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In Matthew 24:38 What is the difference between marrying and giving in marriage in this passage.

It appears that the passage is talking about two types of marriages.

Matt 24:38 - For as in those days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until that day Noah entered into the ark

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    Pleonasm is a common ancient linguistic feature of redundancy in phrases or saying. hermeneutics.stackexchange.com/questions/43399/…
    – Michael16
    Commented Apr 18, 2023 at 16:26
  • Matt. 22:30; 24:38; Mk. 12:25; Lk. 17:27; 20:35 Are the references for this case.
    – Betho's
    Commented Apr 18, 2023 at 17:07
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    Men marry. Women are given in marriage. Men take the initiative and approach a family. The family responds (if they and the woman are so inclined) and they 'give' the woman to the man. The man 'takes' the woman. (This, all, in civilised God-fearing societies, of course.)
    – Nigel J
    Commented Apr 18, 2023 at 17:30
  • That may sound foreign to us, but that was the terms of the 1st century.
    – Perry Webb
    Commented Apr 19, 2023 at 0:50
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    @Betho'sAnother reference in the N.T. is 1 Corinthians 7:38. "He that giveth her in marriage..." Note the modern ceremony: "Who giveth this woman to be married to this man?" (Her mother and I.) To the questioner, these are NOT two types of marriage. But the same one.
    – ray grant
    Commented May 30, 2023 at 20:25

3 Answers 3

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Just as "eating and drinking" are two parts of the one act of partaking of a meal, so "marrying and giving in marriage" are two parts of the one ceremony of marriage.

That is, to create a marriage -

  • the bridegroom marries the bride
  • the parents of the bride give her in marriage

Both acts are required (in Bible times at least) to create a marriage. We see the same expression elsewhere such as Gen 29:26, Josh 15:16, Judges 1:12, 3:6, 21;1, 7, 1 Sam 17:25, 18:17, Ezra 9:12, Neh 10:30, Neh 13:25, Dan 11:17, Matt 22:30, Mark 12:25, Luke 17:27, 20:35, 1 Cor 7:38, etc.

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The expression "marrying and giving in marriage" in MT 24:38 (KJV, et al.) is translated from the words seen in several early-to-mid-fourth (4th) century CE Greek language biblical manuscripts, namely Sinaiticus (01), Vaticanus (03), Bezae Cantabrigiensis (05), and Washingtonianus (032, aka "Freer Gospels").

The Greek word γαμουντες (gamountes, marrying) is in all of the above named manuscripts, and also in all reputable Greek New Testaments (GNTs). But there are variations in spelling (variant spellings) of the Greek word translated as "giving in marriage"; specifically:

1: codices 01 and 05 spell that word γαμιζοντες, as explained above;
2: codex 03 spells that word γαμισκοντες (*gamiskontes*), and
3: codex 032 spells it εκγαμισκοντες (*ekgamikontes*).

Nevertheless, each of those variant spellings were translated into English as "giving in marriage," even though some GNTs spell the word the same as 01 and 05, but others as 032.

Also, both of the Greek words for "marrying" and "giving in marriage" are masculine nouns. For this reason, "marrying and giving in marriage" is better read as men marrying wives and men getting engaged to marry wives.

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Two Types of Marriage? The impetus of Jesus statement is not to differentiate between two actions, or two types of marriage; but to point to the fact that life times will be normal when the Second Coming occurs, so there will be no warnings...no signs...no harbingers. The two phrases are merely two different ways to speak of holy matrimony. Marrying, and getting engaged to be married.

This was the condition of society when God came in judgment in Noah's day. There was no date affixed to when the flood would occur. People were carrying on everyday activities---such as marrying---as usual. They were also eating and drinking every day, which was also a normal societal activity. (24:38)

Such it will be at the Second Coming of Jesus. (See Hebrews 9:28) This is confirmed by the Apostle Peter:

But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat... (2 Peter 3:10)

And Peter added, that because of this, we should be diligent that you may be found of Him in peace, without spot, and blameless. (2 Peter 3:14)

Sudden Appearance Reason One minister has suggested an important reason for this sudden appearance by referencing the modern Football games. When the game is about to end, there is a "two minute warning". But if Jesus gave a two minute warning, people would live like the devil until they saw the warning, and then hastily repent to make it to heaven. This warning would precipitate a hollow, insincere Christian salvation.

But God is not stupid. He knows the mind of man, and the hearts of people. A sudden Second Coming eliminates that evil scenario.

Normal Deeds By the way, "eating and drinking" does not refer to anything evil or bad at the Second Coming. Recall that it was said in the Gospels that Jesus "came eating and drinking." (And during the reign of King Solomon God had blessed the nation with "eating and drinking.")

And there is no evil connotation in "marrying." Marriage is honorable. (Hebrews 13:4) Notice that Jesus gave a parable about a wedding in the illustration of the Five Wise and Five Foolish Virgins (25:1-13) If weddings and marriages were considered evil, He would not have ventured to give such an illustration.

But Jesus ended that illustration with the oft repeated admonition Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of Man (Jesus) comes.

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