Let’s begin looking at that very difficult question by reading a few portions of the law that concerned sexual impropriety.  Although we live in a very permissive society, the Lord considers sexual immorality to be a very serious offence.  In all of scripture, we see that the proper use of a sexual relationship is between a man and his wife.  Let’s look at Deuteronomy, chapter 22, where we are given instructions from the Lord regarding His laws of sexual immorality.

In Deuteronomy 22:13-21, we have the points of the law stating that if a man should marry a woman, and find out later that she was not a virgin, and that could be proven, the woman was to be stoned to death.

Deuteronomy 22:22 says that, “If a man is found lying with a woman married to a husband, then both of them shall die—the man that lay with the woman, and the woman; so you shall put away the evil from Israel.” (NKJV)  This is the case of a man having sexual relations with a married woman.  They were both considered guilty and both were to be put to death.

Next, we see in verses 23-24, “If a young woman who is a virgin is betrothed to a husband, and a man finds her in the city and lies with her, then you shall bring them both out to the gate of that city, and you shall stone them to death with stones, the young woman because she did not cry out in the city, and the man because he humbled his neighbor’s wife; so you shall put away the evil from among you.” (NKJV)  Here is a case where a man has a physical relationship with a woman who is engaged to another man.  The woman cannot say she was raped because the incident happened in the city where she could have cried out for help.  Their punishment is also to be stoned.

In verse 25, we have a case of actual rape.  That says, “But if a man finds a betrothed young woman in the countryside, and the man forces her and lies with her, then only the man who lay with her shall die.” (NKJV)  The man ‘forces’ this woman when she is outside of the city where there is no one to hear her cries.  He is to be put to death.

Now let’s read Deuteronomy 22:28-29, “If a man finds a girl who is a virgin, who is not engaged, and seizes her and lies with her and they are discovered, then the man who lay with her shall give to the girl’s father fifty shekels of silver, and she shall become his wife because he has violated her; he cannot divorce her all his days.” (NKJV)  Now we have the case of a virgin woman who is not engaged, but is ‘seized’ by a man for sexual relations.  The definition for the word ‘seize’ here is ‘to manipulate.’  This suggests that the man seduces the young woman for sexual pleasure, rather than to ‘force’ her as we read in verse 25.  Notice, too, that these two are discovered, or caught, by someone else.  The use of these words indicates that they are in this together, even though the young woman may be under the romantic spell of the man.  In this case, the man must give the woman’s father a dowry, he must marry the woman, and he is NEVER allowed to divorce her.  He must stay with her for the rest of his life.

So, contrary to what you have been told, the Lord’s law does not require a woman to marry her rapist, as you can see from the verses we have read.  I want to point out one important thing.  We are not under the Old Testament law.  However, the morality of the law has not changed.  Sex outside of marriage was wrong then and it is wrong now.  The difference today is that we are living in the ‘dispensation of grace’ as we read about in Ephesians 3:2.  Death is not the immediate consequence for these actions.  In His infinite grace, the Lord offers forgiveness and restoration to His people who repent and confess their sins to Him.  1 John 1:9 assures us that, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”  (175.10)