The Bible

Bible Usage:


  • Included in Eastons: Yes
  • Included in Hitchcocks: No
  • Included in Naves: Yes
  • Included in Smiths: Yes
  • Included in Websters: Yes
  • Included in Strongs: Yes
  • Included in Thayers: Yes
  • Included in BDB: Yes

Strongs Concordance:

Easton's Bible Dictionary

Was instituted in Paradise when man was in innocence (Genesis 2:18-24). Here we have its original charter, which was confirmed by our Lord, as the basis on which all regulations are to be framed (Matthew 19:4, 5). It is evident that monogamy was the original law of marriage (Matthew 19:5; 1 Corinthians 6:16). This law was violated in after times, when corrupt usages began to be introduced (Genesis 4:19; 6:2). We meet with the prevalence of polygamy and concubinage in the patriarchal age (Genesis 16:1-4; 22:21-24; 28:8, 9; 29:23-30, etc.). Polygamy was acknowledged in the Mosaic law and made the basis of legislation, and continued to be practised all down through the period of Jewish histroy to the Captivity, after which there is no instance of it on record.

It seems to have been the practice from the beginning for fathers to select wives for their sons (Genesis 24:3; 38:6). Sometimes also proposals were initiated by the father of the maiden (Exodus 2:21). The brothers of the maiden were also sometimes consulted (Genesis 24:51; 34:11), but her own consent was not required. The young man was bound to give a price to the father of the maiden (31:15; 34:12; Exodus 22:16, 17; 1 Samuel 18:23, 25; Ruth 4:10; Hosea 3:2) On these patriarchal customs the Mosaic law made no change.

In the pre-Mosaic times, when the proposals were accepted and the marriage price given, the bridegroom could come at once and take away his bride to his own house (Genesis 24:63-67). But in general the marriage was celebrated by a feast in the house of the bride's parents, to which all friends were invited (29:22, 27); and on the day of the marriage the bride, concealed under a thick veil, was conducted to her future husband's home.

Our Lord corrected many false notions then existing on the subject of marriage (Matthew 22:23-30), and placed it as a divine institution on the highest grounds. The apostles state clearly and enforce the nuptial duties of husband and wife (Ephesians 5:22-33; Colossians 3:18, 19; 1 Peter 3:1-7). Marriage is said to be "honourable" (Hebrews 13:4), and the prohibition of it is noted as one of the marks of degenerate times (1 Timothy 4:3).

The marriage relation is used to represent the union between God and his people (Isaiah 54:5; Jeremiah 3:1-14; Hosea 2:9, 20). In the New Testament the same figure is employed in representing the love of Christ to his saints (Ephesians 5:25-27). The Church of the redeemed is the "Bride, the Lamb's wife" (Revelation 19:7-9).

Naves Topical Index


Abraham and Sarah
Genesis 11:29; Genesis 12:13; Genesis 20:3; Genesis 20:9-16

Isaac and Rebekah
Genesis 24:3-4; Genesis 24:67; Genesis 28:2

Jacob and his wives
Genesis 29:15-30

Levirate (the brother required to marry a brother's widow)
Genesis 38:8; Genesis 38:11; Deuteronomy 25:5-10; Ruth 4:5; Matthew 22:24; Mark 12:19-23; Luke 20:28

Parents contract for their children:

Hagar selects a wife for Ishmael
Genesis 21:21

Abraham selects a wife for Isaac
Genesis 1:24

Laban arranges for his daughters' marriage
Genesis 1:29

Samson asks his parents to procure him a wife
Judges 14:2

Parents' consent required in the Mosaic law
Exodus 22:17

Presents given to parents to secure their favor
Genesis 24:53; Genesis 34:12; Deuteronomy 22:29; 1 Samuel 18:25; Hosea 3:2

Nuptial feasts
Genesis 29:22; Judges 14:12; Esther 2:18; Matthew 22:11-12

Jesus present at
John 2:1-5

Ceremony attested by witnesses
Ruth 4:1-11; Isaiah 8:1-3

Bridegroom exempt one year from military duty
Deuteronomy 24:5

Bridal ornaments
Isaiah 49:18; Jeremiah 2:32

Bridal presents
Genesis 24:53; Psalms 45:12

Herald preceded the bridegroom
Matthew 25:6

Wedding robes adorned with jewels
Isaiah 61:10

Wives obtained:

