Biblical Hebrew knows of various terms to describe betrothal and marriage, but there exists few data concerning the actual ceremonies. It is therefore worthwhile to start this chapter with a description of terms. Let us begin with the words used to describe the preliminary stipulation.
daber: Betrothal was preceded by negotiations about the conditions; the bridegroom or his father usually approached the bride's family to ask them for her hand.1 Genesis 34:8–11 describes the negotiations that took place between the groom's father (Hamor) and the family of the bride (Dinah, the daughter of Jacob), while the description in Judges 14:7 states that the man himself (Samson) spoke to the woman. In 1 Samuel 25:40, David wooed Abigail by sending messengers to her: wayedaber ba-Abigail literally means that he spoke to somebody else about her, while the servants then addressed her directly. Concerning a girl under age, Song of Solomon 8:8 mentions her brothers speaking for her.
In these cases nothing is said of the bride-price, apparently the dibur taking the place of the bargaining for it. The writer of the above passages may not have been interested in the legal elements of betrothal, but rather in the offer and acceptance leading to it.
'amar: This synonym seems to have had a more formal meaning. Proverbs 7:4 commends to the listener: "Say ('emor) to wisdom: You are my sister, and call insight your kinswoman." This is a figure of speech not to be taken in a technical sense. Nevertheless there seems to be a certain reference to the common Eastern formula of relationship, which was used as a constitutive declaration. By means of such declarations, a relationship could be created (e.g., marriage, kinship) or dissolved (e.g., divorce, removal from the family).2
The phrase "you are my sister" or "you are my kinswoman" probably created a relationship of brotherhood and indicated the acceptance of the person addressed into the family. Since that person was a woman, the occasion for applying to her the term sister seems to have been marriage (Song of Solomon 5:1–2).3 True, the expression was not always used in relation to marriage (Job 17:14; Jeremiah 3:4, 19), but in our context, the next verse, Proverbs 7:5, also suggests this meaning.
The ceremony of covenanting between God and Israel described in Deuteronomy 26:17–18 included perhaps a mutual statement of the stipulations implied in the covenant. This is, again, reminiscent of marriage. Finally, the rabbinical term ma'amar had the meaning of the marriage formula used by the levir and of the oral declaration of divorce.4
sha'al: The preliminaries probably took the form of question and answer, the bridegroom's declaration thus being called a question. Perhaps in this sense Genesis 26:7 shows the men of the locality asking Isaac about his wife, and in 2 Chronicles 11:23 Rehaboam is said to have "asked" a multitude of wives.5
1 Kings 2:21 even preserves the form of such a request, though in that particular case it was not addressed to the father of the bride: "Let Abishag the Shunnamite be given to Adonijah your brother as his wife." In the same way, in the Aramaic papyri the bridegroom asks for his bride as follows: "I have come to your house that you might give to me X, your daughter, to wifehood."6
'aras: This is the usual term of betrothal, describing the bridegroom's acquisition of a right over the bride. In 2 Samuel 3:14, David demands back his wife whom he had "betrothed at the price of a hundred foreskins of the Philistines." This is a reference to the promise mentioned in 1 Samuel 18:25. Even after the consummation of the marriage, legal rights were still traced back to the act of betrothal.7
In the following paragraphs, we shall consider some of the terms of marriage that were taken from the law of property.
mohar, mahar: Various opinions have been voiced on the payment that accompanied the betrothal. According to some scholars, mohar was a bride-price.8 Others explain it as a compensation payment for the traditio puellae, to be returned later on in the form of a dowry.9
True, there is a difference between the sale of a bondwoman (Exodus 21:7) and the giving away of a daughter in marriage (Deuteronomy 22:16). However, the difference does not seem to have been in the material element of the act but rather in the formula coupled therewith, viz., in the declaration by the person giving the girl away as to whether she was to be a free wife or a bondwoman.
The nature of the transaction is illustrated in the story of Shechem and Dinah (Genesis 34), where a real bargain had to be struck between the two families with regard to the bride-price. In the law of seduction (Exodus 22:17), on the other hand, there already existed a standard price that had to be paid for a virgin. The payment of this price was the act of betrothal, as shown by the use of the verb mahar (paying the mohar) in both meanings.10 Incidentally, the payment was made whether the girl was given to the seducer or not, for its object was to compensate the father, who could no longer give his daughter into marriage as a virgin.
The ordinary bride-price seems to have been mentioned in the law concerning rape (Deuteronomy 22:29). The amount of fifty sheqel in this context should however be compared with the thirty sheqel payable for a woman's vow (Leviticus 27:4). The difference in the evaluation of a woman may be due, besides the differences in sources, to the seriousness of the offense,11 to the greater weight of the sheqel used in the sanctuary,12 or to the disregard in Leviticus 27 of the fact of virginity.
We shall now consider several terms that describe the acquisition of goods but also took on special meanings in relation to marriage.
laqaḥ: This verb means to take, to accept, and to buy, but it is also used in the sense of to conquer. If employed with regard to a woman, the term signifies her being taken by the bridegroom without active participation on the part of her father, though with his consent. It is thus similar to the Akkadian aḫāzu and the Roman uxorem ducere.13
Lot's sons-in-law, for instance, are called "takers of his daughters" (Genesis 19:14), indicating a consummated marriage. In the same sense, Genesis 25:20 says of Isaac that "he took Rebekah," referring to the nuptials after the preliminaries had been arranged by the servant of his father Abraham. In Genesis 24:67 the taking of Rebekah to wife by Isaac is presented as a unilateral act without reference to any further participation of the bride's father.
Sometimes laqaḥ is used with regard to the bridegroom's agent (Hagar took an Egyptian wife for her son Ishmael, Genesis 21:21; Abraham sent his servant to take a wife for Isaac, Genesis 24:3–4, 48) and may indicate engagement as well as marriage, although the latter seems more likely. The expressions "who had betrothed a wife but not taken her" (Deuteronomy 20:7) and "who would take her (the captive) for yourself as wife" (Deuteronomy 21:11) certainly describe marriage. This is also the meaning of "the taking" in the law of levirate (Deuteronomy 25:5)14 and in the story of Ruth 4:13, where there was nobody to give the woman away.
