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17). Even in the earliest legislation the slave girl
wlio is espoused bj^ her master and the slave's wife
are protected in their rights (E.\. xxi. 3-11; comp.
Deut. xxi. 10 et seq.).

By the Prophets polj'gamy was discouraged. In
tlie prophetic history monogamy is presented as the
ideal original state (Gen. ii. 18 et seq.). Plurality of
wives first occurs among the degenerate Cainitcs
(Gen. iv. 23); but Noah is the husband of one wife,
and so, apparently, is the patriarch Job. The idyl-
lic pictures of II Kings iv., Ps. c.xxviii., Prov. xxxi.
10 et seq., are of monogamous homes. Hosea and
Isaiah were monogamists. When the Prophets rep-
resent.Jehovah's relation to Israel by the figure of
marriage, it is as a jealous husband choosing and
betrothing to himself one beloved wife (Hos. ii. ;
Isa. 1. 1, liv. 5). The books of Proverbs and Eccle-
siasticus exalt the place and character of the wife
in the undivided home (Prov. xii. 4, xviii. 22, xix.
14, xxxi. 10 et seq. ; Ecclus. [Sirach] xxv. 1, 8; xxvi.
1 et seq., 13 et seq.; comp. Eccl. ix. 9). Monog-
amy was the rule among the Jews in Roman times,
but there were notable exceptions. AVhile the New
Testament does not expressly prohibit, it discredits
and discourages, polygamy { Matt. xix. 4-5; I
Tim. iii. 2, 12).

In Ihe earliest Hebrewhistory endogamy prevails;

particular care is taken that Isaac and Jacob shall

contract marriage only with their own

Kinship kin. The Canaanite wives of Esau
and were "a grief of mind unto Isaac

Marriage, and to Rebekah " (Gen. xxvi. 34-35;
comp. xxvii. 46). Some of the sons of
Jacob also departed from this custom (Gen. xxxviii.
1-2, xli. 45). Moses married outside his own peo-
ple, but he was a fugitive, and became an adopted
member of his wife's tribe (Ex. ii. 21 ; comp. iv. 18).
It was, nevertheless, looked upon as right and fitting
that marriage sliould take place within the circle of
one's own kindred (Gen. xxiv. 2-4, xxix. 19; comp.
Judges xiv. 3).

However, the changed conditions subsequent to
settlement in Canaan made an intermingling of
races inevitable (see Judges iii. 6; Ruth i. 4; II
Sam. xi. 3; I Kings vii. 14; I Chron. ii. 17; II
Chron. xxiv. 26), and the custom of the kings in
making foreign alliances by marriage favored this
(II Sam. iii. 3; I Kings iii. 1, xi. 1, xvi. 31). The
Deuteronomic law forbids marriage with the Cauaan-
ites, but, apparently, makes an exception to the en-
dogamous rule in favor of the Edomites and Egyp-
tians (Deut. vii. 3, xxiii. 7; comp. Ex. xxxiv. 16).
The period of the Exile and the century following
was also a period of laxity, but strict laws prohib-
iting marriage with tlie foreigner were enforced in
the time of Ezra and Nehemiah (Ezra ix. 10; Neh.
xii). 23-30).

The older custom of intermarriage witiiin the cir-
cle of kinship was governed by no strict rules. Of
course marriage with a daughter or uterine sister
was not tolerated, but there was no bar to union
with close relatives on tiie father's side, and even

down to the Babylonian exile such unions appear to
have been common (Gen. xx. 12; Ex. vi. 20; Num.
xxvi. 59; II Sam. xiii. 13; Ezek. xxii. 10-11).
Deuteronomy prohibits certain marriages with near
relatives (xxii. 30; xxvii. 20, 22-23), but the most
elaborate legislation in this direction is found in
Leviticus (xviii. 7-17, xx. 11-21). According to
this law a man may not marry his mother, step-
mother, mother-in-law, father's sister, mother's
sister, paternal uncle's wife, half-sister, stepsister
(daughter of stepmother and her former husband),
sister-in-law (brother's wife), living wife's sister,
daughter-in-law, stepdaughter, granddaughter, or
daughter of stepson or stepdaughter. It is clear
that marriage with a deceased wife's sister is not
forbidden, but it has been argued that the near rela-
tives of the wife equally with those of the husband
are witliin the forbidden degree to him and that, as
the wife's mother and daughter are barred, so also,
by analogy, is the wife's sister. Whatever its
anomalies or defects, there is no doubt that by this
law a high ideal of domestic and social purity was
maintained. The pre-Islamic Arabic custom, au-
thorized by Mohammed, was closely similar. See

