Why isn’t rape called an abomination?


This is amazing to me. I've been studying the Bible to see why God favored men over women. I've been trying to find what is an abomination to God and to my amazement there's nothing that says is an abomination to rape a woman. As a woman that's very disturbing to me.


This is an example of an argument made by creating a false restriction. God doesn't favor men over women. "There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus" (Galatians 3:28). There are different roles or duties assigned to men and women, but there is no reason that the roles favor one gender over the other. "For there is no partiality with God" (Romans 2:11).

Rape carried several penalties in the Old Testament, depending on the circumstances. Since rape is by its very nature fornication, it stands condemned.

The rape of a married woman or an engaged woman was an automatic death sentence.

"If a man is found lying with a woman married to a husband, then both of them shall die - the man that lay with the woman, and the woman; so you shall put away the evil from Israel. If a young woman who is a virgin is betrothed to a husband, and a man finds her in the city and lies with her, then you shall bring them both out to the gate of that city, and you shall stone them to death with stones, the young woman because she did not cry out in the city, and the man because he humbled his neighbor's wife; so you shall put away the evil from among you. But if a man finds a betrothed young woman in the countryside, and the man forces her and lies with her, then only the man who lay with her shall die. But you shall do nothing to the young woman; there is in the young woman no sin deserving of death, for just as when a man rises against his neighbor and kills him, even so is this matter. For he found her in the countryside, and the betrothed young woman cried out, but there was no one to save her." (Deuteronomy 22:22-27).

This passage covers both consensual sex and rape. Consensual sex (adultery) was punished by death for both the man and the woman. Rape was punished by death for the man only.

In the case of an unengaged woman, the law again deals with consensual sex and rape.

"If a man finds a young woman who is a virgin, who is not betrothed, and he seizes her and lies with her, and they are found out, then the man who lay with her shall give to the young woman's father fifty shekels of silver, and she shall be his wife because he has humbled her; he shall not be permitted to divorce her all his days" (Deuteronomy 22:28-29).

"If a man entices a virgin who is not betrothed, and lies with her, he shall surely pay the bride-price for her to be his wife. If her father utterly refuses to give her to him, he shall pay money according to the bride-price of virgins" (Exodus 22:16-17).

Here no distinction is made, likely because it would be difficult to prove whether the act was consensual or not. Instead of an automatic death penalty for both the man and woman, the father of the young woman had the choice of forcing a marriage. If he chose marriage, then the man must pay the dowry price (which is roughly what a man could save up in seven years of common labor) and he was denied the right to divorce his wife. If the father refused to allow a marriage, which is likely in the case of rape, the man still must pay the dowry price as a fine.

Notice that in the cases of consensual sex, the consequences were shared by both the man and woman, though in the case of fornication the man had the additional consequence of a hefty civil fine. In the case of rape, the man alone is held responsible.

Just because rape wasn't labeled an abomination doesn't mean it was approved, as you are trying to make it seem. The word abomination refers to things that are disgusting or nauseating. What is called an abomination are:

  • Eating offerings that are more than three days old (Leviticus 7:18; 19:7)
  • Eating animals that feed off of dead animals (Leviticus 11)
  • Homosexual sex (Leviticus 18:22; 20:13)
  • Taking idols is abominable to God (Deuteronomy 7:25-26; 13:41; Isaiah 41:24)
  • Worshiping God in the way idols are worshiped is abominable to God (Deuteronomy 12:31; Isaiah 66:17)
  • Offering God blemished goods (Deuteronomy 17:1-4)
  • Witchcraft (Deuteronomy 18:12)
  • Cross-dressing (Deuteronomy 22:5)
  • Giving God money gained by prostitution or homosexuality (Deuteronomy 23:18)
  • Spouse swapping (Deuteronomy 24:1-4)
  • Cheating by using false standards of measure (Deuteronomy 25:13-16; Proverbs 11:1; 20:10)
  • Making idols (Deuteronomy 27:15; Isaiah 44:19)
  • A person who is perverse (twisted). In other words, a person who mixes what is right and wrong. (Proverbs 3:32; 11:20; 17:15)
  • Pride (Proverbs 6:17; 16:5)
  • Lying (Proverbs 6:17; 12:22)
  • The murder of the innocent (Proverbs 6:17)
  • Planning to do evil (Proverbs 6:18)
  • Being impulsive or rash in doing evil (Proverbs 6:18)
  • Lying in court (Proverbs 6:19)
  • Causing strife between people who should be close (Proverbs 6:19)
  • Speaking evil (Proverbs 8:18)
  • Worshiping God while living a sinful life (Proverbs 15:8; 21:27; 28:9; Isaiah 1:13)
  • The way wicked people live (Proverbs 15:9)
  • The way wicked people think (Proverbs 15:26)
  • Rulers who act wickedly (Proverbs 16:12)

Several of these are general statements. All sins are abominable to God. They are particularly disgusting when people try to justify their sins or do them with premeditation. Since rape is a sin covered under the categories of adultery and fornication, they are disgusting to God.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email