Later on, Talmudic law emphasized the holiness of betrothal, making it as binding as a consummated marriage. Consequently, the verb laqaḥ took the meaning of the legal rather than the actual taking of possession, i.e., of betrothal rather than of marriage (Babylonian Talmud Yebamot 61a, 97a; Qidushin 2a, 22a, 50b; Sotah 12a, see also Mishnah Ketubbot 1:6). Another reason for this change in meaning might be the fact that the use of laqaḥ in the sense of marriage had meanwhile become rare.15
nasa': This is a relatively late synonym of laqaḥ and indicates marriage as well as lifting up, bearing, carrying, and taking. Judges 21:23 uses the term when the Benjaminites took possession of Israelite daughters dancing in the vineyards. A similar meaning is found in Ezra 9:2 when the Israelites took foreign women to wife on their return from Babylon. Comparison should indeed be made between Ezra 9:12 and Nehemiah 13:25, both of which use the term nasa', and Genesis 34:9, 21, Deuteronomy 7:3, and Judges 3:6, where the earlier term, laqaḥ, is used for the same act.
The father of the bridegroom could be said to have taken a woman for his son. In this case, the reference was to the leading of the bride into the bridegroom's house (Psalm 45:15–16). Ben Sira 7:23, likewise, advised the father to take a woman for his son while the latter was still a minor, the intention being the celebration of the nuptials and not only the engagement.16
Talmudic language, on the other hand, used the hiphil form for the act of the father (e.g., Mekhilta de R. Ishma 'el on Exodus 21:10). This causative form of the verb seems to reflect the son's emancipation, after which the bridegroom himself led the nuptials, the father merely assisting in the ceremony.
qanah: Two meanings are ascribed to this root: on the one hand, to acquire and to buy, including also to redeem and to possess, and, on the other, to create, to give life. The latter usage stems perhaps from the Canaanite and may be found, for instance, in the case of Eve bearing Cain in Genesis 4:1, and of wisdom being "brought forth" before the world was, in Proverbs 8:22–25. The former use may be traced to various other passages.17 It is in the former sense that the verb is used to denote marriage.
In Ruth 4:5, 10 the widow was said to have been bought together with the dead kinsman's estate. This raises the question of how the transaction was possible, since there was nobody entitled to give her away.18 The only answer is in the interpretation of qanah as a unilateral act, similar to the Roman mancipatio. The buyer probably occupied the property in the presence of the former owner and of witnesses, at the same time making a declaration like that mentioned in Ruth and similar to that custom in Roman law.19
qanah, then, meant the execution or the carrying out of the transaction, not the agreement; that is, the in domum deductio rather than the betrothal. However, in Ruth the term was already used to signify legal acquisition as distinguished from taking possession.20 The Jewish formula of engagement also preserved the unilateral character of the transaction, applying only to the bridegroom's act.21 Moreover, while various synonyms were used for the act of the groom, the part of the bride or her guardian was usually expressed in the indirect form. The verb qanah in the sense of purchase and of betrothal was also preserved in the early parts of the Mishnah (Qidushin 1:1).
ba'al: This verb means to become the owner of a wife, and is derived from the noun ba'al (master, owner).22 Both Genesis 20:3 and Deuteronomy 22:22 called a married woman be'ulat ba'al, meaning a wife "owned by her husband." Deuteronomy 24:1 speaks of taking a wife and becoming her master, which must be the in domum deductio or, according to the Talmudic interpretation, the consummation of the marriage.
Deuteronomy 21:13 uses the term together with the word for intercourse: "You may go in to her and be her husband and she shall be your wife." The two latter phrases are parallel to each other, the former defining the status of the husband and the latter that of the wife. Together they seem to be reminiscent of the ancient marriage formula: "She is my wife and I am her husband."23
hayah le . . . le'ishah: The verb hayah means to exist, to be, or to happen and, if connected with the preposition le . . . , to become the property of someone. In relation to a woman, therefore, the phrase defines the status of a wife and probably also indicates the fact that marriage has been consummated.24
Besides Deuteronomy 21:13, Genesis 24:67 (Isaac marrying Rebekah) and Ezekiel 16:8 (God marrying Jerusalem) use this term as the final expression of acquisition after various marriage ceremonies. In Hosea 3:3, on the other hand, even the illegal relation between a married woman and another man is called by the same name.
According to the rules of the Levitical priesthood, a brother had to defile himself by attending the funeral of "his virgin sister who is near to him that has not been a husband's" (Leviticus 21:3; compare Ezekiel 44:25). The early Rabbis held this sister to have been betrothed but not yet married,25 while later sources excluded even a fiancŽe from among the next of kin for whom a priest might defile himself.26 This was in line with the tendency, mentioned above, of strengthening the effect of betrothal.
The corresponding rule in Leviticus 22:12 denied the priestly privileges to "a priest's daughter who became an outsider's," which again meant consummation.27 The prohibition on remarriage to one's divorced former wife (Deuteronomy 24:4; Jeremiah 3:1), likewise, applied only where "she had become another man's wife," but not where she had merely become betrothed to her second husband. Again, the Rabbis of the first century C.E. applied the impediment after mere betrothal to another man.28
nathan: The antonym of laqaḥ and nasa', it has the meaning of giving a chattel and also of traditio puellae. In Judges 15:6 (the Timnite giving his daughter to Samson's best man) and 2 Samuel 12:11 (Nathan's prophecy to David), the giving away of a woman without legal effect is intended. Genesis 16:5 (Sarai giving Hagar to Abram) and Exodus 21:4, likewise, describe the giving of a female slave by her master to a man without mentioning any further ceremony. That the act indicated by this word is marriage rather than betrothal is shown clearly in 1 Samuel 18:19.
Since a girl could be given away for marriage or for slavery, her handing over used to be accompanied by the statement of a formula defining her status. If marriage was intended, she was given "as a wife" (e.g., 1 Samuel 18:19)29 or "into wifehood," as usual in Assyrian and Aramaic documents.30
Again, nathan, in the course of time, came to mean the legal rather than the actual transfer, and in the Talmud the passages containing the verb are interpreted with reference to betrothal.31
makhar: Usually denoting the sale of goods, this verb was sometimes employed with regard to marriage. Exodus 21:7, for instance, speaks of the sale of one's daughter as a bondwoman with the intention of marriage. Likewise, Proverbs 31:10 describes "the sale" (i.e., the price) of a good wife who is more precious than jewels. Such an expression is notable, appearing, as it does, in a chapter showing the enhanced status of woman in postexilic society.
