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Discussion Forum : Scriptures and Doctrine : Women as Booty of War - OT

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 Women as Booty of War - OT

Hey folks. I've been having some problems with the Old Testament - I'm experiencing a kind of "cognitive dissonance" between the laws that God gave man and the personality of Jesus. One law in particular pretty much states that, if you see a hot chick among the captives after a battle, and you want to get with her, wait one month while she grieves for her parents (that she probably watched you kill), then "humble" (have your way with) her... but when she doesn't please you any more, you can toss her out the door. But you can't sell her, because you already "humbled" her.

Can someone please explain how this law came from the Father of Jesus? Scripture below.

"10 When thou goest forth to war against thine enemies, and the LORD thy God hath delivered them into thine hands, and thou hast taken them captive,
11 And seest among the captives a beautiful woman, and hast desire unto her, that thou wouldest have her to thy wife;
12 Then thou shalt bring her home to thine house; and she shall shave her head, and pare her nails;
13 And she shall put the raiment of her captivity from off her, and shall remain in thine house, and bewail her father and her mother a full month: and after that thou shalt go in unto her, and be her husband, and she shall be thy wife.
14 And it shall be, if thou have no delight in her, then thou shalt let her go whither she will; but thou shalt not sell her at all for money, thou shalt not make merchandise of her, because thou hast humbled her." (DEUT 21:10-14)

 2007/5/5 14:11
philologos
Member



Joined: 2003/7/18
Posts: 6566
Reading, UK

 Re: Women as Booty of War - OT

Quote:
Can someone please explain how this law came from the Father of Jesus?


Part of the explanation of many of these laws is God restraining men rather than remaking them. Of the law of divorce Jesus said “And he answered and said unto them, What did Moses command you? And they said, Moses suffered to write a bill of divorcement, and to put her away. And Jesus answered and said unto them, For the hardness of your heart he wrote you this precept. But from the beginning of the creation God made them male and female.” (Mark 10:3-6 KJVS)That is to say that God's original purposes for men and women had been modified by the 'hardness of men's hearts'. The law, says Paul, makes nothing perfect. It was not intended to but it was intended as a restraint upon the consequences of those 'hard hearts'.

The Sinai law was a temporary imposition...“[consisting] only of meats and drinks and divers washings, ordinances of flesh, imposed until [the] time of setting things right.”(Heb 9:10 DRBY)Christ did not come to add more restraint but to set things right.


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Ron Bailey

 2007/5/5 18:08Profile
theopenlife
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Joined: 2007/1/30
Posts: 926


 Re:

Philologos, great answer. I wish someone had told me that in 9th grade when I first came across verses like these!

To add to what was said, consider that these women would be destitute, having lost their husbands in war. Rather than leaving them undefended and unprovided for there is a law instituted to allow NON-JEWS into the family of Israel. In my view incredible mercy is shown here.

Remember that this was pre-grocery store and police department. Women had a much greater dependence upon the strength of men and the protection of marriage.

As for "a beautiful woman", men have different tastes and I'm certain the Lord can impress various standards of beauty to accomplish His will.

 2007/5/5 18:26Profile
roadsign
Member



Joined: 2005/5/2
Posts: 3776


 Re:

In view of what typically happens in wartimes - women getting raped, tortured, killed, etc, this sounds like a very appealing restraint!

Also, when we consider that even today countless women are being sold and treated like merchandise, this is also a very humanitarian restraint:

Quote:
thou shalt not sell her at all for money, thou shalt not make merchandise of her




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Diane

 2007/5/5 18:42Profile









 Re: Women as Booty of War - OT

Thanks for all your replies. Verses like these have disturbed me for over a decade.

 2007/5/5 18:53
Nile
Member



Joined: 2007/3/28
Posts: 403
Raleigh, NC

 Re:

I concur, thanks for the replies.


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Matthew Miskiewicz

 2007/5/5 19:26Profile
RobertW
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Joined: 2004/2/12
Posts: 4636
Independence, Missouri

 Re: Women as Booty of War - OT


"10 When thou goest forth to war against thine enemies, and the LORD thy God hath delivered them into thine hands, and thou hast taken them captive,
11 And seest among the captives a beautiful woman, and hast desire unto her, that thou wouldest have her to thy wife;
12 Then thou shalt bring her home to thine house; and she shall shave her head, and pare her nails;
13 And she shall put the raiment of her captivity from off her, and shall remain in thine house, and bewail her father and her mother a full month: and after that thou shalt go in unto her, and be her husband, and she shall be thy wife.
14 And it shall be, if thou have no delight in her, then thou shalt let her go whither she will; but thou shalt not sell her at all for money, thou shalt not make merchandise of her, because thou hast humbled her." (DEUT 21:10-14)

I have been pondering this passage in light of Ezra Chapter 10 for a few weeks now and marvel at the complexities of the written law. Here we have in effect 'strange wives' being authorized to be taken from among Israel's enemies. 'Strange wives' have a history of turning the hearts of God fearing and God loving men away from Him. (I Kings 11:1-3)

You will notice that she was to shave her head and nails. This would have certainly been an affront on her beauty as women of the Gentiles often broided their hair and wore costly array in order to seduce. (I Tim 2:9, Prov 6:24-35) She was in effect stripped of a great part of her beauty as if to sober the mind of the man who took her. This, to me, forced the man to reconsider taking a wife merely on the outward appearance.

