Today's Lectionary Text
But if the man met up with the engaged woman in a field, grabbing her and having sex with her there, only the man will die. Don’t do anything whatsoever to the young woman. She hasn’t committed any capital crime — rather, this situation is exactly like the one where someone attacks his neighbor and kills him. Since the man met up with her in a field, the engaged woman may well have called out for help, but there was no one to rescue her.
The lectionary for today is focused on sexual morality – and such is the case for the headlines in today’s news. It’s humbling and sad that something that was of enough concern in ancient times to be included in the Mosaic Law is still of concern today.
While I chose to focus on Deuteronomy 22:25-27, these verses come in the middle of the full lectionary passage of verses 13-30 that shares laws about virginity, attacking a woman’s character and acts in ancient times that would have required a man to marry a woman he violated.
Unfortunately, the need to remind men about showing respect for women is needed even more today than it was back then.
The scenario played out in these verses show this was not a time all that kind to women. They often were looked at as property of their husbands or fathers. Their names often go unrecorded in scripture. But amid the anonymity and difficulties faced by women comes this verse that points out that if she is attacked, the law declares that she is not at fault in any way. She was going about her business when she was taken against her will and harmed.
It didn’t matter what she wore. It didn’t matter what she said. She didn’t choose to be put into this situation.
It’s not her fault.
Such is the case with harassment and sexual assault today. This scripture reminds us that women are to be treated with dignity. Women we know may be calling out for help from a situation they are facing today. May we, the church, be there to listen and to lend a helping hand.
Gracious God, help us to see how we can preserve dignity and prevent harm. Help us to do our part today to recognize women for the important role they play in your creation, in our society and in our lives.
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