Imatges de pÓgina


The Hiftory of the Jews

B. I.

aifo add another law, which obliged the hufband to pay
down a competent dowry for the wife, or, as the Jews
termed it in their contracts, to pay the price or equivalent
of her virginity P (G).

FROM thefe, and fuch-like inftances, we may likewife
conclude, what was their way of courtship, or, rather, of
contracting and celebrating their marriages. The former
was tranfacted by the parents or relations, on both fides;
and, when the matter was agreed, the bridegroom was in-
troduced to his bride; prefents were exchanged on all fides,
the contract figned before witneffes, and, after confumma-
tion, the bride tarried ftill fome time with her relations,

P Vid. MAIM. in ifhoth, c. 3. fect. 1.

ftill in their father's houfe; which feems to have been the cafe of Judah's three fons, mentioned above. Accordingly, the rabbies have understood this law in a very restrained fenfe, both in this and fome other particulars: fuch as that the eldest only, of the furvivors, was obliged to marry the widow, and not even he, if he was already married in which cafe, they pretend that it was left to his option. But if we look into the antient practices, in the times of the judges, we fhall find,that Boaz, who was neither brother, nor nearest of kin to the deceased,did yet think himfelf obliged to marry Ruth, upon the nearest kinfman's refufing to do it (15): from which one would be apt to conclude, that the law rather extended farther; and that, where no brothers were left to marry the widow, that duty became incumbent on the nearest relation in courfe, However, it is plain, from the cafe which the Sad

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ducees put to our Saviour, about
the feven brethren that had had
the fame woman fucceffively
(16), that this law was not un-
derftood in that limited fenfe
which the Talmudifts have fince
understood it in.

(G) Thus Abraham fent his
fteward with a confiderable
quantity of riches to present his
future daughter-in-law and her
relations (17); Jacob purchased
his two wives at the price of
fourteen years fervitude (18);
and when Hamor came to afk his
daughter for his fon Shechem,he
bid him raise the price of her
dowry as high as he pleafed
(19). David likewife modeftly
confefling his inability to pay a
dowry anfwerable to Saul's
daughter, the king acquitted
him for an hundred
prepuces of
the Philistines; and the pro-
phet Hofea bought a wife for
fifteen pieces of filver, and a
fmall quantity of barley (20):
fo that a man might be truly
faid to have purchased, as well
as to marry a wife.

(16) Mat. xxii. 24, & feq.
(18) Ibid. xxix. 18, & feq.
(20) 1 Sam. xviii. 22, & feq. Hof. iii. 2,

(17) Gen. (19) Ibid. xxxiv. 12,


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how long, or how fhort, we cannot exactly fay +; after which, the was fent away to her husband's habitation, with finging and dances, at the found of feveral inftruments, This laft was generally performed in the night, and the parable of the ten virgins plainly alludes to it. It was likewife cuftomary with them to contract these marriages, whilft their children were very young, and this was called efpoufing; after which, both parties continued with their parents till they were of age to confummate. As for the daughters, whether they were efpoufed, or not, they were kept very ftrict, and out of fight, by the Ifraelites; though this cuftom feems rather to have been taken up after the misfortune of Jacob's daughter, than borrowed from their neighbours, who made no fcruple to fend theirs to feed and water their flocks, as we find was done by Laban's. fifter and daughters, as well as by thofe of Jethro among the Midianites ". From this privacy with which the unmarried damfels were kept, they came to be called Almahs, which fignifies bidden, or concealed (H). There was like


+ See Gen. xxiv. 55, & feq. ONKELOS, R. SOLOM. & MUNSTER, in loc. Mat. xxv. 1, & feq. u Vid. Gen. xxiv, 13, & feq. xxix. 9. Exod. ii. 16.

(H) From the word by, alam, or, rather, ghalam, to bide. To this feems to allude that faying of Agur (21), if rightly tranflated The way of the man, y, behalmah: that is (not with, as our version hath it, but), in the maid, or virgin. And here we beg leave to obferve, that an anonymous English author took upon him, under the name of the late Monf. Le Clerc, to quarrel with this text, as trifling and obfcene (22); whereas, our verfion being the only one we know of that renders it with a maid,the objection could flow but from an English pen and we may venture to add, one that had but a fuperficial knowlege of the ori

(21) Prev. xxxi. 19,

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ginal, which is not only capable of, but doth manifeftly carry a much fublimer fenfe. We hope, therefore, the reader will not think amifs, if we take this opportunity of doing juftice to the text, and its divine author, by fetting it in its full light.

