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Wedding

WEDDING (Gr. gamos). An event regarded in Scripture as the ceremony by which a man and a woman were joined together as husband and wife and legally entitled to form a separate family unit. The betrothal was a significant, binding, legal commitment for the forthcoming marriage (Deut.20.7), a commitment that could be broken only by death or divorce. At the time of the betrothal, gifts of jewelry (which were often made of gold set with semiprecious stones) would be presented to the girl and sometimes to her mother, and, depending on the society, the bride price, dowry, or contract would also be exchanged. After the invention of coinage it became increasingly common for gold coins to form part of the betrothal gifts. During the period of the betrothal, which normally lasted for one year, the girl was already deemed to belong to her future husband, and the punishment for any man who violated her sexually was death by stoning.