frontADAM) The charter of marriage is Genesis 2:24, reproduced by our Lord with greater distinctness in Matthew 19:4-5; "He which made them at the beginning made them male and female, and said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain, shall be one flesh." The Septuagint, and Samaritan Pentateuch reads "twain" or "two" in Genesis 2:24; compare as to this joining in one flesh of husband and wife, the archetype of which is the eternally designed union of Christ and the church, Ephesians 5:31; Mark 10:5-9; 1 Corinthians 6:16; 1 Corinthians 7:2. In marriage husband and wife combine to form one perfect human being; the one is the complement of the other. So Christ makes the church a necessary adjunct to Himself. He is the Archetype from whom, as the pattern, the church is formed (Romans 6:5). He is her Head, as the husband is of the wife (1 Corinthians 11:3; 1 Corinthians 15:45). Death severs bridegroom and bride, but cannot separate Christ and His bride (Matthew 19:6; John 10:28-29; John 13:1; Romans 8:35-39).
In Ephesians 5:32 translated "this mystery is great," i.e. this truth, hidden once but now revealed, namely, Christ's spiritual union with the church, mystically represented by marriage, is of deep import. Vulgate wrongly translated "this is a great sacrament," Rome's plea for making marriage a sacrament. Not marriage in general, but the marriage of Christ and the church, is the great mystery, as the following words prove, "I say it in regard to (eis) Christ and in regard to (eis) the church," whereas Genesis 2:24 refers to literal marriage. Transl. Ephesians 5:30, "we are members of His (glorified) body, being (formed) out of (ek) His flesh and of His bones." Adam's deep sleep wherein Eve was formed out of His opened side, symbolizes Christ's death which was the birth of the spouse, the church (John 12:24; John 19:34-35). As Adam gave Eve a new name, 'ishah, "woman" or "wife" the counterpart of iysh, "man" or "husband," so Christ gives the church His new name; He, Solomon, she, the Shulamite (Song of Solomon 6:13; Revelation 2:17; Revelation 3:12).
The propagation of the church from Christ, as that of Eve from Adam, is the foundation of the spiritual marriage. Natural marriage rests on the spiritual marriage, whereby Christ left the Father's bosom to woo to Himself the church out of a lost world. His earthly mother as such He holds secondary to His spiritual bride (Luke 2:48-49; Luke 8:19-21; Luke 11:27-28). He shall again leave His Father's abode to consummate the union (Matthew 25:1-10; Revelation 19:7). Marriage is the general rule laid down for most men, as not having continency (1 Corinthians 7:2; 1 Corinthians 7:5, etc.). The existing "distress" (1 Corinthians 7:26) was Paul's reason then for recommending celibacy where there was the gift of continency. In all cases his counsel is true, "that they that have wives be as though they had none," namely, in permanent possession, not making idols of them.
Scripture teaches the unity of husband and wife; the indissolubleness of marriage save by death or fornication (Matthew 5:32; Matthew 19:9; Romans 7:3); monogamy; the equality of both (iysh) and (ishah) being correlative, and she a "help-meet for him," i.e. a helping one in whom as soon as he sees her he may recognize himself), along with the subordination of the wife, consequent on her formation subsequently and out of him, and her having been first to fall.(1 Corinthians 11:8-9; 1 Timothy 2:13-15.) frontADAM.) Love, honor, and cherishing are his duty; helpful, reverent subjection, a meek and quiet spirit, her part; both together being heirs of the grace of life (1 Peter 3:1-7; 1 Corinthians 14:34-35). Polygamy began with the Cainites. (See LAMECH; DIVORCE; CONCUBINE.) The jealousies of Abraham's (Genesis 16:6) and Elkanah's wives illustrate the evils of polygamy. Scripture commends monogamy (Psalm 128:3; Proverbs 5:18; Proverbs 18:22; Proverbs 19:14; Proverbs 31:10-29; Ecclesiastes 9:9).
