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Biblical Marrige 101 :How Hebrews Were Wedded in the ancient world.

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Marriage of the Israelites was very different from our western marriage of today. Although there is a great amount no known know about Israelite marriage, it customs and bindings, the biblical references that speak on this essential topic us that many Israelite marriage customs were very different than those our modern western societies.

Number one,it is known that Israelite girls were expected to have maintained their virginity when they got married—and according to Deuteronomy Chap 22:1 could even be put to death if they were found not to be—men were allowed to marry multiple women. It is hard to know how common polygamy, unacceptable as it is now, which entailed a husband the right of being married to more than one woman, really was in ancient Israel. Also, certain evidence tells us  that compared to wifes, the husband had more control over whom they married. For example, Samson chooses his own wife in Judges 14, even though his parents disapprove of the match speaks of a somewhat strong, somewhat independent degree of independence for men for selecting a mate. Most likely, young girls of age were married around puberty whereas young men were somewhat older than who they were marrying. Though unions were generally based more on economic or social considerations than romantic ones, some texts, including the Song of Songs, show us that ideas of passion and romantic love were also not only present but strong in ancient Israel.

Number two In order to marry woman, a man would give her father a gift called the Mohar that would officaily seal and begin the betrothal between betrothed. Betrothal was, and today still is, a much firmer commitment than today’s engagement. Though one might think of the betrothal Mohar as a purchase price, this is inaccurate. Anthropologists call this gift “bridewealth.” It is found in many societies throughout the world and is not considered human sale by the people of those cultures—Israelite wives were never thought of as slaves in biblical times, though Israelite men sometimes did their marry slave women or servants. Some length of time after the betrothal, wedding festivities, often involving several or even weeks of feasting, would occur.

The relationship between husbands and wives was not as equal in the ancient Near East as in modern Western Society, including Israel. Ba‘al, one of the Hebrew words for “husband,” also meant “lord” or “master,” and many Israelite men had life-and-death power over women in the case of adultery, which in ancient Israel involved a woman having sex outside of her marriage or a man having sex with another man’s wife. Men, though, could have multiple wives and concubines and were allowed to go to prostitutes, thus monogamy was a one-way street in this culture.And is the main reason prompting Jesus to to say the rules for divorce in the Gospel of Matthew...

Matthew 19:9 "And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery."

Finally, i say in a firm, final summarization , not all biblical texts are in agreement on every issue regarding marriage perhaps it changed with the constant struggle between conservatism and liberality in different tribes climates and Eras, More suggesting that different Israelite communities and authors had diverse and sometimes colliding viewpoints on more male dominant or gender equal marriage and that Israelite viewpoints evolved over time.  Many biblical customs would be unfamiliar or even objectionable to many people living in our present- day Sex obsessed western societies today. Still, when we read the impassioned romantic poetry of the Song of Songs, we realize that some things, don't, never can, and never will change with love and marriage, Thank you.

 

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