Rape is not a judgment that's commanded upon those that violate the law, whether in the new testament or the old. So why does God choose to use rape as a means of judgement?

In america we have a bill of rights that prevents cruelty to criminals. We feel that this is a moral thing to do, why does God not have moral standards that would prevent him from using rape as a means of judgement?

Why is rape condoned in the Bible?

Isaiah 13:15-18 (NIV)

15 Whoever is captured will be thrust through; all who are caught will fall by the sword. 16 Their infants will be dashed to pieces before their eyes; their houses will be looted and their wives violated.

17 See, I will stir up against them the Medes, who do not care for silver and have no delight in gold. 18 Their bows will strike down the young men; they will have no mercy on infants, nor will they look with compassion on children.

Zechariah 14:1-2

1 A day of the LORD is coming, Jerusalem, when your possessions will be plundered and divided up within your very walls. 2 I will gather all the nations to Jerusalem to fight against it; the city will be captured, the houses ransacked, and the women raped. Half of the city will go into exile, but the rest of the people will not be taken from the city.

2 Samuel 12:11 (NIV)

11 “This is what the LORD says: ‘Out of your own household I am going to bring calamity on you. Before your very eyes I will take your wives and give them to one who is close to you, and he will sleep with your wives in broad daylight.

Please feel free to target any of the suggested rape events that are listed here. http://www.evilbible.com/Rape.htm

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    As a side note, I'm not sure the title and the question body are quite in agreement as to the main point of the question. Commented Sep 22, 2011 at 16:51
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    @MarcGravell modify as you see fit. Commented Sep 22, 2011 at 17:14
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    @JonathonByrd precisely because they aren't entirely in agreement (the body focusing mainly on punishment?) I'd rather not edit lest I introduce an incorrect meaning. Commented Sep 22, 2011 at 17:20
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    the Bill of Rights has nothing to do with animals - no idea how that made it into the question!
    – warren
    Commented Oct 30, 2013 at 20:11
  • “Vengeance is mine, says the LORD”. That pretty much sums it up for me. It’s the one attribute of God that we are explicitly commended NOT to emulate. Commented Sep 12, 2021 at 22:34

4 Answers 4


God does not condone rape in the Bible. This is a commonly raised objection to Christianity that's been answered ad-nauseam on apologetics websites, such as this one:


Quote from the linked post: Weren't the virgin women raped?

There are two parts to this objection: did God instruct or permit the soldiers to rape the women, and did the soldiers actually rape them?

It's clear that God didn't intend for the soldiers to rape the women, but rather to take them captive. The law God had given to the Israelites condemned rape, in some cases punishing it with death (Dt 22:25-27). Also, immediately following the command to spare the virgin women, the soldiers were instructed to purify themselves and their captives (31:19), and rape (or consensual intercourse) would have violated this command (Lev 15:16-18). In the rest of the chapter, the women are usually referred to as people (using the masculine adam), not women or virgins, underscoring the notion that they were seen as captives rather than sexual objects.1

It's theoretically possible that some of the soldiers raped the women, but given the circumstances it seems very unlikely. The soldiers would have known that rape was a violation of both the law and the instruction to purify themselves, as shown above; they had also seen God punish such violations with death during their travels in the desert. In fact, they had recently experienced a plague and executions resulting from their relations with Midianite women (25:1-9), as Moses reminded them. At that time, all those who had sexual relations with the Midianites were killed. It's highly implausible that the soldiers would have wanted to have anything to do with the Midianite women given this context.

So what did happen to the women (and children)? God gave the Israelites permission to marry women they took captive, but they were to treat their wives with respect: the women were to have time to mourn their families first, and were not to be mistreated (Dt 21:10-14). Those who didn't marry would have become servants, but there were rules against mistreating them as well (Ex 21:26-27, Dt 23:15-16). See the article on slavery laws for more on the treatment of female slaves.

As with most commonly cited objections to Christianity, the idea that God condones rape is based on a mis-reading of scripture (intentional or unintentional), and taking verses out of context.

Edited to address the changes to the question since I originally answered.

The verses that are there now are not condoning rape, they are warning that this is what is to come.