By purchase
Genesis 29:20; Ruth 4:10; Hosea 3:2; Hosea 12:12

By kidnapping
Judges 21:21-23

Given by kings
1 Samuel 17:25; 1 Samuel 18:17; 1 Samuel 18:21

Daughters given in, as rewards of valor
Judges 1:12; 1 Samuel 17:25; 1 Samuel 18:27

Wives taken by edict
Esther 2:2-4; Esther 2:8-14

David gave one hundred Philistine foreskins for a wife
2 Samuel 3:14

Wives among the Israelites must be Israelites
Exodus 34:16; Deuteronomy 7:3-4; 1 Chronicles 23:22; Ezra 9:1-2; Ezra 9:12; Nehemiah 10:30; Nehemiah 13:26-27; Malachi 2:11; 1 Corinthians 7:39; 2 Corinthians 6:14

Betrothal, a quasi-marriage
Matthew 1:18; Luke 1:27

Betrothal made with the spirit
Ezekiel 16:8


Judges 11:38; Isaiah 4:1; Jeremiah 16:9

1 Corinthians 7:7-8; 1 Corinthians 7:24-40

Obligations under, inferior to duty to God
Deuteronomy 13:6-10; Matthew 19:29; Luke 14:26

Not binding after death
Matthew 22:29-30; Mark 12:24-25
Bride; Bridegroom

Unclassified scriptures relating to
Genesis 2:23-24; 1 Corinthians 6:16; Exodus 22:16-17; Ephesians 5:22-33; Leviticus 18:6-18; Deuteronomy 22:30; Leviticus 20:14; Leviticus 20:17; Leviticus 20:19-21; Leviticus 21:1; Leviticus 21:7; Leviticus 21:13-15; Numbers 36:8; Deuteronomy 21:10-14; Deuteronomy 24:1-5; Proverbs 18:22; Proverbs 21:9; Proverbs 21:19; Jeremiah 29:6; Hosea 2:19-20; Malachi 2:13-16; Matthew 5:31-32; Mark 6:17-18; Mark 10:2-12; Matthew 19:2-9; Luke 16:18; Romans 7:1-3; 1 Corinthians 7:1-40; 1 Corinthians 9:5; 1 Corinthians 11:11-12; 1 Timothy 3:2; 1 Timothy 3:12; 1 Timothy 4:1; 1 Timothy 4:3; 1 Timothy 5:14; Hebrews 13:4


Isaiah 54:5; Isaiah 62:4-5; Jeremiah 3:14; Jeremiah 31:32; Hosea 1:2; Hosea 2:19-20; Ephesians 5:30-32; Revelation 19:7-9

Parables from
Matthew 22:2; Matthew 25:1-10
Divorce; Husband; Wife

Smith's Bible Dictionary

  1. Its origin and history .

    The institution of marriage dates from the time of man's original creation. (Genesis 2:18-25) From (Genesis 2:24) we may evolve the following principles- (1) The unity of man and wife, as implied in her being formed out of man. (2) The indissolubleness of the marriage bond, except on; the strongest grounds, Comp. (Matthew 19:9) (3) Monogamy, as the original law of marriage (4) The social equality of man and wife. (5) The subordination of the wife to the husband. (1 Corinthians 11:8,9; 1 Timothy 2:13) (6) The respective duties of man and wife. In the patriarchal age polygamy prevailed, (Genesis 16:4; 25:1,8; 28:9; 29:23,26; 1 Chronicles 7:14) but to a great extent divested of the degradation which in modern times attaches to that practice. Divorce also prevailed in the patriarchal age, though but one instance of it is recorded. (Genesis 21:14) The Mosaic law discouraged polygamy, restricted divorce, and aimed to enforce purity of life. It was the best civil law possible at the time, and sought to bring the people up to the pure standard of the moral law. In the Post-Babylonian period monogamy appears to have become more prevalent than at any previous time. The practice of polygamy nevertheless still existed; Herod the Great had no less than nine wives at one time. The abuse of divorce continued unabated. Our Lord and his apostles re-established the integrity and sanctity of the marriage bond by the following measures- (a) By the confirmation of the original charter of marriage as the basis on which all regulations were to be framed. (Matthew 19:4,5) (b) By the restriction of divorce to the case of fornication, and the prohibition of remarriage in all persons divorced on improper grounds. (Matthew 5:32; 19:9; Romans 7:3; 1 Corinthians 7:10,11) (c) By the enforcement of moral purity generally (Hebrews 13:4) etc., and especial formal condemnation of fornication. (Acts 15:20)

