“Who gives this woman?”

I frequently note just how far the “traditions of men” — particularly when it comes to Caesar’s 501c(3) State-created ‘church’ — has departed from what is actually Written, just as our Savior so frequently illustrated by His teachings as well as His actions.  But every now and again, a tradition comes to mind which actually (well, at least before it became “PC”) has a basis in Scripture.

When it comes to marriage, and ‘divorce’ (as opposed to mere ‘putting away’, or shalach, in the original Hebrew) there is more than enough tradition and false teaching in the ‘Church’ to completely muddy the waters, and perhaps even illustrate why Paul condemned the doctrine of “forbidding to marry” in I Timothy 4:1-3.  A careful reading of what the Word actually says (and in this, as in everything else, Yahushua was UTTERLY consistent with Himself!) will clear up the confusion, however.  And at least one remnant of tradition actually helps that understanding.

Do you remember the phrase which is often traditionally used in marriage ceremonies, just before the time when a father walks his daughter down the aisle and to the groom at the altar?

“Who gives this woman to be wed?”

This tradition is one of those with a truly Biblical history; it traces directly to Numbers 30 (a favorite chapter of mine ;) ) and the explicit authority of a man over the vows of his wives and daughters. Since a man may void, or annul, the vows of his daughter while she is under his authority, it makes sense that that transfer of such authority would be explicitly observed.

This tradition shows that a father is giving his God-given authority over his daughter to her new husband.

Now I ask the question:

What is a certificate of divorce, as outlined by YHVH in Deuteronomy 24:1 and 3 as an explicit part of the proper and complete process for lawfully sending a wife out of his house?

Is it not yet another explicit transfer of authority? A woman who has been lawfully and completely “put away” is now responsible for HER OWN vows, and has no husband in headship over her. With such a certificate, as a believer, she is eligible for remarriage; without it, she is not – and is guilty of adultery for joining with any other man while her husband yet lives.*

Likewise, if that husband puts her away unlawfully, then HE, as her covering, is guilty of adultery for what he has done to her (as Matthew 5:32, properly translated, makes clear).

“Who gives this woman to be wed?”

If she was ever married, her certificate of divorce is lawful proof that her former husband does!


*  Note one other important thing, as both Numbers 30:15, Matthew 5:32, and many others make clear.  If a husband puts away his wife treacherously, then HE bears her guilt.  He “causes her” to commit adultery!

About mark

Semi-retired electronic engineer, turned author and lecturer; occasional radio talk show host, and motivated Torah/Bible teacher. Also an avid private pilot (Private, ASEL, Inst), radio amateur, scuba diver, and aspiring sailor.
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3 Responses to “Who gives this woman?”

  1. Ester says:

    This goes to show how ABBA expects the responsibilty He has given to men,
    and His followers, not to simply utter any vow, or even idle word, carelessly, with disregard to their Maker, and Redeemer.
    Reference to Num 30 is wonderful.
    Thank you.

  2. Shelley Keylor says:

    Wow. This just clicked. Discussed with a brother about Mark 10:12: “And if a woman divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery.” He was adament that a divorced woman ( even if divorce was biblical due to adultery) was commiting adultery if she remarried. Will refer him to Num 30 and your comments.

    Thank You.

  3. Shelley Keylor says:

    How does he bear her guilt? How is that applied? Mat 5:32 “…whoever divorces his wife for any reason except sexual immorality causes her to commit adultery” Does this apply to husbands or wives only? What many other passages makes this clear?

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