Does Deuteronomy 21:10-14 condemn rape or does it sanction rape-forced marriage?

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The answer to the above is that, Yahweh does not condemn rape, but actually encourages/allows rape-forced marriage. The above passage mentioned is thrown around by Evangelists, according to them this passage gave captives a right, they were not allowed to be mistreated i.e., they were not allowed to be raped. However it is evident from this passage (Deuteronomy 21:10-14) and other verses from the Bible, that Moses on a number of occasions encouraged his men to capture virgins for their own pleasure-to rape them. Let’s now look at the passage they cite as evidence that Yahweh condemned rape. The passage reads as:

Deuteronomy 21:10-14 Expanded Bible (EXB) 
10 When you go to war against your enemies, the Lord will •help you defeat them [give them into your hands] so you will take them captive. 11 If you see a beautiful woman among the captives and are attracted to [desire; fall in love with] her, you may take her as your wife. 12 Bring her into your home, where she must shave her head and cut her nails 13 and change the clothes she was wearing when you captured her. After she has lived in your house and cried for her •parents [L father and her mother] for a month, you may marry her. You will be her husband, and she will be your wife. 14 But if you are not pleased with her, you must let her go anywhere she wants. You must not sell her for money or make her a slave, because you have taken away her honor [humiliated; exploited her].

The command from Yahweh to soldiers, whoever goes out to war and he sees a woman, if he is attracted to her, he can “TAKE” the woman and force her to marry him after one month of mourning. Does that sound anything like this passage forbids rape? The word ‘Take’ is in itself evidence that the woman was taken without her consent i.e., she was forced. Verse 14 makes it even more evident by the words:- “because you have •taken away her honor [humiliated; exploited her]”, in other words you raped her, you have humiliated her enough, just let her go if you like to, not what she wants, but what the man desires. There was no consent involved, all the man had to do is wait one month, so he can be sure that she is not pregnant and after that, he could do what he wills, and the woman had no choice in the matter. Missionaries must be living in fairyland for them to try bring this verse as a defence that woman were not allowed to be raped according to the Bible. There are dodgy Bible translations for the above passage, so to make things extra clear that the verse allows rape and not forbid it. We have to look and see what the word ‘take’ in Hebrew means, when used in Deuteronomy 21:10-14. The word that is used for verse 11 ‘take’, in Hebrew is laqach (or lakakh):

Hebrew word lakakh

Let’s see what the Hebrew word ‘Laqach’ (לָקַח ) means:

I. to take, get, fetch, lay hold of, seize, receive, acquire, buy, bring, marry, take a wife, snatch, take away
A. (Qal)
i. to take, take in the hand
ii. to take and carry along
iii. to take from, take out of, take, carry away, take away
iv. to take to or for a person, procure, get, take possession of, select, choose, take in marriage, receive, accept
v. to take up or upon, put upon
vi. to fetch
vii. to take, lead, conduct
viii. to take, capture, seize
ix. to take, carry off
x. to take (vengeance) [1]

Notice the Hebrew word ‘Laqach’ means:- ‘lay hold of’, ‘seize’, ‘snatch’. According to the above definitions for the word, the passage Christians cite as defence that the Bible forbids rape actually backfires on missionaries. As we have read so far, the verse is clear that the soldier when taking a woman in war as a captive, he took it by ‘force’, there was no consent. The passage itself nowhere says that the woman agreed to be taken, to be the soldier’s wife. Let’s read further evidence that is passage is about rape-forced marriage.

One of the best known Bible Translations is the ‘Good News Translation’. The passage, Deuteronomy 21:10-14 translated from Hebrew to English, reads as:
Deuteronomy 21:10-14 Good News Translation (GNT)
10 “When the Lord your God gives you victory in battle and you take prisoners, 11 you may see among them a beautiful woman that you like and want to marry. 12 Take her to your home, where she will shave her head, cut her fingernails, 13 and change her clothes. She is to stay in your home and mourn for her parents for a month; after that, you may marry her. 14 Later, if you no longer want her, you are to let her go free. Since you forced her to have intercourse with you, you cannot treat her as a slave and sell her.

