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Ecclesiastes 12:13

 

"Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man"

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WHAT DOES THE BIBLE SAY ABOUT MARRIAGE? LET'S SEE…

Updated: Aug 13, 2023



Marriage is sacred to those that care about it. “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother shall cleave to his wife, and they shall be one flesh” (Genesis 2:24).


But the status quo, particularly, in the so called developed world more often than not tends to present marriage as inconsequential. Interestingly, statistics support the union of marriage is still going stronger than we might be led to believe.


Here are some stats:


In 2018, the marriage rate in the United States stood at 6.5 per 1,000 people of the population. This is a decrease from 1990 levels, when the marriage rate was 9.8 marriages per 1,000 people. Statista

In 2016, there were 249,793 marriages in England and Wales, 1.7% more than in 2015, but 1.0% fewer than in 2014. 97.2% of all marriages were between opposite-sex couples. ONS

The marriage statistics seem to support scriptures nicely, fortunately. Those who are familiar with the bible know that it says, two become one flesh as they leave their mother and father (Genesis 2:24).


Here we will be looking at the technicalities of what constitutes a marriage, ages men got married, finding a good wife as well as divorce.


So let’s begin with the most famous biblical quote, which I quoted above:


Genesis 2:24

Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother shall cleave to his wife, and they shall be one flesh”.

There are a number of different ways to look at this;

1. The first is that it can be said once you’re married you and your partner work as a team which is one mind. 2. The second happens once two have sexual relations, the following result is usually a child, but even without consummation you will see a marriage still stands.


Marriage Consummation


Consummation in a marriage takes place when a couple have sexual relations. This act usually follows after the marriage contract and makes the marriage complete…


We see evidence of this consummation when we read the scriptures.


When Isaac marries Sarah, we see him consummating the marriage immediately after the contractual obligation is fulfilled.


Genesis 24:67

67 And Isaac brought her into his mother Sarah’s tent, and took Rebekah, and she became his wife; and he loved her: and Isaac was comforted after his mother’s death.

We are told that Isaac brought Rebecca into his mother’s tent and “took” Rebecca to consummate the marriage.


Without a full understanding one might think that the marriage was only established because of sexual relations, but this is not true. Further research on the matter shows that the contractual obligations are very much part of the scriptures, and the Most High’s way of establishing marriage.


The Biblical Marriage Contract


To get a greater understanding of how a marriage was established in the biblical world we have to read the book of Tobit, this is found in the apocrypha below.


Tobit 7:13–14

13 Then he called his daughter Sara, and she came to her father, and he took her by the hand, and gave her to be wife to Tobias, saying, Behold, take her after the law of Moses, and lead her away to thy father. And he blessed them;
14 And called Edna his wife, and took paper, and did write an instrument of covenants, and sealed it.

As you can see above before any sexual consummation, a marriage contract was signed. This just goes to show that a marriage is valid even if sex has not taken place yet.


In the scriptures above we see Tobias’s marriage to Sara being established with “an instrument of covenant” i.e. a marriage contract.


Marriage Without Consummation


It is clear when we read the book of Tobit that a marriage is established without sexual relations (consummation).


Tobit 3:7-8

7 It came to pass the same day, that in Ecbatane a city of Media Sara the daughter of Raguel was also reproached by her father’s maids;
8 Because that she had been married to seven husbands, whom Asmodeus the evil spirit had killed, before they had lain with her. Dost thou not know, said they, that thou hast strangled thine husbands? thou hast had already seven husbands, neither wast thou named after any of them.

Scripture above tells us Sarah had seven husbands and all of them died before consummation could take place.


The scriptures present consummation as customary, which just proves further that a marriage is based on a contract and not sex.


In some cases consummation can come before the marriage. In the following scripture you can see an example of this:


Deuteronomy 22:28-29

28 If a man find a damsel that is a virgin, which is not betrothed, and lay hold on her, and lie with her, and they be found;
29 Then the man that lay with her shall give unto the damsel’s father fifty shekels of silver, and she shall be his wife; because he hath humbled her, he may not put her away all his days.

In the above scripture you see a virgin woman taken by a man, (the word for woman is damsel) who lay with her, in others words, he had sexual relations with her.


In the above example, because the woman was not raped the man had the responsibility of paying the bride price (Dowry) for the lady of fifty shekels and also marrying her.