How, then, should one understand the complaint of Jacob's wives against their father Laban: "Is there any portion or inheritance left to us in our father's house? Are we not regarded by him as foreigners? For he has sold us and used up the silver given for us" (Genesis 31:14–15). The passage has been cited as evidence against the theory of marriage-by-purchase, the complaint showing the illegality of such a sale. The treatment "as foreigners" has indeed been connected with the status of a strange wife in contemporary fellaḥin society and with the Assyrian and Nuzian docu ments, which provided for a bride to be treated "like a citizen."32
However, the promise to treat the woman as a citizen applies to adopted daughters or foreign wives. It does not fit in with the ordinary marriage entered into between Jacob and Laban's daughters. If the terms of sale were used in the matrimonial ceremony, why should the father have been blamed for selling the bride? Did, for instance, the sale of a daughter as a bondwoman (Exodus 21:7) mean that she was treated like a foreigner?
The first question asked by Jacob's wives concerning their rights of inheritance should be understood in a rhetorical sense, forming, as it does, a declaration of independence, like that of Sheba's renunciation of any inheritance interest in 2 Samuel 20:1 and the northern kingdom's separation in 1 Kings 12:16. As stated in Talmudic sources,33 marriage gave the bride independence from her father.
Accordingly, the sale was probably the cause of their treatment as foreigners and not its result. Having sold his daughters to their husband, Laban lost his parental rights over them and even kinship relations toward them.
The term nokhri, it is true, usually meant a member of a foreign nation, but during the tribal period it referred to any person outside one's own clan. Thus, as a result of the sale, Rachel and Leah became Jacob's and were estranged from their father and brothers. Likewise, the sale of a bondwoman "to a foreign people" (Exodus 21:8) meant any transfer to a person outside the family group.34 The opinion may, therefore, be ventured that there existed a semantic relationship between makhar (to sell) and nokhri (stranger); for if the purchaser was a foreigner, the commodity became estranged from the seller by virtue of the sale.
Laban's daughters' complaint lay in the last sentence, namely, that the bride-price had been used by their father instead of being returned to the couple as compensation for their dismissal from the family property.35
shilaḥ: The pi'el form of the verb shalaḥ is used in the sense of extending, sending, expelling, and throwing, while the original meaning was perhaps to set somebody or something free.36 It was in this sense that the term would also be used for marriage and divorce, referring to the father or husband, respectively. Thus Judges 12:9 tells of Izban: "Thirty daughters had sent abroad and thirty daughters he brought in from outside for his sons."
This is a description of patriarchal marriage, the term shilaḥ standing for consent to the bride's withdrawal from parental power. It thus illustrates the passive part played by the father of the bride, while nathan and makhar describe his active participation, in the traditio puellae. Shilaḥ, then, was the antonym of the above mentioned terms indicating occupation by the bridegroom, and may have represented the earlier custom of marriage without handing over possession of the bride.37
haveraḥ: This noun is used in Malachi 2:14 to describe a married woman and as a synonym of covenanter. The verb ḥavar originally described the acts of uniting, joining, and generally creating a bodily association and may therefore be used in the sense of sexual intercourse (Ben Sira 12:14). The union was probably symbolized by a handshake and came to be specially connected with the contract of partnership.38
The wife can be called her husband's companion. Ben Sira 7:25, indeed, advises the father: "Give your daughter away and a business will be the outcome (weyeṣe' 'eseq)." In Babylonian Aramaic the 'itpa'el form of the verb 'asaq has the meaning of contracting a marriage, and during the third century C.E. a similar term was cited in a deed of marriage: "If X be married to Y, her husband, and she be displeased with his companionship (shutafuth), she shall take half of the amount fixed in the contract."39 The same idea can be found in the term for marriage used by the seventh century Chaldean Church: 'isara' de shutafuta', i.e., "bond of partnership."40
Like most legal systems, biblical law distinguished between the two stages of the marriage relation: the betrothal and the nuptials. Usually, a year or even more was to pass between these stages, especially where the bride or bridegroom had been under age at the time of the betrothal.41 The bride meanwhile stayed with her family, the bridegroom perhaps even being prohibited from visiting her.
The main element of betrothal was the payment of the mohar whereby a ius ad rem for marriage was acquired. In form, at least, this transaction was similar to the purchase of a slave, unless the parties specially declared that a legal marriage was to be effected.
We have already seen that the bridegroom or his agent came to the house of the bride's father to ask for her hand. Where the answer was in the affirmative, discussion on the mohar, as far as it was not yet standardized, followed. Payment was then made and gifts were exchanged, the father probably promising the return of the mohar at the time of the marriage, sometimes with the addition of a considerable dowry.
This promise, whether express or implied, distinguished matrimonial from commercial relations. As mentioned above, the term 'amar described the declaration defining the wife's status after the marriage.42 In the absence of direct evidence as to the expression used, we must refer to various metaphors that seem to be based on the customary formula. Hosea 2:19–20, for instance, uses the bridegroom's promise to describe God's relationship toward Israel: "I will betroth you to me for ever; I will betroth you to me in righteousness and in justice in steadfast love and in mercy; I will betroth you to me in faithfulness."
It is rather difficult to distinguish the phrases describing the particular relationship between God and the people from those that belonged to the ordinary betrothal ceremony. The first clause, however, has many parallels in legal as well as in literary sources, which seems to indicate an actual custom.43
Ezekiel 16:8, moreover, mentions an oath and a covenant as required before the bride became the speaker's wife. Again, these forms do not seem to have been due to the special situation described in the metaphor, but rather reflect the general custom (Proverbs 2:17; Malachi 2:14). The bridegroom undertook to return at the prescribed date, to consummate the marriage, and to treat his wife according to custom. The promise, it should be noted, was made toward the bride herself, while the mohar transaction took place between her father and the bridegroom or his representative.
In the Elephantine papyri on the other hand, the bridegroom addressed the guardian of the bride as follows: "I have come to your house that you might give me X your daughter in wifehood. She is my wife and I am her husband from this day and forever."44 The same form was customary in the society described in Tobit 7:12–14: "And Re'u'el said: Take her to yourself from henceforth according to the manner. You are her brother and she is yours; but the merciful God shall give all good success to you. And he called his daughter Sarah, and took her by the hand, and gave her to be wife to Tobias, and said: Behold, take her to yourself after the law of Moses and lead her away to your father. And he blessed them; and called Ednah his wife, and took a letter, and wrote an instrument and sealed it."45
Both these sources describe betrothal as an introduction to the act of marriage and as a transaction between the bride's guardian and the husband. The former also mentions the act as characterized by the giving of the bride "for wifehood." As explained above, this must have been a most important element in the ceremony. Its counterpart in the second passage is the reference to the custom or the law of Moses. There follow the declaration of relationship (husband-wife or brother-sister) representing the ceremony of the covenant and the reference to the act's everlasting effect, both discussed above. The whole transaction was attested by a written contract, the execution of which was however delayed until the nuptials.46
After the exile, Hebrew betrothal was no longer a mere civil affair but must have implied religious sanctions.47 Deuteronomy 22:24 had already ascribed to the betrothal far-reaching results with regard to the bride's obligation of fidelity,48 and the idea of the covenant added further importance to the act.
