Day 24 – The Bridegroom Cometh!
Day 24 The Bridegroom Cometh!
For seven years Jacob had been working, putting together the price of the bride, preparing a place for Sarah in his Father’s house and now he finally heard the words, “Son, Go Get Your Bride!” and would soon hear his friend Hiram call out to Sarah, ‘Behold! The Bridegroom Cometh!’ Running out of his father Ariel’s shop, Jacob practically lost his mind with excitement. He must gather his friends and prepare to go this night…but wait…is everything ready? Jacob went through the list in his mind. Everything is there except fresh wine, food and water; this part of preparation left for the moment when his father would tell him to go get Sarah.
Jacob gathered fresh pitchers of water, the best wine, figs, dates, olives and olive oil, his mother prepared loaves of bread and he took cheeses and lamb and smoked fish from the family storage. Jacob’s grandmother shoved a basket of pomegranates, believed to encourage fertility, into Jacob’s already full arms. Finally, Jacob stood in his marriage chamber checking every detail, oh yes and oil for their lamps. It was all perfect. Jacob’s house was ablaze with activity as his parents sent out invitations to friends and family, the wedding feast would begin tonight and last for 7 days. Jacob’s heart sang. Tonight he would be with his bride.
The Friend of the Groom
Hiram was Jacob’s friend and confidant. The one who had first approached Sarah’s father about the marriage. Hiram had helped to negotiate the price of the bride and it was Hiram who went to Sarah after the attempted kidnapping to reassure her all was well. Jacob sent a message to Hiram; “Gather our friends, tonight we go for my bride!” Hiram excitedly gathered the wedding party, himself and nine of Jacob’s unmarried friends. He was responsible for Jacob’s wedding garment, the Kittel; the same type of robe worn by the priests at Passover. Hiram also retrieved the family marriage crown from Jacob’s grandmother. Tonight, Jacob would be king with priestly garments and a crown and Sarah queen, her body prepared with oils and purified in the mikvah and her head adorned with the veil heavy with a dowry of coins and jewels. Hiram was responsible for the “shofar”, the trumpet to be blown as the group of 10 friends approached Sarah’s father’s home. The friend of the groom had many duties but only those given him by Ariel, the father of the groom.
The Mikvah Cleansing
At dusk Jacob went to the mikvah pool for one last purification bath, a time of solitude and consecration with nothing between Him and His God. This groom would be clean and fresh for his bride in his body, but also in his soul and spirit; fully committed to her in every way. Following tradition, Jacob crossed his arms at his waist and 7 times the groom immersed himself in the water until his head was completely under. Each time as he dipped, Jacob spoke to God, praying a different prayer or scripture over himself, his bride, his future family and thanking God for His blessings. Jacob donned the Kittel and the crown. His friends, rejoicing with Jacob put him on their shoulders and took Jacob in his white robe and crown, to get his bride…like a thief in the night.
Keep Your Lamp Lit, The Bridegroom Cometh!
Hannah heard from Ariel, “tonight Jacob will come for his bride”. It was her job to be sure Sarah was prepared for the marriage and watching for her groom. “Sarah”, do you have enough oil in your lamp to last the night?” Hannah innocently asked the same question every night for 7 years; but tonight, it was hard to keep her excitement intact. Tonight, Sarah’s destiny would be fulfilled as she went to be with her groom. “What about your bridesmaids? Check on them, be sure they too have their lamps ready. Come now, we must go to the Mikvah pool, it is your time. That night, as all other nights, Sarah laid out her wedding garments, lit her lamp and sat at the window watching for her groom. How her heart longed for Jacob to come for her. Her mind was wandering into the future when she heard something, a commotion of some sort. Was it those awful men trying to trick her and kidnap her again? “Hannah!” Sarah shook her maid, “do you hear the noise? It sounds like a wedding party.” Sarah ran to her window, holding up her lamp to see in the darkness.
The Wedding Garments
Hannah quickly jumped up and began to help Sarah with her wedding veil and garments. Sarah’s wedding veil was filled with jewels and coins lovingly stitched inside by her mother, sisters and aunts. These were the only possessions Sarah would take to her new home. The coins and jewels in the veil were provided from the price of the bride paid by Jacob to Sarah’s father Gabriel. These would be put away in her new home as a savings account or insurance should something happen to her groom or should she be put away in divorce. Sarah heard the shofar blow, the loud noise waking everyone within a mile of their home. Then she heard the voice of the friend of the groom, Hiram call out “Behold…the bridegroom cometh!” Jacob stepped out of the darkness to Sarah’s window and before she knew it Sarah and her belongings were whisked up on a wedding carriage with Jacob her groom at her side. Bridesmaids and groomsmen happily led the way to Jacob’s father’s house and a week of honeymoon with her groom.
