7 occurrences in 7 dictionaries

Reference: Marriage


The union for life of one man and one woman, is an ordinance of the Creator for the perpetuity and happiness of the human race; instituted in Paradise, Ge 1:27-28; 2:18-24, and the foundation of no small part of all that is valuable to human society. By promoting parental love and the sense of responsibility, marriage most effectually promotes the health and happiness of children, and their careful education to virtue, industry, and honor, to right habits and ends, and to all that is included in the idea of home. God made originally but one man and one woman. The first polygamists were Lamech and those degenerate "sons of God," or worshippers of Jehovah, who "took them wives of all that they chose," Ge 4:17; 6:2. On the other hand, Noah and his three sons had each but one wife; and the same appears to be true of all his direct ancestors' back to Adam. So also was it with Job, Nahor, Lot, and at first with Abraham. See CONCUBINE. In after-times a plurality of wives became more common among the Hebrews, and the Scriptures afford numerous illustrations of its evil results, Ge 16:16; Jg 8:30; 2Sa 3:3-5; 1Ki 11:1-8; 2Ch 11:18-21; 13:21. In the time of Christ there is no mention of polygamy as prevalent among the Jews.

The Israelites were forbidden to marry within certain specified degrees, Le 18; 18:1-27; De 27. Marriage with Canaanites and idolaters was strictly forbidden, Ex 34:16; and afterwards with any of the heathen nations around them, especially such as were uncircumcised, Ne 13. By the Levirate law, as it is termed, if a Jew died without children, his nearest brother or kinsman was bound to marry the widow, that her firstborn son after this marriage might be reckoned the son and heir of the first husband, Ge 38; De 25:5-10; Mt 22:23-26. The Savior set his seal to marriage as a divine and permanent institution, aside from all the civil laws which guard and regulate, or seek to alter or annul it; forbidding divorce except for one cause, Mt 5:32; 9/3/type/juliasmith'>19:3-6,9; and denouncing all breaches of marriage vows, even in thought, Mt 5:28. Compare Heb 13:4; Re 21:8.

Jewish parents were wont to arrange with other parents as to the marriage of their children, sometimes according to the previous choice of the son, and not without some regard to the consent of the daughter, Ge 21:21; 24; 34:4-6; Jg 14:2-3. The parties were often betrothed to each other long before the marriage took place. See BETROTHING. A dowry was given by the suitor to the parents and brethren of the bride, Ex 22:13; De 22:29; 2Sa 13:11. The nuptials were often celebrated with great pomp and ceremony, and with protracted feasting and rejoicing. It was customary for the bridegroom to appoint a Paranymphus, or groomsman, called by our Savior "the friend of the bridegroom," Joh 3.29. A number of other young men also kept him company during the days of the wedding, to do him honor; as also young women kept company with the bride all this time. The companions of the bridegrooms are expressly mentioned in the history of Samson, Jg 14:11,20; Song 5:1; 8:13; Mt 9:14; also the companions of the bride, Ps 45:9,14; Song 1:5; 2:7; 3:5; 8:4. The office of the groomsman was to direct in the ceremonies of he wedding. The friends and companions of the bride sang the epithalamium, or wedding song, at the door of the bride the evening before the wedding. The festivities of the wedding were conducted with great decorum, the young people of each sex being in distinct apartments and at different tables. The young men at Samson's wedding diverted themselves in proposing riddles, and the bridegroom appointed the prize to those should could explain them, Jg 14:14.

The Jews affirm, that before Jerusalem was laid in ruins, the bridegroom and bride wore crowns at their marriage. Compare Isa 61:10; Song 3:11, "Go forth, O ye daughters of Zion, and behold King Solomon with the crown wherewith his mother, crowned him in the day of his espousals, and in the day of the gladness of his heart." The modern Jews, in some places, throw handfuls of wheat on the newly married couple, particularly on the bride, saying "Increase and multiply." In other places they mingle pieces of money with the wheat, which are gathered up by the poor. The actual ceremony of marriage was very simple, consisting of little more than the reading of the marriage contract, Pr 2:17; Mal 2:14, and the nuptial blessing invoked by the friends, Ge 24:60; Ru 4:11-12.

