Monday, September 24, 2012

No Genesis Marriage. Jerome added Wife - Uxoris

Jerome, Dogma made "marriage" and "wife" a Genesis concept, 
which, compared to texts, it was not.

Aishe, Aisha.  Woman.  
Genesis relationship with a man "often unexpressed in English."  Strong's.

Consider the translation merry-go-round.  Thinks Jerome, Saint Jerome born 240 AD, died, say 314 AD.  Long ago.  He translated into Latin for the purposes of the emerging Catholic Christianity (as opposed to the Christians who migrated East, rather than allying with Rome).  He was conversant with the various texts of scripture from many languages at the time

So, thinks Jerome, as he approaches the issue of woman as human being or the cultural role of Wife, identity related to the male, I see (says Jerome), I see no no ambiguity in the text that the word "woman" is used, but because I work for the Boss in the Emerging Roman Version (read patriarchy) I will use a more culturally shaping and useful word, Wife.

Where I see Woman in the text, I will substitute Wife.  Done.

Yea, I will affix Uxoris, pipes up Jerome. We cannot have a mere "woman of him" or "man of her" in our texts, depicting sexual relationship.  We must have hierarchical marriage, with wife, and husband as in patriarchy and property interests, interposed. 

 I will make her a wife, the way the Church wants it. 
I will  pretend a ceremony! 
I will deem him a husband, and her a wife, and so he did, 
with conceptual entanglements through the centuries resulting.

Marriage this, marriage that. Define, describe. Who was married. Who not. Who knows. Who should be. Who wants to be. Who can stop whom from it. Who means what by it.

Marriage is cultural; not "divine" at all from the old texts. Is that so?  Explore.  Vet. See Jewish Marriage in Antiquity, by M.L.Satlow,
 My preference is to go directly to Genesis and see what I can figure out first.  Will then go read the tomes. We know from this site, that details are few -- great opportunity for translators and institutions to fill in blanks and pretend:  see Women and the Law in  Ancient Israel, at

Current issue: Tradition flees from the idea of Jesus being married, although would it not have been more unusual if he had not been married?  Were the disciples married? Do we care? Marriage, if cultural, as it seems to  be, should be no-one's theological interest.

Jerome:  Translator into Latin, and inserter of the textual Uxoris. Do our translators alter or ignore evidence to show what the culture wants. What we have, is material on the woman-acquisition process in patriarchal Hebrew history.  Not "wives" with vows and sanctity afloat.

Historical purpose  of Marriage:  to "concentrate property and personnel within narrowly delimited descent groupings (reflecting) a social order marked by considerable political and economic inequalities."  Marriage patterns: transactions and exchanges interfamilial as well. See

Is that anything like the current and recent-past ceremonies to love,  honor, even obey?  Is there a commitment or just an economic bind that may or may not include "love."  Partnership ideas?  Was there any ceremony at all, or just that purchase and sale, swap. I use the Mechanical Translation of Genesis, Blue Letter Bible, for Strong's concordance, mostly.  See sites below.

A.  Evolution of Marriage

1.  Ask:  What was the relationship between early men and women in the Old Testament. The concept of a "wife" and "husband" permeate culture and religious practice, even most all our Old Testaments; but are expressed in different terms in the ancient texts themselves.

1.1.  Start at the beginning. Seek out transliterations and find ambiguity, if not outright contrary terms used, other than the marriage, husband and wife so dear to our ritual hearts.  According to this transliteration of Genesis, for example, there is no marriage existing with a separate term like that in Genesis. See A Mechanical Translation of the Book of Genesis,

1.2  There were, however, pairings, the acquiring of women, with events that preceded and occurred at marriage as a bonding with some obligations, as a practical matter of a formal pairing.  The man took power over her (Strong's 1111, 1167, see below).  This was not part of Creation, however;  look at the time passing from the Expulsion to the rest of Genesis.

1.3  With all that power to the man, however, the woman was not powerless.

It appears from Gen. 24:39 that the woman had to agree, she was to "walk after" the man, if she so chose.  Gen.24:51.  The man also is to "take and walk." Gen.24:58.  They inquire of the woman what she will do.

Woman is to be respected.  See Sarai and Abram. Abraham (renamed as Father Lifted, not Abram) is told by Elohim, Powers, as to her status:  "I will respect her and also from her I will give to you a son and I will respect her and she will exist for nations, kings of peoples will exist from her." Gen.17:16  [My RSV says only that God will bless her].  "Respect" is also a term used for men, Gen.48:3, 9.  So, respect women, respect men, both functional.

Woman has value. There is a bride price and gift, see Gen.34:12.
  • Purchase, sale, control.  Great Creeping Patriarchy.  All that is a far cry from Genesis' Creation -- and evolved only in the long male powerplays thereafter.  After all, she was periodically vulnerable. And once the men started wanting lineage, she was caught.  Is that so?  See Mechanical Translation at Appendixes p.418, Gen. 9:21 (the site offers a free download that is great fun to have on the drive -- look up anything anytime).  
There were some rules. To have sex with a woman without permission is to afflict her, defile her, see Dinah at Gen. 34:2,5, 13.

