A man who engaged in premarital sex a decade ago with a young woman was shocked when a letter came in the mail from that girl’s father, detailing the pain and angst he felt at the revelation of this sin, and demonizing a very strange restitution based off the bride price Jacob paid Laban and some other Old Testament customs.
The man, who himself has been married for over seven years, says that his wife found the letter in their mailbox. He states that he been confronted by the father when it first happened many years ago and had apologized, but the father has been apparently been stewing on this for over a decade, having not moved on.
The letter reads
RE: DEMAND FOR RESTITUTION FOR STEALING MY DAUGHTER’S HONOR
It has been nearly ten years since I learned that you stole my daughter [name redacted]’s virginity. Initially, it was my intention to forgive you. But after I confronted you about it and you expressed repentance, I later learned that you have since gone and done the same to others. Moreover, you have regarded the matter more like winning a game than the despicable deed it was. So, I have decided to irrevocably retract any offer of forgiveness.
In the interim, I have thought, prayed and studied the Scriptures seeking for an appropriate response. At the time I was a man of modest means and you deliberately took from me my most precious treasure. A treasure I invested my heart and soul and every available resource in creating. For a brief pleasure, you forever took from me the sublime joy of giving my pure, virgin daughter away in marriage to her chosen husband. Moreover, you broke trust with me and God, for you promised me as a Christian brother to diligently guard against this very act.
Since you have not raised a daughter, you cannot imagine the emotions and feelings that I have endured without relief since then. However, I will tell you that my wrath against you is so great that to kill you by prolonged and extreme torture followed by the thorough desecration and destruction of your corpse would not be enough to extinguish my anger. However, I am restrained from doing violence against you by the sole fact that I have given my heart to our Savior, Jesus Christ; and doing willful harm to a fellow Christian is an impossibility. Moreover, I cannot hate a person enough to desire that they should suffer eternal torment in hell. So, I have sought for a resolution somewhere in between these extremes.
After years of searching, long nights spent in examining possible courses of action, I have settled on a form of restitution that fits the principles God ordained in the revelation of His Scripture. It is derived from the following points.
1. When Jacob sought to marry Rachel, the daughter of Laban, they agreed that Jacob would first serve Laban for seven full years tending his herds, flocks and tribes. Therefore, if we had mutually agreed that you could marry [name redacted], the equivalent of seven years of your full-time service would have been a reasonable bride price.
“Now Laban had two daughters. The name of the older was Leah, and the name of the younger was Rachel. Leah’s eyes were weak, but Rachel was beautiful in form and appearance. Jacob loved Rachel. And he said, “I will serve you seven years for your younger daughter Rachel.’ Laban said, ‘It is better that I give her to you than that I should give her to any other man; stay with me.’ So Jacob served seven years for Rachel, and they seemed to him but a few days because of the love he had for her.” (Genesis 29:16-20 ESV)
2. However, we had no agreement, and you took my daughter’s virginity through deception and seduction. Therefore, it was stolen, and you are a thief and a liar. The Scriptures state that when a thief is discovered, he must repay seven-fold what was stolen, even to all that he has. In fact, if a thief does not have the means to make full restitution, they may be sold into slavery as well. Therefore, the restitution is seven time seven years, or forty-nine years of the prime years of your life. For you have no material possession nor is there any amount of labor or money I would accept as restitution.
“So is he who goes into his neighbor’s wife; none who touches her will go unpunished. People do not despise a thief if he steals to satisfy his appetite when he is hungry, but if he is caught, he will pay sevenfold; he will give all the goods of his house.” Proverbs 6:29-31 ESV) and “Then if you walk contrary to me and will not listen to me, I will continue striking you, sevenfold for your sins.” (Leviticus 26:21 ESV)
3. Moreover, the Law of Moses states that a father may refuse marriage to his daughter to a man who seduces her, but still require the bride price.
“If a man seduces a virgin who is not betrothed and lies with her, he shall give the bride-price for her and make her his wife. If her father utterly refuses to give her to him, he shall pay money equal to the bride-price for virgins.” (Exodus 22:16,17 ESV)
4. When the Canaanite, Shechem, raped Dinah, the daughter of Israel, Shechem offered restitution, saying “Ask me for as great a bride-price and gift as you will, and I will give whatever you say to me. Only give me the young woman to be my wife.” (Genesis 34:12 ESV)
So, I have decided to petition the courts of heaven to take from you and give to me that which is your dearest possession: your youth and all the good that goes with it. Specifically I demand divine restitution that will age you and rejuvenate me 49 years. Therefore, if from this date you discover that you have aged significantly or are aging rapidly, know that it is not a medical condition. It is the judgement of God. Nor will I relent and give it back to you under any circumstances. For nothing you can do could restore my daughter’s virginity and our family’s honor. You have also stained your family’s honor, but that is another matter you must face with them. Moreover, you did this detestable deed under the guise of professing the Christian faith. Therefore, you have offended Christ, grieved the Holy Spirit and tarnished the reputation of all true Christians. If you will make an appeal, make it to Them and see how They answer you. Even if my divine petition is not accepted and you do not age, know that you are still in the wrong and are separated from God until you are reconciled with me.
Lastly, I will add that you have committed the act of fornication. This is specifically forbidden to Christians, grieves the Holy Spirit and condemns the perpetrator to eternal torment in hell. I have actually seen hell firsthand and assure you that it is very real and terrible beyond description. With this restitution, your debt to me will be paid. I do not know how many other parents you have similarly swindled and robbed, but that is also another matter and how you will reconcile with them is your concern. However, you must still repent and ask God for His forgiveness to have any hope of salvation. I do not expect He is pleased with you.
There isn’t much more one can say about that. We appreciate the sentiment that the father is experiencing, as he does have Godly role and responsibility in seeking to protect and guide his daughter into a marriage where there is no previous sexual sin, but rather a celebration of purity and faithfulness. Finding that hope dashed, for her sake, can be devastating.
But the other stuff about restitution and the aging curse and everything else- unfortunately, that’s a whole lot of crazy.