Divorce was also not an option, the man was to remain married to the woman.


This puts a whole new perspective on the casual dating market. It’s clear that the Most High has no place for casual sex.


Objection To Marriage


There can be an objection when a man lays with a Virgin, that he hasn’t raped.


Exodus 22:16-17

16 And if a man entice a maid that is not betrothed, and lie with her, he shall surely endow her to be his wife.
17 If her father utterly refuse to give her unto him, he shall pay money according to the dowry of virgins

If the woman’s father doesn’t want the marriage to go ahead it can be stopped but the man must pay the dowry price of a virgin, if he has slept with her. This further shows that sex is not a marriage.


Unfortunately we live in a world where the medias promotion of casual sex is the norm. Even the losing of ones virginity has become a milestone for many.


Breaking Marriage Vows: Adultery


We have spoken of a man that seduces a woman and his obligation to marry her.

In the scriptures below you’ll see that if a man rapes an engaged or married woman he is to be put to death.


Deuteronomy 22:22-24

22 If a man be found lying with a woman married to an husband, then they shall both of them die, both the man that lay with the woman, and the woman: so shalt thou put away evil from Israel.
23 If a damsel that is a virgin be betrothed unto an husband, and a man find her in the city, and lie with her;
24 Then ye shall bring them both out unto the gate of that city, and ye shall stone them with stones that they die; the damsel, because she cried not, being in the city; and the man, because he hath humbled his neighbour’s wife: so thou shalt put away evil from among you.

As you can see in the scripture above the law says that if a man has sex with a married woman and she is not forced, then both of them were supposed to be stoned. The woman as well, because she was not raped.


Deuteronomy 22:25-26

25 But if a man find a betrothed damsel in the field, and the man force her, and lie with her: then the man only that lay with her shall die.
26 But unto the damsel thou shalt do nothing; there is in the damsel no sin worthy of death: for as when a man riseth against his neighbour, and slayeth him, even so is this matter:

And as explained the scripture above says that if a man rapes a woman, he alone would have had to be put to death.


Age Of Marriage


When we look at the scriptures we see that Isaac was married at age 40 years old and Jacob at 70 years old.


Genesis 25:20

20 And Isaac was forty years old when he took Rebekah to wife, the daughter of Bethuel the Syrian of Padanaram, the sister to Laban the Syrian.

But this is by no means the the rule, men also get married in their twenties in the scriptures too.


For women the age of marriage for a woman can be as early as 12 years old as this is the time that her period is most likely to start.


NOTE: This does not mean that a man in ancient times would have sex with her as soon as they were married.


If this ages sounds real young he’s a statistic that may or may not shock you…


When we look at the statistics, it shows that more than a third of teenagers have had sex before they are 16.


By the end of the teenage years most young people in the UK will have had sex. The average age of sexual debut in the UK is 16 – 17.” NHS

An estimated 55% of male and female teens have had sexual intercourse by age 18 and approximately 80% of teens used some form of contraception at first sex, according to a new report by the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics. (NCHS). ” CDC

I think this facts shed light on the ages young people think about becoming sexually active. The question is would you rather they were in a stable relationship, or having multiple partners, with the risk of an STD?


What Nationality To Marry


When we read the scriptures there is great emphasis on staying within your own nationality, shock horror! for some I’m sure?


This is the complete opposite of what we see in the world today as there is much emphasis on interracial relationships, and loving who you love etc.


Although interracial relationships are not totally opposed there is a reason why the Most High created nationalities to be distinct from each other, mainly that we are his creation.


We see that on numerous occasions the Most High telling Israel to marry within their nationalities.


Deuteronomy 7:3-4

3 Neither shalt thou make marriages with them; thy daughter thou shalt not give unto his son, nor his daughter shalt thou take unto thy son.
4 For they will turn away thy son from following me, that they may serve other gods: so will the anger of the Lord be kindled against you, and destroy thee suddenly.

On the rare occasions where Israelite’s married other nationalities this took place predominantly with men who married wives that kept the laws of the Most High.


This is true in the case of Moses who married a Midianite, and Boaz (Boaz, Obed, Jesse, David) David’s great grandfather’s father who married a Moabite.


Marrying As A Virgin


For both men and women the Bible promotes virginity.


