Daily Devotions


Day 186

"Teach me, O LORD, the way of Your statutes, and I shall keep it to the end." Psalm 119:33

Text: Exodus 22 : 16-17


Any good judicial laws would plan to cover as many areas as possible. Some of these laws appear very straightforward. But in reality, all laws must be studied and applied most carefully!

“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. If her father utterly refuses to give
her to him, he shall pay money according to the
bride-price of virgins.”
EXODUS 22:16-17

1. Context of “Marriage” in the ancient days

This text must be read in the light of the fact that marriages were contracted when girls were barely out of their teens! Fathers possessed special authority! They could accept or reject a marriage proposal!

2. “If a man entices a virgin who is not betrothed…”

The “virgin” in this text would refer to a very young girl! The word “entice” was used correctly. The man may be likened to a predator and the young girl a prey! She is innocent and naive about the ways of the flesh and thus she is deceived through enticement (Singapore has laws that punish offenders who have sex with girls below fifteen years of age. Statutory rape is a punishable offence)!

3. “He shall surely pay the bride-price”

The law offers a legal solution. The man may offer to marry the girl that he has enticed! He must pay “the bride-price” as a dowry to the girl he has enticed!

4. “If her father utterly refuses to give her to him…”

The girl in question is obviously a minor! The father has full authority over her. Being father, and being much older, he would be able to determine whether he should accept the marriage proposal.

If the father’s assessment of the man who enticed his daughter is unsuitable, then he may turn down the marriage proposal. He may have his reasons. He may note that the man in question would not be good husband material!

5. “He shall pay money according to the bride-price of virgins”

No amount of money would erase the shame and trauma felt by the girl and her family. The penalty of paying “the bride-price of a virgin” would never be able to compensate what the young victim must have suffered!

The enticer must be made to pay for his misdeed. He must realize that he cannot get away with enticing young girls without being penalized by the courts of Israel! Punitive penalties must match the crime committed!