The proposition (Dan 13:19-13:21)

“When the maids

Had gone out,

The two elders

Got up.

They ran to her.

They said.


The garden doors

Are shut!

No one can see us!

We are burning

With desire

For you!

Give your consent!

Lie with us!

If you refuse,

We will testify

Against you

That a young man

Was with you.

This was why

You sent your maids away.’”

The two elder judges seized the moment, once the maids were gone. They jumped up from their hiding place and ran over to the bathing Susanna. They made their proposition. They told Susanna that they were burning with desire for her, as if that was a good pitch. They wanted her to consent to have sex with them. They wanted consensual sex rather than rape her. However, they told her that if see did not agree, then they would testify against her. They were going to say that she sent her maids away, so that she could have sex with a non-existent young man. That was the deal, sex with them or be judged by them as committing adultery with someone else. What a strange choice.

The disrespect for people (Lam 5:11-5:12)

“Women are raped

In Zion.

Virgins are raped

In the towns

Of Judah.

Princes are

Hung up

By their hands.

No respect

Is shown

To the elders.”

People are disrespected. In the city of Jerusalem, Zion, they rape women. They also rape virgins in the Judean towns. They hang up princes of Jerusalem by their hands. Finally, no one respects the elderly. There does not seem to be a moral equivalency among these actions, since rape seems worse than disrespect for the elderly.

The prostitute (Prov 23:27-23:28)

“A prostitute is a deep pit.

An adulteress is a narrow well.

She lies in wait like a robber.

She increases the number of the faithless.”

Once again there is a warning about prostitutes and adulteress women who are trying to lure young men. They are like a deep pit or a narrow well. They will rob you since they lay in wait for you. These evil women are the cause of the increase in the number of the faithless. It is never the fault of the men, only the women. There are no admonitions to young women about males attempting to rape them. Perhaps they were more protected in this society.

The prayer of Judith about her ancestor Simeon (Jdt 9:2-9:4)

Judith said.

‘O Lord God of my ancestor Simeon,

To whom you gave a sword

To take revenge on those strangers

Who had torn off a virgin’s clothing to defile her.

They exposed her thighs

In order to put her to shame.

They polluted her womb to disgrace her.

You have said.

‘It shall not be done.’

Yet they did it.

You gave up their rulers to be killed.

Their bed,

Which was ashamed of the deceit they had practiced,

To be stained with blood,

You struck down slaves along with princes,

Princes on their thrones.

You gave up their wives for booty.

You gave up their daughters to captivity.

All their booty was to be divided among your beloved sons,

Who burned with zeal for you.

They abhorred the pollution of their blood.

They called on you for help.’”

This prayer is based on the story in Genesis, chapter 34, about the taking of Simeon’s sister Dinah by Shechem, whom a northern Israelite city has been named after. This story of Levi and Simeon on a rampage was one of the first confrontations with the Canaanites. Simeon did not want his sister to marry Shechem, after he had defiled her, so he killed him. Somehow Judith can trace her roots back to Simeon, some 1500 years earlier. It is odd that the motivation for her bravery will be a millennium old rape, which she describes in detail. Judith spoke of Dinah’s clothing defilement, her exposed thighs, and disgraced womb, although she never mentions her by name. Judith interpreted the story to mean that God let Simeon and Levi kill the perpetrators of this rape. In fact, the story went on to say, the other brothers of Simeon, the other tribe members, ransacked the whole town and all its people taking their stuff as booty. This was a strange brutal vengeful act in Genesis.

The crime of Gibeah (Judg 19:22-19:30)

“While they were enjoying themselves, the men of the city, a perverse lot, surrounded the house. They started pounding on the door. They said to the old man, the master of the house. ‘Bring out the man who came into your house, that we may have intercourse with him.’ The man, the master of the house, went out to them. He said to them. ‘No, my brethren, do not act so wickedly. Since this man is my guest, do not do this vile thing. Here are my virgin daughter and his concubine. Let me bring them out now. Ravish them. Do whatever you want to them. But against this man do not do such a vile thing.’ But the people would not listen to him. So the man seized his concubine. He put her out to them. They wantonly raped her. They abused her all through the night until the morning. As the dawn began to break, they let her go. As morning appeared, the woman came and fell down at the door of the man’s house where her master was, until it was light.”

This story is reminiscent of the story of Lot in Genesis, chapter 19, when Lot took in the 2 strangers. He was willing to offer his daughters so that they would not abuse his 2 male visitors. Once again, it is okay to have the 2 women abused, the old man’s virgin daughter and the Levite’s concubine, but not the Levite man who is a guest. There certainly was a double standard. The same story plays out here, but here there is no angel of Yahweh to destroy these Benjaminites and their town. Instead the Levite gives his concubine to the crowd and saves himself. The city men rape and abuse her all night long. They let her go as the morning light came. She made her way back to the front door of where the Levite was staying.

“In the morning, her master got up and opened the doors of the house. He went out to go on his way. There was his concubine lying at the door of the house, with her hands on the threshold. He said to her. ‘Get up! We are going.’ But there was no answer. Then he put her upon the donkey. The man set out for his home. When he had entered his house, he took a knife, and grasping his concubine he cut her, limb by limb, into twelve pieces. He sent her throughout all the territory of Israel. Then he commanded the men whom he sent, saying. ‘This shall you say to all the Israelites. ‘Has such a thing ever happened since the day that the Israelites came from the land of Egypt until this day? Consider it. Take counsel. Speak out.’”

The Levite is surprised that she is dead or at least unconscious. Now he is upset. Nothing like this had ever happened in Israel. He sent notice out to all the other tribes by cutting up her body into 12 pieces. He wanted them to consider this and speak out. Oddly there are not 12 tribes since he was not going to send one to the Benjaminites. Then there were the tribes on the east Jordan and little old Dan in the north. Obviously the Levite wanted to make a point with this dramatic gesture. She may not have been dead with he cut her.

Adultery and fornication (Deut 22:22-22:30)

“If a man is caught lying with the wife of another man, both of them shall die, the man who lay with the woman as well as the woman. So you shall purge the evil from Israel.”

Simple enough, adultery is punishable by death to both the man and woman, in order to purge the evil from Israel.

If there is a young woman, a virgin already engaged to be married, and a man meets her in the town and lies with her, you shall bring both of them to the gate of that town, and stone them to death. The young woman because she did not cry for help in the town.  The man because he violated his neighbor’s wife. So you shall purge the evil from your midst.”

Once again, simple enough, there is a communal stoning for anyone, male or female who is engaged, having sex with someone else, when they are not married. The woman should have cried for help. Being engaged was almost the equivalent of being the wife.

“But if in the man meets the engaged woman in the open country and the man seizes her and lies with her, then only the man who lay with her shall die. You shall do nothing to the young woman. The young woman has not committed an offense punishable by death, because this case is like that of someone who attacks and murders a neighbor. Since he found her in the open country, the engaged woman may have cried for help, but there was no one to rescue her.”

Okay, rape is wrong and punishable by death. Since no one could help the young woman in the open country, there was no blame on her. The man only has to die because rape was considered like an attack or murder.

“If a man meets a virgin who is not engaged, and seizes her and lies with her, and they are caught in the act, the man who lay with her shall give fifty shekels of sliver to the young woman’s father. She shall become his wife. Because he violated her he shall not be permitted to divorce her as long as he lives.”

If you rape a young unengaged girl, you pay the father 50 shekels. Then you now have a wife for life without any divorce.

“A man shall not marry his father’s wife, thereby violating his father’s rights.”

Sons were not to have sex with their mother or step mother, but there is no indication of any punishment for this, other than a violation of his father’s rights.