Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 42.djvu/343

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MARRIAGE AMONG THE ANCIENT ISRAELITES.

companions to be with him"—that is to say, they brought thirty men to represent the party of the bridegroom in the form of capture, the bringing being necessary in Samson's case because he had none of his own people with him. One of these thirty acted as leader, or best man, and Samson's wife was afterward given to him (verse 20)—a proceeding quite in accordance with existing practices among some people who marry with the form of capture.

We find a clear case of marriage with the form of capture in connection with the civil war with the tribe of Benjamin. The remnant of Benjamin, six hundred in number, who survived the war, were all men. There were no women left, and as the other tribes had sworn that they would not give their daughters in marriage to the men of Benjamin, there was a prospect of that tribe becoming extinct. In this dilemma the tribes attacked Jabesh-gilead and captured four hundred women, who were handed over to Benjamin; but, as this left two hundred men still unprovided for, they contrived the following plan: A yearly festival was held at Shiloh, at which it was customary for the girls to come out and dance. So they instructed the men of Benjamin to lie hid in the vineyards, and when the girls appeared each man was to seize one and carry her off. So it was done, and in this way the tribes kept the letter of their oath and evaded the spirit. They did not give their daughters to Benjamin, but they connived at their being carried off with the form of capture (Judges, xxi).

The Israelites thus had both marriage by capture de facto and marriage with the form of capture, and in the former article we showed that they had once been polyandrous. Now we know that marriage by capture is in its origin due to a scarcity of women, though it is persevered in through custom after that scarcity has ceased to exist. Likewise, polyandry, the marriage of one woman to two or more men, only exists where women are less numerous than men. Consequently, since the Israelites had both these practices, there must have been a period in their history when women were fewer in number than men, and experience and observation all over the world have shown that such a disparity can only be brought about by female infanticide. We conclude, therefore, that the Israelites passed through our second, third, and fourth phases, and will now proceed to see if they also passed through the fifth.

From the fact of their having been polyandrous and having married by capture, we should infer that they must, at the period when these were the normal types of marriage, have had a system of kinship through females. If there were two or more husbands to one wife, the father of a given child could not be determined;