The ancient custom of levirate marriage requires
to be considered here. According to the story in
Gen. xxxviii., it was an obligation resting upon a
man to take in marriage the childless widow of a
deceased brother and "to raise up seed to his
brother." The Deuteronomic law provides that
where brothers live together, if one die without sons,
the widow shall not marry a stranger, but that her
husband's brother shall take her, and that the first-
born son shall be reckoned the son of the dead
brother and shall succeed to his inheritance. Appar-
ently there is a twofold purpose here — to perpetuate
the husband's name and to prevent the alienation of
the property. The widow is permitted to insult pub-
licly an unwilling brother-in-law by loosing his shoe
and spitting in his face (see Halizah). Thenceforth
his name is to be called in Israel " the liouse of him
that hath his shoe loosed " (Deut. xxv. 5-10; comp.
Matt. xxii. 24-25; Mark xii. 19; Luke»xx. 28). A
slightly different example of the same custom is
presented in the Book of Ruth. Indeed, the custom
has been shown to have been widely prevalent out-
side of Israel ( Westermarck, "History of Human
Marriage," pp. 510-514). It is difficult to determine
whether or not the law in Lev. xviii. 16 and xx. 21
is intended as an abrogation of the old levirate law.
More probably Leviticus states the general rule to
which the levirate is a particular exception (see
Nowack, "Lehrbuch der Hebraischen ArchUologie,"
i. 346; Driver, "Deuteronomy," nd loc). See
Lkvikatk Mauktage.

The wife was regarded as property' (see Ex. xx.

17; comp. the Hebrew terms " ba'al " = "husband "

and "be'ulah" = "wife"; literally, the "owner" or

"master" and the "owned"). She

Duties of was, however, valuable property and

Husband was, as a rule, well cared for. She

and "Wife, was not isolated as among the IMoham-

nu'dans, but had considerable freedom

and influence. In the wealthier homes she must

often have had a large measure of independence,




and in the royal liousehold she sometimes became an
important power in the state. It Avill be sufficient
to recall the stories of Sarah and Rcbekah ; of Deb-
orah, a prophetess, the wife of Lappidoth, who
judged Israel; of .lael, the wife of Heber the Kenite;
of Abigail (Nabal's wife) and the Shunammite
woman ; of Jezebel and Athaliah. In the prophetic
account of the Creation (Gen. ii., iii.) she is made a
lielpmeet for her husband, bone of his bone and flesh
of iiis In the home the innermost apartment
was hers, or, in some instances, a separate house
(Judges XV. 1, xvi. 9; I Kings vii. 8). She per-
forms the ordinary household duties or manages
the affairs of her household and directs lier servants
(I Sam. ii. 19; Prov. xxxi. 10 et seq.). She must be
chaste and obedient, and infidelity on her part is
looked upon as a gross sin (Gen. iii. 16; Deut. xxii.
20etsi'q. ; Ezek.xvi. ; John viii. 5-7). Afalseaccusa-
tion against her is severely punished (Deut. xxii. 13
et seq.)\ a curious ordeal is prescribed in Num. v.
11-31 for testing the truth or falsity of a charge
of infidelity. Adultery is strictly forbidden in the
moral code and is denounced by the Prophets as a
crime comparable to stealing, murder, false swear-
ing, and idolatry (Ex. xx. 14; Jer. vii. 9, xxiii. 10;
IIos. iv. 2 ; Mai. iii. 5). The husband must provide his
wife with food and raiment. While greater laxity
was evidently permitted to him than to the wife,
yet conjugal fidelity was highly esteemed and sex-
ual license regarded as foolish and even fatal (Judges
xix.-xx. ; II Sam. xi.-xii. ; Prov. ii., v., vi., vii.). In
the New Testament love and fidelity on the part of
the husband, and obedience on the part of the wife,
are inculcated (Acts xv. 29; Eplies. v. 22-38; Coloss.
iii. 18-19; I Thes. iv. 3-6).