  2. The conditions of legal marriage .

    In the Hebrew commonwealth marriage was prohibited (a) between an Isr'lite and a non-Isr'lite. There were three grades of prohibition- total in regard to the Canaanites on either side; total on the side of the males in regard to the Ammonites and Moabites; and temporary on the side of the males in regard to the Edomites and Egyptians, marriages with females in the two latter instances being regarded as legal. The progeny of illegal marriages between Isr'lites and non-Isr'lites was described as "bastard." (23:2) (b) between an Isr'lite and one of his own community. The regulations relative to marriage between Isr'lites and Isr'lites were based on considerations of relationship. The most important passage relating to these is contained in (Leviticus 18:6-18) wherein we have in the first place a general prohibition against marriage between a man and the "flesh of his flesh," and in the second place special prohibitions against marriage with a mother, stepmother, sister or half-sister, whether "born at home or abroad," granddaughter, aunt, whether by consanguinity on either side or by marriage on the father's side, daughter in-law, brother's wife, stepdaughter, wife's mother, stepgranddaughter, or wife's sister during the lifetime of the wife. An exception is subsequently made, (26:5-9) in favor of marriage with a brother's wife in the event of his having died childless. The law which regulates this has been named the "levirate," from the Latin levir , "brother-in-law."

  3. The modes by which marriage was effected .

    The choice of the bride devolved not on the bridegroom himself, but on his relations or on a friend deputed by the bridegroom for this purpose. The consent of the maiden was sometimes asked (Genesis 24:58) but this appears to have been subordinate to the previous consent of the father and the adult brothers. (Genesis 24:51; 34:11) Occasionally the whole business of selecting the wife was left in the hands of a friend. The selection of the bride was followed by the espousal, which 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; it was confirmed by oaths, and accompanied with presents to the bride. The act of betrothal was celebrated by a feast, and among the more modern Jews it is the custom in some parts for the bride. groom to place a ring on the bride's finger. The ring was regarded among the Hebrews as a token of fidelity (Genesis 41:42) and of adoption into a family. (Luke 15:25) Between the betrothal sad the marriage so interval elapsed, varying from a few days in the patriarchal age, (Genesis 24:55) to a full year for virgins and a month for widows in later times. During this period the bride-elect lived with her friends, and all communication between herself and her future husband was carried on through the medium of a friend deputed for the purpose, termed the "friend of the bridegroom." (John 3:29) She was now virtually regarded as the wife of her future husband; hence faithlessness on her part was punishable with death, (22:23,24) the husband having, however, the option of "putting her away." (24:1; Matthew 1:19) The essence of the marriage ceremony consisted in the removal of the bride from her father's house to that of the bridegroom or his father. The bridegroom prepared himself for the occasion by putting on a festive dress, and especially by placing on his head a handsome nuptial turban. (Psalms 45:8; Solomon 4:10,11) The bride was veiled. Her robes were white, (Revelation 19:8) and sometimes embroidered with gold thread, (Psalms 45:13,14) and covered with perfumes! (Psalms 45:8) she was further decked out with jewels. (Isaiah 49:18; 61:10; Revelation 21:2) When the fixed hour arrived, which was, generally late in the evening, the bridegroom set forth from his house, attended by his groomsmen (Authorized Version "companions," (Judges 14:11) "children of the bride-chamber," (Matthew 9:15) preceded by a band of musicians or singers, (Genesis 31:27; Jeremiah 7:34; 16:9) and accompanied by persons hearing flambeaux, (Jeremiah 25:10) 2 Esdr. 10.2; (Matthew 25:7; Revelation 18:23) and took the bride with the friends to his own house. At the house a feast was prepared, to which all the friends and neighbors were invited, (Genesis 29:22; Matthew 22:1-10; Luke 14:8; John 2:2) and the festivities were protracted for seven or even fourteen days. (Judges 14:12; Job 8:19) The guests were provided by the host with fitting robes, (Matthew 22:11) and the feast was enlivened with riddles, (Judges 14:12) and other amusements. The last act in the ceremonial was the conducting of the bride to the bridal chamber, (Judges 15:1; Joel 2:16) where a canopy was prepared. (Psalms 19:5; Joel 2:16) The bride was still completely veiled, so that the deception practiced on Jacob, (Genesis 29:23) was not difficult. A newly married man was exempt from military service, or from any public business which might draw him away from his home, for the space of a year, (24:5) a similar privilege was granted to him who was 'betrothed. (20:7)

