261 religious encyclopedia exile of the Israelites Extreme Unction



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money went to the bride. On an average the price was about fifty shekels (Dent. xxii. 29; cf. Ex. xxii. 16‑17; Code of Hammurabi, § 139). This obligation could also be met in other ways: Jacob served as a hired hand (Gen‑ xxix. 15 sqq.), others accomplished feats of war (Josh. xv. 16; I Sam. xvii. 25, xviii. 20 sqq.). While not explicitly stated in the Old Testament, it is implied that the un­justifiable withdrawal of the bridegroom caused him to lose the purchase‑price. If the father‑in­law withdrew, he had to repay the money two­fold (Code of Hammurabi, §§ 159, 160).

All that the wife brought with her were the pres­ents, if any, received from the groom (Gen. xxiv. 53, xxxiv. 12; cf. Code of Hammurabi, § 159), and those from her family (Josh. xv. 16 sqq.), including particularly slaves for her personal

3. The service (Gen. xvi. 2, xxiv. 59, xxix.


Wife's 24 sqq.). There is no mention of a


Property dowry, properly speaking, until after


Rights. the exile (Tobit viii. 21; Ecclus. xxv.

22; I Kings ix. 16 proves only the

Egyptian custom). Daughters could not inherit

paternal property; but whatever they brought

into matrimony with them remained theirs. The

husband had no authority over the personal slaves

of the wife (Gen. xvi. 6, xxx. 3 sqq.). In the ab­

sence of any express statement to the contrary,

it must be assumed that in case of separation or

death of the husband, the wife received back her

original property (cf. Code of Hammurabi, §§ 137,




138, 171, 172). I


The consent of the girl was not necessary to the engagement, though it is probable that she was usually consulted (Gen. xxiv. 58). The negotia­tions were conducted by the girl's father or guardian (Gen. xxiv. 50, xxix. 23, xxxlv. 12); for the un­married daughter belonged to her father, who had the right to sell her (Ex. xxi. 7). The seduction of a girl was a trespass against the father, who could demand of the offender the usual price of a wife without being required to give the girl in marriage to the seducer (Ex. xxii. 1G‑17).

In contrast to the custom in ancient Babylon, polygamy was the rule in Israel. In Babylon (Code of Hammurabi) a man could marry only one principal wife, but he was allowed 4. Polygamy to keep another woman in addition,




the Rule. unless his wife gave him one of her

slaves as a concubine. In Israel the

only limit to the number of wives was ability to

support them. Wealthy men made extensive use

of their rights (cf. II Sam. v.13; I Kings xi. 1 sqq.);

still the law of the kingdom, referring covertly to

Solomon, forbade the King to take many wives

(Dent. xvii. 17). The Talmudists allow to the

king not more than eighteen wives at one time,

to a man of the people not more than four. Pre­

sumably the commoner in Israel, like the modern

peasant in Palestine, was content with onp or two

wives. If the first wife remained barren, the hus­

band was entitled to either another wife or a con­

cubine, in which case the wife might voluntarily

give him her handmaid (Gen. xvi. 1 sqq., xxx. 3



sqq.; cf. Code of Hammurabi, § 144).


But even this limited polygamy caused much


THE NEW SCHAFF‑HERZOG


274


inconvenience, particularly in the status of the childless wife (Gen. xvi. 4 sqq.; cf. xxx.; I Sam. i. 1 sqq.). The later law took the part of the dis‑


carded wife (Dent. xxi. 15 sqq.); and 5. Tendency the former custom of marrying two


toward sisters at the same time was pro­Monogamy. hibited (Lev. xviii. 18). The devel‑


opment was toward monogamy; and Gen. ii. 18 sqq., as well as passages in the Prophets, where the relation of God to his people is charac­terized as one of marriage, shows that monogamy was regarded as the normal state. The praise of the virtuous wife in the Proverbs and elsewhere proves that the later period saw in monogamy the ideal marriage (Ps. cxxviii.; Prov. xii. 4, xviii. 22, xix. 14, xxxi. 10 sqq.; Ecclus. xxv. 1 sqq., etc.).


