How does God view rape and the rapist? 

Definition

Rape is defined as unlawful sexual activity and usually sexual intercourse carried out by the rapist forcibly or under threat of injury against a person’s will. Or it may be carried with a person who is beneath a certain age or incapable of valid consent because of mental illness, mental deficiency, intoxication, unconsciousness, or deception. 

Old Testament

The Bible clearly condemns the act of rape as being a violation of God’s moral law (Exodus 20:14). The Mosaic Law considered rape a great sin which called for the most extreme punishment possible—death for the rapist. Let’s read some of the references: 

“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” (Deuteronomy 22:23,24). This case is treated as if it were literally adultery.

“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 22:25-27).

In this case, it is presumed that the girl was forced to submit; she was given the benefit of the doubt. There were no people near to whom she could appeal for help (v. 27), and her innocence was assumed if investigation proved nothing to the contrary (2 Samuel 13:11). 

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). In this case, the raped girl was not considered as a wife, for there had been no wedding ceremony, with its vows of and the payment of a sum of money.  

God’s judgement on the rapist of a virgin—a monetary fine and lifelong responsibility—was designed to discourage him by holding him responsible for his evil act. The rapist harmed a woman’s life; therefore, it was his duty to provide for her for the rest of her life. 

New Testament 

Jesus and the disciples spoke against sexual immorality (Matthew 15:19), even making it a ground for divorce (Matthew 5:32). Also, rape was not just an immoral act but a civil violation. The Lord instructed that the believers are to obey the laws of their governing authorities for this was their divine duty: “Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God” (Romans 13:1). 

God’s Comfort to Rape Victims 

The Lord offers help to rape victims. For He “is a shelter for the oppressed, a refuge in times of trouble…” (Psalm 9:9-10). He promised His children, “When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you. For I am the Lord, your God” (Isaiah 43:2-3a). 

Jesus declared that He will “comfort the brokenhearted, to announce liberty to captives…” (Isaiah 61: 1-3). And He invites all the afflicted ones saying, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28). 

God’s Justice on the Rapist

God will defend the rape victims for He promised: “Do not … crush the afflicted at the gate; For the Lord will plead their case and take the life of those who rob them” (Proverbs 22:22-23). He will “Do justice to the afflicted and needy...Free them from the hand of the wicked” (Psalm 82:3-4). And He urged the mistreated to, “leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay…” (Romans 12:19). 

But if the rapist repents, God will forgive and cleanse him (1 John 1:9; Romans 8:1–4). When the sinner turns from his sin and connects himself to God through study of the Word and prayer (John 15:4), the Lord starts His work of purification and transformation in his life.

In His service, 

BibleAsk Team 

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