Then shall the father and the mother of the damsel take
Power from the court, according to the Targum of Jonathan; having leave and licence granted them to do what follows, these were to, and would, concern themselves in such an affair, partly for the credit and reputation of their child, and partly for their own honour, who were in danger, as Jarchi observes, of coming into contempt for their ill education of her:
and bring forth the tokens of the damsel's virginity;
the sheet she lay in when she first bedded with her husband, in her parents' possession, and kept by them as a witness of her purity, should there ever be any occasion for it: and which were to be brought
unto the elders of the city in the gate;
which sat in the gate of the city to try causes: the Targum of Jonathan calls it the gate of the sanhedrim, or court of judicature; and, according to Maimonides F17, this court was the court of twenty three judges; for this was a capital crime accused of, a cause relating to life and death, which could not be heard and tried in a lesser court.
F17 Hilchot Naarah Betulah, c. 3. sect. 3.