Impediments to marriage were unknown to ancient custom except that marriage between father and daughter or mother and son was always looked upon as an abomination. Theoretically the young man might choose a wife wherever he pleased; practically, he was limited. Since it was a question of admitting a woman into the family, marriage became a family affair. The father chose the bride for his son (Gen. xxiv. 2 sqq., xxviii. 1


sqq, xxxviii. 6), and it was unseemly 6. Ethical for the son to marry against the will and Social of his parents (Gen. xxvi. 34‑35, Limitations xxvii. 46). Yet the preferences of and the young people were taken into Preferences. account; and, since there were no


particular restraints on the social intercourse of the sexes, there was ample oppor­tunity for the development of such attachments (Gen. xxiv. 58; Ex. ii. 16; I Sam. ix. 11, etc.). Yet by custom, marriages outside of the tribe were interdicted, while marriages with relations were preferred (Gen. xxix. 19; Num. xxvi. 59, and often in patriarchal history). Particularly the cousin on the father's side was chosen as a girl's wooer (cf. the cases of Isaac and Rebecca, Jacob and Rachel), a custom that still exists. To be sure, settlement in Canaan brought changes, and mar­riages with Canaanites and other foreigners were not infrequent (Judges iii. 6; II Sam. iii. 3; I Kings xi. 1, etc.). In the regal period friendship for the Canaanitea turned to hatred, and marriages with heathen peoples, except the Egyptians and the Edomites, were prohibited (Dent. vii. 1 sqq., xxiii. 4 sqq.; cf. Ex. xxxiv. 16). Still, the law was not carried out, and no lasting change was effected till the time of Ezra (Ezra ix. and x.). The law sought also to limit marriages with rela­tions and forbade marriage with stepmother, with sister or half‑sister, and with mother‑m‑law (Dent. xxvii. 20, 22). But even this did not break the popular custom (Ezek. xxii. 10‑11). Finally, the priest‑code forbade marriage with mother or step­mother, niece or aunt, with the wife of an uncle on the faher's side, with mother‑in‑law or daughter­in‑law, or with the wife of a brother (Lev. xviii. 6 sqq.; cf. xx. li sqq.). The prohibition of mar­riage with a daughter is probably omitted through error in the text. Thus, union between uncle and niece, between nephew and widow of the mother's brother, and between the children of brothers and



276


sisters was permitted. On the whole, these regu­lations correspond to pre‑Islamitic Arabian custom, which Mohammed enacted into law.

The husband could divorce lys wife at will, since she was his property (so in Code o f Hammurabi); but he forfeited the purchase‑price and the wife's property. In the Code of Hammurabi, if the wife is not to blame, the husband must compensate her. This tended to limit divorce. On the other hand, the wife and her family suffered no injustice thereby;

at least no moral blemish attached to 7. Divorce. the wife. The law in Deuteronomy

evidently attempts to limit divorce. It demands a written bill of divorce (xxiv. 1 sqq.), deprives the husband of the right to divorce a wife at all in two cases (xxii. 19, 28), and decrees that a divorced woman who has married again can not return to her first husband when she is free a second time (xxiv. 1 sqq.), in contrast to the earlier cus­tom, which corresponded to the Arab usage (Hoses iii. 3; cf. II Sam. iii. 14). Finally, this law re­quires that there must be cause for divorce. Hil­lel's school interpreted this to mean that any cause was sufficient for a divorce, particularly any un­seemly behavior. The more austere school of Shammai found that immoral conduct was meant. Unfortunately the true meaning of the law can not be learned from the Old Testament, and by way of comparison one may well consult the Code of Hammurabi (§§ 141‑143), where an unwifely atti­tude, extravagance, etc. are made grounds for divorce (cf. Ecclus. xxv. 18 sqq., xlii. 9). In Deu­teronomy the tendency is toward a higher position for the wife; and Malachi (ii. 13‑14) condemns divorces unconditionally. Unlike the women of ancient Babylon (Code o f Hammurabi, § 142) the Hebrew woman had no legal right to leave her husband and no means of freeing herself.

The legal status of the Hebrew wife was lower than that of the wife in ancient Babylon, where, as regards property at least, she enjoyed a degree of independence (see HAMMMURABI AND His CODE).

In ancient Israel the wife was simply 8. Legal a possession; but it must be added

Status of that her position had compensations.

Woman. In bearing sons she gave to the tribe

its most valuable possession; and the rights of the husband over her did not extend to her person. She was not a slave that he might sell, as he could his daughter; nor could he sell her handmaid that had become his concubine.

