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What is the difference between modern engagement and bethrothal?

Discussion in 'Covenant Theology' started by Chang, Jul 17, 2017.

  1. Chang

    Chang New Member

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    What is the difference between modern engagement and bethrothal?
    Biblical Bethrothal requires divorce to terminate the relationship, but while the modern people have different concept of engagement-that is, agree to marry in the future but in between can break off the engagement if find not suitable. If a woman find a man is not suitable to get marry after modern engagement, can she break off the engagement? Will this count as divorce in biblical view?
     
  2. Catherineanne

    Catherineanne Gone

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    There is no such thing as 'Biblical' betrothal.

    In former times betrothal was far more binding; it was treated as a contract. Anyone who wants to make a contract of their engagement could consult a lawyer and sign something, but I would not recommend it.

    Anyone can break off an engagement these days without any problem; man or woman. In former times it was possible for a woman to sue for breach of contract but I imagine this is rare now.
     
  3. Chosen_and_blessed

    Chosen_and_blessed Well-Known Member Supporter

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    ''Question: "What was betrothal in biblical times?"

    Answer:
    “Biblical times” covers a broad section of history’s timeline, since Bible history spans several thousand years and a number of cultures. Through those years and in those cultures, betrothal traditions varied. However, some elements of betrothal were consistent throughout.

    Engagements” in Bible times, like those in modern-day Western countries, were heterosexual relationships preliminary to marriage. Then, as now, the engagement period gave the bride time to prepare for her new role, to gather personal belongings, to adjust relationships with parents, siblings, and friends, and in some cases to become better acquainted with her fiancé. The groom used the engagement period for similar matters, including completing the house in which he would raise his family.

    Arranged marriages were common in Bible times, and it was possible that the bride and groom might not even know each other until they met at the wedding ceremony. If the parents arranged the marriage while the bride, the groom, or both were too young for marriage, a much longer betrothal would ensue. What seems strange to modern Westerners is that neither sexual attraction nor love was considered a necessary prelude to engagement or marriage. Parents who arranged a marriage for their children assumed that love and affection would grow out of the intimate acquaintance and sexual bonding that naturally takes place in a marriage. This mindset helps explain why Ephesians 5:25–33 commands Christian husbands to love their wives and Christian wives to respect their husbands. Such love and respect grew after the wedding and was not necessarily required beforehand.

    In modern Western culture, there is a clear distinction between betrothal/engagement and marriage. In the cultures of Bible times, the distinction was much less definitive. Betrothal in most eras of Bible history involved two families in a formal contract, and that contract was as binding as marriage itself. Betrothal then was more of a business transaction between two families than a personal, romantic choice. Dowry or bride price agreements were included, so that a broken engagement required repayment of the dowry. After betrothal, all that remained were three matters: the wedding celebration, the bride’s move into the groom’s house, and the consummation of the marriage.

    The best-known example of betrothal is that of Jesus’ mother, Mary, and her fiancé, Joseph. When Joseph learned that Mary was pregnant, and before he understood the miraculous nature of the conception, he thought that Mary had violated her betrothal, which was as binding as a marriage contract. At first, Joseph believed that his only recourse was to divorce her, or “put her away.” Matthew records the account: “This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about. His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be with child through the Holy Spirit. Because Joseph her husband was a righteous man and did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly” (Matthew 1:18–19). Matthew says that Mary was “pledged to be married,” but he also calls Joseph “her husband.” The fact that a “divorce” was required to break the betrothal shows that their premarital contract was legally binding. If, even during the betrothal period, Mary had been sexually intimate with someone other than Joseph, she would have been guilty of adultery.''

    What was betrothal in biblical times?

    The period of engagement preceding marriage; betrothal was a binding contract established between two families and sealed by the exchange of gifts. During this period the couple did not live together; sexual relations with each other at this stage was regarded as equivalent to adultery. Betrothal describes the relationship between God and his people and between Jesus Christ and the church.

    5654 betrothal - Dictionary of Bible Themes - Bible Gateway
     
  4. Dave-W

    Dave-W Our six grandchildren Supporter

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    The main difference is a signed marriage contract. In first century Judea that was called a "ketubah." (writing) Hundreds of examples of these contracts are still in existence. Often they were quite decorative works of art.

    Most marriages were arranged when the couple were age 5-10. When they approached bar or bat mitsvah age (12-13) the 2 families would start negotiating the terms of the contract. It included a LOT of different things including money set aside for the bride in case of a divorce, how often they would have sex, etc. The terms would be enforced by the court system. That usually took place about a year before they actually consummated the marriage. But they WERE legally married at that point. (called "betrothed") So if either wanted to call it off, they had to go thru a formal divorce proceeding, just as if they had been fully married for decades.

    So "betrothed" was legally married but not physically married.
     
  5. Chang

    Chang New Member

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    Thank you for all of your explanation!!
    But what is the difference between agreement and contract ? Is there any difference in biblical view?
     
  6. Catherineanne

    Catherineanne Gone

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    An agreement is informal and not legally binding; either side can cancel the agreement without the other party's consent. A contract is legally binding; both parties have to consent for it to be cancelled, usually with compensation for one side at least.
     
  7. yeshuaslavejeff

    yeshuaslavejeff simple truth, martyr, disciple of Yahshua

    +4,383
    Anabaptist
    Unless they have integrity AND gave their word, or if it would break someone else's word given, to whom they are responsible.

    In the world today, a person's word is not worth anything,
    unless they walk with integrity, which is very rare.
     
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