‘If a man has recently married, he must not be sent to war or have any other duty placed on him. For one year he is to be free to stay at home and bring happiness to the wife he has married.’ (Deuteronomy 24:5)
This was actually the second instance of Scripture I noticed in my reading of Deuteronomy where allowance was made for the priority of marriage over the duties of a soldier (cf. Deuteronomy 20:7).
But, what strikes me particularly about this verse is the latter half. In a completely patriarchal society, one would expect for the exhortation to be ‘so that his wife can bring him happiness’ – but instead, the opposite is being commanded. Why do you think this is the case?
To me, it reveals that the idea of marriage being created for the enjoyment of both husband and wife is not a new man-made (or ‘woman’-made) idea. I think the tendency in that society was for the men to live like it was all about them (If we read all the stories about the patriarchs/men of the Bible, it would seem that they made all the decisions – wise ones for their families and also not-so-wise-ones to save their own neck or to satisfy their desires and make themselves happy – even to take more than one woman (slave/concubine), even though that wasn’t how God wanted things.), so, in light of that, perhaps God needed to spell it out plainly that it was important to him that the husbands sought after bringing happiness to their own wives.
What do you think?