The wedding festivities commonly lasted seven days for a maid, and three days for a widow. So Laban says to Jacob, respecting Leah, "Fulfill her week," Ge 29:27. The ceremonies of Samson's wedding continued seven whole days, Jg 14:17-18. These seven days of rejoicing were commonly spent in the house of the woman's father, after which they conducted the bride to her husband's home.

The procession accompanying the bride from the house of her father to that of the bridegroom, was generally one of more or less pomp, according to the circumstances of the married couple; and for this they often chose the night, as is tell the custom in Syria. Hence the parable of the ten virgins that went at midnight to meet the bride and bridegroom, Mt 25. "At a Hindoo marriage, the procession of which I saw some years ago," says Mr. Ward, "the bridegroom came from a distance, and the bride lived at Serampre, to which place the bridegroom was to come by water. After waiting two or three hours, at length, near midnight, it was announced, as if in the very words of Scripture, 'Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him.' All the persons employed now lighted their lamps, and ran with them in their hands to fill up their stations in the procession; some of them had lost their lights, and were unprepared; but it was then too late to seek them, and the cavalcade moved forward to the house of the bride, at which place the company entered a large and splendidly illuminated area, before the house, covered with an awning, where a great multitude of friends, dressed in their best apparel, were seated upon mats. The bridegroom was carried in the arms of a friend, and placed in a superb seat in the midst of the company, where he sat a short time, and them went into the house, the door of which was immediately shut, and guarded by sepoys. Others and I expostulated with the doorkeepers, but in vain. Never was I so struck with our Lord's beautiful parable as at this moment; 'and the door was shut.'"

Christianity invests the family institution with peculiar sacredness; makes true love its basis, and mutual preference of each others' happiness its rule; and even likens it to the ineffable union between Christ and his church, Eph 5:22-33. Nowhere in the world is woman so honored, happy, and useful as in a Christian land and a Christian home. Believers are directed to marry "in the Lord," 1Co 7:39. No doubt the restrictions laid upon the ancient people of God contain a lesson for all periods, and the recorded ill results of forbidden marriages among the Jews, if heeded, would prevent the serious evils which often result form union between a Christian and a worldling. As to the mutual duties of husband and wife, see Eph 5:22-23; 1Ti 2:11-12; 1Pe 3:1-7.

The Romish church puts dishonor on what the Holy Spirit describes as "honorable in all." It not only extols celibacy and virginity in the laity, but also strictly refuses marriage to all its priests, bishops, etc., and in thus "forbidding to marry," fixes upon itself the name of anti-Christ, 1Ti 4:3. See BETROTHING, CONCUBINE, DIVORCE, GARMENTS, etc.

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was instituted in Paradise when man was in innocence (Ge 2:18-24). Here we have its original charter, which was confirmed by our Lord, as the basis on which all regulations are to be framed (Mt 19:4-5). It is evident that monogamy was the original law of marriage (Mt 19:5; 1Co 6:16). This law was violated in after times, when corrupt usages began to be introduced (Ge 4:19; 6:2). We meet with the prevalence of polygamy and concubinage in the patriarchal age (Ge 16:1-4; 22:21-24; 28:8-9; 29:23-30, etc.). Polygamy was acknowledged in the Mosaic law and made the basis of legislation, and continued to be practised all down through the period of Jewish histroy to the Captivity, after which there is no instance of it on record.

It seems to have been the practice from the beginning for fathers to select wives for their sons (Ge 24:3; 38:6). Sometimes also proposals were initiated by the father of the maiden (Ex 2:21). The brothers of the maiden were also sometimes consulted (Ge 24:51; 34:11), but her own consent was not required. The young man was bound to give a price to the father of the maiden (Ge 31:15; 34:12; Ex 22:16-17; 1Sa 18:23,25; Ru 4:10; Ho 3:2) On these patriarchal customs the Mosaic law made no change.

