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Marriage


Was instituted in Paradise when man was in innocence (Gen. "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 (Matt. 19:4, 5). It is evident that monogamy was the" original law of marriage (Matt. 19:5; 1 Cor. 6:16). This law was "violated in after times, when corrupt usages began to be" introduced (Gen. 4:19; 6:2). We meet with the prevalence of polygamy and concubinage in the patriarchal age (Gen. 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 (Gen. 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 (Gen. 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 (31:15; 34:12; Ex. 22:16, 17; 1 Sam. 18:23," 25; Ruth 4:10; Hos. 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 (Gen. 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 (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 (Matt. 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; 1 Pet. 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 (1 Tim. 4:3). "The marriage relation is used to represent the union between God "and his people (Isa. 54:5; Jer. 3:1-14; Hos. 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" (Rev. 19:7-9)."

"(John 2:1-11) "lasted usually for a whole week; but the cost of" such prolonged rejoicing is very small in the East. The guests "sit round the great bowl or bowls on the floor, the meal usually" consisting of a lamb or kid stewed in rice or barley. The most "honoured guests sit nearest, others behind; and all in eating" "dip their hand into the one smoking mound, pieces of the thin" "bread, bent together, serving for spoons when necessary. After" "the first circle have satisfied themselves, those lower in" "honour sit down to the rest, the whole company being men, for" women are never seen at a feast. Water is poured on the hands "before eating; and this is repeated when the meal closes, the" "fingers having first been wiped on pieces of bread, which, after" "serving the same purpose as table-napkins with us, are thrown on" the ground to be eaten by any dog that may have stolen in from "the streets through the ever-open door, or picked up by those" outside when gathered and tossed out to them (Matt. 15:27; Mark 7:28). Rising from the ground and retiring to the seats round "the walls, the guests then sit down cross-legged and gossip, or" "listen to recitals, or puzzle over riddles, light being scantily" "supplied by a small lamp or two, or if the night be chilly, by a" "smouldering fire of weeds kindled in the middle of the room," "perhaps in a brazier, often in a hole in the floor. As to the" "smoke, it escapes as it best may; but indeed there is little of" "it, though enough to blacken the water or wine or milk skins" hung up on pegs on the wall. (Comp. Ps. 119:83.) To some such marriage-feast Jesus and his five disciples were invited at Cana "of Galilee." Geikie's Life of Christ. (See [380]CANA.)"


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