Today’s daily lectionary reading was Deuteronomy 22:13-30. I won’t copy the whole text here, but these are the key points:
- The onus is on a woman to prove her virginity. This is already problematic that her life is dependent on her virginity, but it becomes even more problematic when you consider that the test isn’t reliable; women don’t always bleed the first time she has sex. If she didn’t bleed on her wedding night, she is killed.
- If it turns out she has been falsely accused, the man is whipped and pays a fine to the bride’s father. In other words, slandering your wife in a way that risks putting her to death carries less of a punishment than maybe having had sex before the wedding night.
- If a man has sex with an engaged or married woman in the town and she is not screaming for help, they are both put to death. The assumption here is that if she isn’t willing, she would scream for help. What if she simply goes into shock and doesn’t know what to do? What if he’s strong enough to keep her mouth covered? Who determines whether she screamed loud enough to prove she didn’t want it?