I refer to marital “rape”, I am referring to all of the behaviors that modern law refers to as rape–regretted sex, sex while drunk, seduction, and the like. I am not. I am referring to what the Word refers to; forcible rape where violence, or at least the threat thereof, is used to obtain sex. We cannot imagine it in our own lives–wonderful–but can we really read the papers and not come to the conclusion that some perverse men are indeed forcibly raping their wives, and ought to be punished for it?

  16. @Bike

    Welcome.

    Cane, ou go off the rails quickly. Let’s take a look, specifically, at your comments about abortion. You argue that post-natal infanticide in service to false gods–violating prohibitions of murder and worship of Molech–indicates that pre-natal infanticide was acceptable back in the day.

    You seem to have misinterpreted my criticism. To solve this we need to look back at what you said:

    W]hile the Bible does not say anything directly about marital rape in the Torah, it also does not say anything about abortion, and for the same reason; they were crimes mostly unthinkable to the Hebrews.

    I was saying that we must assume that abortion–had they the ability–was far from unthinkable in the ancient Hebrew mind given that we know they routinely and ritually killed birthed infants. It wasn’t the imagination or desire they lacked; merely the convenience. Similarly, they knew what marriage, rape, and violence were.

    How is it that, in a book full of so many and specific rules about sex and marriage, you think they left this (marital rape) out? Is it your contention that the ancient Jews they didn’t know sons weren’t supposed to sleep with Mom, so God had to give them a rule? In light of what I have shown in Deuteronomy (at your good prompting), we also know incredible levels of lethal violence were an acceptable method of gaining a wife to have sex with. “Hey there, cutie! I just slaughtered your family–children and all–and burned your city to the ground. I’m going to enprison you in my house for a month; take away the very clothes off your back; shave your head and nails…there’s nothing to fear.”

    Or are you willing to concede that at times, our modern situations leave us where we need to interpret His word in the affairs of today’s life?

    Of course I concede that. However; I must say that it’s a bold move to suggest marriage and rape are modern situations.

    I’ve looked up the Greek–have you?–and I’ve come to the conclusion that the level of violence needed to force an unwilling woman to have sex is “harsh”. I’ve also taken a look at Ephesians 5:28, and I observe that there aren’t any examples of a man showing self-love by beating the living Hell out of himself in Scripture.

    1) Where have I said that a Christian husband should either beat the living Hell out of himself, or that he should beat his wife?

    2) I did not criticize your translation abilities, so put this second straw man down. Nor do I find it relevant. The Bible is not a book of spells that can only be understood if you pronounce all the words properly. Words have meaning, and that’s why we use them: Because the important thing is to get the meaning.

    What is in question (in my mind) is whether Bike Bubba’s feelings are adequate to determine what level of harshness is acceptable, when, and under what circumstances. This question came upon me by reading your comments over the years, but most especially because you quoted a verse that any modern person would call rape–by any Western country absolutely would be according to the law–and then you used it to make an argument that the Israelites were sweety-pies. It’s ludicrous.

    You’ve got it in your head that rape means beating someone into submission to have sex with them. It doesn’t. Women are raped at knife-point and gun-point, and all manner of too-gentle-to-be rape by your definition. You approved of Alte’s husband’s implicit threat of overwhelming physical force, and so we must assume that a husband who, say, nodded towards the gun rack to get his wife into the bedroom also has your approval…as long as he doesn’t hit her because you think hitting means an automatic rape. As another example, you’d have to drop the rape charge if a woman had been beaten before, and her fear keeps her from ever fighting back again. Therefore, by your definition, the subsequent sexual encounters aren’t rape.

    Of course it is!

    I am referring to what the Word refers to; forcible rape where violence, or at least the threat thereof, is used to obtain sex.

    Deuteronomy 21:10-14 is literally a textbook case of using both violence and the threat of violence to get a wife. Now, wives are for sex, and sex is for wives, but God makes clear that violence to get mere sex is not acceptable. Violence to get wives sometimes is (or at least was)…but be careful what you wish for.

    We cannot imagine it in our own lives–wonderful–but can we really read the papers and not come to the conclusion that some perverse men are indeed forcibly raping their wives, and ought to be punished for it?