While her lot may have been a rather unhappy one, since a considerable part of the hardest work was imposed upon her, yet the Hebrew woman was by no means intellectually and morally in the position of the Mohammedan townswoman of the present. She had much more freedom, and there is no indication that she was secluded. The wife had her private rooms, which no strange man was

allowed to enter (Judges xv. 1, xvi. 9; g. Social II Sam. xiii. 7; I Kings vii. 8); but

Position of she was by no means forbidden to

Woman. associate with men and might even

take part at banquets (Ex. xxi. 22; Deut. xxv. 11; Ruth ii. 5 sqq.; II Sam. xx. 16; Matt. ix. 20, xii. 46, xxvi. 7). Women enlivened




RELIGIOUS ENCYCLOPEDIA FamilyandXarrlaseRelatione


the popular feasts with song and dance (Ex. xv. 20‑21; Judges xvi. 27, xxi. 19 sqq.; I Sam. xviii. 6). As already mentioned, the position of the wife was gradually improved in the course of time; and in the account of creation J makes her the helpmate and equal of man. Still, the jealousy of the hus­band continued to deprive her of property‑rights. Death by stoning was the penalty for adultery by the wife (Deut. xxii. 22 sqq.; cf. Exek. xvi. 40, and John viii. 5, 7). The suspecting husband could force his wife to submit to the ordeal of the bitter water (Num. v. il sqq.). The law imposing a penalty for false accusation of a wife (Deut. xxii. 13 sqq.) never became effective. However, this austerity did not prevent the prophets from com­plaining again and again about adultery (Jer. xxiii. 10, Hos. iv. 2; Mal. iii. 5, etc.).

Very little is known of wedding festivities among the Hebrews. The principal feature was the bring­ing of the bride into the home of the bridegroom. This ceremony signified the entrance of the girl into the family of the husband. On io. Wedding the day of the wedding the bridegroom,

Customs. in wedding‑ornaments (Isa. 1xi. 10)

and accompanied by friends (Judges

xiv. 11‑12; cf. Matt. ix. 15), went to the home of the

bride and conducted her to the home of the groom,

or to that of his parents (Jer. vii. 34; Cant. iii.

6 sqq.; Matt. xxv. 1 sqq.). The bride was like­

wise ornamented but veiled (Isa. xlix. 18; Jer. ii.

32, etc.) and was accompanied by her girl friends

(Ps. xlv.14). Only seldom was the bride conducted

to meet the bridegroom (I Mace. ix. 37‑38). The

wedding‑banquet took place at the home of the

groom; and in families of wealth and distinction

this extended over a week or two (Gen. xxix. 27;

Judges xiv. 12, 17; Tobit viii. 20).

The lot of the widow was a sad one. She had no hereditary rights whatever in her husband's prop­erty (similarly the Code of Hammurabi, § 172), but, in the earliest period, was a part of the estate. Even during his father's lifetime Reuben wanted to enter upon his inheritance (Gen. xxxv. 22), Absalom showed himself his father's successor by seizing David's harem (II Sam. xvi. 20 aqq.), Abner's intercourse with Saul's concubine was a trespass on the rights of Ish‑bosheth (II Sam. iii. 7), and in Abishag Adonijah demanded

II. Legal a part of Solomon's inheritance (I Position of Kings ii. 22; cf. 15). In spite of the the Widow. law to the contrary, marriages with the stepmother were not unusual even to the time of Ezekiel (xxii. 10; cf. I Chron. ii. 24 in the Septuagint). The story of Ruth shows that, even if there were no chil­dren, the heir had 'to accept the widow along with the real estate, though not obliged to marry her. He might give her in marriage to another; or, if he chose, he might renounce the entire inheri­tance in favor of another heir (Ruth iv. 5 sqq.). The story of Tamar illustrates the right of the heirs to the childless widow: Judah refused to marry her, but he retained his right over her and regarded her intercourse with other men as adul­tery (Gen. xxxviii. 24 aqq.). At the same time, the story shows that the right of the widow to








marry again was recognized. Yet these old cus­toms fell more and more into disuse. Deuteronomy (xxv. 7 sqq.) even allows the brother of the de­ceased to decline to marry his childless sister‑in­law, a thing that was formerly a duty. Otherwise; this law is outspoken in the interest of the widow, assigning her legal rights (Dent. x. 18, xxiv. 17, xxvii. 19), and recommending her, together with the Levites and the poor, to the benevolent care of the people (Dent. xiv. 29, xvi. 11 sqq., xxiv. 19 sqq.). Not till a much later period were certain rights in the property of the deceased conceded to the widow, concerning which the rabbis promul­gated detailed rules. The law determines nothing concerning a second marriage, except as to mar­riage with the brother‑in‑law.