Whoever examines the preface, in the four or five first verfes of this chapter, will eafily own, that fuch lofty expreffions could only be defigned to usher in fome fublime mystery: but who can find any fuch in these words, whether we read them in or with the maid? that is, whether we understand them of coition, or generation? Befides, where is there either the analogy or climax implied in the (22) Letters concerning infpiration.


wife another law which forbad heireffes to marry out of their own tribe w, from which the reft were exempted; but a man was left to his liberty to marry, not only in any of the twelve tribes, but even out of them, provided it was with nations that used circumcifion *; fuch as the Midianites, Ishmaelites, Edomites, Moabites, and Egyptians (I).


* Compare Deut. vii. 3. & xxiii.

w Num. xxxvi. paff. 7,8.

beginning of the verfe? There are three things too hard for me, yea, four, or, rather, a fourth, which I cannot comprehend. What analogy doth the way of a man, whether in or with a maid, bear to that of an eagle in the air, or a fhip in the midft of the fea, &c.? or wherein is the former harder to be underftood than the latter? But if we understand it of the conception of a man in a virgin, as the words feem plainly to imply, then both the analogy and climax will be very natural; and the conception of the man, or, as the word, gebber, imports, the mighty man in a virgin,continuing ftill fuch, will appear moft fitly compared to "the flight of an eagle in the air, &c. which leave no trace behind; and, at the fame time, be moft juftly esteemed the hardeft, of all the reft, to be accounted for. This text may therefore juftly be looked upon as parallel to that of Jeremiah xxxi. 22.-The Lord has, or will, create a new thing, a woman fhall incompass gebber, a man, or the mighty man.

(I) Accordingly we find, that

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Mofes married a Midianite; Boaz
a Moabite (23); Maachah, Abfa-
lom's mother, was the daughter
of Talmai, king of Gefbur (24):
Amafa was the fon of Jether,
an Ishmaelite, by Abigail, Da-
vid's fifter (25); and Solomon,
in the beginning of his reign,
married Pharaoh's daughter
(26). Whenever, therefore, we
find him and other kings blam'd
for marrying ftrange women,
we must understand it of those
nations that were idolatrous and

This law feems alfo founded upon what the fubtil fons of Jacob faid to the Shechemites ; It is not lawful for us to contract affinity with one that is uncircumcifed (27). However, this must be understood of fuch only as were admitted into the Jewish religion: as for those that were not fo, they were not fo much as permitted to have any carnal commerce with them, except in the cafe of an Hebrew foldier's having taken a gentile captive, to whom Mofes indulg'd the liberty of enjoying her once, before the marriage was confirmed: this, at least, seems to be the fense of the

(24) 2 Sam. iii. 3. 1 Chron. iii. 2. (25) 1 Chron.i.
Kings iii. 1. (27) Gen, xxxiv, 14.


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THESE are the main laws relating to marriage. As for the manner of its celebration, Mofes has left no direction about it. Some few ceremonials may be gathered from Scripture, and the reft from the rabbies. We do not find, that it was accompanied with any religious ceremony; fuch as going to the tabernacle or temple, offering of facrifices, or even that it was performed by or before a přieft: only from the examples of Ifaac with Rebecca, of Boaz with Ruth, and of Tobias with Sarah, we may conclude, that the parents, and the reft of the company, did pray for the profperity of the new-married couple. Thefe nuptials were accompanied with feafting and mirth, which lafted a whole week. Thus Samfon's wedding is faid to have lafted feven days; and Tobias was defired by his father-in-law, that his might laft twice that spaced; probably, because they were not likely to fee one another after that time (K). THEIR

e judg. xiv. 17.

words (28); because, if he did not like her, he might put her away; only he was to give her liberty, as a récompence for her yirginity. A maid-fervant, tho' converted to Judaifm, was not capable of matrimonial right, whilft her fervitude continued; but,if her redemption was paid, or fhe was manumitted, the might become a wife (29). If a woman was not wholly free, her marriage feems to have been neither in force, nor abfolutely void; because, in cafes of unchaftity, fhe was not to be pnt to death, as the free women were, but only whipt (30).

