Sunday, June 15, 2008

Are you even married?

There has been a question rolling over in my mind now for some time. I've discussed it with friends. Are any of us even married?

Marriages in the Bible were arranged in almost all cases. I will get to the exceptions I know of in a bit. Adam is paired with Eve by God. They were arguably married from the womb as it were, since Eve was already part of Adam, and taken from him.

Genealogies trace the lineage of Adam to Noah, and further to Abraham. There a more thorough record of marriage practices begins with us knowing that not only is Abraham a direct descendant of God through Adam, but knowing the specific path. We then learn that Abraham and Sarah his wife are half brother/sister and their marriage arranged, by Terah.

Abraham continues this pattern by sending off to get Rebecca, of his brother's children as wife to Isaac. Abraham does NOT pass his blessing to Hagar's child or to that of Keturah, his other wife/concubine, but passes it per God's direction to the child of his inheritance; Isaac. Isaac's inheritance is determined by what? Marriage. The authority of fathers over their children to arrange and give them in Marriage.

Jacob's marriage is arranged. He is sent off to get a wife of his father's house by going to Laban. He gets both Rachel and Leah and later they, like Hagar have handmaids which they give to Jacob to get more children. Since slavery is legitimate as a practice, like Hagar, the children of those concubines are essentially the children of Rachel and Leah, should they choose to accept them as such. Which they do. Hagar though is rejected by Sarah and does not inherit.

There is a theme here, it shows up later with David who does not even record the names of the children of his concubines. They do not inherit. His sons of MARRIAGE do. This makes Abigail a wife of marriage, it makes Bathsheba a wife of marriage. Their status as previous wives of marriage and as widows (even though David plays an active part in their widowhood) makes them marriage wives.

This is the short form of the discussion. I'll be happy to provide links to all the Biblical references for confirmation if any wish to discuss the topic. Assuming that I am right, here are some remaining issues.

A lot of us are not married. We did not marry with parental permission. Thus we aren't married at all. We are perhaps husband and wife, but not married. It could be argued that the absence of an inheritance exchange and contract makes us unmarried as well. Since I think the husband wife relationship can occur without marriage, namely as husband/concubine, I'm not saying you sin, just that you may not be married.

Adultery is a fracturing of the marriage contract in large part, so perhaps we have not committed adultery when we think we have. Hosea's wife of "harlotry" may have been a woman not married.

It's arguable that marriages ceased when Genealogies fell into disrepair. No name to pass on meant no inheritance, no inheritance meant no marriage and there was no rightful party to contract with to arrange the marriage anyway.

That would leave us as slaves which arguably we are, subjects of an ignoble crown, a lesser state as Daniel predicts to Nebuchadnezzar. As such we are given our wives of slavery by our masters in the following fashion:

Exodus 21:2-6 - "If thou buy an Hebrew servant, six years he shall serve: and in the seventh he shall go out free for nothing. If he came in by himself, he shall go out by himself: if he were married, then his wife shall go out with him. If his master have given him a wife, and she have born him sons or daughters; the wife and her children shall be her master's, and he shall go out by himself. And if the servant shall plainly say, I love my master, my wife, and my children; I will not go out free: Then his master shall bring him unto the judges; he shall also bring him to the door, or unto the door post; and his master shall bore his ear through with an aul; and he shall serve him for ever."

If you regard yourself as slave to the state, which I do, then you may be saying that since none of you have the right to contract for marriage, only the state can give you a wife. You may also say that in doing so, the state possesses you and your wife and can determine how things are to go in your family relationship without your input. That one scares me. The existence of marriages after the anointing of Saul the King does comfort me from buying into that completely, but it's scary. We have no inheritance, what we have did not come from God directly as it did to Abraham. We are offspring of slaves and our masters are other slaves as well. This is a complex question I have not sorted out, but suffice it to say, if you're not married, the rules are quite different. Later on in Exodus 21 it says your wife CAN leave you if you take another wife and deprive her. That is, if she is a concubine, a wife of slavery, and not a wife of marriage.

The above passage earlier in Exodus 21 says you cannot leave your master, and take your wife with you. Your wife belongs to him.

The post is open for discussion. I'd like to hear what you think.

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Xorphshire said...

After reading this blog entry, something immediately came to mind. Go to:

The whole thing is fascinating. But about 2/3 the way down, look in the section called "Records" then down just a bit further to "Marriage License." I'm sure there's some other sites that could elaborate on this subject even more. I think the wanna be masters in government have structured things this way on purpose.

P.S. I always read your blog. I'm surprised you don't get more readers and comments. Your articles are thought provoking, original and refreshing.

Pliggy said...