Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 42.djvu/351

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MARRIAGE AMONG THE ANCIENT ISRAELITES.

Huldah, a prophetess, is mentioned in II Kings, xxii, 14, and II Chronicles, xxxiv, 12, as being consulted by the high priest and others. After the captivity we do not find women holding any such positions.

We may now claim to have shown that the Israelites passed through our fifth phase, and had a system of descent through mothers before they had one through fathers. We have shown that they had marriage by capture, and marriage in the form of capture, from which we must believe them to have been exogamous. They were certainly not endogamous, for they married foreigners. If they were exogamous, they could not have married in the recognized blood-stock, and we can not find that they married into the maternal blood, though there is abundant evidence that they married into the paternal blood. We find a much stronger tie between brothers and sisters uterine than between brothers and sisters german; some cases in which men are styled the sons of their mothers, and others in which kinship and nationality are distinctly traced through the mother exclusively. It is only after the captivity that it is necessary to show the paternal descent. The system of kinship through females being the simplest, is naturally the first that is established; for kinship depends upon a perception of the unity of blood, and the most obvious and unmistakable case is that between mother and child. Once established, it lingers on, through custom, even after the tie between father and child has been recognized; and in the case of the Israelites it appears to have lasted till about the days of David, at which time they appear to have been in a state of transition,[1] as the Polynesians are now; and, finally, after contact with the Babylonians and Greeks, they effected a change to descent in the male line.

The Hebrew books are stated to have been restored by Esdras, when they had been destroyed by the Chaldeans (II Esdras, xiv, 21, 47), and, according to Eusebius, it is solely to his recollection that we are indebted for the books of the Old Testament. Now, at that time it was necessary for a man who claimed to be of Israel to show his father's house; Esdras was one of those who made this a sine qua non. The change to this system had, as we


  1. The normal course seems to be that the female system of descents is changed for one under which relationships are traced on both sides of the house, and this in turn is replaced by one through males. In the reign of David, relationship was certainly traced on both sides, for we read in II Samuel, xxi, that when it was considered necessary to sacrifice a number of members of Saul's family in order to stay a famine, the persons selected were two sons of Saul and five grandsons. The latter were the sons of Merab, daughter of Saul, by her husband Adriel the Meholathite. The sacrifice of the sons of Saul shows that descent was traced from father to son, and that of Merab's children, that it was also traced from mother to son.