A man shall leave.....

There is a verse in Genesis 2, often used in weddings: "Therefore a man shall leave his mother and father, and cleave to his wife". Except that isn't what used to happen. In most traditional societies, including ancient Israel (I believe), the man stays with his parents and the bride is brought in to that family. What am I missing in this verse?

Comments

  • jay_emmjay_emm Shipmate
    My first thoughts are that it's just a male-centric verse, and that there is still enough movement for it to count as leaving even if you stay in the say camp-site/housing complex.
    Even if the woman moves much further, no one is going to be interested in that.

    I don't think we have enough family life (i.e. father-wife interaction) in the bible, to really say much on what the ideal was. If you do you get partial independence, then that kind of works, if you don't then it doesn't.

    Abram&Lot stick with their family after marriage, but eventually leave to go their own way while Sarah sticks with Abram, and Lot's wife.
    Isaac has a wife bought to him and then there is a timeskip?
    Jacob leaves, then gets a wife and cleaves to their family (for a while), but is clearly an exception.
    Naomi's husband is clearly free to move to Moab with his sons, but Ruth and Orphah are clearly living with Naomi.
  • Perhaps it means a man stops being under the immediate governance of his parents, and comes under the immediate governance of his wife. Getting coat.
  • Heh.

    I think it's meant to be a statement of emotional loyalty. If you continue to be primarily loyal and obedient to your parents while putting your spouse in third (or lower) place, your marriage is gonna suck. Regardless of where you actually live.

    I see this all the time in the Vietnamese immigrant culture, where children are so often strongly encouraged to keep their family of origin loyalty before their family-of-marriage loyalty. This is true for both males and females. It never works out well.
  • CrœsosCrœsos Shipmate
    There is a verse in Genesis 2, often used in weddings: "Therefore a man shall leave his mother and father, and cleave to his wife". Except that isn't what used to happen.

    Even more critically, that's not what happened in Genesis 2! Adam did not "leave his father and mother". He had neither. Earlier in the same chapter we're told about him being "formed . . . from the dust of the ground". We're left with instructions that don't really seem to really follow from anything in the story as told, so of course we feel like we're missing something.
  • EutychusEutychus Shipmate
    Crœsos wrote: »
    We're left with instructions that don't really seem to really follow from anything in the story as told, so of course we feel like we're missing something.
    I think the instruction is less to do with who or what one is leaving than with who one is becoming one flesh with.

    What it says to me is that the spouses form a new social unit in which each is the other's "suitable help" or as one of my favourite French versions has it, a vis-à-vis.

    What is consistent between the two consecutive verses is obviously not the parents left behind, since neither Adam nor Eve are portrayed as having any, but the couple being formed, with all the recognition and embracing of an equal "other" and all the outworkings of that.

    That's the central point of Adam meeting Eve, parents or no parents, and in the mind of the writer of those verses, of subsequent couples too.
  • CrœsosCrœsos Shipmate
    Eutychus wrote: »
    What is consistent between the two consecutive verses is obviously not the parents left behind, since neither Adam nor Eve are portrayed as having any, . . .

    Arguably Adam is Eve's mother, since she came out of his body.
    Eutychus wrote: »
    but the couple being formed, with all the recognition and embracing of an equal "other" and all the outworkings of that.

    Are they portrayed as "equal"? I'd argue not. We have Adam accepting Eve, but Eve's opinion is unexpressed. Whatever she might have thought about the arrangement is apparently irrelevant to the author of Genesis.
  • There was a matrilocal marital pattern for some of them. Man leaves father's home and goes to live with wife's family.
  • tclunetclune Shipmate
    There was a matrilocal marital pattern for some of them. Man leaves father's home and goes to live with wife's family.

    This discussion calls to mind the old joke, "What do you call a musician without a girlfriend?"
    Homeless.
  • EutychusEutychus Shipmate
    Crœsos wrote: »
    Are they portrayed as "equal"? I'd argue not.
    The word usually translated "suitable" in English in Genesis 2:18 apparently means "in front of, in sight of, opposite to[, hence the French translation "vis-à-vis".

    There's no doubt Genesis comes amid a background of patriarchy, but as you yourself once noted on these boards in respect of Zelophehad's daughters, there are plenty of components built in to the text that make a non-patriarchal interpretation perfectly legitimate.
  • I once was witness to a sermon (at a wedding service no less) where the preacher was rhyming everything he could find with "cleave." And drawing out the words so you realized he was rhyming.

    A man must leeeeeave his parents, and cleeeeeave to his wife, or he will bereeeeeave his wife (and so forth).
  • That makes me want to heeeeeeave.
  • That makes me want to heeeeeeave.

    :killingme:
  • I trust the preacher was able to achieve a weave of “conceive” into the sermon, just for the naive.
  • mousethiefmousethief Shipmate
    edited October 19
    I have successfully repressed 95% of the memory of that sermon. I remember little of the service, as we got there late. We thought we were an hour early but neglected to take into account the time zone change (driving from Chicago to Detroit). And the wedding perversely started on time.
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