What is the definition of marriage in the bible

Added: Ashten Lemelin - Date: 13.02.2022 21:44 - Views: 21196 - Clicks: 3607

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Jump to. In the recent U. Supreme Court hearings on whether states have a constitutional right to ban or refuse to recognize same-sex marriages, the conservative justices seemed to be preoccupied with the definition of marriage. Obviously, if you succeed, that core definition will no longer be operable. Often behind the traditional definition of marriage is the biblical tradition where, it is claimed, marriage was created by God between one male and one female, citing Genesis Although this is not a definition of marriage per se but rather an explanation for why men and women together in the social union we call marriage, the text may serve to justify heterosexual marriage.

But what is the status of the partners and the character of the marriage? The immediate biblical context of this passage only gives a few indications: marriage is presented as the alternative to the man being alone; the woman is created to help the man; and the husband will rule over his wife.

Is this the traditional marriage that the justices are concerned to defend? It is marriage between one man and one woman, but the wife is subordinate to her husband, has little or no choice to whom she marries, and certainly does not marry for love. But this understanding of marriage is not the only definition endorsed by the biblical tradition. There are numerous examples of marriages between one man and two or more women Jacob, Elkanah, David, Solomon, and others. Polygyny was widely practiced in the biblical world, as it is today in the Middle East, among those who can afford it.

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The biblical tradition endorses such polygynous unions and only expresses concern regarding marriage to foreign women and the possible favoritism toward one son based on favoritism toward one wife. Related to polygynous marriages are marriages that involve concubines or slave-wives. David had at least ten concubines. The Levirate marriage also treats the wife like property.

Although the Levirate marriage provides some measure of economic and social security for the widow, she is forced into a marriage to fulfill a marital obligation to have children. Generally, the Bible warns against Israelite men marrying foreign women, largely because foreign women will continue to worship foreign gods and lead their husbands astray as is the case with Solomon. But when a woman is captured in war, the Israelite man may marry her as long as he gives her a month to mourn her dead family.

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The man has taken possession of her through war. By a similar logic, if a man rapes an Israelite virginhe must pay her father the appropriate bridewealth and then marry her. Unlike the foreign father who is killed in war, the Israelite father must be compensated as if he had arranged the marriage. In both cases, the woman has no say.

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These examples of marriage in the biblical tradition illustrate the fluidity of the institution. To 21st-century Americans, these biblical understandings or definitions of marriage are strange and oppressive, but they are expressions of the culture and values of the biblical world.

And as the culture and values of the society changed, so did its understanding of marriage. Society continues to change. Inwhen gay marriage first became legal in Massachusetts, 61 percent of Americans opposed same-sex marriage.

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Today, gay marriage is legal in 37 states, and public opinion polls have ranged as high as 63 percent in favor. With such changing values, should we not expect the definition of marriage to also change? It always has.

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Our weekly feature Then and Now harnesses the expertise of American religious historians who care about the cities of God and the cities of humans. Blum and John D. Nevertheless, marriage in the Bible is always a ing of a male and a female, as befits the created nature of humanity in the image of God, according to Genesis Scripture is replete with men and women in all their inglorious fallenness, why should we feel that the Bible encourages us to emulate those behaviors?

If we follow Ronald's logic then it also promotes lying, infidelity, and child sacrifice. Levirate marriage was instituted to handle situations that would have arisen, under normal circumstances, fairly rarely. And taken in the context of the time and surrounding cultures was quite progressive. Not surprisingly, the proof text of Ephesians reared its hoary head.

See 1 Corinthians Yes, the circumstances surrounding marriage have changed as societies and cultures have changed, but the core; a heterosexual, and ideally, a monogamous union, has remained constant with such rare exception. Share Tweet. See 1 Corinthians Yes, the circumstances surrounding marriage have changed as societies and cultures have changed, but the core; a heterosexual, and ideally, a monogamous union, has remained constant with such rare exception.

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What is marriage, according to the Bible?