The material element of betrothal was the payment of the mohar. In Genesis 34:12, Shechem offers to pay any price fixed by the bride's family, and Exodus 22:16–17 obliges the seducer to pay the bride-price to the father. Instead of actual payment of a bride-price, if the groom lacked the necessary means, as in the case of Jacob (Genesis 29:18; 31:15), the bride-price was satisfied in the form of service to the father-in-law.
The payment of bride-price has been compared with the Babylonian tirḫâtum49 and the Arab mahr,50 and the practice has been described as marriage-by-purchase.51 Refuting the latter theory, some authors consider the mohar as a kind of compensation given to the bride's family. That marriage by mohar could not have been a simple sale is shown by the distinction drawn between ordinary marriage and the sale of a Hebrew bondwoman (Exodus 21:7–11), and the custom of providing the bride with a dowry.52 The custom, which existed in Babylonia,53 was known also in Israel. Laban's daughters complained that their father had spent their money (Genesis 31:15). Caleb's daughter asked for some springs of water as a blessing (Joshua 15:18), which seems to refer to her share in the inheritance, and Solomon's wife brought the city of Gezer as a dowry (1 Kings 9:16). In the Aramaic papyri, too, the mohar was included in the dowry,54 while Tobit 8:21 mentions a dowry amounting to half of the parents' property.
While this custom mitigated the commercial character of the mohar, there seem to have existed marriages without any payment at all.55 The betrothal of Rebekah (Genesis 24) is an example. In accordance with Assyrian practice,56 the bride was given certain ornaments and her brother and mother received gifts, but no mohar was paid to the father. Though the payment of the bride-price was not part of the ceremony, Rebekah became a legal wife and not merely a concubine.
Payment could perhaps have been dispensed with whenever there existed another reason for the marriage. In the case of Rebekah this was expressed in the answer of the bride's brother and father: "The thing comes from God; we cannot speak to you bad or good" (Genesis 24:50). There was, likewise, no need for the payment of a new mohar in cases of levirate marriages or, perhaps, of endogamy, both being contracted by law rather than by consent.57
Having dealt with the various expressions used to describe the in domum deductio, we may assume that this act formed the main element in the marriage ceremony. The bride was either taken by the bridegroom at the date fixed by him for the marriage (e.g., Isaac and Rebekah, Genesis 24:55, 67; Samson, Judges 14:8), or given away by her guardian in a similar ceremony (Jacob and Leah, Genesis 29:23; Psalm 45:15).58
This was certainly an occasion for the reciting of blessings (Genesis 24:60; Ruth 4:11–12; Tobit 10:11–12) and for expressing the idea that God himself had arranged the match (Genesis 24:50; Proverbs 19:14). This latter conception was connected with the covenant that was entered into at the marriage and that formed its religious foundation (Proverbs 2:17; Malachi 2:14).
In Hosea 2:2, in the Aramaic papyri and in Tobit 7:12, the mutual relationship of the spouses is defined by a formula of alliance,59 which fitted into the marriage ceremony and could be used as its central element. Having received the bride, the husband was expected to renew his declaration of faith and to confer clearly upon the bride the status of lawful wife.
From the earliest times, marriage was accompanied by a feast that could last as long as seven days (Genesis 29:27–28; Judges 14:12). This common meal was intended to link the two families together and may often have been opened by a shelamim sacrifice.60 In any case, certain religious elements must have been connected with the celebration of the covenant although there is no direct evidence of their existence.
The biblical sources do not refer to written marriage contracts, which were well-known, for instance, in Babylonian society.61 Obviously, in the case of divorce, there was need for a deed witnessing the release of the husband's rights over his former wife (Deuteronomy 24:1; Isaiah 50:1), but no corresponding document seems to have been necessary for the celebration of marriage. Among the Aramaic papyri, on the other hand, there exist several marriage contracts,62 and Tobit 7:12–14 also speaks of a written instrument of marriage. Both among the Jews of the first century B.C.E. and among the Samaritans,63 deeds of marriage were in use.
Biblical marriage may therefore be presumed to have been an oral transaction. The bride was acquired in the presence of the community whose members functioned as witnesses to the act (Ruth 4:10–11). The later marriage documents merely recorded this oral ceremony without adding any constitutive elements to the act. Indeed, so long as the mohar was paid to the bride's father in cash, there was little need for a written instrument, even though part of the sum paid was returned in the form of a dowry. When, however, the mohar changed into a form of insurance against widowhood or divorce, a written document became necessary. The undertaking itself, therefore, was called by the rabbis—kethubah (writing), as distinguished from the other clauses that were based on oral consent only. The main intention of the Elephantine marriage contracts was likewise to provide for cases of widowhood and divorce, though obligations during the marriage were added.
