Robin Blount: ecumenical notes, cruise ship chaplaincy and lots more

Biblical marriage

16 February 2023

I've come across a very interesting article, itself I think part of a series, which puts a new (for me, anyway) perspective on the common belief that marriage can only ever be between a man and a woman because that's what the Bible lays down. The Church of England is caught up in the debate - argument might be better - surrounding same-sex marriage, and has recently (and reluctantly?) given permission for same-sex marriages to be blessed in church after the civil ceremony.

However, the article (details later) offers the thought that marriage in those ancient times was only ever a contract between the father of the man and the father of the woman. The woman had little choice in the matter. Even the old Book of Common Prayer made it clear that it was the woman's father who "gave" his daughter to her future husband, together with a dowry.

In the Old Testament there are numerous occasions when we read something like "the man took the woman for himself". She had no say in the matter - love seems never to have been a deciding factor. Love may have grown during the marriage, but it was not a factor in the beginning. She was his property, to look after him and any children she might bear him. It was impossible for a woman to take a man to herself - it didn't work that way.

Furthermore, there seems to be no Hebrew word that specifically means 'wife'. The context alone suggests the meaning as 'woman' or 'wife'. A woman could only be 'taken', and the word 'taken' has its own sexual connotations as well.

The point of the article is to show that "biblical marriage" is not what it is often taken to be. Originally it was a social contract between two families, and was not a religious matter.
"It was a secular business deal. A man took a woman and she became his. She had his children. She belonged to him. Not much more to say about it than that."


This is just a taster for the article, which you can find on the Patheos website. Keith Giles is a former pastor, now a prolific author and speaker.

Browse for : https://www.patheos.com>blogs>keithgiles>2023/02

Agree or not, it's food for thought.

Robin

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