Dowry (מֹהִר, mo'har, prop. price paid for a wife, Ge 34:12; Ex 22:17; 1Sa 18:25; זֶבֶד, ze'bed, a gift, Ge 30:20; φερνή, 2 Macc. 1:14). Nothing distinguishes more the nature of marriage among us in Europe from the same connection when formed in the East than the different methods of proceeding between the father-in-law and the intended bridegroom. Among us, the father usually gives a portion to his daughter, which becomes the property of her husband, and which often makes a considerable part of his wealth; but in the East the bridegroom offers to the father of his bride a sum of money, or value to his satisfaction, before he can expect to receive his daughter in marriage. The sum which the bridegroom was required to pay to the father of his bride as a nuptial present or dowry was to be according to the rank she sustained, and such as the fathers of virgins of the same rank were accustomed to receive for their daughters. Of this procedure we have instances from the earliest times. When Jacob had nothing which he could immediately give for a wife, he purchased her by his services to her father Laban (Ge 29:18; Ge 30:20; Ge 34:12; 1Sa 18:25; Ex 22:16-17; Jos 15:18; Ho 3:2). (See Senkenberg, De juribus dotium, Giessen, 1729; Walch, De privilegio dotis Judaece, Jena, 1785.) SEE MARRIAGE.

Bible concordance for DOWRY.

Definition of dowry

See also the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia.

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