Alesya asks: “Hello! Such a question. Since when is the blessing of God through the pastor in the Church considered a wedding? If you take the Old Testament, there the marriage was created simply by asking two people for God’s blessing, even in private. Why is there no such thing now?“
The procedure for marriage in the Old Testament was different than just asking God for a blessing in private. It is much easier now than it was then. There was always someone involved in the blessing who was higher in status than the bride or groom – the parents, the rabbi, the elders. Exceptions might have occurred, but they were only exceptions.
Marriage began when the young man’s father negotiated with the girl’s father to match her; on rare occasions a marriage proposal might come from the bride’s father.
4 And Shechem said to his father Emmor, saying, "Take this maiden to me as a wife. (Genesis 34:4) 6 And Judah took a wife to Jerah, his firstborn son; her name was Tamar. (Gen.38:6) 2 So he went and declared to his father and to his mother, "I saw a woman in Phimnath, one of the daughters of the Philistines; take her to be my wife. (Judges 14:2)
Sometimes the bridegroom would make the marriage proposal himself, but it happened that the bridegroom’s father or the groom himself would send someone on this errand to the bride’s parents.
16 If a man seduces an unmarried girl and sleeps with her, let him give her a vow [and take her] as his wife; (Exodus 22:16ff) 4 But thou shalt go into my land, into my homeland, and take a wife for my son Isaac. (Genesis 24:4ff.)
The consent and blessing of the parents was considered a prerequisite for a happy marriage. (Compare the words “were a hardship” in Genesis 26:35, which refers to the fact that the choice of the bride was made without the parents’ consent.)
It has happened that the future spouses met while working together.
16 The priest of Midian had seven daughters. They came and scooped up water and filled the troughs to give water to their father's sheep. (Exodus 2:16ff) 7 She said: "I will pick up and gather between the sheaves behind the reapers"; and she came, and has been [here] since the morning until now; she is not at home much. (Ruth 2:7ff).
A warrior may have received a wife as a spoils of war.
30 Correct, they found, dividing the spoil, a maiden, two maidens for each warrior, in the spoil received variegated [clothing] Sisara, received in the spoil variegated clothing, embroidered on both sides, taken from the shoulders of the captive. (Jud.5:30) 19 And they said, "Behold, every year there is a feast of the LORD in Silom, which is north of Bethel and east of the road that leads from Bethel to Shechem, and south of Lebonah. (Judges 21:19ff.)
The bridegroom or his father was to pay the bride’s father a ransom in money, livestock, or military or other assistance.
(cf. Gen. 34:11ff.; Hab 15:16; Judges 1:12; 1 Samuel 17:25; 18:25).
It is clear from Exodus 20:17 that the wife was practically counted as part of the husband’s property, but to suggest that the Israelites bought wives would be incorrect.
17 You shall not covet your neighbor's house; you shall not covet your neighbor's wife, nor his slave, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor anything that your neighbor has. (Exodus 20:17)
The marriage contract (only the Book of Tobit mentions a written contract) meant that the girl was betrothed, after which she was put under her husband’s guardianship; from that moment he became her master [Hebrew baal], to whom she was obliged to be faithful.
23 If a young maiden is betrothed to her husband, and someone meets her in the city and lies with her, 24 Then bring them both to the gate of that city, and stone them to death; the young maiden for not shouting in the city, and the man for defaming his neighbor's wife; and [so] destroy evil from your midst. 25 But if any man meet the betrothed virgin in the field, and seize her, and lie down with her, he shall put to death only the man that lay down with her, 26 But thou shalt do nothing unto the young woman: it is no mortal crime against the young woman, for it is the same as if a man should rise up against his neighbor and kill him; 27 For he met her in the field, and [though] the betrothed girl cried out, there was no one to save her. (Deuteronomy 22:23-27)
In Genesis 24:58 Rebekah, who was not acquainted with her future husband, is asked for her consent to the marriage.
58 They called Rebekah and said to her, "Will you go with this man? She said, "I will go. (Genesis 24:58)
It was only by becoming Isaac’s wife that she was able to win his love.
67 So Isaac brought her into the tent of Sarah his mother, and took Rebekah, and she became his wife; and he loved her, and Isaac was comforted by his mother. (Genesis 24:67)
From the moment of betrothal the bridegroom received the right immediately or after a certain time to take the betrothed woman into his house.
The wedding began with the bridegroom, dressed by his mother, with a crown on his head, walking toward the bride.
11 Come and look, ye daughters of Zion, at King Solomon wearing the crown with which his mother crowned him on the day of his marriage, the day that was joyful to his heart. (Song 3:11)
10 “I will rejoice in the LORD with joy; my soul shall greatly rejoice in my God; for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation, clothed me with the robe of righteousness, as he laid a crown upon the bridegroom, and as he adorns the bride with jewels.
Accompanied by friends and probably musicians.
11 And as they saw him there, they chose thirty marriage friends who would be with him.
On the evening of the first wedding day, the friends would lead the bride out to meet the bridegroom, and gradually other people would join this procession.
15 She is led to the king in a mottled robe, and the virgins, her friends, are led to you after her,
Torches and lampstands were lit in honor of the celebration.
1 Then the kingdom of heaven will be like the ten virgins who took their torches and went out to meet the bridegroom.
Many guests were invited to the wedding.
2 Jesus and his disciples were also called to the marriage. (John 2:2)
The marriage feast could last up to seven days and was accompanied by feasting, singing, dancing, games, and riddles.
27 "Finish this week, then we will also give you that for your service, which you will serve with me for seven other years. (Gen.29:27) 12 And Samson said to them, "I will give you a riddle; if you guess it for me in the seven days of the feast, and guess it right, I will give you thirty sindons and thirty changes of clothes. (Judges 14:12)
The bride was brought to the bridegroom under a veil.
65 And she said to the servant, "Who is this man who walks through the field to meet us? The servant said, "This is my lord. And she took the veil and covered herself. (Genesis 24:65)
From her father she received a dowry – livestock or land.
19 She said, “Give me a blessing; you have given me the midday land, give me also the springs of the waters. And he gave her the upper springs and the lower springs.
As a sign that the bridegroom had accepted the bride into his possession, he stretched out the hem of his garment over her, showing that he was undertaking to care for and protect his wife.
9 And Boaz said, “Who are you?” She said, “I am Ruth, your servant; stretch out your wing over your servant, for you are a kinsman.