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Exodus 22:16-17

Context
Moral and Ceremonial Laws

22:16 1 “If a man seduces a virgin 2  who is not engaged 3  and has sexual relations with her, he must surely endow 4  her to be his wife. 22:17 If her father refuses to give her to him, he must pay money for the bride price of virgins.

1 sn The second half of the chapter records various laws of purity and justice. Any of them could be treated in an expository way, but in the present array they offer a survey of God’s righteous standards: Maintain the sanctity of marriage (16-17); maintain the purity of religious institutions (18-20), maintain the rights of human beings (21-28), maintain the rights of Yahweh (29-31).

2 tn This is the word בְּתוּלָה (bÿtulah); it describes a young woman who is not married or a young woman engaged to be married; in any case, she is presumed to be a virgin.

3 tn Or “pledged” for marriage.

4 tn The verb מָהַר (mahar) means “pay the marriage price,” and the related noun is the bride price. B. Jacob says this was a proposal gift and not a purchase price (Exodus, 700). This is the price paid to her parents, which allowed for provision should there be a divorce. The amount was usually agreed on by the two families, but the price was higher for a pure bride from a noble family. Here, the one who seduces her must pay it, regardless of whether he marries her or not.



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