Jacob’s groomsmen carried Sarah and Jacob on their shoulders, as a king and queen and deposited them under the “huppah” the wedding canopy. According to tradition, Sarah circled Jacob seven times. Her seven circles had many meanings; the seven blessings the Rabbi would pronounce over their marriage. The seven days God used to create the earth and rest signifying this marriage was a new creation.
The seven circles also demonstrated that from this day forward Jacob would be the center of her world.
Just as Joshua and the children of Israel circled Jericho seven times and the walls of Jericho crumbled, Sarah circled her groom to remind them both that their personal walls will come down and they will become one as they share life together. Their allegiances shift from their parents to each other. Jesus said this in Mark 10:6-9
6 But from the beginning of the creation, God ‘made them male and female.’[a] 7 ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, 8 and the two shall become one flesh’; [b] so then they are no longer two, but one flesh. 9 Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate.”
After the ceremony, Jacob and Sarah were greeted by friends and family, his parents and hers. Hannah and Sarah’s sisters and aunts and uncles and cousins mixed with Jacob’s family, gathered around the couple and wished them well. While the wedding guests remained to celebrate their union, Jacob and Sarah entered the private chamber Jacob had so carefully prepared.
Alone at Last
The couple escaped the happy noise of the wedding guests and were suddenly aware that, for the first time in their lives – they were alone and now, after 7 long years they would see each other face to face. Ecstasy and shyness were a strange mix as the marriage cloth was laid on the beautiful bed Jacob had made. This cloth would show that Sarah was indeed a virgin, saving herself for her groom as blood from her body would flow to the cloth.
Sarah freely surrendered to her groom’s passion; marveling at the experience and in a short but amazing moment went from Sarah the bride to Sarah the wife as the marriage was consummated. Sarah’s heart throbbed wildly as Jacob removed her veil and tenderly touched her face. She recalled the Shumalite bride’s words in the Song of Solomon, and softly breathed out to her groom, “kiss me and kiss me again for your love is sweeter than wine.”
Jacob broke from the passionate moment to remember his duty…he must take that marriage cloth, with an issue of blood, and give it to his friend Hiram. Hiram and nine of Jacob’s friends, along with 10 virgins who came with Sarah were waiting outside their private chamber. These were the legal witnesses of Sarah’s virginity. The marriage cloth had been prepared by Sarah’s mother. It was two feet by two feet and had Sarah and Jacob’s names woven into the cloth.
Hiram took the cloth from his friend who quickly shoved it out with a shout of joy and gratitude, rushing back to his love, his bride; not wanting to miss a moment of her sweet love. Hiram and the wedding party gave the blood-stained proof of faithfulness to Sarah’s father who would take it home and store it. In the event a groom would accuse his wife of not being a virgin as a basis for divorce, the blood stained chuppah cloth would prove otherwise, along with the twenty witnesses in the wedding party.
Samuel, Jacob’s father caught the attention of the wedding guests by holding up a glass goblet and shouting Mazel Tov meaning “Success”. He then put the glass on the floor and stomped on it, breaking it with a loud noise. The wedding guests called back Mazel Tov meaning “Your fortune is good”. The marriage was sealed and the 7-day celebration of laughter, food and wine could begin.
Sarah and Jacob clung to each other, content that they had finally reached their destiny. Over the next 7 days the couple was left alone to explore each other body, soul and spirit, to share their past and dream of their future. Jacob and Sarah were one flesh and beginning a new book, the book of Covenant with each other…The Story of Us. And for this cause shall a man leave his father and mother and cling to his wife and the two shall become one flesh. What God has joined together, let no man put asunder.
Learn to live as the Bride of Christ. Dancing Through Life.
About the Author: Celeste Davis, is a passionate follower of Jesus Christ with a heart to walk fully in Covenant with Him. As Founder of The Wellness Workshop, Celeste’s passion is to teach women and impact their families to “Be Nourished” as opposed to dieting or trying different life strategies. We nourish our bodies with God-Made Food, our Souls with God-Made Relationships and our Spirits with the Word of God and Prayer. More Info about Celeste.