If I were to say "If you spend more than you earn you're going to go into debt and will suffer financially" I'm not condoning going into debt, I'm warning you.

You'd have to be intentionally mis-reading the verses posted to interpret them as "condoning" rape.

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    Welcome to Christianity.SE! This is a good answer, and looking at another one of yours you seem to be quite knowledgeable and a good writer! Hope to see you around! Commented Sep 22, 2011 at 7:06
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    Please summarise the contents of the links so that we can understand your answer without going to external sites. Commented Sep 22, 2011 at 7:16
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    Not only do the verses in question condone rape, they encourage/command it.
    – Rob
    Commented Sep 22, 2011 at 17:28
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    In typical Christian apologetic fashion, "it's taken out of context." I've read the Bible from cover to cover there's no way to justify the atrocities in it. Those who ignore them or say they shouldn't be taken literally are being blinded by faith.
    – user729
    Commented Sep 23, 2011 at 7:07
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    Atheist - I understand where you're coming from. I thought like you once, too, but I'm not saying "don't take them literally" here. I'm saying "Take them literally." These verses DO literally say "This is what's coming" not "This is what I want you to do." Commented Sep 23, 2011 at 11:35

The various prophetic references are just that: prophecies. God is saying that if the people don't live right, they will be weakened as a nation and calamities will come upon them, including invasion by foreign nations that will do horrible things to them. God isn't saying that it's good or that it's right, simply that that is what will end up happening.

As for some of the other passages:

Forcing a man who has raped a woman to marry her doesn't sound like it makes much sense in a modern context, but keep in mind that this wasn't written for our civilization. He would be required to marry the victim and maintain her and provide for her and their children for the rest of his life, without being allowed to divorce her. Also, their culture placed a lot of importance on the ownership of land. When you lived somewhere, on your family's land, you tended to stay there, which meant you'd most likely be stuck living in the same place, around a bunch of people who knew the circumstances of your rather sudden marriage. All in all, it provides a pretty strong disincentive to commit rape.

One of the more interesting listings from the linked site:

5) Death to the Rape Victim (Deuteronomy 22:23-24 NAB)

If within the city a man comes upon a maiden who is betrothed, and has relations with her, you shall bring them both out of the gate of the city and there stone them to death: the girl because she did not cry out for help though she was in the city, and the man because he violated his neighbors wife.

It is clear that God doesn't give a damn about the rape victim. He is only concerned about the violation of another mans "property".

Actually, this is completely wrong. This law exists to protect everyone involved, and it actually demonstrates a rather impressive knowledge of human behavior and human nature. The key words here are "because she did not cry out for help though she was in the city," under the assumption that if she went along with it willingly, it wasn't actually rape. First, it protects the man from false accusations--if a malicious woman makes an accusation like that, she's on the hook too. And second, it protects the woman. If she knows that if she plays along, she's guilty under the law, then he can't use the best-known of intimidation tactics employed by rapists, "play along or I'll kill you!" It gives her a strong incentive to struggle, fight him off, and scream for help, which makes it less likely that she will actually end up being raped. All in all, this demonstrates the brilliance of God's law, not the cruelty and immorality of it.


"If a man happens to meet a virgin who is not pledged to be married and rapes her and they are discovered, he shall pay the girl's father fifty shekels of silver. He must marry the girl, for he has violated her. He can never divorce her as long as he lives."

Deuteronomy 22:28-29 NIV

Does not seem like condoning it at all

It may not be in the passage marked 10 commandments, but that is hardly the only place in the bible where God tells us of things we should not do.