The first step toward marriage was betrothal, in-
volving the consent of the parent or guardian of the
gill and the payment of a price. The
Betrothal act of betrothal is expressed by the He-
and Nup- brew word "aras" ; the price paid, by
tial Rites, "mohar" (see Gen. xxxiv. 12; Ex.
xxii. 16-17; Deut. xx. 7, xxii. 29; IIos.
ii. 19-20). The mohar may be in the form of service
in the field or in war (Gen. xxix. ; I Sam. xviii. 25).
Probably it was customary, even in early times, to
give the bride some portion of the mohar, or at least
to give her presents (Gen. xxiv. 53, xxxi. 15, xxxiv.
12). After betrothal the bride might be taken to
her husband's house and the nuptials celebrated
either immediately or later (Gen. xxiv. 49-67;
Judges xiv. 5 et seq.). The initial steps, it appears,
were customarily taken by the parents of the suitor,
who formally made the proposal (Gen. xxiv., xxxiv.
4-6; Judges xiv. 2, 10). Not infrequently, how-
ever, in the comparatively free social intercourse of
those days, the young man and woman had met
and formed a mutual attachment resulting in
a love-match (Gen. xxix. 9-12, 18; I Sam. xviii.
20. 28).

The bride did not always go to her husband
empty-lianded. Sometimes she received gifts from
her father, and a king's parting gift to his daughter
was in one case a conquered city (Josh. xv. 16 et
seq. ; Judges i. 12 et seq. ; I Kings ix. 16). In post-
exilic times mention is made of a wife's dowry and
of a woman being able, by her own wealth, to sup-
VIII.— 22

])ort iier husband (Tobit viii. 21 ; Ecclus [Sirach]
XXV. 22). Jlention is made also of a written mar-
riage-contract (Tobit vii. 14).

After betrotlial the bride was subject to the same
restrictions as a wife (Deut. xxii. 23-24). Of the
marriage ceremonial little is known ; it is not men-
tioned at all in the story of Isaac, while in that of
Jacob (Gen. xxix.) a marriage-feast and a nuptial
week are spoken of. The central features in later
limes were the wedding-procession and the wedding-
feast. Tlie bridegroom in festive attire and accom-
panied by his friends went to the home of the bride,
whence she, likewise in bridal garments, veiled, and
accompanied by her companions, was led to the
house of his parents (Isa. Ixi. 10; Judges xiv. 10-11;
Jer. ii. 32; Isa. xlix. 18; Ps. xiv. 8-15). The pro-
cession was enlivened with songs by, or in praise of,
the bride and bridegroom, and was lighted, if in the
evening, by torches or lamps (Jer. vii. 34, xvi. 9,
XXV. 10; I Mace. ix. 37-39; Matt. xxv. 1-12; comp.
Ps. xiv. and the Canticles, possibly representing
such wedding-songs). There followed the nuptial
feast in the house of the bridegroom, and the sub-
sequent festivities sometimes continued for several
days (Matt. ix. 15, xxii. 1-14; John ii. 1).

The husband has the right to divorce his wife,

but he was required by the Deuteronomic law to

give her a writing of divorce (Deut.

Divorce, xxiv. 1). She may remarry, but if
she is again divorced or is left a
widow her former husband may not receive her again
(Deut. xxiv. 2-4). Older practises are probably rep-
resented in IIos. ii. and II Sam. iii. 14. In two
cases the right to divorce was withdraw-n (Deut.
xxii. 19, 29). The prophet Malachi protested most
strongly against the practise (Mai. ii. 10-16). In
the teaching of Jesus it is expressly condemned ex-
cept on the ground of adultery (Matt. v. 31-32;
Markx. 2-12; Luke xvi. 18; comp. I Cor. vii. 11-13).
See Divorce and Get.