    1. A man who beats his wife into submission is guilty of beating his wife. That guy you said you know–the one that beat his wife to get her to have sex–he’s a wife beater. He’s not beating her for sex; he’s beating her because he likes it, and then he’s having sex with her because he likes it. As bad as a rapist, but not a rapist. Punish him for being a wife beater. If you don’t think the current punishment fits the crime: Fine. You don’t get to create logical contradictions as crimes and call it good. As I think you mentioned, there are rules for how much to beat a slave, punishments for transgression, and if you beat them too much they can even gain their freedom.

    Rape is sex against consent and without legitimacy. It’s not modern, it’s different than beating, and it’s not as hard to figure out as you’ve twisted it to be. The Torah doesn’t ban rape in marriage because the two cannot coexist. C’mon, man. The fact is you blew it. You made an ill-advised reference because the reference you want to be there simply does not exist. Marital rape is not a thing.

    Now, having said all that: The case you could make is that they aren’t married. Any man who thinks he can use his wife as a punching bag fundamentally doesn’t understand marriage and therefore could not have consented to it; nor is it what the wife consented to. Or, that any woman who will not have sex unless her husband forces her doesn’t understand marriage, and therefore could not have consented to it, nor would the husband. In the former case that would be rape. In the second it would be fraud.

    We cannot imagine it in our own lives–wonderful

    Haha! Good one!

  17. Hahahaha, I will start nodding toward the gun rack when I dig myself a big hole in these debates?

    This has wonderful utility…

    “With a figurative nod to the gun rack he __________________”

    Now….to write a book around it.

  18. Ugh. Grew a beard a few years back and live in a liberal haven. Death to hipsters as they’ve ruined me.

    Very well written Cane. I haven’t read through the whole thread but I’m always shocked by conservatives that don’t get this. This should be the core response to “outta have a law” in that we “already have a law”. Unfortunately it is hard to make people understand that _both_ parties in the hypothetical situation are acting irresponsibly and violating old laws on behavior.

  19. Very interesting post Cane.

    Keep in mind that when I write what I’m about to I’m not necessarily making an argument against you. I’m just pointing something out.

    BUT:

    Does anybody think that a man, after he kills her family, who kidnaps a woman for a month, makes her shave her head, give up her clothes, and won’t let her leave despite suicide attempts, attempts at violence, and self-harm is a good man?

    Do you think a good man would, after all of this, force this same woman to have sex with him and then never leave is a good man?

    Is this a man who you would think would make a good husband?

    I’m not asking “Do you think God was wrong?”. This is based purely on, yes, how we feel about the matter.

    Because I’ll be honest here: I have a hard time thinking of such a man with anything but revulsion.

    I’m not trying to say “God was wrong here”. I’m just being honest.

  20. @MtC

    Because I’ll be honest here: I have a hard time thinking of such a man with anything but revulsion.

    I’m not trying to say “God was wrong here”. I’m just being honest.

    I don’t think God has a problem with that. He knows we don’t understand what He’s doing, and that we will have emotional reactions against it. He just wants us to be faithful.

    There’s another way to go about these things, too. God hears prayers of intercession and there are many recorded instances when He stayed His wrath (at least for a time) when we intercede on another’s behalf.

  21. Better yet, a gun safe!

    I dunno, I think when I nod in the direction of the gun rack it will make the point better than nodding toward a safe (unless I keep it open).

  22. “Because I’ll be honest here: I have a hard time thinking of such a man with anything but revulsion.”

    MtC, do you think that God only writes rules for good people? Because most of God’s rules, as I understand them, are meant for bad people with revolting habits. You know, sinners? This OT example of rules of warfare may well fall under the same category as Mosaic divorce: God allowed it because men’s hearts were hard. We don’t know, but what we do know is that these rules made being captured by an Israelite war band about 1000% better, as a beautiful young woman, than being captured by any other tribal group.

