Biblical Principle #263: Law’s Compensation for Virgin

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The Law of Moses provided instruction for Israel in situations where an Israelite seduced a virgin.


Under the Law of Moses, in situations where there wasn’t a preannounced wedding arrangement and an Israelite male had sex with a virgin female Israelite, fair compensation was to be given to the female’s father.

15 “If a man entices a virgin who is not betrothed and lies with her, he shall surely pay the bride-price for her to be his wife. 16 But if her father utterly refuses to give her to him, he shall pay money to her father according to the bride-price of virgins.

Exodus 22:15-16 OSB

Israelite culture often included a bride-price payment to the father of the bride for marriage. However, depending upon the age and family circumstances, the father had a strong say in whether the girl/woman was permitted to marry the proposing boy/man.

One interesting reminder is that, from the beginning, marriage was defined by GOD as the leaving of father and mother and being joined as one flesh together. It was the traditions of men that turned marriage into ceremony and governmental procedure. Thus, such behavior among single Israelites—assuming mutual consent and understanding of their commitment—was perfectly consistent with GOD’s design of marriage.

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