Bibliography: BenzinKer, Arch. Freiburg, 1894; Nowack.
LehThuch der Hehr. Arch. vol. i. ih. 189-t; Keil, BibJical
ArchcBoJogy, vol. ii.; Stade, Gesc/i. des Volkes Israel, i.
371-395, Berlin, 1887; McLennan, Pi'imitive Marriage (re-
printed in Studies itt Ancient History, London, 1876) ; W.
Robertson Smith, Kinship and Man-iage in EarU/ A7-ahia,
Cambridge, 1895 (newed., London, 1903); Starcke, TfiePri'n-
itive Familii, London. 1889; Westermarclc, Hi.'^tnrji of Hi.v
tnan Marriage, London. 1891 (new ed., 1903); Cheyne ana
Black, Enciic. Bibl.; Hastings, Diet. Bible.

s. J. F. McL.
In Rabbinical Literature: Wedded life was

regarded by the Rabbis as the most natural and the
most exalted state. The unmarried man lives with-
out joj', without blessing, and without good; also,
according to others, without the Torali, without a wall
(protection), and without peace (Yeb. 62b; Gen. R.
xvii. 2). R. Hisda, in interpreting the expression
"in want of all things" as used in Deut. xxviii. 48,
said that it meant "without a wife" (Ned. 41a).
Another amora, R. Eleazar, referring to Gen. v. 2,
wished to deprive the unmarried man of his man-
hood (Yeb. 63a). It is therefore permitted for one
to sell a scroll of the Law if the money is needed for
the purpose of getting married (Meg. 27a; Yer. Bik.
iii. 6; comp. Desech.\tion). At marriage all sins
are forgiven (Yeb. 63a; Yer. Bik. iii. 3).

One should be careful in selecting a wife. A say-




ing current among the Rabbis was, " Hasten to buy

land; deliberate before taking a wife; descend one

step in choosing a wife ; ascend one

Choice step in choosing the best man "

of Wife, ("shushbin"; Yeb. 63a). One should
first establish a home and plant a
vineyard, and then marry (Sotah 44a). The pursuit
of the study of the Law, however, should be post-
poned until after marriage, when a man is settled
in mind and can devote himself entirely to that
vocation (Yoma72b; Men. 110a; comp. Kid. 29b).

To marry a woman for her wealth was deprecated
by the Rabbis (Kid. 70a; "Seder Eliyahu Zuta," ch.
iii., ed. Friedmann, Vienna, 1902; Shulhan 'Aruk,
Eben ha-'Ezer, 3, 1, Isserles' gloss; "SeferHasidim,"
§§ 1094, 1096, ed. Wistinetzki, Berlin, 1891 ; see
Dowry). The daughter of a respectable family is
most to be desired (B. B. 109b) ; especially should the
brothers of the bride be good and respectable men,
for the character of the children is like that of the
brothersof the mother (B. B. 110a; "SeferHasidim,"
§§ 1092, 1099, 1100). One should sell all he possesses
in order to marry the daughter of a learned man
(Pes. 49a, b; Ket. 111b; Yalk., Ex. 269; comp. Yoma
71a). A marriage between the daughter of a priest
or of a learned man and an ignoramus (" 'am ha-
arez ") will not be a successful one (Pes. 49a). All
the promises of the Prophets will be fulfilled upon
him who gives his daughter in marriage to a learned
man (Ber. 34b) ; it is as if he united himself with the
divine presence itself (" Shekinah " ; Ket. 111b). It
is deemed advisable that the wife should not be of a
higher rank than the husband, in accordance with
the homely saying, "A shoe that is larger than my
foot I do not desire " (Kid. 49a). The Rabbis were
very much opposed to marriage between an old man
and a young woman, or vice versa (Yeb. 44a; Sanh.
76a, b); they also advised against marrying a di-
vorced woman or a widow (Pes. 112a). Marriage
should be contracted with no other intention than
that of doing the will of God (Sotah 12a; "Seder
Eliyahu Zuta," ch. iii.).

