Hi, my name is Michael. I made a profession of faith when I was 11. I began to question in my teens and was pretty much an atheist 2 years ago. I had some things happen in 2018 that made me more open to the possibility of a benevolent God, and in the last year I’ve come to the point where I really want to believe in God and Jesus, but its not always easy.
Anyways, Deuteronomy 22 has been really bothering me. I don’t see how a benevolent God could have signed off on some of some of these laws which sound like they’d have horrifically punished the innocent rather than the guilty.
I’ll go in order:
13 If a man takes a wife and, after sleeping with her, dislikes her 14 and slanders her and gives her a bad name, saying, “I married this woman, but when I approached her, I did not find proof of her virginity,” 15 then the young woman’s father and mother shall bring to the town elders at the gate proof that she was a virgin. 16 Her father will say to the elders, “I gave my daughter in marriage to this man, but he dislikes her. 17 Now he has slandered her and said, ‘I did not find your daughter to be a virgin.’ But here is the proof of my daughter’s virginity.” Then her parents shall display the cloth before the elders of the town, 18 and the elders shall take the man and punish him. 19 They shall fine him a hundred shekels[b] of silver and give them to the young woman’s father, because this man has given an Israelite virgin a bad name. She shall continue to be his wife; he must not divorce her as long as he lives.
20 If, however, the charge is true and no proof of the young woman’s virginity can be found, 21 she shall be brought to the door of her father’s house and there the men of her town shall stone her to death. She has done an outrageous thing in Israel by being promiscuous while still in her father’s house. You must purge the evil from among you.
Sorry for the text wall but there’s several things in here that really bother me. First, it seems to imply a bloody cloth is evidence of virginity. Not every woman bleeds during her first sexual encounter. Also, it seems like a false accusation is a crime against the bride’s father rather than the bride herself. Most troublingly, I don’t understand why allowing a woman to stay married to a man that tried to have her killed is even an option.
23 If a man happens to meet in a town a virgin pledged to be married and he sleeps with her, 24 you shall take both of them to the gate of that town and stone them to death—the young woman because she was in a town and did not scream for help, and the man because he violated another man’s wife. You must purge the evil from among you.
My issue with this is it seems to equate silence with consent. Some people freeze in high stress situations. An attacker could just cover their victim’s mouth or threaten to kill them if they made noise.
I don’t have a verse to quote for this one. I can’t find anything in the bible addressing the sexual abuse of children. It seems to me it should have been addressed in this chapter along with an appropriate penalty.
Finally, let me skip ahead to Chapter 26.
16 The Lord your God commands you this day to follow these decrees and laws; carefully observe them with all your heart and with all your soul.
Does this mean all the laws in Deuteronomy came from God? I don’t get how a loving God could approve of this.
I don’t really have a pastor I trust with questions of this nature. I looked online and asked relatives, and couldn’t find an answer that satisfied me. I found biologos when trying to reconcile the Bible with what I knew about the natural world and came here to ask if I was missing something. I hope that’s OK.
I’d really appreciate any help anyone could give me.