Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Who invited a deity to the marriage?

Does declaring an institution sacred make it so? 
What did the deity say and do about marriage.
What did later people say and do.
For whose benefit? 
Are we bound by others' views?

A.  What God hath joined together, let no man (no one?) put asunder.

So goes a familiar part of a religious marriage ceremony for some.  How dare anyone challenge the institution of marriage, so venerable for 3000 years of recorded history.  So we are admonished.

Look again.  What did the deity do as to ordaining "marriage" -- was there a contract, and exchange of matters of value, witnesses, and then a change of habitation and consummation? In later Biblical references, is a "wedding" the same as a "marriage"? What is law governing human-human relationships in the old texts. What prohibits or says anything at all about what it is, who can be in it. The Torah is silent. The Talmud, or teachings, instead is the source of custom. Vet the terms, see process at Vetting Roots, Vetting Lexicons. Add another mechanical translation, or transliteration site, at  The point is that there is no one answer, no one approach. Check them all before adopting any authority.

  • It looks like weddings are a cultural, a non-religious matter, late in blooming, a product of later teaching (hello, Paul) by others, and the Christian soldiers marched in and extrapolated that their "God ordains it". Ideology derivatives.  
  • With Jerome and other early translators in the Common Era, find the word "wife" interposed where "woman" appears in the transliteration (we are checking for other transliterations to compare); and find "marriage" and betrothal language where no "betrothal arises from the context -- instead, you may find master and servant, for example. A purchase. 
  • Is there "marriage" at all as we know it, or is the woman "acquired" at the wedding. Or acquired by purchase. Look back at the language of Eve in considering Cain: I have acquired a son from JHWH.  See .  Gaining something, acquiring. Adam not even in the picture, literalist view. Eve on a par with the deity, and bargaining for something on her own. Research old texts. Find ambiguity.
  • Research method: multiple open windows. Show the research path by fair use of URL's and linking (if anyone objects tell me and I'll do something else as may be required.  How else to research unless these footnote-equivalents are given?) (Lexicon at; and Scripture4all at for hebrewoldtestament and Greek online for starters). 
  • Early times. Transliterations. This site,, is useless for our purposes because it it ideologically institutionally Christian, not Jesus' words, using its interpretation to lay out the same interpretation again, and does not correlate the Hebrew word with the specific English, just gives the traditional ideological narrative. How does simply going to a wedding bless it?

B.  Findings so far, and subject to change with new information.

1.  The word marriage.

In English Biblical translation, marriage is found 19 times in my King James version, and in 18 verses.  Type in the word marriage at the Lexicon, and search,
The word "wedding" is used in the original texts, suggesting just a specific social event; but English translators often substitute "marriage" -- with other overtones and a long time frame. Does that make any difference.

2.  Multiple contexts.

That one word marriage, in English translation, is used, however, in six different ways, with six different meanings or contexts, even though connected in the New Testament by the wedding idea of celebration.  The six ways are shown by separate word numbers for each usage, see the Eliyah lexicon. I have looked each up below.

3.  Old Testament.

Looking at all the uses of "marriage", the word marriage occurs in the Old Testament only twice. But there is no specifying in either of those references how something we call a marriage takes place.  There is no reference or law about it in the entire Torah, or the rest of the Old Testament.  All that has emerged about the ins and outs of marriage is a matter of custom, oral tradition, teaching, the Talmud.  Not Torah.  The Good Lord sayeth nothing.  Good Lord!

4. Sacred or secular.

 Marriage so far appears to be mere custom, not religion; but with a religious overlay to suit institutional needs. One man one woman:  not so.  Many wives, and marriages to little girls, all part of Western heritage. Mormon included. Is that so? Section 5 addresses the specific meanings but I omit a definition that uses the word to define itself.

Marriage:  the pesky idea. Asking for a blessing is nice, but fulfills or proves no religious deity-originating law about who can enter into that relationship.

5.  Process.  What makes a marriage?  Old Jewish custom:

A marriage process did evolve from early recorded times, but not as part of the Torah.  It is from the Talmud, that developed and evolved through the society, we learn that a marriage is the taking of a wife, and that wifiness results from three steps, once she has given her consent -- Talmud says a woman cannot be acquired without her consent, Judaism 101 at That site lays out what is needed--

a. exchange of money, (at least the ring, perhaps, and where its value is known)

b. a contract, with the husband's obligations to the wife, her conditions of inheritance, child support obligations, the wife's support in case of divorce, and more if they wanted; and the status that is deeper than mere betrothal begins, the kiddushin

c. the husband brings her to his home [I thought in Creation he was to leave his and move in with hers?? -- another disobedience?] moving in and actual conjoining; the nisuin;  and this in the old days could be as much as a year after the kiddushin, the commitment.  What if either had buyer's remorse during the long kiddushin? If he jumped ship, she would be left married but without a husband? These days the two events are celebrated at once, I think.  See Judaism 101.

