PART TWO: Eyrusin The second stage of the marriage, the betrothal, second aspect
2) Ketuvah At the time of betrothal, a ketuvah, a written notice of intentions, would be presented to the bride and her father by the groom and his father. This ketuvah clearly defined the agreed upon conditions of the covenant being entered. Specifically it detailed the bride price and the other conditions of the marriage.
The ketuvah was much more than the marriage license we acquire today to authorize our legal unions. This contract was initiated by the groom obligating him to his bride. The legal document detailed the groom’s responsibilities to his wife including his promise to serve, support and sustain his bride and denying himself for her good.
In a culture that predominately viewed women as property, the document accompanied a monetary obligation in the case of a divorce as well. The ketuvah elevated the woman to a valued companion in life emphasizing the protection of the wife and her welfare in the Jewish community.
Today the contracts are still written in Aramaic and elaborately decorated on high quality parchment. The ketuvah is signed by the groom and two witnesses and preserved by the bride. Tradition held that the bride remained in her father’s house for one year until the wedding, but they were considered man and wife at the signing of the contract.
The bride had no conditions or obligations in the contract, but received and held her husband’s commitment as a gift. She only need remain pure until the designated marriage feast at which time the groom would arrive to gather his bride to himself.
The bride at this point had a choice to make. She could accept the ketuvah, or she could walk away. The servant presented his case:
Genesis 24:49 "'Now then, if you are going to show steadfast love and faithfulness to my master, tell me; and if not, tell me, that I may turn to the right hand or to the left.'" [ESV]
Here again is that swirl of currents, God's sovereign will and humankind's genuine free will: God had chosen Rebekah for Isaac, and yet Rebekah was also presented with a choice to make.
As the servant related his story, Rebekah was given an opportunity to observe him closely: a man of integrity, a man of faith and serious intent, his words could be trusted and God was blessing him with clear guidance and success.
In the same way the Bible states that once you and I are presented with the Gospel, we have a choice to make: to accept Jesus' offer of salvation from the penalty of sin, to be joined with Him in eternal life, love and be loved by Him forever in heaven, or to reject Him and remain under God's wrath over sin. The Holy Spirit is at work, enlivening your heart to the winsomeness of Christ, and at the same time you are given the choice to make.