All About Mary

Betrothal: Meaning in Luke

Q: Can you provide some information regarding the term betrothal as used in Lk 1:27?

A: Betrothal: The first part of the two part process of Jewish marriage, which creates the legal relationship without the mutual obligations. In Hebrew it is called: kuddushin (sanctification). Kiddushin is far more binding than an engagement as we understand the term in modern English. Once kiddushin is complete the women is legally the wife of the man. The relationship created by kiddushin can only be dissolved by death or divorce. However the spouses do not live together at the time of the kiddushin, and the mutual obligations created by the marital relationship do not take effect until the nisuin is complete. The nisuin (elevation) finalizes the marriage process. The husband brings the wife into his home where they begin their married life together.


From the Glossary of Jewish Terminology. (For further research http://www.jewfaq.org/glossary.htm#B)

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