Jacob was a virgin when he married, at around age 70. He was 147 years old when he died.


Jubilees 25:4

4 And then spake Jacob to Rebecca, his mother, and said unto her: ‘Behold, mother, I am nine weeks of years old, and I neither know nor have I touched any woman, nor have I betrothed myself to any, nor even think of taking me a wife of the daughters of Canaan.

Of course there are cases where this is not going to be the case in today’s societies, if you’ve just come into the faith there is a strong possibility you’re not a virgin.


We’ve also gone over situations where the possibility of being a virgin has been taken out of the hands of a woman in situations such as rap.


If you’re a virgin reading this stay faithful read the scriptures and understand that the Most High will present you with a good partner, because of your faithfulness.

.

Proverbs 18:22

22 Whoso findeth a wife findeth a good thing, and obtaineth favour of the Lord.

Remember? It’s your job to remain vigilant and test people that the Most High sends your way.

The Bible Polygamy


In today’s terms polygamy is a dirty word but when we look at it from the bibles perspective it isn’t…


Usually when people think of polygamy they think of over indulgence, and a man gratifying his own desires, because polygamy is the act of a man having more than one wife.


Here we will look at polygamy in the Bible, and instances were it took place, and a man’s duties within this type of relationship. Then we will look at the Most High’s desire in regards to marriage.


First thing to understand is that polygamy is not a sin according to the Bible, but, and there is a big but, because, it’s also not encouraged either.


The instances in the Bible where you see a man having more than one wife it’s either because of a promise or greed.


Here are two cases to look at…


The first case is where Jacob was offered Rachael as his wife, who he worked seven years for, but was tricked and given Leah, he then had to work to get Rachel another seven years (Genesis 29:1-30).


The second example is Solomon who had many wives, scripture tells us that he was led astray because of this.


1 Kings 11:1-3

11 But king Solomon loved many strange women, together with the daughter of Pharaoh, women of the Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Zidonians, and Hittites:
2 Of the nations concerning which the Lord said unto the children of Israel, Ye shall not go in to them, neither shall they come in unto you: for surely they will turn away your heart after their gods: Solomon clave unto these in love.
3 And he had seven hundred wives, princesses, and three hundred concubines: and his wives turned away his heart.

The point here is to illustrate that there are instances where men had more than one wife and the effects it had on them.


What should be understood is that Marriage is sacred to the Most High, divorce is not something he agrees with.


Once you marry you should be seeing it through to the end. In the scripture below the Messiah makes this apparent:


Matthew 19:8

8 He saith unto them, Moses because of the hardness of your hearts suffered you to put away your wives: but from the beginning it was not so.

Here we see that the Most High allowed Moses to allow for divorces because or rebelliousness.


This let’s us know the seriousness of marriage and what it means to the Most High, it is not something to be be taken lightly. This goes against popular ideas of dating and casual sex.


Rules For Multiple Wives


Obviously the Most High has foreseen that men would have multiple wives so he has put some rules in place that must be followed in such cases.


So here are some things that must be done when marrying multiple wives.


First thing you should consider is that you must take care of your wives financially, and provide them with their sexual needs.


Exodus 21:10-11

10 If he take him another wife; her food, her raiment, and her duty of marriage, shall he not diminish.
11 And if he do not these three unto her, then shall she go out free without money.

Secondly you are not allowed to make wives jealous with other wives (Leviticus 18:18).


The Bible And Divorce


Divorce is a reality in real life, but what does the bible say about it?

Here again you can see the scripture explaining why Moses allowed divorce.


Matthew 19:8

8 He saith unto them, Moses because of the hardness of your hearts suffered you to put away your wives: but from the beginning it was not so.

When we read the Bible we see that divorce is a factor, we are told above that Moses had to introduce divorced because of the hard hearts (minds) of the people.


Acceptable Reason For Divorce


When you make your choice to get marriage there should be no reasons for a divorce, but unfortunately this is not always how it ends.


So here are the ground rules for divorce as follows;


The bible tells us the only two reasons where a divorce should happen:


The first is where fornication has taken place.


Matthew 5:31-32

31 It hath been said, Whosoever shall put away his wife, let him give her a writing of divorcement:
32 But I say unto you, That whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery: and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced committeth adultery.