An expression of love seems to be "attached to"  Gen.34:8, love (same word), to adhere to, or speak to her heart, Gen.34:3.  She is "gotten" to serve as a woman. See Gen.34:12. Women are product, swapped for other women. Gen.34:21. She can be Whore. Gen.34-21 -- So that arrangement also existed, of course. Could she keep her own income? It was an exchange of act for value. A whore or prostitute does not operate in secret. f A whore covers her face. See Gen.38:15. But an "honorable" woman taking that path can be "cremated" (a prostitute using deceit to get what she wants, Gen. 38:24).

To take another's woman is a crime, Gen. 39:7ff (Paroh's woman)

Taking her and coming to her may be enough (if she does not object?) see Gen. 38:2-4. As to signifying consent on that and other issues, walking to it can signify consent to whatever is on the table.  See Gen. 38:11

She owned property. For example, any instance of "his" tent should be translated instead as "her" tent, because in ancient Hebrew culture, the family tent belonged to the woman. It is so described at Gen.12:8.  Is that the beginning of, give the woman the house?
  • And Rahhel and Le'ah ask for a portion of their inheritance from their father, Gen. 31:14-16:  "[W]ere we not thought of as foreigners to him given that he sold us and he also greatly ate our silver, given that all the riches which Elohiym (Powers) delivered from our father, to us he and to our sons and now all which Elohiym (Powers) said to you, do."   [At v.19, after they all went back, Rahhel went in and took Lavan her father's idols and Ya'aqov (Jacob, He Restrains) took Lavan's heart (what?) and there was a pursuit ff.
The woman controlled when she has children, at the outset, until she herself came to be controlled.  Conception.  At Creation, the woman took the first step -- she was not a passive recipient of what Adm had -- instead, she  "acquired" or "purchased" a child -- it was her act with Yahweh, nothing put upon her against her will.  Gen.4:1.  Acquired:  That is the meaning of the word Cain. Acquired.  He is the one who served the ground, while his later brother, Able (meaning "empty") fed the flocks. Look at the trouble from the beginning:  There was Cain doing what he was supposed to, till the fields (Adm's job) but Able who fiddled with sheep got the preference.  No justice from early on.

Jahweh visited Sarai and she conceived?  It wasn't Abraham?? See Gen.21:1-2.  Like Eve who bargained with Jahweh?

1.4  It is a long time, however, before she starts to be seen as an individual.  Women on occasion had individualized names, but these are the exception.  All men's names, however, were descriptive (Hairy, He Who Laughs, etc.)

That woman's naming occurs in early chapters, as with Adah, Ornament; Tsilah, Shadow (look up in chapters and verses in Glossary at MT) [and for fun, note that men are also individually described as to an attribute in their naming, and Seth means Buttocks].
Women's naming then peters out until much later with Abram.  By then, the cultural patriarchy had taken root.  See FN 1 for many, many names of women.  But these are a small portion of the total naming of all those men and places in Genesis.

1.5   Is Creation foolproof, Good?  Is all that was made, made Good? Not necessarily. Creation was made to be "functional" -- a different concept from "good".  See MT.
  • Elohim, meaning Powers, also made mistakes, one being the heart of the human: " [T]he thoughts of the heart of the human are dysfunctional from his young age and I will not continue to hit all the living ones which I made." (the promise to Noah, meaning Rest). See FN 1 for naming of women after Abraham.

B.  Marriage, the Ceremony and Vows, Roles

Check out whether marriage occurs in Genesis.  Marriage. Husband. Wife. Ceremony. Rights. Children. Home. Divorce.  What?  Starting Transliteration.  Download the Mechanical Translation, scroll to Genesis 1, then do a search or "find" of the entire book for each term.

1. Marriage. 
  • The word appears only in Gen. 38:8, as a phrase for these ideas --  'come to the woman of your brother  and do the marriage duty to her and make a seed rise for your brother.' 
  •  "Marriage duty" appears nowhere else and is undefined. What were the duties, if any, other than to beget.  And with the begetting, who got what rights to the product?  Was she free to go, live an autonomous life, who controlled her, how.
  • Marriage appears as a term in itself not in Genesis except as to the one duty; only appears as a self-defining unrooted concept in the Dictionary appended to the translation itself. 
2.  Husband.

Husband.  If there is a marriage, there must be a Husband.  Find find.  No occurrence at all for the word Husband in Genesis.  It also only appears as a self-defining but undefined unrooted concept in the Dictionary appended.

3.  Wife.  If there is a marriage, there must be a Wife.  Try Wife.  There is a "midwife" in Gen. 35:17; and Gen. 38:28.  The word "wife" only appears as a self-defining but undefined unrooted concept in the Dictionary appended.
  • Mechanical Translation.  An example of a phrase we commonly see translated as Wife -- Because you listened to your wife, etc.  But there, Genesis 3:17 shows no "wife", only woman, woman of you, your woman. Do a search in the Mechanical Translation for woman, and it all is references to the men taking their woman, or taking a woman.  Try it.  
Taking a woman or getting a woman is not the same as a marriage, or a wife.  Those require ceremony, vows, all that.  What words did the ancient Hebrews use?
  • Go to the Blue Letter Bible, as another reasonable source, and note this is conservative.   .  "Wife" appears, says Blue Letter, in the King James Version (my favorite), 16 times in Genesis as an exact match.  It appears in 370 other verses in the entire KJV, it says.
The "word number" for Wife is 802 in Hebrew and it appears as each of those 16 references to "Wife."  Must mean wife, right?  Look that up. 802 is Ish-shah, and it uses "wife" to define "wife" -- one, married, female, misc. What?  No help.
802 in Strong's is the feminine of 376.

