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What was the bridal week? (Genesis 29:27)

Context:  26 Laban replied, “It is not our custom here to give the younger daughter in marriage before the older one. 27 Finish this daughter’s bridal week; then we will give you the younger one also, in return for another seven years of work.”

28 And Jacob did so. He finished the week with Leah, and then Laban gave him his daughter Rachel to be his wife. 29 Laban gave his servant Bilhah to his daughter Rachel as her attendant. 30 Jacob made love to Rachel also, and his love for Rachel was greater than his love for Leah. And he worked for Laban another seven years.

Genesis 29:27

ESV - 27 Complete the week of this one, and we will give you the other also in return for serving me another seven years.

Clarify Share Report Asked September 24 2019 Mini Jack Gutknecht

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Mini Tim Maas Retired Quality Assurance Specialist with the U.S. Army
This is not the only reference in the Bible to this custom. In Judges 14:12-17, there is a similar reference to the wedding feast of Samson lasting seven days. My understanding as to the origin of this length is that, prior to the marriage (although not in the case of Jacob and Rachel) there may not have been any personal contact at all in that culture between the bride and the groom (as in the case of "arranged" marriages), and certainly no contact of a romantic or sexual nature. The seven days were therefore intended as a period for the man and woman to privately "bond" as husband and wife, and then to formally present themselves as a married couple.

The closest corresponding modern custom would be the "honeymoon" period following a wedding (although modern brides and grooms would almost certainly not have had -- or observed -- the same restrictions on their contact with each other prior to their marriage).

September 24 2019 1 response Vote Up Share Report


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