06 December 2016

Biblical Marriage: Servants and Slaves

Yesterday's post expanded on the assertion that marriage is a social reality created by mankind, not a divinely revealed plan of "holy matrimony." In it a distinction was drawn between the notions of "traditional" marriage and "biblical" marriage. The most typical of biblical marriages is the arranged marriage. The families involved negotiate an exchange of a bride for a bride price.

Not many "biblical marriages" are formed this way, at least not in this country.

Another type of  biblical marriage includes servitude and slavery.

A Hebrew man could buy a female servant and betroth her to either himself or his son :

"And if a man sell his daughter to be a maidservant, she shall not go out as the menservants do.  If she please not her master, who hath betrothed her to himself, then shall he let her be redeemed: to sell her unto a strange nation he shall have no power, seeing he hath dealt deceitfully with her.  And if he have betrothed her unto his son, he shall deal with her after the manner of daughters. 1 If he take him another wife; her food, her raiment, and her duty of marriage, shall he not diminish.  And if he do not these three unto her, then shall she go out free without money." Ex 21:7-11 (KJV)

A Hebrew man could also acquire  sex slaves from captives in war. This arose as an afterthought. When the Hebrews later began their occupation of their "promised land," they waged war against neighboring tribes. One of the tribes included the Midianites, relatives of the wife of Moses. After one clash, Moses issue the following command:

 "Now therefore kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman that hath known man by lying with him.  But all the women children, that have not known a man by lying with him, keep alive for yourselves." Num 31:17-18 (KJV)

Young girls thus considered as "war booty" makes this out to be an iron age "Booty Call."

Before occupying the promised land, Moses repeated the law first given by Yahweh at Sinai. This second giving of the law included information that Yahweh overlooked the first time. Some of this information detailed what to do with captives in their war of conquest: if you find attractive women, you can make they wives--after killing her parents, of course.

"When thou goest forth to war against thine enemies, and the Lord thy God hath delivered them into thine hands, and thou hast taken them captive,  And seest among the captives a beautiful woman, and hast a desire unto her, that thou wouldest have her to thy wife;  Then thou shalt bring her home to thine house; and she shall shave her head, and pare her nails;  And she shall put the raiment of her captivity from off her, and shall remain in thine house, and bewail her father and her mother a full month: and after that thou shalt go in unto her, and be her husband, and she shall be thy wife.  And it shall be, if thou have no delight in her, then thou shalt let her go whither she will; but thou shalt not sell her at all for money, thou shalt not make merchandise of her, because thou hast humbled her." Deut 21:10-14 (KJV)

In addition to arranged marriages, these are two more examples of "biblical marriage" that we do not see much in this Christian nation.

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