Day 2 The Price of The Bride
Villagers stopped and whispered as the two men and the boy walked the road to Sarah’s fathers home; on their way to accept the “price of the bride”. Jacob could have any girl in the village…why would he choose Sarah?
Even Jacob’s father wanted to be sure…”son they ask a very high price for Sarah, are you sure you want to commit yourself to this girl? She may not be as productive as some of the other girls in the village, after all”….Jacob did not hesitate, “yes it is a high price father, but Sarah is worth it, and I would gladly pay more. Sarah is the one for me.”
The Price of the Bride
This was not a way for fathers to sell their daughters for profit…it was actually a way to provide for them. The bride’s family would take the payment made and use it to purchase valuable coins and jewels which were then sewn into the wedding veil and garments. Jewish custom dictated that the bride’s clothing always belonged to her. The wedding garments, which contained “price of the bride” provided a financial back up plan for the bride in the case of divorce or tragedy.
Sarah’s father knew Sarah would need extra help if such a horrible circumstance were to happen; she could not do the hard work a widow or divorced woman would have to do to support herself. To be sure Sarah was provided for, her father set the “price of the bride” unusually high.
Jacob must give the equivalent of three years income to marry Sarah. In addition Jacob’s father would guarantee Sarah would always have a dwelling suitable for a member of his household and her needs would be provided, even if the marriage ended in divorce or Jacob’s death.
Jacob would work very hard for the next few years to earn “The Price of The Bride”. It would take another year to prepare the bridal chamber in his father’s house. Once the marriage supper was over Jacob and Sarah would build their own dwelling on his father’s property.
Sarah’s heart raced as her father told her the news. “I have reached an agreement with Jacob’s father. You will be his wife. He is paying a very high price for you, I required it to be sure you are well provided for. We will complete the “Keturah”, or “marriage covenant contract” next week. You must be sure you are willing to honor him as your husband, for he is paying a very high price.” Sarah threw her arms around her father’s neck. Thank You Father! I am humbled to be chosen by such a fine man. I choose to honor him and our covenant.” “You give it serious consideration.” her father replied, “When you drink the “cup of acceptance” you must be completely sure, with no doubts, you will never be able to give yourself to another.”
The Ketubah, The Marriage Covenant
No doubts indeed. Once a couple was betrothed, “The Price of The Bride” negotiated, the Ketubah signed and the Cup of Acceptance shared the marriage was final. There was no pre-marriage “break-up”, even though the marriage had not been consummated. The only way out was divorce which was unusual, dishonoring to the groom and socially and financially devastating to the bride. Careful consideration must be given.
The Ketubah was a written contractual agreement detailing “price of the bride” and the conditions of the marriage. The Ketubah contained the promises the groom was making to the bride and the brides rights and privileges in the marriage. It promises the groom will provide food, housing, clothing and all the wife’s needs. The document stated that the groom would be completely truthful with the bride.
The Ketubah required Sarah to be “set apart”, and cover her face with a veil in public. She would now be know as “one bought with a price“. The veil would be worn in public until after the marriage was consummated. Then Sarah would be identified as Jacob’s bride.
In addition Sarah agreed to keep her lamp lit every night. She must be ready to leave with her groom at a moments notice. Neither the bride or groom know when that day will come, it is completely up to the father of the groom to decide when the bridal chamber is ready for the bride and all preparations are adequate.
Jacob’s promises to Sarah went beyond just basic provision after they were married. He provided a ring to show she was betrothed and he left her with a helper. “Sarah, I will be gone many years, probably at least four years, preparing for our life together. I am leaving you a helper, Hannah, my own maid servant. She will be your helper, your comfort in my absence and teach you the skills you need for our life together. She knows me as my own mother, you will be well prepared for our life together.” Sarah’s heart melted; this was the essence of Jacob, tender and caring, always going above and beyond.
The “Price of the Bride” paid by Jacob was even more amazing given Sarah’s condition…you see Sarah was crippled from birth with a withered foot. The village tongues wagged as they watched the most eligible bachelor pay handsomely for the least likely bride. Sarah had an amazing ability to do almost as much as a person with full function of their body. She was known for her incredible perseverance and joyful attitude, however, she would always require special considerations throughout her life.
Honor God – Respect “The Price of the Bride”
You and I were “bought with a price”, Jesus Christ suffered torture, pain and a humiliating death for His bride. He the perfect human and God in the flesh chose us, crippled by our flesh and always needing special considerations in life. Isaiah 53:5 reminds us
- Jesus hands and feet were pierced with nails and his side pierced with a sword to pay for our rebellion.
- Jesus was crushed for our acts of injustice and unfairness.
- The punishment that brought us peace with God was on him.
- We are healed because of the beating he took on our behalf.
The Mindset of Honor
When we enter into relationship with Jesus Christ we are the betrothed Bride of Christ. Like Sarah, we must give careful thought to entering into relationship with this bridegroom. We must be sure we do not have “eyes for another”, or a heart turned away from Him. We must see ourselves and allow ourselves to be known as “one set apart”. To do any less would dishonor the amazing price he paid. This is the mindset of Honor. To give respect worthy of the sacrifice made for us with our attitudes and our actions.
Honor God – Be Ready
Just as Sarah was required to keep her lamp lit every night and always be ready to go, we must also live with the awareness our Bridegroom will return at any time; we must be ready to go. Just as Jacob told Sarah he was going to his father’s house to prepare a place for her.
Jesus said in John 14:2-3, Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me. 2“In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. 3“If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also.…
Jacob would come and get Sarah when HIS father felt the proper preparations were made. The grooms return was completely up to his father.
Jesus said in Matthew 24:36 “However, no one knows the day or hour when these things will happen, not even the angels in heaven or the Son himself. Only the Father knows.
We Have A Helper, The Holy Spirit
Jacob went above and beyond and left Sarah a helper from his family to comfort her, teach her and counsel her.
Jesus said in John 14: 16-17 16“I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; 17that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you.…
A Life of Honor
Seeing myself as “the betrothed of Jesus Christ” creates a new filter for my thoughts, my words, my attitudes, my actions. Is this attitude towards another honoring God? Are my words and actions honoring God? Does the way I keep my body honor God? I am veiled, I should be recognized as “one set apart”. People should see in me “the mark of God”. This is not a legalistic constraint but rather a hopeful perspective…a joyful anticipation of a bride.
Now when I take communion I look at the bread that represents the body of my groom. The body who paid “The Price of The Bride” with beatings, rejection, piercing and death. I thank Him:
- For allowing himself to be wounded for my transgression. Transgression means rebellion.
- For being bruised, in his whole body, for my iniquities…my injustices and unfairness.
- For paying a debt He did not owe with His body that I might live in peace.
- That His wounds paid for my healing. I accept His healing…to not do so would be to cheapen the sacrifice He made for me.
- Next we will look at The Cup of Acceptance
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 heart 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