Thoughts about the Torah’s Morality in Modern Times

Much is made of the Torah’s abhorrence of male homosexuality because it gets called out. It’s there in Leviticus 18.22, right? Let’s consider some things though. If you read through the 613 commandments, there is not one against rape. Huh? Yeah, I was surprised too. Scholars will explain this by various statements about it.

  • If the victim was a virgin the rapist was required to make restitution. In addition he owes the father 50 shekels. Have to pay up. In theory he could be forced to marry her.
  • If the woman is engaged then the man is to be executed (hey, he stole my property! Says the husband to be)

Not much after that. In fact there’s no notion that a woman can be coerced into sex within marriage, that it was wrong to beat your wife or children as long as you didn’t kill them.

When warring with a city, if they didn’t take your terms and fought and God’s army won (of course it would, God was on our side) then all the men were to be killed and the women and children taken. Any women used for sex were to be set free, one presumes that the rest would be pressed into slavery.

Remind me again that we follow everything it says in the Bible? For seven special countries there was a requirement to kill every inhabitant to the last person.

Imagine the Yom Kippur war fought by these standards. Israel defeats Damascus, sacks the city, kills every male, raises all the Syrian children as Jews and makes the women into Prostitutes? But it says so in the Bible. Can you possibly imagine a single clergy person, Jewish or Christian who would condone any part of such a thing?

Are there any practicing Jews or Christians who believe rape is OK under any circumstance?

I’m not going to get into the subtle stuff. It’s absolutely true that the Torah was written in another day and time with different conditions and rules. In many, many ways the laws it lays down are very reasonable and well thought out. In fact it introduces concept of justice well ahead of their time. That doesn’t mean that they should all be applied without thought in a modern context whatever 2000 years of rabbinic commentary might say to the contrary.

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