Biblical Principle #96: Rape is Sinful

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Rape is sinful.


We previously established that sexual relationships outside of a married husband and wife, male and female, are sinful.

One category of sexual relationships that does not get discussed often is rape: forced or non-consensual sexual contact or intercourse.

Genesis 34 tells the story of how Jacob’s daughter Dinah was apparently raped by a Hivite (Canaanite) named Shechem.

1 Now Dinah the daughter of Leah, whom she bore to Jacob, went out to see the daughters of the land. 2 But when Shechem the son of Hamor the Hivite, a ruler of the land, saw her, he took her, lay with her, and violated her. 3 Now his soul was strongly attracted to Dinah the daughter of Jacob, and he loved the young woman and sought to win her heart. 4 Then Shechem spoke to his father Hamor, saying, “Get this young woman as a wife for me.”

5 But Jacob heard Hamor’s son had defiled Dinah his daughter. Now his sons were with his cattle in the field; so Jacob held his peace until they came. 6 Then Hamor the father of Shechem went out to Jacob to speak with him. 7 Now the sons of Jacob came in from the field when they heard it; and the men were stunned and extremely grieved, because he had done a disgraceful thing in Israel by lying with Jacob’s daughter, something that should never have happened. 8 But Hamor spoke with them, saying, “My son Shechem is passionately in love with your daughter. Give her to him as a wife. 9 Make marriages with us; give us your daughters, and take our daughters for your sons. 10 Dwell among us, and behold, the land before you is spacious. Dwell therein and trade, and acquire possessions in it.”

Genesis 34:1-10 OSB

The sons of Jacob ultimately got revenge by telling the Hivite men they could not intermarry with their people while the Hivites were uncircumcised. The Hivites got circumcised and, while in severe pain, Jacob’s sons Simeon and Levi slaughtered them and plundered their possessions. They even took their wives, children, and servants captive.

Jacob was angry because he felt this put a proverbial target on his back, but Simeon and Levi replied, “Should he treat our sister like a prostitute?”

Ultimately, rape is a combination of sins. It is coveting what does not belong to you. It is theft, taking what does not belong to you. Rape is driven by lust, not true love (which wants what is best for the other person). And, on top of these sins (and more), rape is fornication—sex apart from marriage.

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