376 is "a man as an individual or a male person." And it includes husband.

 802 includes wife.  Both, then add a status to the designation as male or female. What did they mean by it? Is there a difference between that and "woman"?  Strong's 802 is also the feminine of 582, and 582 is a mortal, a man in general, and husband and wife are stuck in there with no clue as to what is the origin of that relationship, just stuck there.  "Often unexpressed in English" we are told.

So, the relationship, the woman thing, is "often unexpressed in English."  English wants Wife, dammit, Wife!  The Church requires that she be a wife!
Pick an example of "wife" in one of our translations.  Again, we pick at random Genesis 3:17, "because you have listened to the voice of your wife...."
Hebrew for the word we are looking for is, I think from deduction, תאכל
Scripture4all  - AshthK -- woman of you.
Hebrew Old Testament - 'aShThK -- Jerome translates it into the Latin as Uxoris
And so does everybody else thereafter.  Uxoris!  Wife!

Check translation of Uxoris.  It should show Wife.  Yes.

But check translation of the Hebrew "woman" that Jerome translates as "wife" -- and that word for woman is not not Uxoris at all. 

Look at all the references to wife -- each one instead refers to the 802 or woman or woman of you, or women of him, or take a woman.  And everybody falls in line after Jerome the Wrong and says, wife, wife, wife. Woman of you is different.

The word for woman in Latin is Mulieri. Jerome uses mulieri when God speaks to the woman, that she will give birth in pain.  Gen. 3:16. What is the Hebrew there? Woman e-ashe.  No reference to who she is connected to.  Fine. E-adm, man, e-ashe, woman.  Being in a relationship, he's my man, etc., does not create a marriage.

Conclusion so far:  no reference to any ceremony, any exchange, any obligation, just the taking of a woman.  And several, as with Abraham.  Yet Jerome, good old Jerome, he needs to find wives here and so he does, arbitrarily.  Dogma, dogma.

4.  So what is marriage in Genesis?

In Gen. 2:24, we have the man leaving his father and mother [but who were they when Adm and Aishe were created by the Creator -- was Elohiym multiple (yes, by its terms) and so there was a heavenly pairing? and adhering to his woman.  Genesis 2:24 requires no contracts, no property exchanges, no controlling, nothing but adhering.  No sacrament, no blessing.  So much for our cultural to-do about marriage.
  • So:  'aShThK.  Gen.3:17.  Go further.  Lot's wife is Lot's woman instead.  Abraham's wife is Abraham's woman instead.   At Gen.20:3, a woman is "married of a master" -- sounds like no wife there, just a bonded person. People buy women.  Jacob works seven years for what he hopes will be Rachel for woman of him.  No "wife."  Leah speaks of aishi, man of me. 
Etc.  Woman of him, man of her, but no ceremony, no "marriage", a bonded system, a purchase.  This will take more detail, but where in Genesis does anyone undergo a ceremony or words other than to do the buying thing?

802 is aisha. 802 is not "wife."  Jerome, go back and rewrite.  No uxor. Mulier. Woman.

FN 1.  Women's individualized names do not resume after that initial flurry, until Abraham, whose name means Father Raised.

His woman (the word "wife" is not used) is named Sarai, or Princess, thus a status as well as an individual in gender. Gen.11:29.  More:  continue to read that Abraham let her be taken by Pharaoh, saying she was his sister, in order to save his own skin).  For these, if not specified, go to glossary at the Mechanical Translation for chapter and verse locations.

Listing in part:

Sarai. Princess. Sarai is also known as Noblewoman [bought for a thousand silver? see Gen.20:16. Is a man's woman different from his bondwomen? same verse].
Milkah. Queen.
Hagar. Stranger; maid of Sarai who owned her and controlled her
Re'umah. meaning Lifted Up, Abraham's concubine Gen.22:24
Rivqah, Ensnarer.
Qethurah, Incense (concubine of Abraham)
Rahhel. Ewe
Le'ah. Weary
Dinah. Judgement [Dinhavah is also a city meaning Give Judgement]
Devorah. Bee (nurse of Rivqah)

A place is named Shaddai, meaning My Breasts. Gen.35:11 and elsewhere, just noting it here because it is repeating.

Bilhah.  Wear Out.
Zilpah. Trickling (is this a man or a woman?  not clear, see Gen.46:18, a later reference).
Basmah.  Spice.
Timnah.  Withhold.
Meheythavael.  Favored of El.
Asnat. Belonging to Nat (not quite certain of that one), daughter of Pothee-Phera (he whom Ra gave)
Serahh. Excess.