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wine or some other liquor, which had also its appropriate benediction : Blessed be the Lord our God, who hath created the fruit of the vine. At the end of this benediction the cup was given, by the person who pronounced the blessing, to the persons espoused, or to the bride by the bridegroom, who in that case both blesses the wine, and is the first to taste it. These benedictions were performed under a canopy, which explains the Psalmist's description of the sun going forth as a bridegroom from his chamber or canopy, and rejoicing. In more recent times the form of espousals was made or repeated shortly before the marriage in the public synagogue, as may be seen in the modern rituals b.
The Jews had two kinds of wives, whom they distinguished into primary and secondary wives. The primary wives were called Naschim, and being betrothed with more solemn forms, and married “ with nuptial ceremonies and rites requisite,” they possessed superior authority in themselves, and conveyed a right of inheritance to the children ; which privileges did not belong to the concubines or secondary wives. The rites and ceremonies of their marriages consisted chiefly of blessings and thanksgivings unto God, whence the house was called the house of praise, and the marriage song praises. The principal benediction, as it is preserved by the Talmudists, was in this form : Blessed be the Lord our God, King of the world, Creator of man. Blessed
a Psalm xix. 5. See the Comments of Grotius and Geijer in Poli Synops. in loc.
Ux. Ebr. I. ii. c. 7. Godwyn's Moses and Aaron, I. vi. c. 4. < Godwyn's Moses and Aaron, 1. vi. c. 4.
be the Lord our God, who hath created man after his own likeness, and the likeness of the image of his own original, and hath prepared for himself an everlasting building. Blessed be the Lord our God, Creator of man: the barren shall rejoice and exult in gathering her children into her bosom with joy. Blessed be the Lord our God, who maketh Sion to rejoice in her children. Make this pair to rejoice in the joy which thou gavest to thy creature of old in the garden of Eden. Blessed be the Lord our God, who maketh the bridegroom and the bride to rejoice. Blessed be the Lord our God, who maketh for the bridegroom and the bride joy and gladness, exultation, singing, mirth, jubilee, love, the paternal relation, peace and friendship. O Lord our God, let there be immediately heard, in the cities of Judea, and the streets of Jerusalem, the voice of joy and gladness, the voice of the bridegroom and the bride, the voice of mutual love from the bride-chamber, and children from the choir of their harmony, (or the voice of exultation in the bride-chamber is sweeter than any feast, and children sweeter than the sweetness of a song.) Blessed be the Lord our God, who maketh the bridegroom to rejoice with the bride.
This formulary was accompanied with the same benediction of wine as the celebration of the espousals, to which is added, in the more modern rituals, Blessed be the Lord our God, who gives joy and prosperity to the bride and the bridegroom. We confess unto the Lord that he is just, and that his mercy endureth for ever.
. Let joy be multiplied in Israel, and let sighing fly away".
4 Ux. Ebr. 1. ii. c. 12. Godwyn's M. and A. I. vi. c. 4.
The principal form which has been recited was called the Blessing of the bride and bridegroom, or the Blessing of the Marriage, and is, with the other formularies, ascribed to Ezra', by whom it may have been compiled from the more ancient usages and traditions of the Jewish Church, of which the original may be traced in the benediction of the elders at the marriage of Ruth', and in the history of the marriage of Tobias, and the various versions of the blessings contained in the latter history, which agree in establishing the nuptial benediction. The Book of Canticles is also supposed to have been a nuptial song, divided into seven parts, one of which was recited upon each day of the nuptial feast": and it has been thought, “ that the Psalm cxxvii, was a form prescribed to be used at the blessing of their marriages, when they wished the new married couple all manner of happiness, especially a long life in peaceable times.” The Psalm xlv. was also a song of loves, and most interpreters conclude that it was composed upon the occasion of Solomon's marriage with the daughter of Pharaoh ", although in its principal aim and direction its inspired author contemplated one greater than Solomon. The expressions of Solomon, in calling marriage a covenant of God', and of Malachi, in affirming that God is witness between a man and the wife of his youth", are indirect evidences of a religious ratification, of an appeal to the Deity in the solemnization of marriage.
e Ux. Ebr. l. ii. c. 12.
Ruth iv. 11, 12. Tobit vii. viii. Ux. Ebr. 1. ii. c. 13. " Shepherd on Common Prayer. i Patrick, Horne in loc. * Patrick in loc. Proy, ii. 17. m Malachi ii. 14.
The nuptial benediction was not necessary, but it was usually observed, in the marriage of a brother's widow". The history of the marriage of Ruth was sufficient to establish a precedent, from which the Jews required the presence of ten persons at the nuptial benediction, which was first recited by the eldest or most worthy, and was repeated during the seven days of the marriage feast, as often as guests arrived who were not present at a previous recitation'. It is recorded by Gaudentius, bishop of Brixia”, (A. D. 400,) that when there was a marriage among the Jews, one of the sacerdotal order attended at the feast, to preserve regularity and decorum, and generally to direct the order of the entertainment, who was therefore called the agxırgıxduvos, or ruler of the feast: and the only objection of Selden to this testimony is not to the fact or the record, but that he knew of no authority for supposing, that the ruler of the feast was necessarily of the sacerdotal order. Another argument for the presence of a priest at the Jewish marriages, and for the sacerdotal benediction of the bride and bridegroom, is drawn from the use of Psalm cxxvjji. which is one of those Psalms which are called Psalms of Degrees, and are so called, in the judgment of some interpreters, because they were recited by the priests from an elevated situation, and adapted by them to the character or condition of the persons to whom they were addressed”. It is a record, perhaps, of more difficulty in the exposition than value in the application, that
n Ux. Ebr. 1. i. c. 12. • Ibid. 1. ii. c. 12. p Tractat. 9, recited in Ux. Ebr. l. ii. c. 11. Gerhard, s. 459.
the king Joash had two wives, by a marriage which the priest promoted, or which he ratified by an act of sacerdotal benediction'. It is of more importance that Josephus and Philo Judæus make distinct mention of a sacrifice at the marriage. Josephus, probably with a remote allusion to the hire of the harlot, speaks of the interdicted marriage of the courtezan, (interpreting the original word in its classical sense,) the sacrifice at whose marriages God would not accept, on account of her previous prostitution : and Philo speaks of the agoredeva, as affording a hope of the sacrificial celebration of marriage'. It is difficult to ascertain the exact meaning of these expressions, or to exhibit the nature of the sacrifices intended ; but such expressions occurring in contemporary writers, must have a distinct and proper sense; they must denote some peculiar ceremonies of marriage, something more than the nuptial benediction, or the celebration of the nuptial banquet with benedictions. Our own expression of the solemnization of marriage is of obvious signification : the Greek phrase of dastew youousu has its specific allusion ; and the Hellenistic phraseology of tou burely you ous cannot but denote a sacrificial ratification of marriage ; and does not such ratification in itself imply the presence of a priest?
dortos Tou agxiegias, quas ei locaverat Pontifex. Hudson. conjugium conciliante Pontifice. Selden. Joseph. Ant. Jud. I. ix. c. 7. cf. 2 Chron. xxiv. 3.
Tas To Te you plan dvoles. Ant. Jud. I. iv. c. 8. s. 23. Cf. s. 9. ι ελπιδα και του θυσειν τους γαμους. in libr. περι της εις τα προπαιδινplata
Gurodov. Opera ed. Pfeiff. vol. iv. p. 146. u Eur. Iphig. in Aul. v. 715.