The acquisition of a good and virtuous wife was
regarded bj-^ the Rabbis as one of the greatest bless-
ings. The praise given to the virtuous woman in
Prov. xxxi. is elaborated in Ecclesiasticus (Sirach),
from which the Rabbis frequently quote the sen-
tence : " Blessed is the man that hath a virtvious wife,
for the number of his days shall be doubled" (xxvi.
1, Hebr. ; comp. Yeb. 63b). He is rich
Influence who has a wife whose deeds are

of Wife. noble (Shab. 25b), for the wife can
influence her husband more than he
can influence her (see Gen. R. xvii. 1). In Palestine
the custom was to address a man who had just
been married with the question, "Maza o MozeV"
referring to the initial words of two passages, Prov.
xviii. 22 ("Whoso findeth a wife findeth a good
thing") and Eccl. vii. 26 ("And I find more bitter
than death the woman. . . ."(Ber. 8a; Yeb. 63b).
The quarrelsome woman was abhorred by the Rabbis
of the Talmud, so that one would rather have all tiie
evils combined than a bad wife (Siiab. lib). Some
of the prominent Rabbis are recorded as having suf-
fered much from the spitefulness of their wives
(Yeb. 63a; comp. B. B. 145b).

Physical beauty in woman was highly appreciated
by the Rabbis ; a beautiful wife is one of the things
that contributes to man's happiness (Ber. 57b ; comp.
Yoma T4b). A woman that has beautiful eyes needs
no further recommendation (Ta'an. 24a). "The
highest attribute of a woman is her beauty " was
the song of tlie maidens of Jerusalem at their gath-
erings on the Fifteenth of Ab and the Day of Atone-
ment when wishing to attract the attention of the
assembled youths (Ta'an. 31a). While it is com-
mendable to marry soon after betrothal (Midr.
Shemuel xvii. 4 and note, ed. Buber, Cracow, 1893),
no one should marry a woman unless he has seen
her beforehand (Kid. 41a; " Sefer Hasidim," § 1143).
Similarity in stature or in complexion between the
man and the woman was regarded with disfavor.
A tall man should not marry a tall woman, nor a
short man a short woman ; a dark man should not
marry a dark woman, nor a fair-complexioned man
a fair-complexioned woman (Bek. 45b).

The proverb that " marriages are made in heaven "

is illustrated by a story in the Midrash. A Roman

matron, on being told by R. Jose ben Halafta that

God arranges all marriages, said that this was an

easy matter, and boasted that she could

Marriages do as much lierself. Thereupon she

Made in assembled her male and female slaves

Heaven, and paired them off in couples; but on
the morrow they all went to her with
complaints. Then she admitted that divine inter-
vention is necessary to suitable marriages (Gen. R.
Ixviii. 3-4). Even God Himself finds it as difficult
an undertaking as the dividing of the Red Sea.
Forty days before a child is born its mate is deter-
mined upon (Gen. R. Ixviii. 3-4; Sotah 2a; Sanh.
22a; comp. M. K. 18b; "SeferHasidim," §1128).

R. Jose asked of Elijah, "The Bible calls the wife
a helpmeet; in what manner does she assist her
husband?" To this Elijah replied, "A man brings
wheat to his house, but he would have to chew the
grains of wheat; he brings flax to his house, but he
would have to clothe himself in flax — were it not for
the wife, who [in preparing these materials] enlight-
ens his eyes and helps him onto his feet " (Yeb. 63a;
Lekah Tob to Gen. ii. 18; comp. "Seder Eliyahu
Rabba," x. [ix.], where the story is given at greater
length). To the worthy man the wife is a helpmeet ;
to the unworthy man the wife is a hindrance (Yeb.

The term "kiddushin" (sanctification), by which
the act of marriage is designated in rabbinical wri-
tings, points to the reverence in which this cere-
mony was held. "He thus prohibits her to the
whole world as a sacred object" is the explanation
given to that term (Kid. 2b). Marriage was the
symbol frequently employed by the Prophets to
designate the relation between God and Israel (Hos.
ii. 2-22; Isa. Ixii. 4-5, liv. 6; Jer. iii. 1, 20; Ezek.
xvi. ; et al.). The love-songs of Canticles were
taken by the Rabbis to refer to the love of God for
Israel (see " Aggadat Shir ha-Shirim " to Cant. viii. 5 ;
"Seder Eliyahu Rabba," ch. vii. [vi.] and x. [ix.];
et al.); God betrothed Israel with few gifts in this
world, but the marriage which will take place in the
Messianic time will be attended with many gifts
(Ex. R. xvi. 30). The relation of Israel to the Torah




is also symbolized as that of man to wife. The

Torah is betrothed to Israel and therefore forbidden

to every other nation (Ex. R. xxxiii. 8; Sanh. 59a;

Pes. 49b).