Monogamy superseded polygamy subsequently to the return from Babylon. Public opinion was unfavorable to presbyters and women who exercise holy functions marrying again; for conciliation and expediency sake, therefore, Paul recommended that a candidate should be married only once, not having remarried after a wife's death or divorce (1 Timothy 3:2; 1 Timothy 3:12; 1 Timothy 5:9; Luke 2:36-37; 1 Corinthians 7:40); the reverse in the case of young widows (1 Timothy 5:14). Marriage is honorable; but fornication, which among the Gentiles was considered indifferent, is stigmatized (Hebrews 13:4; Acts 15:20). Marriage of Israelites with Canaanites was forbidden, lest it should lead God's people into idolatry (Exodus 34:16; Deuteronomy 7:3-4). In Leviticus 18:18 the prohibition is only against taking a wife's sister "beside the other (namely, the wife) in her lifetime."
Our Christian reason for prohibiting such marriage after the wife's death is because man and wife are one, and the sister-in-law is to be regarded in the same light as the sister by blood. Marriage with a deceased brother's wife (the Levirate law) was favored in Old Testament times, in order to raise up seed to a brother (Genesis 38:8; Matthew 22:25). The high priest must marry only an Israelite virgin (Leviticus 21:13-14); heiresses must marry in their own tribe, that their property might not pass out of the tribe. The parents, or confidential friend, of the bridegroom chose the bride (Genesis 24; Genesis 21:21; Genesis 38:6). The parents' consent was asked first, then that of the bride (Genesis 24:58). The presents to the bride are called mohar, those to the relatives mattan. Between betrothal and marriage all communication between the betrothed ones was carried on through "the friend of the bridegroom" (John 3:29). She was regarded as his wife, so that faithlessness was punished with death (Deuteronomy 22:23-24); the bridegroom having the option of putting her away by a bill of divorcement (Deuteronomy 24:1; Matthew 1:19).
No formal religious ceremony attended the wedding; but a blessing was pronounced, and a "covenant of God" entered into (Ezekiel 16:8; Malachi 2:14; Proverbs 2:17; Genesis 24:60; Rth 4:11-12). The essential part of the ceremony was the removal of the bride from her father's house to that of the bridegroom or his father. The bridegroom wore an ornamental turban; Isaiah 61:10, "ornaments," rather (peer) "a magnificent headdress" like that of the high priest, appropriate to the "kingdom of priests" (Exodus 19:6); the bride wore "jewels" or "ornaments" in general, trousseau. He had a nuptial garland or crown (Song of Solomon 3:11, "the crown wherewith His mother (the human race; for He is the Son of man, not merely Son of Mary) crowned Him in the day of His espousals"); and was richly perfumed (Song of Solomon 3:6). The bride took a preparatory bath (Ezekiel 23:40). This is the allusion in Ephesians 5:26-27; "Christ loved ... gave Himself for the church, that He might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, that He might present it to Himself a glorious church not having spot."
The veil (tsaip) was her distinctive dress, covering the whole person, so that the trick played on Jacob was very possible (Genesis 24:65; Genesis 29:23); the symbol of her subjection to her husband's power, therefore called "power on her head" (1 Corinthians 11:10). (See DRESS.) Our "nuptials" is derived from nubo, "to veil one's self." She also wore girdles for the breasts ("attire," kishurim) which she would not readily forget (Jeremiah 2:32). Also a gilded or gold "crown" or chaplet (kullah), a white robe sometimes embroidered with gold thread (Revelation 19:8; Psalm 45:13-14) and jewels (Isaiah 61:10). Late in the evening the bridegroom came with his groomsmen ("companions," Judges 14:11; "children of the bridechamber," Matthew 9:15), singers and torch or lamp bearers leading the way (Jeremiah 25:10); the bride meantime with her maidens eagerly awaited his coming.
