It’s Not That Complicated: Part 4 Chapter 8

It’s Not That Complicated: Part 4 Chapter 8 May 6, 2016

itsnotthatcomplicatedby Mel cross posted from her blog When Cows and Kids Collide

All quotes from the book are in blue text.

On a serious note, this post may be triggering for abuse or trauma victims.

It’s time for BIBLE BABBLE starring Anna Sophia and Elizabeth Botkin!

In previous episodes, our gracious hostesses have told us about why women have no agency outside of men, why loving your brothers means your literal biological brotherswhy Biblical heroines are following the Botkin plan with a special emphasis on Abigail and Bathsheba, and their personal obsession with the Proverbs 7 woman.

What wonders will we learn today?

Overarching Theme: 

Bible interpretation is so easy!  All you have to do is read the Bible and then apply the verses however you want to!

“Amazingly, the Bible does speak specifically to our parents’ role in our romantic lives.  Deuteronomy 22 is a good place to start.  Verses 13-21 lay out a law that God gave to the Israelites regarding a young bride whose husband has accused her of not being a virgin on her wedding night.  Interestingly, the young bride is not the defendant.  Her father is.

The burden of evidence was placed on “the father of the young woman and her mother” to prove that their daughter was a virgin, and the father was required to represent her.  If she was proven innocent, the young man had to pay an enormous fine to the father for bringing “a bad name upon a virgin of Israel.”  But if the young woman was found guilty, verse 21 continues, “Then they shall bring out the young woman to the door of her father’s house, and the men of her city shall stone her to death with stone, because she has an outrageous thing by whoring in her father’s house.  So you shall purge the evil from your midst.” (pg. 143)


  • Interesting fact that the Botkin Sisters missed: most Biblical scholars avoid this verse with a ten-foot pole.  This avoidance isn’t a new phenomenon:
    • Matthew Henry (1709): 22:13-30 These and the like regulations might be needful then, and yet it is not necessary that we should curiously examine respecting them. The laws relate to the seventh commandment, laying a restraint upon fleshly lusts which war against the soul.
    • Jamieson-Fausset-Brown (1871)  If a man take a wife, &c.—The regulations that follow might be imperatively needful in the then situation of the Israelites; and yet, it is not necessary that we should curiously and impertinently inquire into them.
  • In spite of the terror that this verse inspires in Biblical scholars, the Botkin Sisters use this verse as the foundation for their beliefs on the level of appropriate involvement of fathers in the romantic lives of their daughters.  Let that sink in for a few minutes.
  • This snippet also demonstrates that the Botkin Sisters have lack a fundamental understanding of the legal system.  The defendant is the person who is charged with a crime.  In Deuteronomy 22:13-21, the daughter is the person charged with the crime.  Her parents are required to help her prove her innocence.  That makes the parents similar to the defense attorneys, not the defendants.
“Why?  Why was it not entirely her own business?  Why was she stoned at her father’s door and not her husband’s (or the door of her apartment)?  Why did her father have to do with something as personal to her as her own purity?  Because God had placed the daughter under her father’s care, until the time when the father gave her to another man (as it said in verse 16, “I gave my daughter to this man to marry….), and her father was responsible for knowing the purity of the bride he was giving away had been preserved for her husband.  She – and the priceless gift of her purity – was not just hers to give.  In the event that the young man had been defrauded of what was rightfully his, the responsibility fell on the guardian (father) as well as on her.” (pg. 143)
  • Let’s answer the questions one at a time:
    • Why wasn’t her own business?  Israel during this time was an extremely patriarchal society where men owned their wives, children and slaves and were required to defend their dependents from armed enemies.  (We’ve already seen in the Abigail/Bathsheba nightmare that King David behaved as a warlord.) In these types of societies, women were critical as links between clans as long as the paternity of any children produced from the union was unquestioned.
    • Why was she stoned at her father’s door? The Botkin Sisters were kind of right; her father would be held responsible for his daughter’s premarital sex.  The more obvious implication that they overlooked was that women ALWAYS had a male owner – her father before marriage, her husband during the marriage,  her son (or a male kinsman of her husband) when widowed, and her master if she was a slave.  The fact that these four categories appear over and over in the Old Testament doesn’t make the categories a sign of God’s great plan for women; these categories appear in every patriarchal society due to the constraints placed on society.    Bluntly, women couldn’t fight this; if you were a free woman, going out from under an assigned male authority meant you could be taken and enslaved by another man.  You’d be going from the frying pan where you might gain some respect and power within the family if you produced sons and outlived your husband to the fire where you’d never gain any respect or power as a slave.
    • Why did her father care about her purity? Her father cared because the husband cared about the wife’s purity.
      •  Follow-up question: why did the husband care about his wife’s purity?  He cared because DNA tests did not exist and first-trimester ultrasounds to estimate dates of conception didn’t exist.  To be 100% certain that a child born of a newly married wife was sired by the father, two options exist:
        • Option one: Marry a virgin who is kept away from other men.  All children born of the wife will be sired by the husband.
        • Option two: Kill any infants born 8-11 months after the wedding while accepting the risk that most of the children killed will have been sired by the father.
    • What does any of this have to do with women in the USA today? Absolutely nothing.  

“We see that the young woman had to pay the penalty for her own sin – she was responsible before God for what she did.  But her father pays the penalty for his negligence – her guilt is taken to his doorstep.  Her reputation is laid at his door.  Why did he not keep this from happening?  How did he not know where she was and what she was doing?  How did he not know who she was associating with?  Didn’t he know that he would have to answer for this?

For most of us this is a new, and very strange, line of thought.  But regardless of where we stand on how portions of biblical laws apply today, we must recognize that this passage was inspired by God (Who does not change, Mal. 3:6) – not men- and it does reflect His mind towards fathers and daughters.” (pgs. 143-144)

  • *taps Anna Sofia/Elizabeth on the shoulder* You know the young woman is dead, right? Because you imply that the father has the worse end of the deal with being embarrassed.  But she’s dead.
  • If you believe that stoning people to death for sexual immorality should be applied today, seek psychological help immediately.
Yuck.  Well, only one more post on Chapter Eight left: more Bible mangling and a smidgen of covert incest.  Yipee.

Mel is a science teacher who works with at-risk teens and lives on a dairy farm with her husband. She blogs at When Cows and Kids Collide She is also an very valuable source of scientific information for us here at NLQ. Mel is also blessed with the ability to look at the issues of Quiverfull with a rational mind and break them down to their most basic of elements.

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