Intimately related to the hereditary right just discussed was the institution of the levirate. In the earliest period the right to inherit the widow had. already become a duty to marry her if the deceased had left no sons. If there was no brother­in‑law to marry her, this became the duty of the father‑in‑law or of the agnate who inherited, who­ever he might be; and the first son of this marriage was regarded as the son of the deceased. Since levirate marriage is found chiefly among peoples who hold to ancestor~worship (Indians, Persians, Afghans, etc.), it is probable that

rz. The herein lies the explanation of this in‑

Levirate. stitution in Israel. It is significant




that the law in regard to such a mar‑ n riage was made in favor of the deceased, not of the


widow, the purpose being to provide him with descen­dants (Gen. xxxviii. 8; cf. II Sam. xviii. 18). After this form of belief had lost its significance the levirate marriage continued, having acquired new impor­tance after the settlement in Canaan, in view of succession to property. At this time the custom served to secure the family property. Since the first son of a levirate marriage was reckoned to the deceased, this son inherited from his putative not from his real father. Thus was accomplished what the law had often attempted: the disintegration of property and its acquirement by strangers was pre­vented, and the family to which it belonged was. perpetuated. Deuteronomy had limited this mat­rimonial duty of the brother of the deceased, allowing him to decline to marry .the widow, but such a course brought him into disrepute. The ancient ceremony of the shoe is given an entirely different meaning in Deuteronomy: after having been publicly rejected by her brother‑in‑law the widow was to go with him to the proper authorities, tear his shoe from his foot and spit in his face (Dent. xxv. 5 sqq.). Later, in default of sons, daughters were given the right to inherit, that in this way the family estate might be preserved, (Num. xxvii. 4); and then the levirate became limited to cases where the deceased had left no

children at all. The priest‑code tried to prohibit

the custom entirely, as being incestuous (Lev. xviii. lE, xx. 21); but the ancient custom proved more potent than written law (Matt. xxii. 24 sqq.).

It was the heart's desire of the ancient Israelite to have numerous children. For a woman to be sterile was considered a great misfortune, even a




THE NEW SCHAFF‑HERZOG


punishment from 'God (I Sam. i. 5 sqq.); .for as

the mother of a son the wife held a position of

distinction in the family (I Sam. i. fi‑7; cf. Gen.

xvi. 4, xxx. 1 sqq.). For the man to have no sons

was even worse, since this threatened the extinc­

tion of his house. It is noteworthy that the cus­

tom of adopting a strange child, prevalent in an­

cient Babylon (Code o f Hammurdri, ¢ § 185 aqq. )

is not found in ancient Israel. Rather

13. Desire the slave was allowed to inherit (Gen.

for xv. 3). Sons were especially de­

Children. aired because they alone perpetuated

the family and the family worship,

since the daughters married into other families;

and only the sons belonged to the k, ahal, " congre­

gation," or body of men able to bear arms. Their

precedence is shown especially by the fact that they

alone could inherit (see Lew, HEBREW, CIVIL AND

CRIMINAL), in contrast to the custom in ancient

Babylon (cf. Code of Hammurabi, §§ 180 sqq.).

However, these . views were not peculiar to the

Israelites, being found also among the Arabs. The

fact that a girl could be sold into matrimony and

was therefore not without value, formed a sort of

counterpoise to the disdain in which she was

usually held. At all events, no trace is found in

the Old Testament of the thorough contempt for

the girl prevalent among other peoples; and, so



far as,can be seen now, the custom of killing female


infants, a frequent occurrence among Arabs, was


ever practised by the Hebrews.


The distinction between legitimacy and ille‑


gitimacy in their present significance did not exist. In so far as the father. was known, all children were legitimate, whether borne by concubines or lawful wives (Gen. xxi. 10).. Even Jephthah, the son of a ,prostitute and, in the strictest sense, illegitimate, was reared, with the father's legitimate. children; and if later these thrust him out it was only a case of might (Judges xi. 1 sqq.). The hereditary rights of .. such a son may not have been the same as that of the sons by lawful wives. There seems to have been no rigid. custom regarding this, much depending upon the good‑will of the father.