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    It's not condoning it (so this answer is correct), but it's telling you what the consequences are, and the consequences aren't necessarily bad (for example if you rape a rich, beautiful woman). I see that this may motivate people to rape, so I find this worrying. Commented Sep 22, 2011 at 16:25
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    On the contrary, it encourages - even orders it many times; listed: evilbible.com/Rape.htm I'm not sure that one passage to the contrary does much to explain away the abuses. Commented Sep 22, 2011 at 16:45
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    How would this motivate people to rape? I do not get it. Just because something does not expressively forbid a action does not somehow imply encouragement
    – Neil Meyer
    Commented Sep 22, 2011 at 16:51
  • @Neil - if that is addresses to me, the Biblical sections I linked to quite clearly express this. Commented Sep 22, 2011 at 17:16
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    Since the essence of this question is aimed at God's moral standards, this "rule" for how rapists should be treated is just as horrifying than the examples commanding rape. Now the rape victim is forced to be sold into marriage to the man who raped her?
    – Chelonian
    Commented Sep 22, 2011 at 20:35

Im a Christian, and I know God is a God of unspeakable wrath. Did anyone consider those women may not have wanted to marry their violators? If a woman today is raped, she is not going to marry her raper. So its clear to me that these women were under Gods wrath. read Isaiah 13:12-17

12 I will make a man more precious than fine gold, even a man than the golden wedge of Ophir. 13 Therefore I will shake the heavens, and the earth shall remove out of her place, in the wrath of the Lord of hosts and in the day of His fierce anger. 14 And it shall be as the chased roe, and as a sheep that no man taketh up; they shall every man turn to his own people, and flee every one into his own land. 15 Every one that is found shall be thrust through; and every one that is joined unto them shall fall by the sword. 16 Their children also shall be dashed to pieces before their eyes; their houses shall be despoiled and their WIVES RAVISHED. 17 “Behold, I will stir up the Medes against them, who shall not regard silver; and as for gold, they shall not delight in it.

Zechariah 14:1-3
14 Behold, the day of the Lord cometh, and thy spoil shall be divided in the midst of thee. 2 FOR I WILL gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle; and the city shall be taken, and the houses rifled, and the WOMEN RAVISHED. And half of the city shall go forth into captivity, and the residue of the people shall not be cut off from the city. 3 Then shall the Lord go forth and fight against those nations, as when He fought in the day of battle.

Clearly Rape is a tool of Gods wrath, he will destroy his enemies and his enemies wives. Then in the end cast them in the lake of fire for their trouble. Look God is not a lovy-dovy, he is a GOD OF UNSPEAKBLE CRULE WRATH against those who don't know Christ. People say God loves the Sinnner but hates the Sin, that's is a lie.

Psalm 5:4-6
4 For Thou art not a God that hath pleasure in wickedness; neither shall evil dwell with Thee. 5 The foolish shall not stand in Thy sight; Thou HATEST all workers of iniquity. (Side note: Not only their deeds, them) 6 Thou shalt destroy them that speak lies; the Lord will abhor the bloody and deceitful man.

God has a perfect hatred, if one repents God embraces that person and loves them. all the sins of the past are forgotten.

Malachi 1:2-4
2 “I have loved you,” saith the Lord. “Yet ye say, ‘Wherein hast Thou loved us?’ Was not Esau Jacob’s brother?” saith the Lord. “Yet I loved Jacob, 3 and I hated Esau, and laid his mountains and his heritage waste for the dragons of the wilderness.” 4 Whereas Edom saith, “We are impoverished, but we will return and rebuild the desolate places,” thus saith the Lord of Hosts: “They shall build, but I will throw down; and they shall call them the Border of Wickedness and the people against whom the Lord hath indignation forever.

Don't say that God was just saying Esau lost his inheritance, because the following sentence is clear, God laid his land waist. God has no pleasure in the destruction of the wicked of course that's true, because he commands them to repent.. that's not a request, not a choice, do it or else.

Romans 5:7-9
7 For scarcely will one die for a righteous man, yet perhaps for a good man some would even dare to die. 8 But God commendeth His love toward us in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Much more then, being now justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him.

God made a way to escape his wrath, God sent Christ, then it pleased God to Smite him.

Romans 11:20-22
20 Thou sayest well! Because of unbelief they were broken off, and thou standest by faith. Be not highminded, but fear; 21 for if God spared not the natural branches, take heed lest He also spare not thee. 22 Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God: on those who fell, severity; but toward thee, goodness, if thou continue in His goodness. Otherwise, thou also shalt be cut off.

Romans 8:31-33
31 What then shall we say of these things? If God be for us, who can be against us? 32 He that spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things? 33 Who shall lay anything to the charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifieth.


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