The Ancient Jewish Wedding


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A bride, carried in the air to the groom.  Photo courtesy of Biblical Weddings

GALILEAN TRADITION

We need to know the Ancient Jewish Wedding, to be able to understand what Jesus meant when He spoke to His disciples.  Specifically, the traditions of the Galilean weddings, because Jesus and his disciples were Jews from Galilea. The love stories of the Galilean people makes every other love story looks pale in comparison.

The Church, depicted as the bride of Christ in the New Testament, is waiting and yearning for the coming of the bridegroom. The Church does not refer to a religious institute. Rather, it refers to those individuals that put their trust in Christ Jesus.

THE PROCEDURE

  • SHIDDUKHIN. The father chose a bride for his son.
  • CONSENT. The bride’s consent.
  • MOHAR. The price negotiated for the bride.
  • KETUBAH. The marriage contract.
  • DABAR. A glass of wine to seal the contract.
  • EYRUSIN. The betrothal.
  • MATAN. Presents for the bride.
  • MIKVEH. An immersing cleansing bath.
  • CHUPPAH. Preparation of the wedding chamber.
  • NISUIN. Lifted up and carried away.
  • THE WEDDING. A celebration.

Note for writings below:  OT = Old Testament / NT = New Testament

SHIDDUKHIN 

OT. Abraham sent his servant Eliezer to find a bride for Isaac.  Genesis 24:4 But thou shalt go unto my country, and to my kindred, and take a wife unto my son Isaac. The servant is nameless, thus typifies the Holy Spirit.

NT. The Holy Spirit goes out to choose a bride for Jesus.  Matthew 22:14 For many are called, but few are chosen. 

THE BRIDE’S CONSENT 

OT. Rebekah did not see her future husband Isaac as she was agreeing to be his wife. Genesis 24:57 Then they called Rebekah and said to her, “Will you go with this man?” And she said, “I will go.”

NT. We give consent, and confess Jesus name, even though we don’t see Him.  1Peter 1:8 “Though you have not seen him, you love him.  Though you do not see him now, you trust him…”

MOHAR 

OT. The bride’s price was negotiable, but it raised her status, and it set her free of her current household. The groom had up to seven years time to raise it.  Genesis 29:20 “And Jacob served seven years for Rachel; and they seemed unto him but a few days, for the love he had for her.”

NT. Our status has changed. Jesus has paid at the cross for His bride.  Gal 5:1 Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.  

KETUBAH 

OT. The marriage contract stated the promises of the groom, and the rights of the bride. The bride’s father, the groom, and the synagogue kept a copy – with a seal – only a judge could break. Malachi 2:14 Because the Lord hath been witness thee and the wife of thy youth, against whom thou hast dealt treacherously: yet is she thy companion, and the wife of thy covenant.

NT. The New Covenant is our contract, sealed with the blood of Jesus Christ. The Bible is the “document” that states His promises to us, and our rights as His bride. Hebrew 12:24 “And to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant…”

DABAR

OT. The bride and groom communed. The bride would drink from the cup, after the bridegroom, as is a sign that she is accepting the covenant.  1 Samuel 25:39 “And David sent and communed with Abigail, to take her to him to wife.”

NT. We drink wine during the holy communion, in remembrance of the covenant.  Matthew 26:28 “For this is my blood of the new testament”

EYRUSIN 

OT. There was a legal bond between the betrothed couple. Even though they did not live together yet, the bride belonged to the groom. Only a divorce could annul the contract. Leveticus 19:20 “And whosoever liveth carnally with a woman, that is a bondmaid, betrothed to a husband…”

NT. The Church belongs to Christ. Even though we don’t live together yet, we belong to Him. 2 Corinthians 11:2 For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ. 

MATAN 

OT. The bride received gifts to remind her of the bridegroom’s love for her during their separation. Ezekiel 16: 11-12 “I put bracelets upon thy hands, and a chain on thy neck, a jewel on thy forehead, and earrings in thine ears, and a beautiful crown upon thine head.

NT. The bride receives the gifts of the Holy Spirit while waiting. 1 Corinthians 12:4  There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them.

MIKVEH 

OT. The bride immersed in a cleansing bath.  This is a symbolic sign of spiritual cleansing, before the wedding took place.  Leveticus 15:18 The woman also with whom man shall lie with seed of copulation, they shall both bathe themselves in water.

NT. We baptize today believers in Christ.  Ephesians 5:26-27 “That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word. That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.”

CHUPPAH 

OT. The groom went back to his father’s house to prepared the bridal chamber, called a chuppah. It meant building on to the family’s house, preparing a space for his bride, to live with him.  Psalm 19:5 “Which is as a bridegroom coming out of his chamber (chuppah), and rejoiceth as a strong man to run a race.”

Note!  The bride could only upgrade to a better home.  Rabbis were called in to check it.  

NT. Jesus is in heaven preparing a place for us, His bride. John 14:2 “In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it wet not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.”

Note! When the time came, the father gave permission to his son to fetch his bride.  The groom never knew the day or the time.  Mark 13:32 “But of that day and that hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the son, but the father.”

NISUIN

OT. The groom left with an escort, carrying an “aperion” to lift the bride, and carry her away to her new home. Also, the escort had trump players to announced the arrival of the groom in the middle of the night.

NT. Jesus will come to Rapture us away, meeting us in the clouds, and carrying us to our new home. I Corinthians 15:52 In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump.  See more The Rapture.

Note!  The bride had to be alert at all time.  She knew he would come during the night, and she needed enough oil for her lamp.  Matt 25:13 Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the son of man cometh.

THE WEDDING

OT. The bride and groom go into the marriage chamber to consummate the marriage.  The groom’s father will close the door behind them. When they appear after seven days, the world get to see the bride and rejoice with the groom.  1 Kings 22:25 “And Micaiah said, behold, thou shalt see in that day, when thou shalt go into an inner chamber to hide thyself.”

NT. Jesus will marry His bride at the time of the Rapture.  Every Galilean wedding lasted seven days, but that of a king lasted seven years. At the same time, the earth will go through indignation.

Isaiah 26:19 21 “Thy dead men shall live, together with my dead body shall they arise. Awake and sing, ye that dwell in dust: for thy dew is as the dew of herbs, and the earth shall cast out the dead. Come, my people, enter thou into thy chambers, and shut thy doors about thee hide thyself as it were for a little moment, until the indignation be overpast. For, behold, the Lord cometh out of his place to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity: the earth also shall disclose her blood, and shall no more cover her slain.”

This is the only love story that truly ends with “and they live happy for ever and ever.”

Sources used for The Ancient Jewish Wedding:

https://biblehub.com

https://blueletterbible.org

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