Old Testament Summary Lesson 10: "Birthright Blessing; Marriage In The Covenant" | Israel Revealed

Old Testament Summary Lesson 10: “Birthright Blessing; Marriage In The Covenant”

  1. Modern Finds Give Insights to Biblical Culture: The Biblical area of Haran may have been discovered in modern Iraq. Writings found in an ancient town of Nuzi give some insight to the culture of Biblical times: “NUZI is an ancient city in northeastern Iraq . . . discovered thousands of tablet-documents dating from the 15th-14th centuries B.C.E. . . . when deciphered, turned out to be extremely valuable . . . shedding light on the lives and customs of the ancient Hurrians . . . The 15th to 14th centuries was also the period of the biblical patriarchs and the city of Nuzi was part of the same social and cultural area as the city of Harran, the home of the patriarchs.” (Encyclopedia Judaica Jr.)
  2. Selling Birthright Was Legal: On the assumption that the socio-legal features of life in Nuzi were also current in Harran . . . biblical scholars have undertaken . . . a comparative evaluation, and have discovered that . . . “Esau’s selling of his birthright to Jacob also has been confirmed as a legally permissible, though not common, procedure in Hurrian law.” (Encyclopedia Judaica Jr.)
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  4. The Meaning of a Place: Jewish Marriage Customs: Words such as “Until death do you part” are not part of Jewish wedding ceremonies. The ring is used as a symbol of “eternity.” It is examined by a Rabbi and is considered “kosher” only if it is unblemished. A “hup¬pah” or canopy is used, probably to symbolize the Temple. Both the bride and groom are addressed by their Hebrew “special names.” The “tallith” (prayer shawl) is used. To some it is customary to drape another “tallith” over the couple. The “tallith” is the remaining remnant of garments used in the ancient temples. Some couples keep the two talliths and eventually they will use them as their burial shrouds, one could say, “They are buried in the garments they were married in.”
  5. Marriage Under the Canopy of Heaven: “By law, the ring must belong to the bridegroom . . . constructed of any material, as long as it is free of precious stones . . . it was customary for the groom to cover the bride’s head with his tallit as a symbol of sheltering her . . . among Orthodox Jews, the preferred custom is to erect the huppah outside, or at least in a spot open to the sky, underneath the stars . . . “ (Encyclopedia Judaic Jr.)

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