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Harmony of the Law - Volume 3
« Prev Leviticus 20:10; Deuteronomy 22:22-27 Next »

Leviticus 20 6767     These passages are also considered in the Fr. subsequently to some that follow.

Leviticus 20:10

10. And the man that committeth adultery with another man’s wife, even he that committeth adultery with his neighbor’s wife, the adulterer and the adulteress shall surely be put to death.

10. Vir qui adulterium commiserit cum uxore alterius, qui adulterium commiserit cum uxore proximi sui moriendo morientur adulter et adultera.

 

Deuteronomy 22

Deuteronomy 22:22-27

22. If a man be found lying with a woman married to all husband, then they shall both of them die, both the man that lay with the woman, and the woman: so shalt thou put away evil from Israel.

22. Si quis deprehensus fuerit coiisse cum muliere conjugata marito, morientur etiam ambo ipsi, vir qui coierit cum muliere, et mulier ipsa: atque auferes malum ex Israele.

23. If a damsel that is a virgin he betrothed unto an husband, and a man find her in the city, and lie with her;

23. Quum fuerit puella virgo desponsata viro, et invenerit eam aliquis in urbe, coieritque cum ea:

24. Then ye shall bring them both out unto the gate of that city, and ye shall stone them with stones that they die; the damsel, because she cried not, being in the city; and the man, because he hath humbled his neighbor’s wife: so thou shalt put away evil from among you.

24. Adducetis utrunque ad portam urbis ejus, et lapidabitis eos lapidibus, ac morientur: puellam quidem, quod non clamaverit in urbe: et virum, propterea quod affiixit uxorem proximi sui: atque ita auferes malum e medio tui.

25. But if a man find a betrothed damsel in the field, and the man force her, and lie with her: then the man only that lay with her shall die:

25. At si in agro invenerit vir puellam desponsatam, et apprehenderit eam vir ille, et coierit cum ea, morietur vir qui coierit cum ea solus.

26. But unto the damsel thou shalt do nothing; there is in the damsel no sin worthy of death: for as when a man riseth against his neighbor, and slayeth hint, even so is this matter:

26. Puellae vero non facies quicquam: non est puellae peccatum mortis: nam quemadmodum insurgit quis in proximum suum, et occidit eum anima, sic se habet res ista.

27. For he found her in the field, and the betrothed damsel cried, and there was none to save her.

27. In agro invenit eam, clamavit puella desponsata, et nemo adfuit qui servaret eam.

 

Deuteronomy 22:22. If a man be found lying with. A Political Supplement, whereby it appears how greatly God abominates adultery, since He denounces capital punishment against it. And assuredly, since marriage is a covenant consecrated by God, its profanation is in no wise tolerable; and conjugal faith should be held too sacred to be violated with impunity, whilst it is an act of horrible perfidiousness to snatch from a man’s bosom the wife who is as his very life, or at any rate half of himself. Wherefore, also, the Prophet ignominiously compares adulterers to neighing horses, (Jeremiah 5:8;) for where such lasciviousness prevails, men degenerate, as it were, into beasts. Another reason is, however, here referred to; for, if a man had broken faith with his wife by having connection with a harlot, it was not a capital offense; but if any man, though a bachelor, had committed adultery with the wife of another, (he was to die, 6868     Added from Fr. ) because both the husband is grossly injured, and the dishonor descends to the offspring, and all adulterine race is substituted in place of the legitimate one, whilst the inheritance is transferred to strangers, and thus bastards unlawfully possess themselves of the family name. This cause impelled the Gentiles, even before the Law, to punish adultery with severity, as clearly appears from the history of Judah and Tamar. (Genesis 38:14.) Nay, by the universal law of the Gentiles, the punishment of death was always awarded to adultery; wherefore it is all the baser and more shameful in Christians not to imitate at least the heathen. Adultery is punished no less severely by the Julian law 6969     See Plin., Ep. 6:13. than by that of God; whilst those who boast themselves of the Christian name are so tender and remiss, that they visit this execrable offense with a very light reproof. And lest they should abrogate God’s law without a pretext, they allege the example of Christ, who dismissed the woman taken in adultery, whereas she ought to have been stoned; just as He withdrew Himself into a mountain that He might not be made a king by the multitude. (John 8:11, and 6:15.) For if we consider what the office was which the Father delegated to His only-begotten Son, we shall not be surprised that He was content with the limits of His vocation, and did not discharge the duties of a Judge. But those who have been invested with the sword for the correction of crime, have absurdly imitated His example, and thus their relaxation of the penalty has flowed from gross ignorance.

Although the disloyalty of husband and wife are not punished alike by human tribunals, still, since they are under mutual obligation to each other, God will take vengeance on them both; and hence the declaration of Paul takes effect before the judgment-seat of God, Let not married persons defraud one another; for the wife hath not power of her own body, nor the husband of his. (1 Corinthians 7:4, 5.)

23. If a damsel that is a virgin be betrothed. The severity of the punishment is now extended further, and a betrothed woman is counted as a wife; and this for a very good reason, because she has plighted her troth, and it is a token of abandoned incontinency for the mind of a woman to be so alienated from the man to whom she is betrothed, as to prostitute her virginity to another’s embraces. But since one who has been ravished is not criminal, a woman is absolved if she be forced in a field, because it is probable that she yielded unwillingly, inasmuch as she was far from assistance. Although, however, the terms are accommodated to the comprehension of a rude people, it was the intention of God to distinguish force from consent. Thus if a girl had been forced in a retired part of a building, from whence her cries could not be heard, God would undoubtedly have her acquitted, provided she could prove her innocence by satisfactory testimony and conjecture.


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