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Bible Encyclopedias
Dowry

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia

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dou´ri : In all Hebrew marriages, the dowry held an important place. The dowry sealed the betrothal. It took several forms. The bridegroom presented gifts to the bride. There was the מהר , mōhar , "dowry" as distinguished from מתּן , mattān , "gifts to the members of the family" (compare Genesis 24:22 , Genesis 24:53; Genesis 34:12 ). The price paid to the father or brothers of the bride was probably a survival of the early custom of purchasing wives (Genesis 34:12; Exodus 22:17; 1 Samuel 18:25; compare Rth 4:10; Hosea 3:2 ). There was frequently much negotiation and bargaining as to size of dowry (Genesis 34:12 ). The dowry would generally be according to the wealth and standing of the bride (compare 1 Samuel 18:23 ). It might consist of money, jewelry or other valuable effects; sometimes, of service rendered, as in the case of Jacob (Genesis 29:18 ); deeds of valor might be accepted in place of dowry (Joshua 15:16; 1 Samuel 18:25; Judges 1:12 ). Occasionally a bride received a dowry from her father; sometimes in the shape of land (Judges 1:15 ), and of cities (1 Kings 9:16 ). In later Jewish history a written marriage contract definitely arranged for the nature and size of the dowry.

Bibliography Information
Orr, James, M.A., D.D. General Editor. Entry for 'Dowry'. International Standard Bible Encyclopedia. https://www.studylight.org/​encyclopedias/​eng/​isb/​d/dowry.html. 1915.
 
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