|Messages By Ovid Need|
Exodus 22:16,17 - Man's Responsibility
A passage that expands on this situation is Deuteronomy 22:22-29.
What did the Lord say here? I have 6 simple points, with one major principle establishes. I'll only give you the first 3 points with their scriptures. I want to have time on the fourth one.
1. Det. 22:22, the man had to be found with her. There had to be witnesses. Never is just one person allowed to bring a charge against another which might result in the death of the one charged, Deut. 19:15, One witness shall not rise up against a man for any iniquity, or for any sin, in any sin that he sinneth: at the mouth of two witnesses, or at the mouth of three witnesses, shall the matter be established.
2. Vs. 22-27, a betrothed virgin is treated as a married woman. If the forcing took place where there was a chance that others could hear and help, both the man and woman were to die.
This took for granted that the woman was willing didn't cry out, therefore no one heard who would come to her rescue.
If it was in a lonely place, this took for granted that the woman cried out and there was no one within hearing range. Therefore, only the man was to die. Rape of a married woman is equated with murder, v. 26.
Notice the phrase in vs. 25, 28, if a man find a damsel.., and force her.. indicates that this evil was not preplanned. Whereas, v. 22, if a man be found lying with a woman married.. indicates that this was prearranged.
3. Vs. 28, 29, if the damsel is not betrothed or married, AND she is a virgin, the guilty man had to pay the father 50 shekels of silver (about 3 years wages), which was the dowry of a virgin. The Lord protects the family.
On the other hand, if the maid is not a virgin, the man would not have to pay the dowry. But, then we get into the girl playing the part of a harlot, which is another study for another day.
4. Now, the fourth point from Deut. 22. This is an extremely important point that we want to spend some time on.
22:29, if the father of the girl permitted the marriage, the man had to marry the girl after paying the dowry of fifty shekels of silver.
There are several things that happened.
He, not she, lost all right of divorce.
He took rights which was not his before marriage, not his wife will be permitted to take rights which are not hers after marriage.
Because of his lack of freedom from his passions before marriage, he loses many of his freedoms after marriage.
He had no self-control before marriage, so now his control is severely restricted after marriage.
He seduced her into a compromised position before marriage, now she has him in a compromised position after marriage.
(Of course, adultery on her part after marriage would solve his problem. How tempting would it be for the husband to try to work something out along this line.)
Now for the major principle which I want to point out this morning. This is more of a Father's day message, but I felt that I needed to give this today while it was still fresh on my mind.
The point is this: God always holds the man as the one primarily responsible at all times. As we read all these laws along this line, we find no mention of, or provision for what the woman might have done to entice the man (remember Adam!). As we went through the first 7 chapters of Proverbs, that the Lord placed the primary responsibility on the man to avoid the woman who is out to get him.
Which gives us this point:
First, and most important: The man is the one who is always held responsible before God to be the moral backbone of a society.
In Deut. 22:29, it is the man who is held responsible by God; it is the man who God extracts the price from; it is the man who loses his freedom for his moral failure. And God uses the very one who was to be subject to him, his wife who he cannot divorce, to judge him for his moral failure.
V. 29, he may not put her away all his days. This indicates that the Lord will see that the woman outlives her husband. There is a lifetime of price to pay for the failure of the man to be what he should be.
Can you imagine how this wife might treat her husband? Can you imagine how some women would treat their husband if the husband were prohibited by law from divorcing them? What would he be driven to do if the only way out of the mess he had made was for his wife to do something that had the death penalty against it, or if she died.
What else is here?
Second: This responsibility which falls upon the man is not restricted to morality, but to passions in general. A man may be as moral as the Lord Himself, yet be out of control in his passions which come from the inner being.
Let us not think for a moment that the enemy of our souls doesn't know this. If he can break the backbone and cause the man to lose his self-control and moral fiber, he has gained society. Everything we see around us today is geared for this: Pornography, advertising, TV shows (so called, "Sitcoms") and media of all kinds.
Notice that the attack is primarily against the man. The world, flesh and devil are experts in designing anything to tear down the man's self-control, 1 Corinthians 10:3-5.
A third point: A defiled man on the inside will produce a defiled society on the outside, Mat. 15:8-20.
When the man fails, society fails. The man who is a slave to his passions, will be a slave in his society. When a man allows the things which he ought to control on the inside control him, the things he ought to control on the outside will control him.
John 8:32-36, And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. They answered him, We be Abraham's seed, and were never in bondage to any man: how sayest thou, Ye shall be made free? Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin. And the servant abideth not in the house for ever: but the Son abideth ever. If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed. Here we see that our Lord tells us that it is impossible for there to be social freedom unless there is inner freedom from the control of the passions and lusts of the flesh.
Dominion over the world around us must start with dominion over the inner man. And by inner man, we mean the fallen nature, not the new man as mentioned in Eph. 3:16.
Therefore, it is impossible for a man who is not free from the control of his sinful passions to have a free society. A man who is a slave to his passions will reap from God an oppressive society, Galatians 6:3-8.
Gal. 6:3, the person has confidence that he is in control, yet his spirit and passions are out of control - he is deceived.
V. 4, every one is to prove their spirit by their works, the fruit of the Spirit of God, or the fruit of the spirit of the flesh [Gal. 5:19-25].
V. 5, no one can blame anyone else for his failures - each must bear his own fault.
V. 6, pay well the teacher of God's word.
Vs. 7, 8, gives us one of the best known and easily understood principle in the word of God: Whatever spirit [5:19-25] that a person sows, that is what they will reap. Therefore, a person or society which is captive to the spirit of the flesh will reap captivity. This is a law of God which cannot be avoided. Only the power of the resurrected Christ can free from this captivity, 6:14-16.)
Another point under God holds the man primarily responsible at all times:
Fourth: It is obvious that this moral fiber must come from the word of God. There can be no 'saving' morality for society without the word and Spirit of God.
Then fifth and last under the man being held responsible: This does not relieve the woman of her responsibility before God to be a godly women. But the responsibility for a godly, moral society falls squarely on the shoulders of the man. Woman will reflect the attitude of the men in society.
We cannot emphasize enough the importance of self-control on the part of the man, especially before marriage, but also after marriage.
Now, # 5 under Deut. 22:29 is Ex. 22:17, If her father utterly refuse to give her unto him, he shall pay money according to the dowry of virgins.
Even if the father did not permit the marriage, the man did not get off free. The dowry was to be paid anyway. This would give her a double dowry upon marriage.
The man attacked the family. He robbed the father of what was his, a virgin daughter. It robbed the daughter of her value to the man of her and her father's choice. Therefore, restitution had to be made to the family. This double dowry would make her an attractive prospective bride.
6. Then the last point. This law requiring the marriage or the payment of the dowry assumes that the man is not an incorrigible person (habitual offender). They were severally dealt with in Deuteronomy 21:18-21. They were to be put to death.
Men, I do not like this message contained in this passage any better than you do, but this basic principle of God is here. We are the ones who are responsible before God for the moral fiber of society. That responsibility starts in the heart.
A man who is controlled by his inner fallen passions will be a slave in society. There is no way around it.
['Messages'] ['The Biblical Examiner'] ['Home Page']