Bibliography: Buchholz, Die Familie, Breslau, 1867 ; Suwal-
ski, Hai/ye ha-Yehudi, ch. liii., Warsaw, 1893.
s. s. J- H. G.

• Statistics : The number of marriages and the

conditions under which they are contracted differ
in the Jewish from those of the surrounding popu-
lation. A smaller proportion marry, though these,
for the most part, marry earlier than their neigh-
bors. However, the changed social conditions in
Germany in recent years are tending to modify the

proportions. The number of Jews
Frequency, marrying to every thousand of the

Jewish population (including children)
is almost invariably less than among the general
population, as may be seen from the following















" Annualre Statistique de la
France," 1881, p. 580.





Jeiteles, " Cultusgemeinde
Wien," p. 50.





Bergmann, " Beitrage," p. 69.















" Orasului Bucaresci," 1878.





Legoyt, " Immunities," p. 68.





Schwicker, " Ungarn," p. 99.
Hoffmann, in Jour. Stat.





Soc." 1846, p. 78.





Fircks, "Zeit. Preuss. Stat."
1884, p. 148.





Ruppin, in "Jahrbiicher fiir
Nationalokonomie," 1903, p.















Legoyt, I.e. p. 52.




" Le Mouvement de la Russia
en 1867," p. 19.





Legoyt, I.e. p. 60.

Victoria (Aus-




" Victorian Year-Book," 1881,


p. 177.

sirable period for marriage. The following details
are known with regard to Jewish marriages at these
ages. The ligures in parentheses refer to females.

Jews live generally in towns, and fewer town-
dwellers marry than country people. There is a
larger preponderance of Jewesses over Jews in most
of the countries of western Europe, where emigration
removes the young men, and this slightly reduces the
rate of marriage. In fact, the rate is probably illu-
sory because reckoned on the whole of the popula-
tion, including children. The larger the number of
marriages the larger the number of children, and,
therefore, the larger the population. Thus because
the number of marriages among Jews is really
greater, it has the appearance of being smaller.

The age at which marriage is contracted affects
more than any other circumstance the physical,
mental, and social characteristics of the offspring,
determining the average duration of a generation,
the fertility of marriage, and the phys-
Age. ical and mental health of children,
and, it has been conjectured, the pro-
portion of sex to sex in the offspring. The most
important ages are those below 20 and those between
20 and 30, the latter being the normal and more de-


Under 20.

20 to 30.








Budapest . . .



St. Peters-








6.2 (49.3)


0.7 (17.8)

47.6 (63.2)

5.9 (27.7)

9.5 (56.9)


4.0 (39.9)


1.7 (17.1)

;».9 (56.7)

31.3 (55.0)

3.7 (27.3)

68.6 (58.7)
76.6 (48.5)

67.6 (48.5)

65.7 (69.1)
37.9 (29.4)
77.7 (63.9)

52.4 (30.6)

58.6 (57.6)
55.9 (.55.6)

51.0 (53.1)

69.4 (63.2)
42.9 (3;i7)

54.5 (38.5)

48.1 (51.4)

The relatively early marriage of Jews was noticed
in 1841 by Hoffmann, who mentions that 78.6 per
cent of Jewish marriages in Prussia between 1822
and 1840 occurred tmder the age of 40 as against
74.6 of the general population ("Jour, Stat. Soc."
ix. 80). KOrosi attempts to prove that Jews have
the fewest abnormal marriages (that is, where tlie
bride is under 18, or over 40, and the bridegroom
over 40) — 13 per cent as against 35 per cent among
Catholics, and 33 per cent among Protestants
("Statistisches Jahrbuch," 1873, p. 37). In Russia,
however, the general population appears to marry
earlier than the Jewish. The proportion of protog-
amous marriages, or first marriages, is larger among
Jews than among Gentiles, as may be seen from the
following table giving the percentage of such mar-
riages :








87 (93)

82 (89)

Schimmer, " Stat, der
Jud." 1873, p. 6.



88 (94)

86 (89)

Korosi, "Grandes Vil-
les," p. 4.



88 (88)

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