6.  The contract.  This part of acquiring a wife is also laid out.

6.1   It is a contract, so no rabbi is needed at all.  It is merely custom to have a rabbi officiate. Wanting a religious officiant is more a Christian overlay to this private contract, and reflects our laws that a civil or religious officiate. See Judaism 101.

6.2  Wedding ceremony:  exuberant. And the patriarchal interpretation rises up and calls itself blessed, as The Man (not as humankind, but as though "Adm" were male even without the woman) glories in His image (what??) and the controls ensue, bless its heart.

7.  The significance of marriage as a social stabilizer.  It is unnatural not to be married.
  • So, Jesus probably was indeed married, if he was a good Jew. Is that so? 
  • Marriage is not primarily for procreation, however.  Look to "companionship, love and intimacy."  The Judaism 101 refers as justification to the verse Gen.2:18 that the deity determined that it is not good for the man to be alone.
    • At that stage, however, there was only humankind, the Adm, who only got a gender when there was the other gender; and 
    • It is debatable if the word referred to means "good" -  it could well mean "functional."  A single humankind entity is not functional? That makes more sense, and fits with the overall plan for the adm to till the ground and tend the garden and name things, period. See  Nothing sacred or holy about the creation of the adm or the evolution of genders, if not created that way in a single puff.
 Again, see Judaism 101 at If that site is wrong, please let me know. This is not my tradition.

8.  Without affirming that any such marriage-producing-wifehood process occurred, the word wife nonetheless is hammered into the translations twice in the Old Testament, and time and again in the New.
  • Although marriage appears only 19 times in 18 verses, the word wife appears 407 times in 370 verses in the King James. See again the Eliyah lexicon.  How can there be a wife if there was no "marriage"? What was meant by marriage?  At the least, there is ambiguity about how the idea of marriage evolved, and what is ordained by whom.  Look up all the words that English translates as wife, and find, instead, woman. Not husband or wife, man of her, or woman of him. 
  • And with no exchange of money, and contract, the conjoining is just that:  and not a marriage at all. Meet Adam and Eve.  Or their progeny and wherever they got themselves "wives."  There were pairings, no obligations
  • So far, marriage is a matter of societal custom, convenience, and designating who is to control whom.  The deity could care less.
  • This is an odd liberty that English translation takes with the word "marriage" - to spread it around willy-nilly,  where, to the contrary, there is no definition of marriage at all in the Torah or Old Testament, or New. It is only in the Talmud, oral tradition, teachings, that ideology and custom are spelled out, but that is not Torah, direct word of the power(s) above around everywhere, etc.
9.  Explore, with those old traditions and the fact of no Torah guidance at all, the many meanings where the English translation says only marriage.

9.1  Old Testament usage -

"Marriage" appears twice in the English translation of two separate Hebrew words in theTorah (Pentateuch, first five books).   In each, the text supports only a cohabitation idea, if even that (as to a master-servant relationship that clearly is not "wife");  it is the Talmud that adds ritual, status, ceremony.
  • Strong's number 5772, H5772 is Ownah,
    • Genesius, 18th C scholar, ( commentary: .  "Conjugal cohabitation",cohabitation, conjugal rights, but that from the Talmud, not the Torah
    • Ex.21:10, "duty of marriage" -- Torah.  
      • "Wife" in translation where a servant is the context, not a wife-- Exodus elsewhere:  Ex.21:3.  It is suddenly here that "wife appears, when the context clearly is not marriage, see Jerome in the Vulgate putting in "uxor" or wife at  The text is woman, not wife. And everybody just falls in line, wife, wife, wife. Thanks, Jerome. Your agenda worked.
        • As to a male servant, he shall serve 6 years, then go free. And if the master gives him a woman (the translator at this site says "wife" but that is not supported in the transliteration at -- the verb is possess a woman,  not be married -- she is merely property) then she goes out with him; but if she has had children, she and the children remain the master's.
        • But if the servant says he loves her and wants to stay, the master shall take him to the judges, and then the master shall bore a hole in his ear and the servant shall be bound to him forever [pierce your ears origin?] Same Online Interlinear site.
        • "Betrothal" as English translation when the text says nothing of the kind. Ex.21:7-9.  It is Jerome again who does it -- see the betrothal language where buying or taking the woman is meant by the text, and in most of the translations at
        • If a man sell his daughter to be a maidservant, she shall not go "out" as the male servants (they get free and can go out after 6 years) and she does not please the master to whom she is appointed, then she shall be "redeemed" and the master shall have no power to sell her to a foreigner (this gets hard to follow, at 
        • And if the master had appointed her to his son (no betrothal language), he shall deal with her in the manner of daughters (what?) (are we to assume she did something bad?)
      • "Wife" used where multiple servants instead are the context.  As to the master, if he has that first maidservant (translated as "wife" when it looks like sexual partner is intended only, not wife) and takes another (woman) (also translated as "wife"), then his duty to the first is not diminished.  He must provide her meat and clothing and habitation. Ex.21:10-11, at
        •  So that is the duty when a servant is sold to the master:  feed, raiment, shelter.  That is not the same as the marriage obligations of the Jew as the culture changed, see Judaism 101, with rights of inheritance, giving her property, etc.
        • Still -- all that marriage language out of nowhere in this master-servant relationship. 
          • The English translation adds out of nowhere that her "duty of marriage" remains -- but this is no marriage. 
          • Duty to be his sexual partner?  That would be plausible, but that i snot being a wife. Master with privileges is something else.  If cohabitation or sexual privilege is meant, the English changes it.
          • Trust not thy translated scriptures, for they are pretzeled beyond all recognition for the glory of those who seek to salt words for their benefit.
        • And if he does not those three things, she shall go free but without any cash.
        • Keep reading:  the master does not have power of death over the servant; and on for many other laws of the time as to killing, injuring.  It takes a great deal of adding words and omitting things to get to a clear narrative. There is no airtight single narrative.
Old Testament non-Torah
9.2  New Testament - Marriage
a.  Still no laws, rules about marriage, so look to Judaism 101,
As a Jew, the process for marriage as outlined at Judaism 101 seems consistent here, but someone else would have to find out the specifics of First Century Talmud, or later centuries when the Gospels were written by those persons unknown. What is added in that time, that is not in the texts of what Jesus himself said.
b. Enter the New Testament, Greek now, translations from that, and Paul and Paulian theology and Rome, superseding plain meaning of what are ambiguous and partial texts, with much excluded in the name of unification, forging in stone an emerging ideology. Thayer, commentary, is 19th century, and a good start.  Later findings

