The bridegroom would travel from his father's house to the home of the bride. There he would negotiate with the father of the young woman to determine the price that he must pay to purchase his bride.1
The groom would have to pay what was called in Hebrew a mohar. This was the agreed upon price that was established between both families.
Taking a bride had to cost the groom something. The bride price did not have to be a monetary price.
The bride’s price could be worked out in other ways, such as labor for instance. This was the case with Jacob who ended up working fourteen years for Leah and Rachel. In the case of David, Saul required the lives of one hundred of the enemy Philistines as dowry (mohar) for David to secure Michal as his wife. 2
1 Sam 18:25 (NKJV) Then Saul said, "Thus you shall say to David: 'The king does not desire any dowry but one hundred foreskins of the Philistines, to take vengeance on the king's enemies.'
Often the father would call in a man who acts as a representative for him and the groom for the purpose of negotiating. This representative is called, "the friend of the bridegroom" This man is fully informed as to the mohar the groom is willing to pay for his bride. Then, together with the groom’s father, or some other male relative, or both, they travel to the home of the young woman chosen to be the bride. The father announces that the representative will speak for the family. 3 This representative prepares the way, or is the forerunner. This is the role that Eliezer played in securing a bride for Isaac. He was the “friend of the bridegroom”, the one who did the negotiating for Rebekah.
Once the bridegroom paid the agreed upon purchase price, the marriage covenant was established, and the young man and woman were regarded to be husband and wife. This is evidenced when Jacob after working seven years for Laban, asked for his wife. They were betrothed not married when he asked for Rachel calling her his wife. 4
Gen 29: 18-21 Now Jacob loved Rachel; so he said, "I will serve you seven years for Rachel your younger daughter." And Laban said, "It is better that I give her to you than that I should give her to another man. Stay with me." So Jacob served seven years for Rachel, and they seemed only a few days to him because of the love he had for her. Then Jacob said to Laban, "Give me my wife, for my days are fulfilled, that I may go in to her
It is at this point when the bride and groom are regarded to be husband and wife that the marriage benediction is prayed over the couple. Various relatives would pray scripture over the couple. Today there are seven benedictions that are prayed over the couple during the Jewish wedding ceremony.
Yeshua our bridegroom left His Father’s home in heaven and traveled to earth to establish the price that He would pay for His bride. Yeshua (Jesus) paid a very high price for His bride, a price that was not negotiable. Our mohar, our bride’s price was paid by the costly gift of His willingness to give up His life for us. The cost of each drop of blood that was shed for us has a value that is immeasurable and incomprehensible.
1 Cor 6:20 (NKJV) For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God's.
John the Baptist was a relative of the bridegroom’s family and as their spokesman he had a message that was a call to repent and to be baptized in preparation for the bridegroom. John was picked by The Father to be the forerunner and prepare the way for His son. John considered himself to be the “friend of the bridegroom”. He identified himself to be so in the following scripture.
John 3:29 (NKJV) 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. Therefore this joy of mine is fulfilled.
1 The Seven Festivals of the Messiah, Edward Chumney
2 Manners and Customs of Bible Lands
3 Manners and Customs of Bible Lands
4 Jewish Encyclopedia
In His Service,
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