Scripture Under Fire

Atheists often make accusations against the Bible, flattering themselves  that in their own cleverness they have found ‘the argument’  that the enemies of the Judeo-Christian scriptures have been unable to make in more than three thousand years of history.

One that I have heard lately is the preposterous claim that the Bible actually condones rape! You would think that if the scriptures actually taught that, the enemies of the Judeo Christian revelation would have siezed upon that one long ago, and totally destroyed any credibility of the Bible with decent people.

This calumny actually arises from a deliberate misinterpretation of Deuteronomy 22:28-29;

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;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.

The problem comes from the interpretation of the Hebrew expression “Lay hold on her and lie with her”.

‘Taphas’ is the Hebrew word for “Lay hold on her”, and it can mean “to catch, handle, lay hold, take hold of, seize, wield…”. It doesn’t necessitate a wrongful handling, or laying hold of.

‘Shakab’ is the Hebrew word meaning “to Lie down”. It is used of consensual,marital sexual relations in Leviticus,

“If a man lies with a woman so that there is a seminal emission, they shall both bathe in water and be unclean until evening.” Leviticus 15:18

What we have here is the law concerning seduction, not rape. In no way is rape condoned in any part of the Bible, a simple reading of the larger context of Deuteronomy 22:25-29 easily confirms this.

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.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:For he found her in the field, and the betrothed damsel cried, and there was none to save her.(The Law concerning Rape)

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;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.(The Law concerning seduction)

Notice that verse 25 gives the Law regarding rape,but uses an entirely different word than that in verses 28-29. The word used in vs 25 is chazaq- “to force”.

In the other stories of the Bible that recount rape, none of them use the expression “taphas Shekahb” as in the Deuternomy 22:28-29 passage.

Finally it is patently obvious that the teaching and ethic and the whole spirit of the Bible in no ways promotes rape, neither Judaiam or Chrstianity are known for sanctioned rape, this is a ludicrous calumny. The ultimate embodiment of scripture, is the Lord Jesus Christ, need I say more?

There has never been a greater force for the elevation and dignity of woman than the Revelation of God in the Hebrew and Christian scriptures.


10 Responses to Scripture Under Fire

  1. john says:

    I could not understand the bible, until I became bornagain by the Spirit of God. those who think they know things about the word of God without the Spirit giving them insight are foolish.

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  4. Dr Peter Felter says:

    Dear Pastor Bill Randles
    Greetings in the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
    Since I do not have your e-mail address (and could not find it on the blog) please forgive me for sending this through here; I thought it was apt to use the Scripture under fire heading!

    I have read several of your interesting prophecy notes. Please allow me therefore to inform you about my book “GETHSEMANE – My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from Me” now available at:

    The book is confessedly a heavy-duty Bible study (“strong meat”); it proves – examining only Scripture – that in Gethsemane the Lord Jesus Christ did not ‘agonize’ in fear and dread about the death on the cross.

    Gethsemane was the scene of real and dramatic events involving the Lord and the Heavenly hosts and angels. A real battle took place.

    Excerpt from the Editorial Review:
    “This book is overflowing with intense, careful and focused investigation of scripture …sharing with readers the treasure of truths hidden in the nuances of language.
    The experience of reading this book will be eye-opening at every turn and will bring readers ever closer to God.
    The author has gone to great lengths to provide his readers with a fully comprehensive volume that will make them understand their Savior Jesus Christ better than they ever could have imagined”.

    The premise of the book is that the Bible is the inerrant Word of God to be understood plainly and literally and that “Every Scripture is God-breathed”, testifying about the Lord God and Saviour Jesus Christ.

    The book not only destroys the hoary and evil myth that our Lord pleaded with tears in angst and dread to draw back from the death on the cross, but examines in detail what the Scriptures indicate really took place (both on earth and in the Heavens) – and these events truly magnify our Lord God and Saviour Jesus Christ.
    Allow me to prayerfully commend the book to you; I hope you may read it, find the book a true blessing and find it to be a work which merits commending to other brothers and sisters in Christ.

    Almighty God bless you in your life and work, in the Name of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

    Yours sincerely
    Dr Peter Felter, PhD (Cantab)

  5. mywordlikefire says:

    Hi Pastor,
    The Message “bible” omits homosexual sin in two New Testament passages.

  6. nicholas says:

    I would like to find a website that deals strictly with passages like this that antichrist people use to belittle the bible, any recommendations?

  7. Ellie Rae says:

    Even in our society there is a difference between forcible rape, and statutory rape where both parties are consenting to sex but one of them is under age or “in her father’s house.” The Bible verse you gave first is obviously talking about statutory rape, not forcible rape. Years ago, a “shotgun wedding” was the remedy for this. Totally different from the second scripture you gave, where it plainly says “force.” I believe people take Bible verses like the first one you gave, or verses on wifely submission to an egregious erroneous conclusion so as to justify their not believing in or obeying them at all. Thanks for the post.

  8. Kris says:

    Dr. Felter
    I have just ordered the Gethsemane Book and look forward to reading it …Thank you for bringing it to our attention!

  9. Pingback: Does the Bible Support Rape? ~ Deuteronomy 22:28-29 | Religio-Political Talk (RPT)

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