Though there are no direct provisions in the Bible concerning the law of divorce, it may be inferred from the Hebrew patriarchal structure. Basically, divorce was an arbitrary, unilateral, private act on the part of the husband and consisted of the wife's expulsion from the husband's house.64 The usual term for a divorced woman is gerushah, meaning "expelled" (Leviticus 21:7, 14; 22:13; Numbers 30:10–12; Ezekiel 44:22), which shows the passive role she played. Examples of this procedure are perhaps found in Sarah's demand in Genesis 21:10 (though referring to Hagar, an unfree woman) and Hosea 9:15.65 The same idea is expressed by the synonyms shilaḥ and hoṣi (sending away, putting out).66
However, from the beginning there must have existed certain formulae to express the finality of the separation. There was first the so-called formula contraria: "She is not my wife and I am not her husband" (Hosea 2:4), which is probably recited in the presence of witnesses. Another formula used perhaps expressed the woman's right to go where she wanted (e.g., Deuteronomy 21:14) and to marry another man of her choice.67 While the Aramaic papyri show divorce to have taken place ba'edah (coram publico), no such requirement is mentioned in the Bible.68
At a later stage (but before Deuteronomy 24:1; Isaiah 50:1; and Jeremiah 3:8), the husband was required to deliver a bill of divorce to his wife at her expulsion. This was necessary in order to prevent him from retracting his earlier decision and claiming rights over his ex-wife. The deed was called sefer kerithuth, the literal translation being "deed of cutting asunder." While this term may refer to an ancient symbolical act,69 it came, in the course of time, to stand for the act of divorce itself and fulfilled the function of a formula contraria.70
Besides these elements, the bill of divorce perhaps began with a recital of the marriage.71 The wife could then be said to have been "cut off" from her husband and his family, the latter releasing all rights over her. This undertaking may have been expressed in the form of a deed of "removal,"72 and it perhaps included the clause "from this day and for ever."73
The husband was bound finally to make up his mind and not to make such a decision lightly. According to Deuteronomy 24:4 and Jeremiah 3:1, he was not allowed to take back his former wife, if she had meanwhile married another man. There was in fact no legal restriction on arbitrary divorce, but an unjust act of this kind was condemned by the woman's family and, perhaps, by public opinion.
Where a husband charged his bride with unchastity (Deuteronomy 22:13–14), he may have been motivated by the wish to justify his divorcing her. Besides the other punishment, he was therefore denied the right of any subsequent divorce; this was a partial talionic sanction.74 A similar restriction was placed upon the seducer who married his victim (Deuteronomy 22:28–29). Here, too, the man had exploited the girl without giving her the status of a married woman. He was punished by way of talio, by the prevention of a subsequent divorce.75
While Deuteronomy 24:1 mentions the finding of "some indecency" in a wife as a justification for ordinary divorce,76 no distinction was made between the woman who had borne children to her husband and the childless wife.77 Biblical law, moreover, did not include any provision for the payment of a sum to the divorcee. Where the woman had brought her husband a dowry, she was probably entitled to demand it back, but there did not exist any further obligation insuring her against arbitrary divorce. Only in the postexilic Aramaic papyri was a provision for payment of "divorce money" included.78
The idea that marriage formed a covenant between the spouses must have limited the right of divorce. Prophecies like Micah 2:9–10 and Malachi 2:14 represented a new attitude toward persons executing this right.
Being almost her husband's property, the wife was not originally able to demand a divorce. Where, however, a husband had refused his wife her conjugal rights, she was permitted to leave him. Exodus 21:10–11, it is true, accorded to this privilege to the free-born bondwoman. But the rights of the former were defined as mishpaṭ habanoth (custom of the daughters), i.e., they seem to have been similar to that of a legal wife.79
A similar rule probably existed in respect of a concubine. In Judges 19:2 we read of the Levite's concubine who "had played the harlot against him [or was angry with him80] and went away from him to her father's house." It is possible that the free status of such a woman was due to the absence of any bride-price, by payment of which an ordinary wife passed into her husband's power. A concubine, then, retained a certain connection with her family and was allowed to return to it at will.81
The wife's power of divorce was not compatible with the Hebrew patriarchal structure. Only in the postexilic papyri of Elephantine were both spouses capable of dissolving the marriage at will. While the two biblical passages spoke only of a woman leaving her husband without any divorce formalities, the clauses in the Aramaic marriage deeds refer to the wife making exactly the same declaration as the husband in order to effect dissolution of the marriage.82
It seems that under the patriarchal system all family as well as property rights were passed on from the head of the clan to the son chosen to become successor. The widow of the former patriarch, therefore, passed into the power of his heir, unless she were his mother. In ordinary society, this rule became obsolete at an early stage, but as late as the monarchical period the custom was still known among royalty.83
Where the widow had adult sons, she would usually stay with and be maintained by them (Ruth 4:15; Isaiah 51:18). Among the royal family, she even played a political role, being known by the name of gevirah.84 During her children's minority, the widow acted as their guardian where no redeemer was forthcoming (the widow of Zarephath, 1 Kings 17:12; see also 2 Kings 4:7; 8:1–6).85 A childless widow returned to her father's house, except where she stayed with the deceased husband's family under the rule of levirate (Tamar, Genesis 38:11; Leviticus 22:13; Ruth 1:8). She did not, however, return into the full power of her father and could enter into vows independently (Numbers 30:10–11).
A certain reluctance toward the remarriage of widows, as well as of divorcees, is found in various legal provisions. We have already mentioned the prohibition to taking back one's ex-wife after her marriage to another man.86 The rule of levirate, likewise, limited the widow's right of remarriage outside the family. The moral disapproval of such marriages found expression in the priestly rules (Leviticus 21:7, 14; Ezekiel 44:22).87 In practice, however, widows often remarried, as shown for instance by the cases of Abigail (1 Samuel 25:38, 42) and Bathsheba (2 Samuel 11:27).
Although the widow was not given any share in her late husband's estate, she was certainly entitled to get back her dowry and any separate property given to her (Judges 17:2; 1 Samuel 25:14–42). The sale of her deceased husband's property by Naomi (Ruth 4:3–9) may, however, be a reference to later developments. The property was perhaps promised to Naomi as a marriage gift88 or bequeathed to her at marriage to provide for her husband's predeceasing her without leaving a child. The latter provision was usual in the Aramaic marriage deeds of the fifth century B.C.E.89
An important remnant of the tribal age is the rule of levirate. We have spoken of the laws of redemption as designed to preserve the complete size of the clan; the rule of levirate had a similar purpose. Where one of the brethren had died without leaving a son, his wife was not to marry outside the group but became, without any formality, the wife of the deceased's brother. Insofar as the rule referred to the woman, it was similar to the rule of redemption. Moreover, Hebrew society considered sons as the family's greatest blessing and could not allow the name of the deceased to be "wiped out from Israel." It therefore used the rule of the levirate to provide at least a posthumous successor.90
According to the story of Tamar in Genesis 38, the brother of the deceased was obliged to take the widow, and the child born from that union was considered as the deceased's successor. Where the elder brother did not fulfil this duty or was unable to do so, it devolved upon the younger brother and perhaps also upon the widow's father-in-law.
Deuteronomy 25:5–10 limits the application of levirate to the case where the brothers lived on an undivided estate and allows the levir to avoid the marriage by making a declaration before the elders and by the ceremony of "loosening his sandal" (Deuteronomy 25:9).
