Vol. 7, No. 5
Since You Asked
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Names may be included at the discretion of the Editor unless querists request their names be withheld. Please check our Archive for the answer to your question before submitting it; there are over 1,000 articles in the Archive addressing numerous biblical topics. Submit a Question to GGO.
What was the average age of women in the Bible to give birth? What was the average age of marriage in the Bible?
In biblical times among faithful children of God, marriage preceded producing offspring. Further, God's people valued children to the extent that given good physical health by both prospective parents, children typically entered marriage as early as nine months after the marriage. Part of paragraph three of my Editorial for Gospel Gazette Online in February 2003 spoke to marriage ages for biblical Jews.
Also, under Judaism, boys could marry or make religious vows at 14-years-old and girls at 12-years-old, both only with parental permission, which parental permission was required until both boys or girls were 21-years-old ("Adult Age," McClintock and Strong Encyclopaedia).
Still further, excerpts from my book, Biblical Companions, briefly addresses ancient, biblical marriage customs.
Ancient marriages were usually arranged between the oldest male family members within the same group or family clan (Genesis 27:46-28:2). This guaranteed the future existence of the overall group and preservation of culture and values. Girls were given in marriage when they were old enough to bear children, whereas men married when they either received their inheritance or obtained their own resources. It was also common for the groom to give a dowry, or purchase his wife from his future father-in-law. In the case of Jacob, since he evidently had no such dowry, he indentured himself to his father-in-law in exchange for his wives (Genesis 29:15-21). (Rushmore)
During the first century, however, it appears to have been the general rule that young people who were "of age" could arrange their own marriages. A girl was considered of age at twelve years and one day. The Jewish rabbis set the minimum age for marriage at twelve years for the girl, and thirteen years for the boy. A boy should certainly be wed by the time he was eighteen to twenty. Betrothal was a vital part of marriage in biblical times. Once a young man had chosen his prospective bride, and she had consented (if of age), a formal declaration of marital intent was made in the presence of two witnesses. The couple was then betrothed. The betrothal period was fixed by law. For a maiden, it was from ten months to a year; for a widow, three months. From the time of her betrothal until the marriage actually took place, a woman was treated as if she were actually married. The betrothal could not be dissolved except by divorce; breach of faithfulness was regarded as adultery. (Jackson)
When the day for the marriage arrives, the bridegroom with some of his friends goes to the house of the father-in-law, and receives the bride. She is brought with much parade to the bridegroom's home, where a feast is prepared, of which the guests partake with a great deal of boisterous merriment. (McGarvey)
Judaism prohibited marriage between Israelites and non-Israelites (Deuteronomy 7:3-4; Ezra 10:10-14). One purpose of this prohibition was to segregate God's people from heathens who would lead them into idolatry. Another reason for restricting these marriages was to preserve the family tree of Abraham until Old Testament prophecies concerning the Messiah could be fulfilled through Jesus Christ. (Rushmore)
Anciently in biblical times, girls often married at or shortly following puberty, and boys usually married sometime between puberty and their latter teen years. Given the emphasis on family anciently, children often were born to a marriage consequently within the year following marriage.
Jackson, Wayne. Background Bible Study. Montgomery: Apologetics Press, 1986.
McGarvey, J.W. Lands of the Bible. Nashville: Gospel Advocate, 1966.
Rushmore, Louis. Biblical Companions: Geography, Archaeology & Sacred History. Cameron: Louis Rushmore, 2000.
Do you believe that water saves you or the death and accepting Jesus Christ as your only Lord and Saviour? I have always had trouble understanding why people just don't believe in the Word of God rather then man? Dosen't the Bible teach us that "all men are liers and God is Spirit and Truth." If this is the truth then why don't people believe it rather then MAN? One verse does not reveal the truth of His Word. You have to have the complete truth within your heart then the truth will set you free. Amen! ~ Jimmy Vouras
Christian baptism is not all there is to salvation, but it is a part of salvation according to the New Testament. Further, the New Testament portrays Christian baptism as the point at which one's sins are removed after he has believed the Gospel (John 8:24), repented of sins (Luke 13:3) and professed Jesus to the be Son of God (Acts 8:37).
Do you believe 1 Peter 3:20-21? "Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water. The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ."
Do you believe Jesus (Mark 16:16)? "He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned."
Do you believe Acts 2:38? "Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins..."
Do you believe Acts 22:16? "And now why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord."
"All the counsel of God" (Acts 20:27) is essential respecting any Bible subject, including salvation. The Truth (John 8:17) or Gospel (Romans 1:16) that Jesus brought to earth from heaven (John 1:17) will make one free from sins when it is obeyed (Hebrews 5:8-9; 2 Thessalonians 1:7-9).