    A Christian woman can never be raped by her husband. Ever. She has given her consent to serve her husband’s sexual needs. This holds whether or not the husband himself is Christian, whether she even picked the man herself or was married off by her parents in an arranged marriage. He might beat her or otherwise mistreat her, but she is commanded by GOD to never say “no” to her husband when he wants sex. Try to imagine being a 1st Century adult convert, whose husband was an arranged match, living in a culture where he could well be sleeping with young boys and temple prostitutes and the house slaves on a regular basis (as well as being able to legally beat you whenever he wants), and hearing what Paul’s telling you to act like, as a wife. I suspect modern women would prefer to be fed to the lions in the arena!

  23. JDG says:
    June 8, 2014 at 2:06 am

    “I dunno, I think when I nod in the direction of the gun rack it will make the point better than nodding toward a safe (unless I keep it open).”

    I see. Different purposes for different tools, then.

  24. @pancakeloach:

    MtC, do you think that God only writes rules for good people?

    Of course not. None of us are “good people”, but I doubt anybody here would kidnap a woman whose family they’ve killed, keep her locked up in their house for a month, then force them to be their wife. Would you? Are you actually friends with anybody who would?

    Like I said though, I’m,not questioning God’s laws here. I’m just pointing out how I feel about it. I think Cane has the right of it here when he says that if we find such a law difficult to comprehend we should trust in the mercy of God (if I’m reading him correctly).

    I think you also make a good point when you say that in cases like these it’s God trying to make lemonade out of lemons, more or less. The idea being that if you’re going to do it anyway, then you better follow these rules. Under the New Covenant we are called to do much more than the minimum required.

    A Christian woman can never be raped by her husband. Ever.

    When did I bring up a Christian woman? In fact, for a Christian (or at least Catholic, anyway) marriage to be valid, both sides must consent. Nowadays I’d say that such a woman (as mentioned in the OP) would not be considered married anyway, as she did not consent to the marriage (back then it’s obviously a different story). But yeah, in a valid Christian marriage rape has to be impossible by definition.

    (Also keep in mind that the woman must CONSENT to the marriage. This is not the same as being happy about it.)

    In the case you mention the husband is, of course, a monster. But the woman must still consent to marry him. A “forced” marriage is impossible.

  25. I doubt anybody here would kidnap a woman whose family they’ve killed, keep her locked up in their house for a month, then force them to be their wife. Would you? Are you actually friends with anybody who would?

    You’re projecting 2014 Western standards on the Israelites during the Biblical recording of the conquest of Canaan.

    God told them to kill everyone. They weren’t just indiscriminately slaughtering people for sport. They were being used as agents to execute God’s judgment.

    Any women who were kept alive and taken were actually recipients of mercy, whether or not they were able to see it that way.

    You keep saying you’re just saying how you “feel” but it is unwise (I think) to read Scripture that way. If you lived back then you wouldn’t feel the way you do now because you would be a product of that culture, not this one.

  26. @Elspeth & MtC

    You keep saying you’re just saying how you “feel” but it is unwise (I think) to read Scripture that way.

    What I do is pretty much what MtC is doing (examining how I feel about what I’ve read) and then do what Elspeth says (recognize that my feelings are unwise). Then I think about why my feelings are out of sync (or seem to be) with God’s instructions, and attempt to harness my gut feelings and put them in sync. That often fails. When it does, then I pray about it, and keep thinking about it while I’m doing other things.

    Then, one day, while I’m smoking a picnic shoulder, plowing a garden, sawing lumber, executing fatherly discipline, moving…it comes upon me: I never really know what I’m getting myself into when I begin a project that is worthwhile (because tables, flower beds, children and especially pulled pork sandwiches are very good things), and if I did I probably wouldn’t have started. That doesn’t say much good of me because those are small problems, even if worthwhile.

    So what do I know about how to feel about what is good and right for God to say? I must conclude that my feelings are too soft and ask God to rebuild me with sterner stuff.

  27. I think all responses to me, by the way, have been good, so please don’t think I’m dismissing the things people have written here.

    The idea, to me, seems to be similar to Moses’s rules on divorce: Don’t do it, but if you’re going to anyway…

  28. Cane Caldo says:
    June 9, 2014 at 4:23 pm

    “children and especially pulled pork sandwiches are very good things”

    Yes, they are! The kids and I made pulled pork tacos last week, and they turned out great!

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