Finally Ruth 4, mentions the rule of levirate as the implied result of the redemption of property. It was therefore applied to more distant relatives outside the small family of the deceased, but no sanction fell upon the kinsman who refused to marry the widow. Similarly, the Mishnah speaks of the "commandment of loosening the sandal" as an alternative to the "commandment of levirate," and sometimes even as the preferable practice (Yebamot 12:1; Bekorot 1:7).
1. Adolph Büchler, Studies in Jewish History: The Adolph Büchler Memorial Volume, ed. Israel Brodie and Joseph Rabbinowitz (London: Oxford University Press, 1956), 126.
2. David Daube, Studies in Biblical Law (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1947), 7–8; David Daube and Reuven Yaron, "Jacob's Reception by Laban," Journal of Semitic Studies 1 (1956): 60; Reuven Yaron, Introduction to the Law of the Aramaic Papyri (Oxford: Clarendon, 1961), 46, and compare p. 88.
3. Compare Helmut Thierfelder, Die Geschwisterehe im hellenistisch-römischen Ägypten (Münster: Aschendorf, 1960).
4. According to Leopold Loew, Gesammelte Schriften (Szegedin: Baba, 1893), 3:277, ma'amar represents the more ancient form of betrothal consisting of a formula only without payment of the bride-price. This opinion contradicts the explanation given by Babylonian Talmud Yebamot 52a and Palestinian Yebamot 2:1, 3c, according to which ma'amar was the betrothal made by the levir in the ordinary form. The latter interpretation, however, does not explain why a special term was used for the betrothal by the levir, if all its elements were similar to those of an ordinarily betrothal. It seems, therefore, that ma'amar was originally the formula of betrothal usually accompanying the payment. The betrothal by the levir, on the other hand, could be effected by use of the formula without payment, "for the woman was given to him by Heaven" (Mishnah Nedarim 10:6). The betrothal of the brother's widow could, therefore, be called ma'amar (statement) only, whereas the ordinary betrothal also included a payment. In the second century C.E. the betrothal by the levir was assimilated to the ordinary form of betrothal, so that the interpretation cited above could be made. Indeed, during the Middle Ages the process of assimilation was so effective that the marriage between the levir and the widow included the custom of reciting the blessings under the canopy; see Louis M. Epstein, Marriage Laws in the Bible and the Talmud (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1942), 117. See also Eberhard Nestle, "Miscellen," Zeitschrift für die alttestamentliche Wissenschaft 28 (1908): 229 and pp. 145–47, 150–51. For the oral divorce, compare Mekhilta ad Exodus 18:2.
5. Compare Samuel E. Loewenstamm, "Notes on the Alalakh Tablets," Israel Exploration Journal 6 (1956): 224.
6. Yaron, Introduction, 45. The term to ask exists also in the tablets of Alalaḥ.
7. Büchler, Studies in Jewish History, 126, distinguishes between the meaning of 'aras in our passage, i.e., marriage, and that in Deuteronomy 20:7; 28:30, where the intention is of betrothal. Above, however, is an attempt to understand the reference to betrothal even after marriage has taken place. The former act, then, creates the right ad rem, while the second act meant merely the execution of this right. On the payment of the bride-price, compare David H. Weiss, "A Note on aser lo orasah," Journal of Biblical Literature 81 (1962): 67–69.
8. Paul Koschaker, "Eheschliessung und Kauf nach alten Rechten, mit besonderer Berücksichtigung der älteren Keilschriftsrechte," Archiv Orientalni 18 (1950): 210–96; Ephraim Neufeld, Ancient Hebrew Marriage Laws (London: Longmans, 1944), 198.
9. Jakob Neubauer, Beiträge zur Geschichte des biblisch-talmudischen Eheschliessungsrecht (Leipzig: Hinrichs, 1920); Millar Burrows, The Basis of Israelite Marriage (New Haven: American Oriental Society, 1938); Roland de Vaux, Ancient Israel: Its Life and Institutions, trans. John McHugh (London: Darton, 1961), 48–50.
10. On mohar (bride-price), see Neufeld, Ancient Hebrew Marriage Laws, 94ff.; David R. Mace, Hebrew Marriage (London: Epworth, 1953), 168ff.; de Vaux, Ancient Israel, 48–49; Raphael Patai, Family, Love and the Bible (London: Macgibbon and Kee, 1960), 49–50; Samuel E. Loewenstamm, "Bride-Price" (in Hebrew), in Encyclopaedia Miqra'it (Jerusalem: Bialik, 1950), 4:702.
11. Compare Codex Eshnunna 31.
12. De Vaux, Ancient Israel, 309–10.
13. Koschaker, "Eheschliessung und Kauf," 214, 238. Compare Codex Eshnunna 27. Otherwise Büchler, Studies in Jewish History, 135, who explains the verb as receiving the bride from the person entitled to give her away.
14. Contra see Büchler, Studies in Jewish History, 135, following the rabbinical interpretation, and Büchler's corresponding explanation of Genesis 19:14.
15. For an example of the use, see Tosefta Yebamot 12:4. Even in late sources laqaḥ was sometimes used as a synonym for nuptials; see Palestinian Ketubbot 4:4, 28b, interpreting Deuteronomy 22:14, and Genesis Rabbah on Genesis 19:14.
16. Segal, commenting on Ben Sira 7:23, refers to Babylonian Talmud Yebamot 62b and ʾAbot 5:21.
17. Compare Peter Katz, "The Meaning of the Hebrew Root Ktis-," Journal of Jewish Studies 5 (1954): 126–31.
18. Compare Harold H. Rowley, "The Marriage of Ruth," Harvard Theological Review 11 (1947): 90.
19. Max Kaser, Das römische Privatrecht (Munich: Beck, 1955–59), 1:38; Jacob J. Rabinowitz, Jewish Law: Its Influence on the Development of Legal Institutions (New York: Bloch, 1956), 7. Compare p. 92.
20. Büchler, Studies in Jewish History, 129.
21. For the Roman parallel, see Karl Friedrich Thormann, Der doppelte Ursprung der Mancipatio (Munich: Beck, 1943), 270–74.
22. The verb ba'al (owning) seems to be related to pa'al (making), which parallel the two meanings of qanah, just mentioned. Compare Mitchell Dahood, "Qoheleth and Northwest Semitic Philogy," Biblica 43 (1962): 361.
