The Cost of Mis-Reading Part III Does the Bible Prescribe the Public Humiliation of Women by their Husbands?

  1. Deuteronomy 22:13-21 A New Bride Accused

This text is often described in terms of what should be done in the case of a woman who is married and found not to be a virgin.  In fact, it is about what to do when a private matter is dealt with in a public and inappropriate way.

V14 The accusation was based on evidence that really would be destroyed with the discovery.V15 Those who love her most are called as her first line of defense

         Offer what evidence they can- there is some discussion as to whether this is evidence of virginity or menstruation, as the only legitimate concern here could be if the new bride is pregnant with someone else’s child and will try to bring that child secretly into the marriage

V16 The father brings the charge- against the husband
V17 The father shows the evidence
V18 the man is taken and chastised
V19 fined for public defamation

He cannot initiate divorce against her ever.
But keep in mind, in Judaism, either party can be issued a “get” or writ of divorce.

20-21 The woman guilty of such charges will be stoned to death, however,
a. capitol sentences required 2 or more agreeing witnesses
b. the women could not be required to testify against herself. 

The husband’s charges could be easily dismissed.
Issues: he cannot divorce her- this does not preclude that she might not divorce him.

Imagine how this plays out in life: A man marries a woman either as in attempt to steal her dowry, or he because he believes he can get power over her by publicly shaming her.  The man makes a scene accusing his wife of indecency.  Now that he has publicly been proven wrong, he loses his right to divorce her.  She, on the other hand can divorce her if he mistreats her.  She now can hold his accusations and his humiliation over his head, and he has no escape.  The result of this ruling, when considered in practice is not a prescription to humiliate women, but to put them in the place of power where they are publicly wronged in this way.  Rather than promote misogyny, this may have been a remedy to fraud committed by men at the expense of women.  So, no. Women are not defiled by marriage but they might be degraded by their husbands. While it should not ha

Leave a Reply

Leave a Reply