Fornication meaning that your partner has sexual relations with another person. We see in scriptures above how serious this indiscretion was in the laws, i.e. it was punishable by death. (With the introduction of mercy this is no longer how it’s dealt with).


The Messiah also cites fornication as a reason for divorce, further confirming the seriousness of it. Note: he doesn’t say the fornicator should be put to death, just “put away”, meaning divorced.


The second is idolatry meaning that your partner is totally opposed to the scriptures, and wishes to engage in a life away from you, by referencing other gods, or contrary beliefs.

If you’re a believer of the scriptures you may be asking whether Islam or Judaism or any other religion for that matter are other gods, and the answer is, yes!


Scripture below demonstrates the serious of idolatry.


Exodus 22:20

20 He that sacrificeth unto any god, save unto the Lord only, he shall be utterly destroyed.

The scriptures do also say that if you’re in a relationship and you’re living peacefully together then you should stay in that relationship. So this is something to keep in mind, it’s not all fire and brimstone’s.


1 Corinthians 7:13-15

13 And the woman which hath an husband that believeth not, and if he be pleased to dwell with her, let her not leave him.
14 For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband: else were your children unclean; but now are they holy.
15 But if the unbelieving depart, let him depart. A brother or a sister is not under bondage in such cases: but God hath called us to peace.

As you can see above if you’re a true believer you can make your unbelieving spouse holy. But if it’s not working out, you also have the option of a divorce.


Giving Dowry For A Bride


Giving a dowry is money that is paid to the parents of the bride. This is a set amount as you can see in the scriptures below:


Exodus 22:16-17

16 And if a man entice a maid that is not betrothed, and lie with her, he shall surely endow her to be his wife.
17 If her father utterly refuse to give her unto him, he shall pay money according to the dowry of virgins.

It is usually paid when a bride is a virgin. In any case where it’s discovered that a woman is not a virgin, after claiming to be, the marriage can be ended.


We also see a dowry being paid in scriptures which is not monetary at the request of the father. Below Saul asks David to get him “an hundred foreskins of the Philistines” as a Dowry payment.


1 Samuel 18:20-25

20 And Michal Saul’s daughter loved David: and they told Saul, and the thing pleased him.
21 And Saul said, I will give him her, that she may be a snare to him, and that the hand of the Philistines may be against him. Wherefore Saul said to David, Thou shalt this day be my son in law in the one of the twain.
22 And Saul commanded his servants, saying, Commune with David secretly, and say, Behold, the king hath delight in thee, and all his servants love thee: now therefore be the king’s son in law.
23 And Saul’s servants spake those words in the ears of David. And David said, Seemeth it to you a light thing to be a king’s son in law, seeing that I am a poor man, and lightly esteemed?
24 And the servants of Saul told him, saying, On this manner spake David.
25 And Saul said, Thus shall ye say to David, The king desireth not any dowry, but an hundred foreskins of the Philistines, to be avenged of the king’s enemies. But Saul thought to make David fall by the hand of the Philistines.

This is just an example showing that a dowry can be requested which is not monetary.


How Much Is The Dowry


When a dowry is paid there is a set amount laid out in the scriptures, as you can see below.


Deuteronomy 22:28-29

28 If a man find a damsel that is a virgin, which is not betrothed, and lay hold on her, and lie with her, and they be found;
29 Then the man that lay with her shall give unto the damsel’s father fifty shekels of silver, and she shall be his wife; because he hath humbled her, he may not put her away all his days.

As you can see the dowry for virgins is fifty shekels of silver which amounts to around $500 today. This calculation was arrived at by using the figures below:


1 shekel is equal to 16 grams or 2 ounces. And at 5 dollars an ounce that would amount to 500 dollars.


Conclusion


This has been a long post, but I hope you have found a lot of information in it. What needs to be understood is that the bible does support marriage certificates as well as being engaged.


However the bible does not support sexual relations when you’re not married. In a country where multiple wives is not legal, the scriptures say we should adhere to that law.


The option of having multiple wives was never something that was pursued without self-indulgence, and it is mentioned in scriptures mainly because it’s a reality.


So in short, you should look for a wife or husband that is willing to keep the commandments of the Most High. This will put your in the right starting position.


Let’s end with a strong quote about marriage…


Hebrews 13:4

4 Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge.

Shalom! And share this with someone that needs it…

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