23. Compare Yaron, Introduction, 46.
24. Otherwise Büchler, Studies in Jewish History, 135.
25. Thus Sifra on Leviticus 21:3, and the discussion of mukath 'es at the end of the passage where hayah is interpreted as concubitus.
26. Babylonian Talmud Yebamot 60a (R. Jose and R. Shime'on). Compare Sifre ad Deuteronomy 21:15, interpreting hayah as betrothal.
27. Babylonian Talmud Yebamot 68a.
28. Sifre and Midrash Tana'im on Deuteronomy 24:2.
29. Ze'ev W. Falk, "Endogamy in Israel" (in Hebrew), Tarbiz 32 (1963): 22; compare Genesis 29:26.
30. M. Schorr, Urkunden des altbabylonischen Zivil und Prozessrechts (Leipzig: Hinrichs, 1913), 540; Arthur E. Cowley, ed. and trans., Aramaic Papyri of the Fifth Century, B.C. (Oxford: Clarendon, 1923), 41–50; Emil G. Kraeling, The Brooklyn Museum Aramaic Papyri (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1953), 2, 7; Yaron, Introduction, 45.
31. E.g., Sifre and Midrash Tana'im and Deuteronomy 22:16.
32. Neubauer, Beiträge, 73, 205. See, however, Martin David, Vorm en Wezen van de Huwelijkssluiting naar de oud (Leiden: Brill, 1934), 100; Burrows, "The Complaint of Laban's Daughters," Journal of the American Oriental Society 57 (1937): 215, 264; Godfrey R. Driver and John C. Miles, trans., The Assyrian Laws (Oxford: Clarendon, 1936), 142, 158; Godfrey R. Driver and John C. Miles, trans., The Babylonian Laws (Oxford: Clarendon, 1952–55), 1:263; Mace, Hebrew Marriage, 187.
33. Compare Numbers 30:10; Mishnah Ketubbot 4:2. According to the Talmud, however, the daughter was emancipated only by the nuptials, not by betrothal.
34. Isaac Mendelsohn, Slavery in the Ancient Near East: A Comparative Study of Slavery in Babylonia, Assyria, Syria, and Palestine from the Middle of the Third Millennium to the End of the First Millennium (New York: Oxford University Press, 1949), 10–11; Targum Onqelos for Exodus 21:8.
35. Compare Ephraim A. Speiser, "New Kirkuk Documents Relating to Family Laws," Annual of the American Schools of Oriental Research 10 (1930): 22–24; Burrows, "The Complaint of Laban's Daughters," 270.
36. L. Kopf, "Arabischen Etymologien und Parallelen zum Bibelwörterbuch," Vetus Testamentum 8 (1958): 207; David Daube, "Rechtsgedanken in den Erzählung des Pentateuchs," Beihefte zur Zeitschrift für die alttestamentliche Wissenschaft 77 (1958): 35.
37. On the relation to prehistoric marriage-by-capture, see Neufeld, Ancient Hebrew Marriage Laws, 77ff.; de Vaux, Ancient Israel, 59; Patai, Family, 46.
38. Ze'ev W. Falk, "Zum jüdischen Bürgschaftsrecht," Revue Internationale des Droits de l'Antiquité, 10 (1963): 50–51; p. 97.
39. Palestinian Ketubbot 7:7, 31c; compare J. N. Epstein, Jahrbuch der jüdisch-literarischen Gesellschaft 6 (1908): 369; Louis M. Epstein, The Jewish Marriage Contract: A Study in the Status of the Woman in Jewish Law (New York: Jewish Theological Seminary of America, 1927), 204.
40. Jean Dauvillier and Charles de Clercq, Le mariage en droit canonique oriental (Paris: Recueil Sirey, 1936), 48; Ze'ev W. Falk, Marriage and Divorce (in Hebrew) (Jerusalem: Mifʾal ha-shikhpul, 1961), 58.
41. Compare Deuteronomy 20:7; 22:23; 28:30; compare Mishnah Ketubbot 5:2. On betrothal, see Neufeld, Ancient Hebrew Marriage Laws, 94ff., 142ff.; Mace, Hebrew Marriage, 167ff.; de Vaux, Ancient Israel, 57–58, and pp. 135–37, above.
42. Compare pp. 136, 142.
43. Compare Psalm 113:2; Isaiah 9:6, and Canaanite sources Samuel E. Loewenstamm, "Increase and Reform" (in Hebrew), in Encyclopaedia Miqra'it, 1:796; Samuel E. Loewenstamm, "Notes on the Alalakh Tablets," Israel Exploration Journal 6 (1956): 224; Samuel E. Loewenstamm, Tarbiz 32 (1963): 313ff. The reference to eternity appears also in Elephantine, see Yaron, Introduction, 47; Tobit 7:12–13 (according to some versions), in Jewish deeds of betrothal and divorce: Palestinian Qiddušin 1:2, 59a; Babylonian Talmud Gi in 85b, and in the Greek deed Dura Europos 30 of 232 C.E.
44. Yaron, Introduction, 45–46.
45. Compare Frank Zimmerman, The Book of Tobit (New York: Harper, 1958).
46. Compare Codex Eshnunna 27–28; Codex Hammurabi 128; Middle Assyrian Laws A34, 36; de Vaux, Ancient Israel, 58.
47. Against Isaac Mendelsohn, "The Family in the Ancient Near East," Biblical Archaeologist 11 (1948): 24ff.; de Vaux, Ancient Israel, 58.
48. Compare Codex Eshnunna 26; Codex Hammurabi 130; Driver and Miles, Babylonian Laws, 1:282. On the dissolution of betrothals, see Judges 14:20; Codex Eshnunna 25; Codex Hammurabi 159–61; Falk, Marriage and Divorce, 34–35.
49. Codex Hammurabi 138, 159–61, 163–64, Middle Assyrian Laws A38; Neufeld, Ancient Hebrew Marriage Laws, 94ff.; Driver and Miles, Babylonian Laws, 1:249; Mace, Hebrew Marriage, 168ff.; de Vaux, Ancient Israel, 50; Loewenstamm, "Bride-Price," 4:702.