And she shall put the raiment of her captivity from off her, and shall remain in thine house, and bewail her father and her mother a full month: and after that thou shalt go in unto her, and be her husband, and she shall be thy wife.

This is almost like a 1 month trial for the man. She is shorn and without the clothing and other articles of beauty she likely had when he first lifted up his eyes to behold her. She has been weeping for 30 days which certainly added nothing to her countenance if he were merely looking on the outward appearance. [i]... and after [u]that[/u] thou shalt go in unto her[/i]. 'That' is a huge word in this passage? The 'that' was God's provision for offering the man opportunity to change his mind. One of the great problems of our times is the many many folk who married based on some outward appearance. The enemy always wants to make sinners look like movie stars and Christian men who love God look like nerds (pardon the expression). I wonder how many men still kept the woman after this 30 day process?

When we get to Ezra 10 we have an odd situation indeed. We have Israel putting away their 'strange wives' and children. This, indeed, is a mystery. We just read where God allowed 'strange wives' to be taken. When we get to I Corinthians Paul tells us not to put away an unbelieving spouse if she/he be pleased to dwell with us. So what happened?

I think the key is found in the track record of these women who to a great extent brought evil upon Israel. This was the curse Balaam never got to speak- but yet effected it none the less (Rev 2:14). Inter marriage with unbelievers has been a curse upon God's people forever it seems. But if he/she be pleased to dwell with thee...(I Cor 7:12) What does this mean?

Could it mean that 'strange wives' are only [u]S[/u]trange [u]W[/u]ives if they are bent on following their own religion and attempting to turn the heart of the believer away from God? This seems to be the key, I think. But how rare is it? How often is it that a believer marries an unbeliever and they are content with their believing spouses religion? Perhaps we have all seen it. I can't begin to number the women I know who married an unbeliever and he tore her away from God. Or a man that had a wife that complained and acted out until he threw in the towel. They are still together in marriage but estranged from God. And I think our original passage is God's attempt to get the man to think twice (30 days over) about what he is about to do.


_________________
Robert Wurtz II

 2007/5/5 21:54Profile









 Re:

Robert, thanks for pointing these things out.

Sure was a "Catch 22" for the woman (or, just as likely, young girl) though. Shave your head and marry one of the men that killed your family... or be sold into slavery (and if she was beautiful, I assume, it meant she'd be a slave-harlot).

Does this kind of thing reduce Mosaic law (not including the Ten Commandments) to a set of "rules of lesser evils"?

 2007/5/6 4:43
UniqueWebRev
Member



Joined: 2007/2/9
Posts: 640
Southern California

 Re:

Quote:

Corey_H wrote:
Robert, thanks for pointing these things out.

Sure was a "Catch 22" for the woman (or, just as likely, young girl) though. Shave your head and marry one of the men that killed your family... or be sold into slavery (and if she was beautiful, I assume, it meant she'd be a slave-harlot).

Does this kind of thing reduce Mosaic law (not including the Ten Commandments) to a set of "rules of lesser evils"?



Corey,

Remember that the whole point of the Law was to expose the sin we are prone to, and show up like the jewel it is the grace we live under in Christ.

Blessings,

Forrest


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Forrest Anderson

 2007/5/6 5:19Profile
RobertW
Member



Joined: 2004/2/12
Posts: 4636
Independence, Missouri

 Re:

Quote:
Does this kind of thing reduce Mosaic law (not including the Ten Commandments) to a set of "rules of lesser evils"?



From Ezra onward we have the development of what came to be Rabbinic Judaism. In the first century several hundred years after Ezra the Jews had taken to heart the need to be 'separate' from the gentiles and began calling even the Samaritans 'dogs'. They looked down on non-Jews.

Ron pointed out that hardness of heart was back of many of the laws. This is no doubt true. Some men would have murdered their wives just to be rid of them if they could not divorce them. Keep in mind that they could have had several wives if they could have afforded it so it was not a case of killing the one to get another. It was a viral attitude towards the woman in that he would have literally hated her and wanted her out of his sight. So the law, because of the hardness of heart, allowed the woman to go free and hence it spared her life. She did nothing to deserve death and the law protected her.

The law also in its penalties is a demonstration of the severity of the effect of sin upon humanity. This is seen in the penalties. Adultery, for example, got the death penalty. Why? Because it was a picture of the severity of the crime against humanity. In the law we see the wisdom of God in giving protocol for man's behavior. Any drifting from God's design has terrible natural consequences- so the law had penalties that show us how serious those natural consequences are. Whole volumes of books could be written on this topic.


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Robert Wurtz II

 2007/5/6 8:19Profile





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