Then he led the bride and her party in procession home with gladness to the marriage supper (Matthew 25:6; Matthew 22:1-11; John 2:2; Psalm 45:15). The women of the place flocked out to gaze. The nuptial song was sung; hence in Psalm 78:63 "their maidens were not praised" in nuptial song (Hebrew) is used for "were not given in marriage," margin. The bridegroom having now received the bride, his "friend's joy (namely, in bringing them together) was fulfilled" in hearing the bridegroom's voice (John 3:29). Song of Solomon 3:11; the feast lasted for seven or even 14 days, and was enlivened by riddles, etc. (Judges 14:12.) Wedding garments were provided by the host, not to wear which was an insult to him. Large waterpots for washing the hands and for "purifying" ablutions were provided (Mark 7:3).
These had to be "filled" before Jesus changed the water into wine; a nice propriety in the narrative, the minor circumstances being in keeping with one another; the feast being advanced, the water was previously all emptied out of the waterpots for the guests' ablutions (John 2:7). Light is thrown upon Egyptian marriages by a translation of an Egyptian contract of marriage, by Eugene Revillout. It is written in the demotic character upon a small sheet of papyrus, No. 2482, Cat. Egyptien, Musee du Louvre. It is dated in the month of Choiach, year 33 of Ptolemy Philadelphus, and the contracting parties are Patina, son of Pchelkhous, and the lady, Ta-outem, the daughter of Rehu. The terms of the deed are singular as to the dowry required on both sides, together with the clauses providing for repudiation.
After the actual dowry is recited, the sum being specified in shekels, the rights of the children which may hereafter come from the marriage, as well as the payment of the mother's pin-money, are secured by the following clause: "thy pocket money for one year is besides thy toilet money which I give thee each year, and it is your right to exact the payment of thy toilet money and thy pocket money, which are to be placed to my account, which I give thee. Thy oldest son, my oldest son, shall be the heir of all my property, present and future. I will establish thee as wife." Practicing in marriage law in Egypt was one of the priestly functions, for at the conclusion the contract states that "the writer of this act is ... the priest of Ammon Horpneter, son of Smin" (?). The bridegroom was exempted from military service for a year (Deuteronomy 20:7; Deuteronomy 24:5).
Women in Scripture times were not secluded as now, but went about married and single with faces unveiled (Genesis 12:14; Genesis 24:16; Genesis 24:65). Some were prophetesses, as Miriam, Deborah, Huldah, Anna, and took part in public concerns (Exodus 15:20; 1 Samuel 18:6-7; Abigail, 1 Samuel 25:14-25). The duties of husband and wife are laid down (Ephesians 5:22-33; Colossians 3:18-19; Titus 2:4-5; 1 Peter 3:1-7). Brawling wives stand in contrast to the model wife, God's gift (Proverbs 19:13; Proverbs 21:9; Proverbs 21:19; Proverbs 27:15; Proverbs 31:10-31). (On the spiritual harlot, see BEAST and ANTICHRIST.) Woman, harlot, bride, and ultimately wife, i.e. Christ's church in probation, the apostate church, and the glorified church, form the grand theme of the Bible from first to last. Israel had God for her "husband," she became a harlot when she left Him for idols (Isaiah 1:21; Jeremiah 2:20; Jeremiah 3:1; Jeremiah 3:6; Jeremiah 3:8; Jeremiah 3:14).
Again, Jehovah is to reunite Israel to Him as His earthly bride, as the elect church is His heavenly bride (Isaiah 54:5, etc.; Isaiah 62:4-5; Hosea 2:19; 2 Corinthians 11:2; Revelation 19:7; Revelation 21:2; Revelation 21:9; Revelation 22:17). The Father prepares for His Son the marriage feast (Matthew 22:1-14). The apostate church, resting on and conformed to the godless world, is the harlot riding on the beast and attired in scarlet as the beast. God's eternal principle in her case as in Israel's and Judah's shall hold good, and even already is being illustrated in Rome's being stripped by the world power; when the church sins with the world, the world the instrument of her sin shall be the instrument of her punishment (Ezekiel 23; Revelation 17:1-5; Revelation 17:16-18). (See IDOLATRY.)
Fausset, Andrew Robert M.A., D.D., "Definition for 'marriage customs' Fausset's Bible Dictionary".