(K) What fplendor did ufually accompany thefe feafts, where their circumstances wou'd admit of it, we may conclude, from that beautiful comparifon of the pfalmift, of the glory of

à Tobit viii. 19, 20.

a rifing-fun to a bridegroom coming out of his nuptial chamber (31). He likewife defcribes, in another pfalm, the richness of the bride's attire, the pomp of her attendance,and the grandeur of the folemnity, in moft elegant terms (32). The paranymph, or friend of the bridegroom, and the bride-maids,are likewife mentioned here, and in" the Canticles. Besides thefe, the bridegroom and bride had a number of companions, that affifted during the whole feaft. Samfon is faid to have had thirty at his wedding (33). However, we must not fuppofe both fexes to have aflifted promifcuously; the cuftom of eaftern countries did not allow of it and it is much more likely, that they had feparate tables, apartments, and diverfions: thefe laft were fing

(28) Deut. xxi. 10, & feq. (29) Sell. jus nat. & gent. l. v. c. 17. Vid. Fof. ant. 1. iv. c. 8. Carlton's concord. parti. c. 7. (30) Levit. xx. (31) Pfal. xix. 5. (32) Pfai, xlv, pass. Vid. & Ija, Ixi, 10. (53) Judg.





THEIR plurality of wives was far from being either a charge, or incumbrance, on them, confidering their fimple way of living the domeftic affairs were their province, whilft that of the hufband was the bufinefs of the fields and vineyards. Dreffing of victuals, the care of children, fpinning, carding, weaving, and the like, are often mentioned in the facred books as the occupation of women m ; whilft their hufbands chofe the more laborious works. However, at the worst, Mofes had indulged them with a remedy, namely, that of,

Divorce. 4. DIVORCE, which was permitted to the Jews for the hardness of their hearts, as our Saviour obferves"; neither do we find, that it had ever been practifed by any of the patriarchs (T), whatever it might have been by other na


m Vid. int. al. 1 Sam. ii. 19. 2 Sam. viii. 13. Prov. xxxi. 13, & feq. & alib. paff. n Mat. xix. 8.

ing, dancing, playing upon mu-
fical inftruments among the wo-
men, and fome kind of manly
exercifes among the men. To
these we may add the cuftom of
propounding riddles, and affign-
ing fome fort of reward to thofe
that expounded them,as we find
it was done at Samfon's nup-
tials (34), and which, the Tal-
mudifts tell us, was ufually pra-
Etifed upon fuch and the like
feftivals (35). They add, that
both the bride and bridegroom
ufed to wear a crown during
the whole folemnity, until the
deftruction of the laft temple;
but that, thenceforth, fuch an
ornament was fet afide, in me-
mory of that cataftrophe (36).
We read, indeed, of a nuptial
crown made for Solomon, and
presented to him by his mother
(37) but nothing of the like
ornament for the bride. As
for the other particular cere-

monies relating to marriages,
as we have no other authority
for them but that of the Tal-
mudifts, we fhall not trouble
our readers with them.

(T) The Jews pretend, that Abraham divorced Hagar; and Mofes, either Ziphorah, or Tarbis, the princefs of Ethiopia: and that this was the reason of the quarrel which he had with Aaron and Miriam (38); and from thence conclude, that divorce was not only of earlier date, but that it was lawful upon many other accounts,befides that of adultery. But,as to Hagar, whom they pretend to have been divorced for her infolence, it is plain, firft, that the was no wife, but a bond-woman,fubftitute to Sarah; and, fecondly, that her expulfion was not properly a divorce, because she was received again after the first fault; and that, at the fecond, (35) Pirke aboth.

(34) Fudy. xiv. 12.
Seld, ux. Heb. 1. ii. c. 15. Buxtorf. Synag. & al.
(38) Targ, Onkel. & HierofGrabbin, mult. in


(36) Ibid. Vide
(37) Cant. iii. ver.
Num, xii.
& feq.

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