God is a just and righteous God, who abhors sin. And just like there are rules and laws that govern our land and are enforced when one of us breaks the law, likewise are there laws that were given to God’s chosen people, the Jews, and subsequent punishment for when they transgressed, or sinned against those laws.
In the Torah, or the Law of Moses, there were 613 laws. They ranged from ceremonial (animal sacrifice/sanitary & ritual) laws, dietary laws, universal (moral) laws, civil laws, etc. But depending on which law you broke, there was a different consequence for your actions. Not all sins were punishable the same way. Some transgressions were punishable by having the criminal pay a fine while others were punishable by death, in order to purge the evil out from amongst the people.
There is a special emphasis placed on sexual sins, though. In Leviticus 20, most sexual sins, if committed by mutual consent, were punishable by death. God hates sexual immorality and he compares sexual immoral sins like adultery to idolatry, because pagans used to practice sexual immoral behavior such as homosexuality, anal sex/sodomy, orgies, incest, etc. as a form of worship to their idol gods. When one of God’s covenant people defile, or prostitute themselves in such an immoral way, they are committing both adultery and idolatry against Him, and this should not be, because God is a jealous God.
In the case of Deuteronomy 22:22-27, if a man has CONSENSUAL sex with another man’s wife or with an engaged woman, they are both to be put to death. However, if a man RAPES an engaged woman, he is to be put to death alone because she was defenseless and committed no sin. But then, interestingly enough, in vs. 28-29, if a man RAPES a VIRGIN, he must marry her?!? Huh?
First of all, the reason why the rapist isn’t forced to marry the engaged woman, is because she is already betrothed to get married. Secondly, it would seem that marrying the virgin woman he raped would be punishment for HER, but it is not, because she is innocent. It may be embarrassing and humiliating, perhaps, but not punishment. Innocent people don’t get punished. Being fined monetarily , having to marry her and then being commanded not to divorce her is a form of punishment for HIM. The rapist can’t just get off easily for what he has done. He must pay for it.
Jesus mentioned in Matthew 19:8, that under the Law of Moses, men were able to divorce their wife if their hearts were hard towards them. But in the case where a man rapes a virgin, not only does he have to pay the woman’s father 1 1/4 pounds of silver to compensate for raping his daughter, but he must also marry her, AND will not be allowed to divorce her, even if his heart is hard towards her! She is his responsibility for the rest of his days. You can look at it as, “You break it, you buy it.”
And if you think about it, in Jewish culture during that time, women were looked at a disgrace if they were not a virgin by the time they got married (no matter if they were raped, a prostitute, adulteress, etc.) EXAMPLE: Tamar was raped by her half-brother, Amnon, and was put to shame because of him. She lived the rest of her life in her other brother Absalom’s house, and never got married (2 Samuel 13). Mother Mary was supernaturally impregnated with Jesus by the Holy Spirit before she got married to Joseph, and he almost broke up their engagement because of that (Matthew 1:19). Not many men during that day would want to marry a woman who was not a virgin. Thus, the raped woman would be desolate, shunned and alone her whole life. It’s a lose-lose for her: either marry your rapist or risk the possibility of never have a husband.
But by marrying her rapist, she now has a guaranteed husband, security, inheritance (she can have children) and a head covering… And NOTE: this is only if the father agrees to give her up to the rapist. The father can choose not to allow his daughter to marry the rapist. It all depends on the individual situation and what seems to be the best decision.
Again, the custom and culture of that time is different from the ones in this time. Nowadays, no father would consider giving their daughter up to her rapist. Nowadays, there are many women who get married who are no longer virgins… But if they have repented, then they are forgiven of their sexual sins by God, and if they have favor with the man who chooses to marry her, then they will be loved and accepted by him despite her past.
The Bible in no way encourages rape. Rape is a sexual immoral sin, and the Bible mentions all over, that God is against sexual immorality, and that the sexually immoral will not inherit the kingdom of God. So if the sexually immoral will not get into heaven, why would the Bible encourage us to practice it?
Just because the bible mentions rape doesn’t mean that it encourages rape. Remember, the bible is a historical document, so it records the facts. Rape is a crime that happened back in the day and it’s a crime that’s still happening today. There is nothing new under the sun.
What the Bible does do, though, is give us:
(1) the CONSEQUENCES of rape (and depending on the case, it is punishable by death, or by being forced to marry the victim);
(2) the EFFECTS of rape (the woman would unfortunately be made a disgrace, lose her integrity, would be shunned by the community, and may live the rest of her life desolate);
(3) the RESPONSES of others to rape (most people ended up murdering the one who raped their loved one due to hatred and vengeance [another sin which is not justifiable], or they stoned them to death under the Law [which is God’s righteousness.])