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Study Matthew 1:18-25

  1. Verse 18 betrothed

  2. Verse 18 before they came together

  3. Verse 19 Joseph, her husband

  4. Verse 19 was going to divorce her privately

  5. Verse 20 Mary, your wife

  6. Verse 24 To to him his wife

  7. Verse 25 Did not know her till she had her firstborn


Edersheim, Sketches of Jewish Social Life, chapter 9

"From the moment of her betrothal a woman was treated as if she were actually married. The union could not be dissolved, except by regular divorce; breach of faithfulness was regarded as adultery; and the property of the women became virtually that of her betrothed, unless he had expressly renounced it (Kidd. ix. 1)."


Jewish Marriages

  1. Came at an early age Rabbi's held 18 suitable for men and 13 for women.

  2. Betrothed really meant married, but it was not consumated until the marriage ceremony itself.

  3. Parents arranged marriages.

  4. The selection of the bride was followed by the espousal, which was not altogether like our "engagement" but was a formal proceeding, undertaken by a friend or legal representative on the part of the bridegroom and by the parents on the part of the bride.

  5. It was confirmed by oaths and accompanied with presents to the bride. These presents were described by different terms, that to the bride by "a dowry" (Heb. mohar) and that to the relatives by "a present" (Heb. mattan).

  6. A valid betrothal begets chiefly two effects. There arises first an obligation in justice, binding the contracting parties to keep their agreement; viz. to marry at the time specified; or, when the date of marriage is not agreed upon, whenever the second party to the compact reasonably demands the fulfillment of the marriage-promise.
  7. A betrothal may be dissolved:

    1. By the mutual and free consent of the contracting parties.
    2. By a impediment which subsequently arises between said parties. In this case the innocent party is released form his or her obligation, but not the one through whose fault the impediment arose.
    3. By a valid marriage entered into with a third person.
    4. By protracted delay on the part of either of the contracting parties in fulfilling the agreement to marry, in which case the innocent party is released from obligation.


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