Ancient Israelite Marriage Customs

Though there are some cultures in the Ancient Near East which were matriarchal in structure, Israel's was not one of them. Israel's family life was dominated by the husband (Pedersen, p. 61). When a marriage occurred the husband took his wife from her home and "ruled" over her, following the pattern of Genesis 3:16: To the woman he said, "I will greatly increase your pangs in childbearing; in pain you shall bring forth children, yet your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you." (Preuss, p. 103). Yet the Israelites "never went so far as the Muhammadan poet who says that mothers of mankind are only 'vessels' which receive the children without leaving any impress on them" (Pedersen, p. 61).

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