DISCLAIMER: Do not believe anything that I say! Test everything that you read below against all verses in the Hebrew Bible (Tanakh) and the Brit Chadashah (NT). Pray for the truth and to be led by the Holy Spirit (Ruach HaChodesh)! I am not your pastor, preacher, teacher, rabbi, or anything else. I am just a guy who has an opinion.
Now that we know what a Galilean marriage looks like, let’s jump into the Scriptures.
We know that the first part of the marriage was a betrothal. This is “almost” marriage, but without the final consummation. It means that the bride and groom are bound to each other. If there is infidelity, a divorce has to be granted by the elders. It is as though they are really married, but before the intimate fellowship of marriage has happened.
Do we ever see this happening anywhere is Scripture? We do! Remember Mary and Joseph? They were betrothed when Yeshua was born. We see in the text that Joseph considered “putting her away” because he thought she had committed adultery. He was within his legal right to do so. I mean, how could you not assume that she had been unfaithful. So, we see at least one example of this idea of a betrothal between two people in the Bible.
Remember when I mentioned that the Bible uses patterns and shadows? Let’s take a look at these patterns and shadows in the context of a Galilean marriage.
We know that in the beginning of the marriage process, a bride is chosen and then a Ketuba(agreement/contract) is “cut” between the parties. This usually involves terms and conditions for each party to follow. They seal it with a glass of wine, when it is a betrothal. When a Ketuba is cut, it can also be sealed with blood. The wine can represent the blood that seals the agreement, and it does so in a betrothal.
When the Israelites came out of Egypt, they were led by their FATHER to the betrothal ceremony. Where is that in the Bible, you say? Show me the verse! Well, one of the things that you need to do when you study the Bible is not only look for verses, but look at the context of the verses. It can give you a much better picture of what the verse is trying to convey.
Let’s now look at the Israelites at Mount Sinai in relation to a betrothal. Does this fit the pattern? Are we stretching the verses to fit what we want it to mean?
First, we see the Israelites are brought to the mountain and Moses goes up to the mountain to hear from YHVH.
5 ‘Now then, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be My own possession among all the peoples, for all the earth is Mine;
6 and you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ These are the words that you shall speak to the sons of Israel.”
After telling the Israelites to consecrate themselves for three days, they are to wait and not come up to see YHVH. They are to be preparing themselves to receive their covenant, their ketuba. The Israelites hear trumpets and thunder from the mountain. YHVH tells them to not come up, or they will be killed.
So, what is this ketuba? This covenant? I won’t post it here, but it is essentially this:
This is the agreement the Israelites must abide by. This includes the 10 commandments as well as dietary laws, etc. THIS is the ketuba and the terms that they will agree to.
How do we know that this really was a betrothal?
While some may believe Israel was married at Mount Sinai, I believe it was only a betrothal. Either way, we see evidence of this in the Scriptures (Hebrew Bible).
13 “Thus says the LORD God of Israel, ‘I made a covenant with your forefathers in the day that I brought them out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage, saying,
14 “At the end of seven years each of you shall set free his Hebrew brother who has been sold to you and has served you six years, you shall send him out free from you; but your forefathers did not obey Me or incline their ear to Me.
15 “Although recently you had turned and done what is right in My sight, each man proclaiming release to his neighbor, and you had made a covenant before Me in the house which is called by My name.
YHVH calls Israel “MINE”.
“Then I passed by you and saw you, and behold, you were at the time for love; so I spread My skirt over you and covered your nakedness. I also swore to you and entered into a covenant with you so that you became Mine,” declares the Lord GOD.
We see references to this later when YHVH refers to HIMSELF as the husband.
4 “Fear not, for you will not be ashamed; be not confounded, for you will not be disgraced; for you will forget the shame of your youth, and the reproach of your widowhood you will remember no more.
5 For your Maker is your husband, the LORD of hosts is his name; and the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer, the God of the whole earth he is called.
6 For the LORD has called you like a wife deserted and grieved in spirit, like a wife of youth when she is cast off, says your God.
31 “Behold, days are coming,” declares the LORD, “when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah,
32 not like the covenant which I made with their fathers in the day I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, although I was a husband to them,” declares the LORD.
Within these verses, we can start to see a picture of this relationship between YHVH and Israel; HIS chosen people. What we see is that YHVH has established a covenant relationship with HIS chosen people, HIS bride. It is a marriage that is established through a covenant, a ketuba. HE views Israel as HIS bride.
One final piece needs to happen. Both parties need to agree upon the terms and it needs to be ratified, or sealed. We see this happen after the Israelites agree to the terms, just as in the betrothal ceremony. The ketuba needs to be sealed. When this happens, both parties agree and are now officially betrothed, but not fully married. Let’s look back to Exodus to see this.
So Moses took the blood and sprinkled it on the people, and said, “Behold the blood of the covenant, which the LORD has made with you in accordance with all these words.”
Now, the ketuba, the covenant is sealed. Israel will be HIS bride!
Now, the bride must begin preparing herself for her bridegroom. She is to be making herself worthy of HIM in all that she does. YHVH even tells Israel this, specifically in Deuteronomy where HE reveals HIS heart. This is what HE wants from HIS bride:
12 “Now, Israel, what does the LORD your God require from you, but to fear the LORD your God, to walk in all His ways and love Him, and to serve the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul,
13 and to keep the LORD’S commandments and His statutes which I am commanding you today for your good?
All HE wants is for HIS bride to love HIM. How? By following the terms lined out in the ketuba!
Since we know YHVH gave the terms, HE is more than willing to abide by them. HE will never and has never broken any of the terms HE listed. They are not too hard to follow, either. Why would YHVH ever give HIS bride terms that she could not follow? It didn’t happen. The terms are reasonable and easy. They are not hard.
To summarize, YHVH cuts a ketuba, a covenant, with HIS bride, HIS chosen people: the Israelites. It is sealed with blood sprinkled on them by Moses. They are now betrothed to YHVH.
Next, we will see the “wedding” as YHVH takes HIS bride and Israel becomes HIS!