As we discovered last week in our Pronouncing YHWH Correctly article on the Third Commandment, the proper spelling and pronunciation of the Tetragrammaton is Yahweh. Throughout this article, Yahweh will be used wherever scripture uses YHWH.
The Wedding Vows
The first seventeen verses of Exodus Chapter 20 give us what is commonly known as the Ten Commandments – a Marriage Covenant, also known as the Marriage Ketubah – an expectation of the behavior that describes a person’s behavior once they are married. The terms and conditions of the Ketubah were written in Exodus 20:1-17 and repeated in Deuteronomy 5:6-21. An interpretation of these Ketubah “commands” as wedding vows is below:
Commandment One: א “I am Yahweh your Elohim, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the abode of slavery.”
The expression, “took . . . to be his wife”, is used throughout scripture to describe a marriage and the attendant ceremony and taking of vows. Yahweh has just vanquished all of the Egyptian gods, whom he calls “other lovers”, then brings the Hebrews out to Mount Sinai, and says in effect: “Remember what I’ve done for you. Put me first. Have no other lovers (gods) before me, for I have taken you to be my bride.” Yahweh is clearly described as the Hebrew’s true husband (Exodus 19:5-6). The Hebrews are clearly described as taking Yahweh as her husband at Mount Sinai (Jeremiah 2:2). In the same way, Yeshua is the true husband of the Bride of Christ.
Commandment Two: ב “You are to have no other gods before me.”
Yahweh then says in effect: “Now that I’m your number one lover, don’t dwell on your former lovers. In fact, don’t make statues of them, don’t keep paintings of them on your walls, don’t listen to them, don’t even talk about them!”
Commandment Three: ג “You are not to take the name of Yahweh your Elohim in vain, because Yahweh will not leave unpunished someone who uses his name in vain.”
Yahweh then says in effect: “When you take my name as your name, don’t do it lightly or in vain.” Originally, this commandment was interpreted to mean one was not to use Yahweh’s name as a name by which one swore an oath, especially a wedding oath. Yahweh’s name simply was not used in conversation to avoid the risk of violating the commandment. Instead, words such as Ha’Shem (The Name H8034 שֵׁם) or Adonai (H136 אֲדֹנָי) were used, and it soon became taken to mean that one should not use the sacred name frivolously or irreverently, either.
Commandment Four: ד “Remember the Shabbat, to set it apart as holy for Yahweh.”
Yahweh then says in effect: “Spend quality time with me. Let’s meet together every Sabbath and get to know each other more intimately.”
Commandment Five: ה “Honor your father and mother, so that you may live long in the land which ADONAI your God is giving you.”
Yahweh then says in effect: “Have respect for your parents and each other.”
Commandment Six: ו “Do not murder.”
Yahweh then says in effect: “Don’t murder each other. Life is precious and is not to be taken.”
Commandment Seven: ז “Do not commit adultery.”
Yahweh then says in effect: “Don’t take other lovers and commit adultery with them – I am your true husband.” It is only in this physical life that Yahweh allows a man to have a wife and a woman to have a husband. In essence, the seventh commandment states: “I, Yahweh allow each man to have only one woman as his lover until your physical body becomes a spiritual body. Likewise, women, I allow each woman to have only one man as her lover until your physical body becomes a spiritual body.” Once we are resurrected, and are given our spiritual, immortal, incorruptible bodies, we are no longer given nor taken in marriage. When we are resurrected, we will have only one “husband” – Yahweh/Yeshua.
Commandment Eight: ח “Do not steal.”
Yahweh then says in effect: “Don’t take each other’s belongings. I will supply all your needs.”
Commandment Nine: ט “Do not give false evidence against your neighbor.”
Yahweh then says in effect: “Don’t lie or tell each other tall tales. Speak only the truth.”
Commandment Ten: י “Do not covet your neighbor’s house; do not covet your neighbor’s wife, his male or female slave, his ox, his donkey or anything that belongs to your neighbor.”
Yahweh then says in effect: “Don’t crave another’s spouse, possessions or servants. I will supply all your needs.”
Commandment Three, Expanded
Exodus 20:7, Deuteronomy 5:11 – “You shall not take the name of YHWH your Elohim in vain.”
In a Jewish wedding ceremony, once the groom had established and paid the purchase price for the bride he would then offer the Cup Of Covenant to his prospective bride, thereby pledging his life to and for his bride. If the bride accepted this promise, she would then drink of the cup confirming that she, too, would pledge her life to and for her betrothed. This was never done lightly or frivolously – from this point on the bridegroom and bride-to-be were considered married, and all the covenants, privileges, and duties of a fully married couple applied.
Today, when a couple enters into a marriage they typically bind themselves to each other with a an oath; “I take you to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death do us part, according to God’s holy ordinance; and I pledge myself to you.”
When the woman marries the man she typically takes the man’s last name as her own, a symbol of the oath she has just sworn – to admit he has won her heart from all other suitors, to have no other lovers, to do so solemnly and not lightly nor in vain. Likewise, the man leaves his father and his mother, and binds himself to bride: they become one flesh (Genesis 2:24). Neither is he to do so frivolously or in vain. Sounds very similar to the first three commandments, does it not?
The Ten Commandments are a written testimony to the sacrament of marriage and are a joy and a gift of love from a husband to his wife, and from a wife to her husband. The taking of marriage vows is a solemn event. The third petition of the Ketubah reminds everyone to do so solemnly, not on a whim, frivolously, lightly, or in vain. Doing so on a whim is not a proper way to enter into a marriage – neither with a human spouse, nor especially with Yahweh, our Elohim.
Final Thought for 2023
The stage for Yeshua’s return is being set. Prophecy continues to unfold in an escalating pattern as foretold by the Hebrew prophets. The season of the birth pains is here – they are burgeoning and not going away. Time is short – Yeshua Ha’Mashiach is coming soon – be sure you have salvation in Yeshua and keep busy reaching the lost.