In the pre-Mosaic times, when the proposals were accepted and the marriage price given, the bridegroom could come at once and take away his bride to his own house (Ge 24:63-67). But in general the marriage was celebrated by a feast in the house of the bride's parents, to which all friends were invited (Ge 29:22,27); and on the day of the marriage the bride, concealed under a thick veil, was conducted to her future husband's home.

Our Lord corrected many false notions then existing on the subject of marriage (Mt 22:23-30), and placed it as a divine institution on the highest grounds. The apostles state clearly and enforce the nuptial duties of husband and wife (Eph 5:22-33; Col 3:18-19; 1Pe 3:1-7). Marriage is said to be "honourable" (Heb 13:4), and the prohibition of it is noted as one of the marks of degenerate times (1Ti 4:3).

The marriage relation is used to represent the union between God and his people (Isa 54:5; Jer 3:1-14; Ho 2:9,20). In the New Testament the same figure is employed in representing the love of Christ to his saints (Eph 5:25-27). The Church of the redeemed is the "Bride, the Lamb's wife" (Re 19:7-9).

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(See ADAM) The charter of marriage is Ge 2:24, reproduced by our Lord with greater distinctness in Mt 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 Ge 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, Eph 5:31; Mr 10:5-9; 1Co 6:16; 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 (Ro 6:5). He is her Head, as the husband is of the wife (1Co 11:3; 15:45). Death severs bridegroom and bride, but cannot separate Christ and His bride (Mt 19:6; Joh 10:28-29; 13:1; Ro 8:35-39).

In Eph 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 Ge 2:24 refers to literal marriage. Transl. Eph 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 (Joh 12:24; 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 6:13; Re 2:17; 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 (Lu 2:48-49; 8:19-21; 11:27-28). He shall again leave His Father's abode to consummate the union (Mt 25:1-10; Re 19:7). Marriage is the general rule laid down for most men, as not having continency (1Co 7:2,5, etc.). The existing "distress" (1Co 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 (Mt 5:32; 19:9; Ro 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.(1Co 11:8-9; 1Ti 2:13-15.) (See ADAM.) 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 (1Pe 3:1-7; 1Co 14:34-35). Polygamy began with the Cainites. (See LAMECH; DIVORCE; CONCUBINE.) The jealousies of Abraham's (Ge 16:6) and Elkanah's wives illustrate the evils of polygamy. Scripture commends monogamy (Ps 128:3; Pr 5:18; 18:22; 19:14; 31:10-29; Ec 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 (1Ti 3:2,12; 5:9; Lu 2:36-37; 1Co 7:40); the reverse in the case of young widows (1Ti 5:14). Marriage is honorable; but fornication, which among the Gentiles was considered indifferent, is stigmatized (Heb 13:4; Ac 15:20). Marriage of Israelites with Canaanites was forbidden, lest it should lead God's people into idolatry (Ex 34:16; De 7:3-4). In Le 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 (Ge 38:8; Mt 22:25). The high priest must marry only an Israelite virgin (Le 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; Ge 21:21; 38:6). The parents' consent was asked first, then that of the bride (Ge 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" (Joh 3:29). She was regarded as his wife, so that faithlessness was punished with death (De 22:23-24); the bridegroom having the option of putting her away by a bill of divorcement (De 24:1; Mt 1:19).

