espoused

Matthew 1:18

1:18 espoused. According to Jewish law at the time, the espousal was almost equivalent to marriage, except for the consummation, and could be dissolved only by a legal divorce. Infidelity during that period on the part of the bride might even be punishable by death (Deuteronomy 22:23-24). Joseph, however, was a “just man” (Matthew 1:19), who loved Mary, and was unwilling to have her humiliated even by a public divorce.

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