The court must fine one who sexually seduces a maiden

The Literal Commandment

If a man seduces a virgin who is not engaged, and lies with her, he must pay a dowry for her to be his wife. If her father absolutely refuses to give her to him, he shall pay money equal to the dowry for virgins. (Exodus 22:16-17)

 

The literal commandment is that a man who seduces a virgin should pay a dowry for her whether or not she becomes his wife.

 

Messiah Says

Messiah implicitly affirmed this commandment when He spoke about the Law:

"Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill. For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished. Whoever then annuls one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever keeps and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 5:17-19)

 

Pictures of Messiah

This commandment is a reflection of the protection G-d provides to the small and the weak. If a virgin is seduced by a man then he has stolen something of great value that can never be replaced: her virginity on her wedding night. G-d provides a protective statute for these women.

In a similar way, G-d provided protection for all of us who have been seduced into sin by the lies of the adversary. In this situation, however, the adversary cannot pay the price of his deception. Instead, G-d Himself paid the price by expressing Himself into this world in the form of a man (John 1:14) who humbled Himself to the point of death (Php 2:8)... for us.

 

How Messiah Fulfilled

No evidence is given in Scripture that Messiah literally fulfilled this command: He never sexually seduced a maiden nor did He serve on a court who judged such a case.

 

Traditional Observance

This commandment is traditionally observed in that a Jewish court (a beit din) evaluates the circumstances and makes the determination whether or not to levy the fine against the man accused of seducing the maiden.

A number of situations were described biblically which deal with the seduction or the rape of a virgin who is either unattached or betrothed. Consensual sexual intercourse of the betrothed or married woman with someone other than her husband would put both the woman and her paramour in the category of adulterers. Seduction is considered to be consensual but the cases discussed in the Bible according to rabbinic interpretation were dealing with minor girls who did not have the legal right of consent.1

 

Other Notes

While it is technically possible that religious courts can fulfill this commandment and fine the one who sexually seduces a maiden, in most places such courts do not exist nor does a Sanhedrin council. We will list this commandment as a "maybe" in terms of keeping it.

 

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Footnotes

1. "Legal-Religious Status of the Virgin", A Comprehensive Historical Encyclopedia, taken from Jewish Women's Archive at http://jwa.org/encyclopedia/article/legal-religious-status-of-virgin on 4/7/2012 [back]


Commandment Details

  • Mishneh Torah # 131
  • Mishneh Torah Book # 4
  • Mishneh Torah Book Women
  • Mishneh Torah Category 23- Virgin Maiden
  • Reference Exodus 22:16-17
  • Scripture Book Exodus
  • Chapter 22
  • Verse 16
  • English If a man seduces a virgin who is not engaged, and lies with her, he must pay a dowry for her to be his wife.
  • Hebrew טו וְכִי-יְפַתֶּה אִישׁ, בְּתוּלָה אֲשֶׁר לֹא-אֹרָשָׂה--וְשָׁכַב עִמָּהּ: מָהֹר יִמְהָרֶנָּה לּוֹ, לְאִשָּׁה.
  • Greek 16 (22:15) Ἐὰν δὲ ἀπατήσῃ τις παρθένον ἀμνήστευτον καὶ κοιμηθῇ μετ᾿ αὐτῆς, φερνῇ φερνιεῖ αὐτὴν αὐτῷ γυναῖκα.
  • Parashah 18- Mishpatim
  • Positive/Negative Positive
  • Sefer Hachinuch # 61
  • Sef. Hach. Command The duty of the court to pass judgment on a seducer
  • Category Courts, Crimes, and Punishments
  • We can fullfill today Maybe

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