The second step in "The Biblical Theme of The Bride" is that of establishing a Bride Price (a dowry). The purpose of the Bride Price is to compensate the family for raising the young lady and losing her productive labor as a grown woman. In other words, she is "purchased", bought and paid for, and is now owned by the Husband. In ancient agricultural cultures, children were a means of family income and production, meaning that they produced or worked for the well being and existence of the family. To give up a child to marriage was a serious loss of potential income to the family.
Kings sent gifts to Abram for Sarah, because they were told she was his sister (she was his half-sister); she was also his wife.
Genesis 12:15 - "And he entreated Abram well for her sake: and he had sheep, and oxen, and he asses, and menservants, and maidservants, and she asses, and camels."
Jacob works for Laban, Rachel's father, as the bride price for Rachel.
Genesis 29:18 - "And Jacob loved Rachel; and said, I will serve thee seven years for Rachel thy younger daughter."
Jacob then serves a second seven years, because he was not given Rachel. This is the first period of trouble in Jacob's life, that lasts seven years. The second comes in his old age, when the seven years of famine force his family to move to Egypt where Joseph had been sold into slavery. The "time of Jacob's trouble" is a period of seven years and mean Tribulation.
Jeremiah 30:7 - "Alas! for that day is great, so that none is like it: it is even the time of Jacob's trouble, but he shall be saved out of it."
The story of Hamor and Shechem and Dinah is a very interesting one. Not only does it speak strongly of the Bride Price, but there are other comparisons as well. The sons of Jacob force the circumcision on everyone, and go out to kill them, just as the Jews killed Jesus Christ and the early Christians, and the legalizers tried to force the circumcision on the Christians in the New Testament. Shechem, like Jesus Christ, ends up being killed for his beloved, Dinah.
Genesis 34:12 - "Ask me never so much dowry and gift, and I will give according as ye shall say unto me: but give me the damsel to wife."
Genesis 34:26 - "And they slew Hamor and Shechem his son..."
Genesis 34:31 - "And they said, Should he deal with our sister as with an harlot."
Finally, the sons of Jacob said Dinah was made into a harlot, to excuse their actions. There is a very interesting parallel with this... Jesus preached:
Matthew 21:31 - "Whether of them twain did the will of his father? They say unto him, The first, Jesus saith unto them, Verily I say unto you, That the publicans and the harlots go into the kingdom of God before you."
David, did not have money to give as a Dowry to Saul, so King Saul asked for something else instead..
1st Samuel 18:25 - "And Saul said, Thus shall ye say to David, The King desireth not any dowry, but an hundred foreskins of the Philistines, to be avenged of the king's enemies. But Saul thought to make David fall by the hand of the Philistines."
2nd Samuel 3:14 - And David sent messengers to Ishbosheth Saul's son, saying Deliver me my wife Michal, which I espoused to me for an hundred foreskins of the Philistines."
The book of Ruth is a beautiful love story; of how Boaz is a kinsman redeemer (as Jesus is our redeemer) of Naiomi and Ruth's inheritance which had been sold. He buys back their land, and Ruth as well.
Ruth 4:10 - "Moreover Ruth the Moabitess, the wife of Mahlon, have I purchased to be my wife, to raise up the name of the dead upon his inheritance, that the name of the dead be not cut off from among his brethren, and from the gate of his place: ye are witnesses this day."
Other Bride Price Examples:
1st Samuel 17:25 - "And the men of Israel said, Have ye seen this man that is come up" surely to defy Israel is he come up: and it shall be, that the man who killeth him, the king will enrich him with great riches, and will give him his daughter, and make his father's house free in Israel."
Joshua 15:16 - "And Caleb said, He that smiteth Kirjathsepher, and taketh it, to him will I give Achsah my daughter to wife."
Joshua 15:17 - "And Othniel the son of Knaz, the brother of Caleb, took it: and he gave him Achsah his daughter to wife."
Hosea 3:1 - "Then said the LORD unto me, Go yet, love a woman beloved of her friend, yet an adulteress, according to the love of the LORD toward the children of Israel, who looks to other gods, and love flagons of wine."
Hosea 3:2 - "So I bought her to me for fifteen pieces of silver, and for, and for an homer of barley, and an half homer of barley:
Hosea 3:3 - "And I said unto her, Thou shalt abide for me many days; thou shalt not play the harlot, and tho shalt not be for another man: so will I also be for thee."
These examples show that the dowry or Bride Price is, indeed, a practice of God's people, and is found throughout the Bible: Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, David, Saul, Ruth, Caleb, Hosea, etc.
Jesus Christ gave His life for His Bride to purchase and redeem and buy us.
Acts 20:28 - "Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood."
Ephesians 5:25 -"Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;"
1st Peter 1:18 - "Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers;"
1st Corinthians 6:20 - "For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's."
Matthew 13:44 - Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto treasure hid in a field; the which when a man hath found, he hideth, and for joy thereof goeth and selleth all that he hath, and buyeth that field.
Galatians 3:13 - "Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is everyone that hangeth on a tree:"
Galatians 4:5 - "To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons."
Revelations 5:9 - "And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by the blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation;"
In the next post "Biblical Theme of The Bride -6" we will look at the "Consent" process.