The Israelitish women had the reputation of bearing children with great ease (Ex. i. 15 sqq.); though even in. the earliest period they employed midwives (Gen. xxxv. 17; Ex. i. 15 sqq.). At the time of Jer. xx. 15 the.father was not present at the accouchement. Job iii. 12 has been interpreted as expressing a symbolic act whereby the father ac­knowledged the child, similar to the custom of the Roman father of lifting the child from the floor as a token that it was to live. If this be correct, the passage is the only reminiscence of a former


custom of child‑murder. After the 14. Customs navel had been cut, the newly born


at Birth. babe was bathed in water, then rubbed


with salt and wrapped in swaddling‑


clothes (Ezek. xvi. 4). The peasants of to‑day


think that salt strengthens the child; . originally it probably had religious significance. The mother nursed the children herself (Gen. xxi. 7; I Sam. i. 22; I Kings iii. 21), and only exceptionally did she resort to nurses (Gen. xxiv. 59, xxxv. 8). This custom seems to have become more common later




277


with the wealthy (II Sam. iv. 4; II Kings xi. 2; cf. Ex. ii. 9). Nursing continued two or three years as in modern Palestine (cf. II Mace. vii. 27; ac­cording to the rabbis two years). Weaning was the occasion of a family celebration (Gen. xxi. 8; 1 Sam. i. 24). The birth of a child rendered the mother unclean (see DEFILEMENT AND PURIFICATION, CEREMONIAL). This notion, still common to un­civilized peoples, was generally held by ancient peoples. The foundation of thia.belief was either the view that child‑birth was a disease and like other diseases, under the influence of certain demons; or else, that it was protected by some spirit, together with other processes of sexual life.

For circumcision and naming gee CIRCUMCISION; NAMES.

The father had almost unlimited power over his

children. He could sell his daughter as a bride,

or even as a slave, but not to foreigners (Ex. xxi.

7 aqq.). To assault or even curse the father was

an offense deemed worthy of the death‑penalty

(Ex. xxi. 15, 17; for the later period of. Lev. xx. 9;

Prov. xx. 20; Matt. xv. 4). There is no mention

of an age‑limit to the father's authority, though in

practise this was attained when the son married

and founded a home. During the early years the

education of the children was an affair of the mother

(Prov. xxxi. 1). Boys and girls were left together

in the harem where the girls remained

i5. Legal till marriage. When the boys began Status and to grow up they came under the care Training of of the father, or, if the family was

Children. well‑to‑do, they might be entrusted

to special tutors (Num. xi. 12; 11

Kings x. 1 sqq.; I Chron. xxvii. 32; Ian. xhx. 23).

Special weight was laid upon early religious train­

ing (Ex. xiii. 8; Deut. iv. 9 aqq.); otherwise the

main thing was to impart practical knowledge of

some industry. The wealthier class also learned

reading and writing, an art that was probably

fairly well known at the time of Isaiah, and even

earlier (Ira. viii. 1, x. 19; cf. Judges viii. 14). In

the Old Testament there is no mention of a school.

Not till a much later period were schools estab­

lished, and then only in the larger cities (Josephus,

Ant. XV., x. 5). After the exile particular stress

was laid on the study of the law; and Deuteronomy

contains numerous admonitions to instruct the

children in the statutes and sacred history. Prov­

erbs and Ecclesiaaticus contain a sort of pedagogy.

Stress was laid on education rather than instruction;

and all knowledge was summed up in fear of God

and obedience to parents (Prov. i. 7, and often).

Strict discipline was to be maintained, nor was the

rod to be spared (Prov. x. 17, xiii. 14, xxiii. 13,

xxix. 17). These precepts applied to sons only.

The first‑born son occupied a position of dis­tinction among the remaining children; and as heir he received a double portion. The father might deprive him of his prerogatives and put 16‑ Position the favorite younger son in his place of the First‑ (Gen.xxi.1 sqq., xlix. 3 eqq.; I Kings i.

born. 11 sqq.); but custom did not approve

of this, and later it was prohibited

(Deut. xxi. 15 sqq.). In return it was the eldest



son's duty to take care of the female members of



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