  4. The social and domestic conditions of married life .

    The wife must have exercised an important influence in her own home. She appears to have taken her part in family affairs, and even to have enjoyed a considerable amount of independence. (Judges 4:18; 1 Samuel 25:14; 2 Kings 4:8) etc. In the New Testament the mutual relations of husband and wife are a subject of frequent exhortation. (Ephesians 5:22,33; Colossians 3:18,19; Titus 2:4,5; 1 Peter 3:1-7) The duties of the wife in the Hebrew household were multifarious; in addition to the general superintendence of the domestic arrangements, such as cooking, from which even women of rank were not exempt. (Genesis 18:8; 2 Samuel 13:5) and the distribution of food at meal times, (Proverbs 31:13) the manufacture of the clothing and of the various fabrics required in her home devolved upon her, (Proverbs 31:13,21,22) and if she were a model of activity and skill, she produced a surplus of fine linen shirts and girdles, which she sold and so, like a well-freighted merchant ship, brought in wealth to her husband from afar. (Proverbs 31:14,24) The legal rights of the wife are noticed in (Exodus 21:10) under the three heads of food, raiment, and duty of marriage or conjugal right.

  5. The allegorical and typical allusions to marriage have exclusive reference to one object, viz., to exhibit the spiritual relationship between God and his people. In the Old Testament (Isaiah 54:5; Jeremiah 3:14; Hosea 2:19) In the New Testament the image of the bridegroom is transferred from Jehovah to Christ, (Matthew 9:15; John 3:29) and that of the bride to the Church, (2 Corinthians 11:2; Revelation 19:7; 21:2,9)

Webster's 1828 Dictionary

MAR'RIAGE, noun [Latin mas, maris.] The act of uniting a man and woman for life; wedlock; the legal union of a man and woman for life. marriage is a contract both civil and religious, by which the parties engage to live together in mutual affection and fidelity, till death shall separate them. marriage was instituted by God himself for the purpose of preventing the promiscuous intercourse of the sexes, for promoting domestic felicity, and for securing the maintenance and education of children.

Marriage is honorable in all and the bed undefiled. Hebrews 13:4

1. A feast made on the occasion of a marriage

The kingdom of heaven is like a certain king, who made a marriage for his son. Matthew 22:2.

2. In a scriptural sense, the union between Christ and his church by the covenant of grace. Revelation 19:7.

Webster's 1828 Dictionary

MAR'RIAGEABLE, adjective Of an age suitable for marriage; fit to be married. Young persons are marriageable at an earlier age in warm climates than in cold.

1. Capable of union.

Webster's 1828 Dictionary

MAR'RIAGE-ARTICLES, noun Contract or agreement on which a marriage is founded.

Easton's Bible Dictionary

(John 2:1-11) "lasted usually for a whole week; but the cost of such prolonged rejoicing is very small in the East. The guests sit round the great bowl or bowls on the floor, the meal usually consisting of a lamb or kid stewed in rice or barley. The most honoured guests sit nearest, others behind; and all in eating dip their hand into the one smoking mound, pieces of the thin bread, bent together, serving for spoons when necessary. After the first circle have satisfied themselves, those lower in honour sit down to the rest, the whole company being men, for women are never seen at a feast. Water is poured on the hands before eating; and this is repeated when the meal closes, the fingers having first been wiped on pieces of bread, which, after serving the same purpose as table-napkins with us, are thrown on the ground to be eaten by any dog that may have stolen in from the streets through the ever-open door, or picked up by those outside when gathered and tossed out to them (Matthew 15:27; Mark 7:28). Rising from the ground and retiring to the seats round the walls, the guests then sit down cross-legged and gossip, or listen to recitals, or puzzle over riddles, light being scantily supplied by a small lamp or two, or if the night be chilly, by a smouldering fire of weeds kindled in the middle of the room, perhaps in a brazier, often in a hole in the floor. As to the smoke, it escapes as it best may; but indeed there is little of it, though enough to blacken the water or wine or milk skins hung up on pegs on the wall. (Comp. Psalms 119:83.) To some such marriage-feast Jesus and his five disciples were invited at Cana of Galilee." Geikie's Life of Christ. (See CANA.)