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Why virginity is highly valued

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By Pr Isaih White

Today, we are living in a promiscuous world, with sex being constantly on the shelves and discipline declining in every circle of sociology.

Families have become so complacent that many find themselves morally compromised. It has become difficult to raise children uprightly in such a fallen generation.

In Biblical times, however, the girl-child was protected and treasured above all other members of society.

The ancient people knew that by upholding the value of virginity till marriage, their children would be in a proper moral place.

Unfortunately, our generation has lost touch with such sexual moral values. Today, one is mocked if they marry while still a virgin.

A South African maiden shows off her certificate of virginity.

Biblical social law
“If any man takes a wife, and goes into her, and detests her, And charges her with shameful conduct, and brings a bad name on her, and says, ‘I took this woman, and when I came to her I found she was not a virgin,’

“Then the father and mother of the young woman shall take and bring out the evidence of the young woman’s virginity to the elders of the city at the gate.

“And the young woman’s father shall say to the elders, ‘I gave my daughter to this man as wife, and he detests her.

“Now he has charged her with shameful conduct, saying, “I found your daughter was not a virgin,” and yet these are the evidences of my daughter’s virginity.’

“And they shall spread the cloth before the elders of the city.

“Then the elders of that city shall take that man and punish him; “and they shall fine him one hundred shekels of silver and give them to the father of the young woman because he has brought a bad name on a virgin of Israel.

“And she shall be his wife; he cannot divorce her all his days.

In the olden days, a family’s reputation could be dented if their daughter was not virgin.

“But if the thing is true, and pieces of evidence of virginity are not found for the young woman,
“Then they shall bring out the young woman to the door of her father’s house, and the men of her city shall stone her to death with stones, because she has done a disgraceful thing in Israel, to play the harlot in her father’s house. So you shall put away the evil from among you.

“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” (Deuteronomy 22:13-22).

The word virgin appears several times in the scriptures. In the original Bible words, Hebrew, for instance, there are two terms; Bethuwlah (as transliteration) which means a virgin (male or female) and almah (transliteration) which means a young unmarried girl.

The semantic range of the term almah implies virginity. For it was unknown in the Hebrew culture for a young unmarried girl to be a virgin.

It is the very term that Prophet Isaiah used to imply the virgin birth by Mary of the incarnate God (Isaiah 7:14, Luke 1:31-35).

God could not be born by a sexually abused woman. He chose a virgin.

To emphasize the importance of virginity, Jesus used it figuratively in a parable, warning about being prepared for the second coming of Christ (Matthew 25:1-13).

Some South African communities awards certificate of virginity.

Sexual purity
All sins are equal before God. However, sexual sin takes a special place in the Bible because it involves worship.

Maintaining sexual purity is not just ethical, but also a sign of worship and respect for God.

In the ancient world, there were many sexual temples where idolatry was exercised.

This demonstrates how serious sexual sin is. It is a sin that compromises one’s physiology, psychology and spirituality.
It is, for this reason, that ancient people maintained sexual purity.

It was very highly valued, unlike today. When a man would marry a woman, her virginity was paramount.

In ancient times, a dowry was paid to the father of the bride and the rightful expectation was that the bride would be a virgin.

Virginity test is a common practice in South Africa. (Photos/Soul City & CorrectNG)

Family & social duty
In the culture of the time, it was the father who was charged with the covering, care and well-being of his daughter.
Her sexual purity was representative of the father’s ability to raise her according to the laws of God.

Therefore, in that culture, a man’s reputation as well as that of his family, could be adversely affected in society by the fornication of his daughter.

If his daughter had been betrothed, and a dowry been paid, there was an expectation of her to be a virgin.

As Christians, we are called to uphold this value as we create a counterculture to the existing fallen one of promiscuity.

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