Today’s Morning Thought is something I found a few years ago. It involves the teaching of Zola Levitt, a Messianic Hebrew with a great understanding of Hebrew scripture and customs as related to the fulfillment of Messiah Yeshua.
He would say that typically the two people involved were in their teens. Shorter life spans and the agrarian society meant when you were old enough to work, you did. Leisure time was rare.
Zola used to say, “There were children and married people. We invented teenagers standing around with nothing to do.”
Zola would start this teaching, “When the young man saw the girl he wanted (or the girl his father said he wanted) he would go to her house, taking a contract, wine, and money. After knocking on her door, he’d enter and display his gifts.
The contract spelled out each marriage partner’s responsibility exactly.
The wine sealed the contract. When the young man put the cup of wine in front of the young woman, she had about 10 seconds to decide if she wanted to spend the rest of her life with this man.
To be fair, he was probably already known in the community. She even may have flirted with him at the well or in the fields. But, arranged marriages were also common.
The money was the “bride price.” Sons were prized for fieldwork, but when it came time to marry, daughters benefited their parents.
The young man would present a large sum, usually his life savings. He wanted this girl.
She would count the money, read the contract, and either pick up the wine or leave the table. By picking up the wine, she said “yes” and the bridegroom would say, “I go to prepare a place for you” (John 14:2-4).
The young woman would cover her face with a veil, symbolizing her consecration and her separation from the available young women. A veil, not an engagement ring, told other men she was spoken for.
Off the young man went to his father’s house to prepare a room for his bride-to-be. It took about a year to prepare a room properly. Only the young man’s father could declare the room finished, lest the anxious young man build a jiffy lean-to and rush back to get the girl. The engagement period tested their resolve to be true to each other. They had no idea when the wedding would be.
Yeshua says in Mark 13:32, “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the son, but only the Father.”
While the bride waited, she gathered her trousseau and kept her oil lamp filled, ready in case her bridegroom came for her at night, which was often the case. Walking down the uneven stone streets of Israel at night is difficult without a light, even today.
Matthew 25:1-13 speaks about being ready for the bridegroom’s arrival in the night. Not a night should pass when we don’t expect our bridegroom to appear.
Just before he arrived, the bridegroom would call out or sound a trumpet so as not to catch her with cold cream on her face.
Then off they’d go to the bridegroom’s father’s house for the bridal night and banquet. They’d enter the bridal chamber, and when the marriage was consummated, the friend of the bridegroom announced it.
John 3:29 says, “He who has the bride is the bridegroom; but the friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly because of the bridegroom’s voice.”
The bride and groom emerged from the bridal chamber seven days later as husband and wife. The banquet gave time for rejoicing that the bride and groom were now one, before they set off for their own place.
Our Jewish bridegroom, Yeshua, enacted this same tradition for us: He came from His Father’s house (Heaven), brought the contract (the New Testament), presented the wine (blood), and paid the “bride price” for us (His life, the highest price ever paid for a bride).
He has gone to prepare a place and will come back for us (John 14:3).
We are sanctified, set apart by the veil of Believers. He will call us up with a shout and trumpet (Rapture) and after seven days/years we will have the marriage supper with our Lord. We will live with Him forever. The ultimate love story.