50. De Vaux, Ancient Israel, 50; Patai; Family, 49; Loewenstamm, "Bride-Price," 4:702.
51. Koschaker, "Eheschliessung und Kauf," 210ff. See pp. 137–38.
52. Burrows, The Basis of Israelite Marriage, 1; Mace, Hebrew Marriage, 169; de Vaux, Ancient Israel, 49.
53. Codex Eshnunna 18; Codex Hammurabi 138, 163–64, 183–84; Driver and Miles, Babylonian Laws, 1:253–54; Alalaḥ text 92; Neo-Babylonian Laws 8–9; compare A. Van Praag, Droit matrimonial Assyro-Babylonien (Amsterdam: Noord-Hollandsche, 1945), 135–36; Reuven Yaron, "Matrimonial Mishaps at Eshnunna," Journal of Semitic Studies 8 (1963): 3.
54. Yaron, Introduction, 48.
55. Compare Codex Hammurabi 139.
56. Middle Assyrian Laws A38.
57. See pp. 136–37; for the formula accompanying the payment compare Middle Assyrian Laws A38.
58. On the nuptials, see Neufeld, Ancient Hebrew Marriage Laws, 148ff.
59. See pp. 136–37, 145–47.
60. On this sacrifice, compare de Vaux, Ancient Israel, 2:294; Jacob Licht, "Sacrifice" (in Hebrew), in Encyclopaedia Miqra'it, 2:901.
61. Codex Hammurabi 128; Neufeld, Ancient Hebrew Marriage Laws, 152ff.; Driver and Miles, Babylonian Laws, 1:145ff.
62. Cowley, Aramaic Papyri, 44–50; Kraeling, Brooklyn Museum, 2, 7; Yaron, Introduction, 40–41.
63. Babylonian Talmud Šabbat 14b; Neufeld, Ancient Hebrew Marriage Laws, 158.
64. Neufeld, Ancient Hebrew Marriage Laws, 176ff.; Mace, Hebrew Marriage, 241ff.; Reuven Yaron, "On Divorce in Old Testament Times," Revue Internationale des Droits de l'Antiquité 4 (1957): 117ff.; de Vaux, Ancient Israel; Patai, Family, 101; Falk, Marriage and Divorce, 96ff.
65. Falk, "Endogamy in Israel," 22–23.
66. Yaron,"On Divorce in Old Testament Times."
67. Compare Codex Hammurabi 137, 156, 172; Yaron, Introduction, 64; Falk, Marriage and Divorce, 111; Yaron, "Matrimonial Mishaps at Eshnunna," 14.
68. Yaron, Introduction, 54; Falk, Marriage and Divorce, 102.
69. Rabinowitz, Jewish Law, 6; Jacob J. Rabinowitz, "Divorce" (in Hebrew), in Encyclopaedia Miqra'it, 2:552.
70. Yaron, Introduction, 55. Compare Ben Sira 25:26 using a similar expression.
71. Compare Deuteronomy 22:16, where the pleadings begin with the recital of the marriage, and the deed of divorce from Ugarit, Jean Nougayrol, Le Palais Royal d'Ugarit IV: Textes Accadiens des Archives Sud (Paris: Klincksieck, 1956), 17, 159; Reuven Yaron, "A Royal Divorce at Ugarit," Orientalia 32 (1963): 22ff.
72. Compare Neufeld, Ancient Hebrew Marriage Laws, 180; Yaron, Introduction, 33, 64, 103.
73. Compare Yaron, Introduction, 47, 116; Jean Nougayrol, Palais Royal d'Ugarit 3 (Paris: Imprimerie Nationale, 1955), 17, 159; Yaron, "A Royal Divorce at Ugarit," 22.
74. Falk, Marriage and Divorce, 97; Reuven Yaron, "Review of Ze'ev W. Falk's, 'Marriage and Divorce, Reforms in the Family Law of German-French Jewry,'" Tijdschrift voor Rechtsgeschiedenis 30 (1962): 390.
75. Otherwise Reuven Yaron, "CP Jud. 144 et Alia," Jura 13 (1962): 173.
76. Neufeld, Ancient Hebrew Marriage Laws, 176ff.; Yaron, "On Divorce in Old Testament Times," 127; Modrzejewski, Jura 12 (1961): 178ff.
77. Compare Codex Eshnunna 59; Codex Hammurabi 137–40; Neufeld, Ancient Hebrew Marriage Laws, 181; Emile Szlechter, Les lois d'Eshnunna (Paris: Sirey, 1954), 52–53.
78. Compare Codex Hammurabi 137–39; Middle Assyrian Laws A37–38; ana ittishu 7:4; Neufeld, Ancient Hebrew Marriage Laws, 184; Yaron, Introduction, 56, 114; Yaron, "Royal Divorce," 26.
79. Compare Codex Hammurabi 142–43; ana ittishu 7:4; D. Norr, Studi in Onore di Emilio Betti (Milan: Giuffrè, 1961), 3:507ff.
80. Thus Septuagint Judges 19:2 and Akkadian parallels; compare Driver, Die Welt des Orients 1 (1947): 20.
81. Koschaker, "Eheschliessung und Kauf," 211; Paul Koschaker, Journal of Cuneiform Studies 5 (1951): 104; Norr, Studi, 507ff. See also pp. 126–27.
82. Yaron, Introduction, 53.
83. Neufeld, Ancient Hebrew Marriage Laws, 239ff.; Matitiahu Tsevath, "Marriage and Monarchical Legitimacy in Ugarit and Israel," Journal of Semitic Studies 3 (1958): 237ff.; de Vaux, Ancient Israel, 179.
84. De Vaux, Ancient Israel, 180–81.
85. Abraham Freimann, "Widow" (in Hebrew), in Encyclopaedia Miqra'it, 1:363; de Vaux, Ancient Israel, 69; p. 110.
86. See pp. 151–52.
87. This tendency is preserved in the book of Judith 8:4; 16:22.
88. Compare Codex Hammurabi 171; Middle Assyrian Laws A46. The Qara'ites interpreted the passage as Naomi's right to sell her husband's estate in order to draw her marriage portion. Compare also the reference to her children's property, which is explained as a reference to the mother's right of succession.
89. Yaron, Introduction, 71ff. Compare also 2 Maccabees 3:10, and the bequest in favor of the widow in Judith 8:7.
90. Neufeld, Ancient Hebrew Marriage Laws, 23ff.; Mace, Hebrew Marriage, 95ff.; de Vaux, Ancient Israel, 63ff.; Samuel E. Loewenstamm, "Husband's Brother" (in Hebrew), in Encyclopaedia Miqra'it, 3:444; Patai, Family, 82ff. Compare Middle Assyrian Laws A30, 33, 43; Ephraim Neufeld, The Hittite Laws (London: Luzac, 1951), 193; Codex Justinianus 5:5, 8.