What I been discussing all along that the passage is about rape-forced marriage, GNT agrees and makes it plain in verse 14 that the soldier forced to have sex with the captive woman. From the words:- “Since you forced her to have intercourse with you”, it is clear that this is the clearest example that the Bible encourages forced marriage-rape. Let’s show even more evidences from Scholars that the passage is about forced marriage-rape. Let’s now bring more evidences, this time for verse 14 that the word translated in English Bible translations ‘humiliated’ is Anah’ which means rape, i.e. the soldier humiliated her by having forced sex with the woman.

hebrew word anah

According to the Book: ‘The International Standard Bible Encloypedia’, the Hebrew word ‘Anah’ means:

1. OT.-A. As a verb. 1. Sexual Intercourse. Heb. ‘ana’ is used in Gen. 34:2 of Shechem’s rape of Dinah. Ezekiel condemns the men of Jerusalem who ‘humble’ (ana) women ‘unclean in their impurity’ (22:10). The verb is thus a euphemism for sexual intercourse (cf. Dt. 21:14; 22:24, 29) and is frequently equivalent to rape (Jgs. 19:24; 20:5; 2S. 13:12, 14, 22, 32; Lam. 5:11). [2]

Biblical Scholar K. Renato Lings also echoes the same words as the previous statement on the word ‘Anah’, he writes:

“The verb ‘anah’ is deployed in some parts of the HB to describe seduction, sexual assault, or rape-like scenarios. On account of its primary meaning ‘oppress’ or ‘humiliate’, sexual aggression is regarded as an act of humiliation. In genesis 34:2, for instance, Shechem saw Jacob’s daughter Dinah and took her, lay with her and ‘humiliated’ or ‘debased’ her.” [3]

Notice how the Hebrew word ‘anah’ is ‘equivalent to rape’ or how Biblical scholar K..Renato Lings states that the word ‘anah’ is deployed in the Holy Bible for “sexual assault, or rape-like scenarios.”

Conclusion: It is abundantly clear from the evidences shown that Deuteronomy 21:10-14 encourages rape, and it clearly does not condemn rape. The evidence presented, has totally debunked the fanciful thinking by Christian Apologists about the passage giving captives rights i.e. they were not allowed to be raped. The word ‘humiliated’ in vast majority of Bible translations, meant that the man sexually forced himself upon the woman. The man raped her.


[1] On the word Laqach
[2] The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia: E-J Volume 2 [Copy Right 1982] edited by Geoffrey W. Bromile page 775
[3] Love Lost in Translation: Homosexuality and the Bible By K. Renato Lings page 464

Deuteronomy 21:10-14 rape forced marriage

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13 Responses »

  1. Even Wikipedia knows, History, Antiquity

    “The Torah: The Torah in Deuteronomy 21:10-14 allows the taking of a female captive only within the context of marriage. The female captive must be brought to the home and, following the month in which she is given to mourn, the man must decide to either take her as a wife or set her free. According to Rabbi Yohanan in the Jerusalem Talmud, only after deciding to marry the female captive are sexual relations permitted. This in effect prohibits rape in the process of war, but does not prohibit forced marriages and marital rape.”

  2. Horseshit. None of that talks about rape. You’re a dumbass who doesn’t know the language or the culture. The bible never condones rape. It’s the exact opposite. When morons don’t know history, language, customs or culture they should just shut up and talk about something they do understand. Idiot.

    • Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible biblehub

      because thou hast humbled her; which phrase it must be owned is often, used of unlawful commerce with a woman, of defiling her, or violating her chastity;

      Targum Jonathan Jewish Aramaic Torah on Deuteronomy 21:14

      But if thou hast no pleasure in her, then thou mayest send her away, only with a writing of divorce: but thou shalt in no wise sell her for money, nor make merchandise of her, after thou hast had intercourse with her.

      Mishneh says if you have had sex with her then seized her and wanted to make her a slave your not allowed.
      Mishneh Torah, Kings and Wars Deut. 21:14


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