Why does Deuteronomy 21:13 talk about a woman as if she were a possession?

Why does Deuteronomy say this? 

Deuteronomy 21:13

ESV - 13 And she shall take off the clothes in which she was captured and shall remain in your house and lament her father and her mother a full month. After that you may go in to her and be her husband, and she shall be your wife.

Clarify Share Report Asked January 31 2018 Img 2479 Ara Nelson

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Mini Tim Maas Retired Quality Assurance Specialist with the U.S. Army
I'm not sure that I share the same view of the passage (Deuteronomy 21:10-14) as indicated in the question.

The reference is to a female prisoner taken captive as a result of Israel's conflicts with its enemies in a war sanctioned by God (as indicated in verse 10 by the wording "and the Lord God gives them into your hands"). Such individuals in Biblical times commonly had no rights. The best they could hope for was to be made slaves. In fact, on multiple occasions in the Old Testament, God even commanded the killing of all such enemies (combatants and non-combatants alike, including men, women, and children). In this case, however, He permitted mercy to be shown to the woman in question, including recognition of her humanity by allowing her to mourn for the loss of her parents, and giving her the right to actually marry an Israelite, despite presumably coming from a pagan culture. Also, if her husband became displeased with her, she was not to be sold for money (as would occur with a piece of property) or treated as a slave, but given freedom to go wherever she wished.

Viewed retrospectively from modern times, and judged by current standards, many practices in the Bible may appear to conflict with today's "enlightened" values. In the context of the world in which they occurred, however, they could indicate recognition of a level of human dignity that was unusual and advanced for that era..

February 03 2018 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

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