21. Shechem, when negotiating with Jacob and his sons for Dinah, says, "Ask me never so much dowry and gift, and I will give according as ye shall say unto me." Gen. xxxiv. 11, 12. David purchased Michal, and Othniel, Achsah, by performing perilous services for their fathers. 1 Sam. xviii. 25—27; Judg. i. 12, 13. That the purchase of wives, either with money or by service, was the general practice, is plain from such passages as Ex. xxii. 17, and 1 Sam. xviii. 25. Among the modern Jews this usage exists, though now a mere form, there being no real purchase. Yet among their marriage ceremonies, is one called "marrying by the penny." The coincidences in the methods of procuring wives and servants, in the terms employed in describing the transactions, and in the prices paid for each, are worthy of notice. The highest price of wives (virgins) and servants was the same. Comp. Deut. xxii. 28, 29, and Ex. xxii. 17, with Lev. xxvii. 2—8. The medium price of wives and servants was the same. Comp. Hos. iii. 2, with Ex. xxi. 32. Hosea seems to have paid one half in money and the other half in grain. Further, the Israelitish female bought servants were wives, their husbands and masters being the same persons. Ex. xxi. 8, Judg. xix. 3, 27. If buying servants proves them property, buying wives proves them property. Why not contend that the wives of the ancient fathers of the faithful were their "chattels," and used as ready change at a pinch; and thence deduce the rights of modern husbands? Alas! Patriarchs and prophets are followed afar off! When will pious husbands live up to their Bible privileges, and become partakers with Old Testament worthies in the blessedness of a husband's rightful immunities! Refusing so to do, is questioning the morality of those "good old patriarchs and slaveholders, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob."
This use of the word buy, is not peculiar to the Hebrew. In the Syriac, the common expression for "the espoused," is "the bought." Even so late as the 16th century, the common record of marriages in the old German Chronicles was, "A bought B."
The word translated buy, is, like other words, modified by the nature of the subject to which it is applied. Eve said, "I have gotten(bought) a man of the Lord." She named him Cain, that is bought. "He that heareth reproof, getteth (buyeth) understanding," Prov. xv. 32. So in Isa. xi. 11. "The Lord shall set his hand again to recover (to buy) the remnant of his people." So Ps. lxxviii. 54. "He brought them to this mountain which his right hand had purchased,"