c.  All the New Testament references, like the Old, are to a status, not a process, and there is no establishing any religious role for a deity in it.

No ordaining. No blessing. Just going to a wedding does not bless it.  Not setting up "sacraments" makes them necessarily "sacred".  The texts provide for none such. Oh, my.  On the other hand, other references to adultery and fornication suggest that the deity cares about the marriage, and that stems from Commandments, or does it? Perhaps the deity wants people to stand by their contracts -- and it means nothing more than that kind of honor in one's word. Marriage isn't blessed:  it is another contract.  Is that consistent? You in the back with your hand up.  Go ahead.
    • Mt.22:2, "made a marriage for his son"
      • Lexicon:  Comes from the feminine of primogeniture. Feminine of #1060.  That #1060 means firstborn. Found him a firstborn woman? Or made a "feminine" for his son?  By this time, we can conclude that custom and oral tradition had established a process for marriage, but what was exchanged, what was the contract of such marriage?
      • Wedding festivities, see
    • Jn.2:2, " the marriage"-  ditto. Wedding - no reference to a deity's view of a wedding
    • Hb.13:4, "marriage...honorable in all" [eliyah site adds "is" in the ellipsis] - ditto. Matrimony fine, but watch out you paramours and adulterers. You need the contract before you indulge? The dogma enters. This says God will judge.Jesus said not to cast first stones. You pick.  I am looking for references to man-man or woman-woman relationship and find nothing; Ditto as to contraception.  Merely saying no to spilling seed outside is not enough -- that could be matter of courtesy and tidiness. Bring a towel.
    • Rv.19:9, "called unto the marriage supper of the lamb" -ditto but here a celebration is specified, an occasion
  • Strong's 1547,  G1547 is ekgamizo.  Give a daughter away in marriage, the "ek" meaning out of the house,
    • Mt.22:4, "come unto the marriage" -- wedding
    • Mt.22:9, "bid to the marriage"
    • Mt.22:30, "given in marriage"
    • Mt.22:39, "giving in marriage"
    • Lk.17:27, "given in marriage"
    •  I Cor.7:38, "he that marriage doeth well, but he that giveth...not in marriage doeth better"   [eliyah lexicon site adds a "her" in the ellipsis]

C.  Conclusion so far

Marriage is an evolving cultural idea, not full-blown from the Beginning, see; and with later justifications added about the deity requiring it, blessing it, all that.

Instead, from the texts, marriage is the acquiring of a wife, primarily a contract for keeping company, and ordering sensibly the passions of the people. As such, the deity really did not join anybody to anybody else, Adam and Eve could not have made the causal connection between a conjoining and a baby nine months later, and the meaning of the relationship can be expanded or not, as the culture itself desires.

 If you make the contract, however, stick with it or bear consequences not of damnation but other damages including divorce (permitted among the Jews). No casting first stones, is that so?  Persuade if you like, but no forcing. There is no 3,000 years of consistent marriage.