While I agree with you that rape is too strong a word, I think most people
would find impossible squaring this custom with the ethics of the Sermon on
the Mount. BTW, what happened with the not so good looking enemy women? Were
they enslaved? Or just simply killed? I just think its very clear that the
holy war ethic is sub-Christian-indeed, sub many non-Christian ethical
From: email@example.com [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]On
Behalf Of Terry M. Gray
Sent: Monday, July 15, 2002 12:31 AM
Subject: Re: Challenge #2
I am not particularly interested in pursuing the discussion of
"spousal rape" and "marital duty" any further.
While I'm no more comfortable in practice than you are with the idea
of capturing one's wife in a "holy war" (and, of course, I don't
believe that this is anything that God is calling us to do today), I
do believe that my "defense" of the passage is satisfactory and that
I don't have to "resort" to "lowering" my view of scripture.
Clearly, you and others don't agree. My point simply is that it's not
obvious to many of us that these particular examples require the
positing of error or sub-Christian ethics to the Bible.
> A strange marriage covenant, indeed, that is based upon the
>the woman. She is forced, as a prize of war, to enter into a marriage not
>arranged by her parents, who may well have been killed by the Israelite
>victors (or her mother was also made captive and forced into another
>marriage following the death of her husband--the scenarios could be
>and so now she is obligated to follow the "law of sexual relations"?
>I don't buy it.
> While I appreciate Paul's dictum that wives and husbands should
>the obligation to maintain sexual relations, all things being equal, I do
>not think this includes spousal rape.
>----- Original Message -----
>From: "Terry M. Gray" <email@example.com>
>Sent: Sunday, July 14, 2002 6:27 PM
>Subject: Re: Challenge #2
>> As soon as I hit the send button, I knew that this question would
>> come up. I am not interested in state laws, but in the Biblical
>> perspective. It seems to me that consent in sexual relations is an
>> implication of the marriage covenant. Don't get me wrong
>> here--spousal abuse is possible and to be abhorred (and prosecuted
>> both in the church and by the state). Also, the call to husbands to
>> love their wives and treat them well is also noted.
>> But wives are obligated to have sexual relations with their husbands;
>> it's part of the terms of the marriage covenant. One of the antidotes
>> to sexual immorality found in 1 Cor. 7:3-5 speaks to the
>> "requirement" of sexual relations in marriage:
>> "The husband should fulfil his marital duty to his wife, and likewise
>> the wife to her husband. The wife's body does not belong to her alone
>> but also to her husband. In the same way, the husband's body does not
>> belong to him alone but also to his wife. Do not deprive each other
>> except by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote
>> yourselves to prayer. Then come together again so that Satan will not
>> tempt you because of your lack of self-control."
>> So...back to the point. When a Israelite man took one of the captives
>> to be his wife, a marriage covenant was entered into that included
>> the legitimacy of sexual relations--hence, we're not talking about
>> rape here. God's law does not command rape. We may be talking about
>> marrage customs that are quite distant from our own, but we are
>> talking about marriage here and not promiscuous "rape and ravage"
Terry M. Gray, Ph.D., Computer Support Scientist
Chemistry Department, Colorado State University
Fort Collins, Colorado 80523
phone: 970-491-7003 fax: 970-491-1801
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