22:22–29 The implications of the seventh commandment are developed (5:18; Ex. 20:14), here with respect to instances of adultery and rape. Particular care is given to guarding the sanctity of the marriage covenant: adultery with a married or betrothed woman is punishable by the death of both consenting parties (vv. 22–24), while lesser penalties are prescribed for a sexual relationship with an unmarried woman (vv. 28, 29). Women depended on their marriage relationship for protection and status in ancient Near Eastern society, and the law provides important protections for women. The penalty for forcible rape of a married woman was the death of the offending man (vv. 25–27). The man who violated the honor of a virgin was compelled to marry her, and could not later divorce her (v. 29).
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