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Exodus 22:15-16 New English Translation (NET Bible)

15 If its owner was with it, he will not have to pay; if it was hired, what was paid for the hire covers it.[a]

Moral and Ceremonial Laws

16 [b] “If a man seduces a virgin[c] who is not engaged[d] and goes to bed[e] with her, he must surely pay the marriage price[f] for her to be his wife.


  1. Exodus 22:15 tn Literally “it came with/for its hire,” this expression implies that the owner who hired it out and was present was prepared to take the risk, so there would be no compensation.
  2. Exodus 22:16 sn The second half of the chapter records various laws of purity and justice. Any of them could be treated in an expository way, but in the present array they offer a survey of God’s righteous standards: Maintain the sanctity of marriage (16-17); maintain the purity of religious institutions (18-20), maintain the rights of human beings (21-28), maintain the rights of Yahweh (29-31).
  3. Exodus 22:16 tn This is the word בְּתוּלָה (betulah); it describes a young woman who is not married or a young woman engaged to be married; in any case, she is presumed to be a virgin.
  4. Exodus 22:16 tn Or “pledged” for marriage.
  5. Exodus 22:16 tn Heb “lied down with.” The verb שָׁכַב (shakav) “to lie down” can imply going to bed to sleep or be a euphemism for sexual relations.
  6. Exodus 22:16 tn The verb מָהַר (mahar) means “pay the marriage price,” and the related noun is the bride price. B. Jacob says this was a proposal gift and not a purchase price (Exodus, 700). This is the price paid to her parents, which allowed for provision should there be a divorce. The amount was usually agreed on by the two families, but the price was higher for a pure bride from a noble family. Here, the one who seduces her must pay it, regardless of whether he marries her or not.
New English Translation (NET)

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