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Now Sarai, Abram’s wife, had borne him no children. But she had an Egyptian slave named Hagar; so she said to Abram, “The LORD has kept me from having children. Go, sleep with my slave; perhaps I can build a family through her.” Abram agreed to what Sarai said.Genesis 16:3-4

Is that a marriage?

“It’s not our custom here to marry off a younger daughter ahead of the firstborn,” Laban replied. “But wait until the bridal week is over, then we’ll give you Rachel, too–provided you promise to work another seven years for me.” So Jacob agreed to work seven more years. A week after Jacob had married Leah, Laban gave him Rachel, too. Genesis 29:26

Is that a marriage?

“Amram married his father’s sister Jochebed, who bore him Aaron and Moses. Amram lived 137 years.” Exodus 6:20

Is that a marriage?

“When you go out to war against your enemies, and the Lord your God gives them into your hand and you take them captive, and you see among the captives a beautiful woman, and you desire to take her to be your wife, and you bring her home to your house, she shall shave her head and pare her nails. And she shall take off the clothes in which she was captured and shall remain in your house and lament her father and her mother a full month. After that you may go in to her and be her husband, and she shall be your wife. But if you no longer delight in her, you shall let her go where she wants. But you shall not sell her for money, nor shall you treat her as a slave, since you have humiliated her.” Deuteronomy 21:10-14

Is that a marriage?

“And David took more concubines and wives from Jerusalem, after he came from Hebron, and more sons and daughters were born to David.” 2 Samuel 5:13

Is that a marriage?

And Pharisees came up to him and tested him by asking, “Is it lawful to divorce one’s wife for any cause?” He answered, “Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.” They said to him, “Why then did Moses command one to give a certificate of divorce and to send her away?” He said to them, “Because of your hardness of heart Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so. And I say to you: whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery.” Matthew 19:3-9

Oh, ok, so that’s a marriage.

So all the other marriages in the Old Testament automatically become invalid right? And we should probably burn the Old Testament…just to be safe? Or at least excise those passages from our biblical canon, because it might confuse some people…

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Marriage, like music, is a lot of things.

Since none of us agree, and no one is forcing you or anyone else into any strange definition of marriage, how about we let God punish us for getting the definition wrong, and not other humans?

Oh, I forgot the punch line!

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The disciples said to him, “If such is the case of a man with his wife, it is better not to marry.” Matthew 19:10

Those disciples. So pessimistic. They need Jesus in their lives.