From the beginning, the revelation of the One God to Abraham begins to affect his view of marriage. Abraham was now living among the Canaanites who were idolaters. So, he sends his servant back to Haran to find a wife for Isaac among his relatives. Why? Because Abraham did not want Isaac to marry woman who worshipped pagan gods and he knew that his relatives were inclined to worship the true God. Abraham realized that marriage with a Canaanite woman would influence the faith of Isaac, on the other hand, he did not want Isaac to visit his relatives because he might be tempted to remain with them. Abraham wanted descendants who would be faithful to God, who would one day inherit the land of Canaan promised by God. Even to our day, marriages of mixed faith lack that unity which can only come by sharing the same belief in God.
The servant was a man of piety relying on God's providence to choose a woman of character. So he prayed to God thus: "O LORD, the God of my master Abraham, please grant me success today, and show loving kindness to my master Abraham. ... now may it be that the girl to whom I say, 'Please let down your jar so that I may drink,' and who answers, 'Drink, and I will water your camels also'--may she be the one whom You have appointed for Your servant Isaac...." (Gn 24:12,14) And so it happened.
see the same propensity to marry with people of the same faith In the book of
Tobit. He tells his son Tobiah,
"... marry a woman of the
lineage of your forefathers. Do not marry a stranger who is not of your father's
tribe, because we are sons of the prophets. My boy, keep in mind Noah, Abraham,
Isaac, and Jacob, our fathers from of old: all of them took wives from among their
own kinsmen and were blessed in their children. Remember that their posterity
shall inherit the land."
The marriage analogy is often used in the Old Covenant to express the relationship of love and infidelity between the LORD and Israel. Ezekiel describes Israel adorned by God like a woman with fine robes and jewelry, but Israel acts like an adulteress using her wealth e.g., gold and silver to make idols. Israel, he writes "You adulteress wife, who takes strangers instead of her husband!" (Ez 16:32) 3 He continues, "Thus I will judge you like women who commit adultery or shed blood are judged; and I will bring on you the blood of wrath and jealousy." (Ez 16:38) God's love for Israel became poetically expressed in terms of human love in the Song of Solomon. Marriage in the Old Covenant was sacred because it signified and was lived within the community of belief in the true God, a people chosen by God as his own.
What was the nature of God's Covenant with Israel? It was not a mere human agreement which could be broken if both parties agreed. Many times Israel became unfaithful to God. This did not break the Covenant but brought about God's punishment which is an enforcement of the relationship between God and Israel. "lt is ... within the light of the covenant, that the meaning of creation becomes evident. Creation is not prior to the covenant, but the product of the God's covenantal offer of grace. Marriage and the whole of creation reflect this covenantal structure." (Daniel Hauser, Marriage and The Christian Life, University Press of America, Inc., MD, 2005, p. 94)
In God's providence, the marriage covenant of Biblical times we now understand as a prefiguration of the marriage between Christ and his Church.
In Jewish marriage customs, the first step was the Betrothal. The groom went to the bride's home to negotiate and pay the price. Once the price was paid, the young man and woman were considered husband and wife. She was now consecrated or set aside exclusively for the groom. "As a symbol of the covenant relationship that had been established, the groom and bride would drink from a cup of wine over which a betrothal benediction had been pronounced." Next, the groom went back to his father's house, where, for the next 12 months prepared a place for them to live. Third, the groom returned at night to get the bride. She did not know precisely the time of his arrival but it was announced by shouts. The groom took his bride veiled back to his father's house where the physical union took place in the bridal chamber. Finally, seven days of festivities would follow and on the seventh day the groom would present his unveiled bride to the wedding guests.
the relationship of Christ with his Church, we find a parallel with the Jewish
Marriage tradition. Christ came from his Father's House (Heaven) to earth in order
to establish a new covenant with his people. At the Last Supper Christ shared
with his apostles a cup of wine and said, "This
cup is the new covenant in my blood" (1
Cor. 11:25). This was His way of saying that He would establish
a new covenant through the shedding of His blood on the cross." This is the
price he paid for his bride the Church. St. Paul speaking to the Church in Corinth
wrote, "For I am jealous of you with the jealousy
of God, since I betrothed you to one husband to present you as a chaste virgin
to Christ." (2Cor 11:2)
Just as the
bridegroom left his bride to return to his father's house to prepare a place for
her, so Christ returned to his Father's House (Heaven) to prepare a place for
us. He said, "In
my Father's house there are many dwelling places. If there were not, would I have
told you that I am going to prepare a place for you?
(Jn 14:2) Again,
as the groom returned to take his bride, Christ will return to unveil his bride's
beauty at the end of time. We read in Revelation, "Let
us rejoice and be glad and give him glory. For the wedding day of the Lamb has
come, his bride has made herself ready. She was allowed to wear a bright, clean
linen garment." (The linen represents the righteous deeds of the holy ones.)"