No formal religious ceremony attended the wedding; but a blessing was pronounced, and a "covenant of God" entered into (Eze 16:8; Mal 2:14; Pr 2:17; Ge 24:60; Ru 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; Isa 61:10, "ornaments," rather (peer) "a magnificent headdress" like that of the high priest, appropriate to the "kingdom of priests" (Ex 19:6); the bride wore "jewels" or "ornaments" in general, trousseau. He had a nuptial garland or crown (Song 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 3:6). The bride took a preparatory bath (Eze 23:40). This is the allusion in Eph 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 (Ge 24:65; 29:23); the symbol of her subjection to her husband's power, therefore called "power on her head" (1Co 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 (Jer 2:32). Also a gilded or gold "crown" or chaplet (kullah), a white robe sometimes embroidered with gold thread (Re 19:8; Ps 45:13-14) and jewels (Isa 61:10). Late in the evening the bridegroom came with his groomsmen ("companions," Jg 14:11; "children of the bridechamber," Mt 9:15), singers and torch or lamp bearers leading the way (Jer 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 (Mt 25:6; 22:1-11; Joh 2:2; Ps 45:15). The women of the place flocked out to gaze. The nuptial song was sung; hence in Ps 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 (Joh 3:29). Song 3:11; the feast lasted for seven or even 14 days, and was enlivened by riddles, etc. (Jg 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 "puri

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1. Forms of Marriage.

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This is God's institution: He said it was not good that man should be alone, and He provided a suitable help for Adam in the person of Eve. Adam said, "This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman (isha), because she was taken out of Man (ish). Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh." Ge 2:23-24. This declaration of union was confirmed by the Lord, who, in quoting the above, added, "Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder." Mt 19:5-6; Mr 10:7-9. It is confirmed also by being taken as a type of the sacred union of the Lord with the church: "We are members of his body, of his flesh and of his bones. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church." Eph 5:30-32.

All this shows that God's institution of marriage was the union of one man and one woman, the two and only two, becoming one. What is more than this is not of God, but is of human lust. This order was first broken through by Lamech, the sixth from Adam, who had two wives. Long after this instances are recorded of wives, on account of their great desire for children, giving their maid servants to their husbands: an act that would now be judged as most unnatural in a wife. Sarai gave her Egyptian handmaid to Abram 'to be his wife' (the same word for 'wife' being used for both Sarai and Hagar), and God said He would make of Ishmael a great nation. Jacob's two wives gave their handmaids to their husband, and thus he had four wives. God reckoned the twelve sons of these four women equally as sons of Jacob, and they became the heads of the twelve tribes. It might have been thought that God would not have blessed the issue of these unions, but He did: there is no record of any law having been given on this subject.

In early times marriages were also contracted between near relatives. This was altered by the law of Moses as well as restrictions introduced as to divorce, though even under the law, because of the hardness of their hearts, Moses allowed them to put away their wives for any cause, "but from the beginning it was not so," and from the time the Lord was on earth it was not to be so any longer. Mt 19:5-9. The choice of persons to be appointed as bishops and deacons in the church, was restricted to those who were the husbands of 'one wife.' 1Ti 3:2,12; Tit 1:6. God has providentially so ordered it in all countries called christian that a man is allowed to have but one wife; and in the best of those countries a man cannot divorce his wife except when she herself has already broken the marriage bond. Instruction is given in the Epistles to both: the wives are to be in subjection to their husbands, and the husbands are to love and cherish their wives, even as Christ the church. Eph 5:28-29.

It is not now known how the negotiations were conducted that led to a man and woman being betrothed, or espoused, or what were the ceremonies usually attending it. The betrothed couple were at once looked upon as husband and wife, as seen in the case of Joseph, who thought of divorcing his espoused wife Mary. Mt 1:18-19. In the East a man does not usually see his espoused wife until they are married (as Isaac did not see Rebecca and had no choice in the matter), the engagement, and the amount of dowry to be paid by the husband to the bride's father, being arranged by the relatives.

Of the ancient marriage ceremonies very little is known. On the night of a marriage the young women went forth with lamps or torches to meet the bridegroom and to escort him to the house of the bride, as in Matt. 25. Such processions have been seen in modern times, and the same cry has been heard, "Behold the bridegroom." They had marriage feasts, as in the parable of Matt. 22 (when a special garment was provided for each of the guests), and as the one to which the Lord, Hi