Evildoers lurk to snatch the poor, seizing and ravishing the people they target. Wolves hunt to catch sheep. Let me show you some words and passages from the Bible which say this.
Psalm 10, 1662 Book of Common Prayer (minimally updated to modern English)
9 For he lies waiting secretly, as it were lion in his den; / he lurks that he may ravish the poor.
10 He ravishes the poor, / when he gets him into his net.
11 He stoops down and crouches, / that the poor may fall into the hands of his captains.
12 He has said in his heart, “Tush, God hath forgotten; / he hides away his face, and he will never see it.”
Psalm 10, Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB)
9 he lurks in secret like a lion in a thicket.
He lurks in order to seize the afflicted;
he seizes the afflicted and drags him in his net.
10 So he is oppressed and beaten down;
the helpless fall because of his strength.
11 He says to himself, “God has forgotten;
He hides His face and will never see.”
The words ravish / seize which I emphasised above are translations of the Hebrew word chataph חָטַף. That word occurs only three times in the Old Testament; twice in Psalm 10 and once in the book of Judges. To talk about its use in Judges I’ll need to explain the backstory.
Judges 21 recounts a historical event in the early history of the Israelites. The offspring of the 12 sons of Jacob became known as twelve tribes of Israel. Chapters 19 & 20 of the book of Judges recount how and why an inter-tribal war was fought between the tribes of Jacob, one tribe against the other eleven tribes, and how the eleven tribes eventually defeated the one tribe. Chapter 21 of Judges recounts what happened after that war—men prioritised the feelings of other men over the feelings of women and the choices women might wish to exercise in saying who they will marry.
The men from the eleven victorious tribes invited and allowed the surviving men from the defeated tribe to seize/ snatch/ catch their daughters and take them as wives.
In other words, these men — from all 12 tribes of Jacob – collectively deemed that the feelings, preferences, dignity, and choices of young women were less important than the need for men from the defeated tribe to get wives and thereby produce offspring to enable the defeated tribe to keep on going down the generations.
Please don’t think this story is recorded in the Bible to encourage such callous behaviour by men. Quite the opposite. This story (like all historical narratives in the Bible) has been recorded and preserved for our instruction. We need to read it with wisdom, bearing in mind that the refrain throughout the Book of Judges is “In those days, men did what was right in their own eyes.”
In my view, this account in Judges 21 shows us how easily male human beings can collectively decide to prioritise the feelings and preferences of men over the feelings and preferences of women. It illustrates how easily men can join together to entice/ persuade/ push a certain course of action on women so that men can catch and seize those women. You can watch more about it here: My video on The Levite’s Concubine — Judges 19-21.
Now we can look at where Judges 21 uses the Hebrew word chatap חָטַף.
ESV 20 And they commanded the people of Benjamin, saying, “Go and lie in ambush in the vineyards 21 and watch. If the daughters of Shiloh come out to dance in the dances, then come out of the vineyards and snatch each man his wife from the daughters of Shiloh, and go to the land of Benjamin.
NIV 20 So they instructed the Benjamites, saying, “Go and hide in the vineyards 21 and watch. When the young women of Shiloh come out to join in the dancing, rush from the vineyards and each of you seize one of them to be your wife. Then return to the land of Benjamin.
KJV 20 Therefore they commanded the children of Benjamin, saying, Go and lie in wait in the vineyards; 21 And see, and, behold, if the daughters of Shiloh come out to dance in dances, then come ye out of the vineyards, and catch you every man his wife of the daughters of Shiloh, and go to the land of Benjamin.
There is a word in the New Testament which is roughly equivalent to the Hebrew word chataph חָטַף. This word is harpazō ἁρπάζω. It means to seize, carry off by force / to seize on, claim for one’s self eagerly / to snatch out or away. (link)
All the passages below are from the New Matthew Bible Version (NMB). Each rendering of the Greek work harpazō is emphasised in bold. First I will give the passages in the New Testament that speak about how Satan and his agents do their utmost to snatch away Truth and carry off people by force. Then I will show you the good news — that God’s power to ‘catch up’ is greater than Satan’s.
Satan and his agents snatch the Truth away and carry off people by force
[Jesus said:] 11 I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives his life for the sheep. 12 But a hired servant, who is not the shepherd, neither are the sheep his own, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep, and flees; and the wolf catches them, and scatters the sheep. 13 The hired servant flees because he is a hired servant, and does not care for the sheep.
From the time of John the Baptist to now, the kingdom of heaven is sorely pressed, and those who go to it with effort seize it for themselves.
Whosoever hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, there comes the evil one, and catches away that which was sown in his heart; and this is he who received the seed by the wayside.
When Jesus perceived that they wanted to come and take him up to make him king, he departed again into a mountain himself alone.
And when great controversy arose, the captain, fearing lest Paul should be pulled apart by them, commanded the soldiers to go down and take him from among them, and to bring him into the castle.
God has the power to transport his people supernaturally: from one place to another on this physical earth, or from this physical earth to heaven.
And as soon as they had come out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught Philip away, and the chamberlain saw him no more. And he went on his way rejoicing.
2 Cor 12:2-4
I know a man in Christ about fourteen years ago (whether he was in the body I cannot tell, or whether he was out of the body I cannot tell, God knows) who was taken up into the third heaven. And I know the same man (whether in the body or out of the body I cannot tell, God knows), how he was taken up into Paradise and heard words not to be spoken, which no man can utter.
And she brought forth a man child who was to rule all the nations with a rod of iron. And her Son [Jesus Christ] was taken up to God and to his seat.
1 Thessalonians 4:13-18
I would not, brethren, have you be ignorant concerning those who have fallen asleep, lest you sorrow like others who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, so then also those who sleep in Jesus, God will bring again with him. And this we say to you in the word of the Lord: we who live and are remaining at the coming of the Lord will not precede those who sleep. For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a shout, and the voice of the archangel, and the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will arise first. Then shall we who live and remain be caught up with them also in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air. And so shall we ever be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words.
When a person trusts in God’s promises, nothing can snatch that person out of God’s hand.
[Jesus said:] My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me, and I give to them eternal life. And they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.