God’s law regarding the unchaste virgin provided protection for a defamed virgin and punishment for harlotry in the context of love of God and neighbor…
“If any man takes a wife and goes in to her and then turns against her, and charges her with shameful deeds and publicly defames her, and says, ‘I took this woman, but when I came near her, I did not find her a virgin,’ then the girl’s father and her mother shall take and bring out the evidence of the girl’s virginity to the elders of the city at the gate.
“The girl’s father shall say to the elders, ‘I gave my daughter to this man for a wife, but he turned against her; and behold, he has charged her with shameful deeds, saying, “I did not find your daughter a virgin.” But this is the evidence of my daughter’s virginity.’ And they shall spread the garment before the elders of the city.
“So the elders of that city shall take the man and chastise him, and they shall fine him a hundred shekels of silver and give it to the girl’s father, because he publicly defamed a virgin of Israel. And she shall remain his wife; he cannot divorce her all his days.
“But if this charge is true, that the girl was not found a virgin, then they shall bring out the girl to the doorway of her father’s house, and the men of her city shall stone her to death because she has committed an act of folly in Israel by playing the harlot in her father’s house; thus you shall purge the evil from among you.” – Deuteronomy 22:13-21
Protection for a defamed virgin
There is protection here for a blameless woman falsely accused: a man publicly humiliates his wife; now he must be publicly humiliated by being beaten and paying her father a sum of money. He falsely accused her of unfaithfulness; now he is required to live out faithfulness even should she be faithless.
Punishment for harlotry
If the charge was true, the penalty was death for the harlot in front of her father’s house.
This rankles the modern sense of justice, because we think that sexual immorality is a small matter, a personal matter—maybe even a right. But actually, immorality unchecked defiles a whole nation, and time and again throughout history God has destroyed such defiled nations. For example, in Leviticus 18, after forbidding various forms of sexual immorality, God declares,
‘Do not defile yourselves by any of these things; for by all these the nations which I am casting out before you have become defiled. For the land has become defiled, therefore I have brought its punishment upon it, so the land has spewed out its inhabitants. But as for you, you are to keep My statutes and My judgments and shall not do any of these abominations, neither the native, nor the alien who sojourns among you (for the men of the land who have been before you have done all these abominations, and the land has become defiled); so that the land will not spew you out, should you defile it, as it has spewed out the nation which has been before you.’ – Leviticus 18:24-28
It would not have been love to God or neighbor to refuse to punish the wicked, thereby dooming the entire nation to destruction under the judgment of God. Rather, the one who committed such an act took the consequences of her own folly. This law was necessary, wise, and just.