Old Testament Readings
1) From the Book of Genesis 1:26-28, 31
(Male and female, He made them)
Then God said, “Let us make humankind in our image, according to our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the wild animals of the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth.”
So God created humankind in his image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the air and over every living thing that moves upon the earth.” God saw everything that he had made, and indeed, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.
2) From the Book of Genesis 2:18-24
(And the two become one flesh)
Then the LORD God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper as his partner.” So out of the ground the LORD God formed every animal of the field and every bird of the air, and brought them to the man to see what he would call them; and whatever the man called every living creature, that was its name. The man gave names to all cattle, and to the birds of the air, and to every animal of the field; but for the man there was not found a helper as his partner.
So the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and he slept; then he took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh. And the rib that the LORD God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man. Then the man said, “This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; this one shall be called Woman, for out of Man this one was taken.” Therefore a man leaves his father and his mother and clings to his wife, and they become one flesh.
3 ) From the Book of Genesis 24:48-51, 58-67
(Isaac brought Rebekah into his mother Sarah’s tent)
Then I bowed my head and worshiped the LORD, and blessed the LORD, the God of my master Abraham, who had led me by the right way to obtain the daughter of my master’s kinsman for his son. Now then, if you will deal loyally and truly with my master, tell me; and if not, tell me, so that I may turn either to the right hand or to the left.”
Then Laban and Bethuel answered, “The thing comes from the LORD; we cannot speak to you anything bad or good. Look, Rebekah is before you, take her and go, and let her be the wife of your master’s son, as the LORD has spoken.” And they called Rebekah, and said to her, “Will you go with this man?” She said, “I will.”
So they sent away their sister Rebekah and her nurse along with Abraham’s servant and his men. And they blessed Rebekah and said to her, “May you, our sister, become thousands of myriads; may your offspring gain pssession of the gates of their foes.” Then Rebekah and her maids rose up, mounted the camels, and followed the man; thus the servant took Rebekah, and went his way.
Now Isaac had come from Beer-lahai-roi, and was settled in the Negeb. Isaac went out in the evening to walk in the field; and looking up, he saw camels coming. And Rebekah looked up, and when she saw Isaac, she slipped quickly from the camel, and said to the servant, “Who is the man over there, walking in the field to meet us?” The servant said, “It is my master.” So she took her veil and covered herself. And the servant told Isaac all the things that he had done. Then Isaac brought her into his mother Sarah’s tent. He took Rebekah, and she became his wife; and he loved her. So Isaac was comforted after his mother’s death.
4) From the Book of Tobit 7:6-9,12-14
( “I entrust her to you as your wife.")
Raguel leapt to his feet and kissed him and wept. Then, finding words, he said, “Blessings on you, child! You are the son of a noble father. How sad it is that someone so bright and full of good deeds should have gone blind!” He fell on the neck of his kinsman Tobias and wept. And his wife Edna wept for him, and so did his daughter Sarah. Raguel killed a ram from the flock, and they gave them a warm welcome. They washed and bathed and sat down to table. Raguel called for his daughter Sarah, took her by the hand and gave her to Tobias with these words, “I entrust her to you; the law and the ruling recorded in the Book of Moses assign her to you as your wife. Take her; bring her home safe and sound to your father’s house. The God of heaven grant you a good journey in peace.” Then he turned to her mother and asked her to fetch him writing paper. He drew up the marriage contract, and so he gave his daughter as bride to Tobias according to the ordinance of the Law of Moses. After this they began to eat and drink.
5) From the Book of Tobit 8:4-8
(Together they said, “Amen, Amen,” and lay down for the night)
The parents meanwhile had gone out and shut the door behind them. Tobias rose from the bed, and said to Sarah, “Get up, my sister! You and I must pray and petition our Lord to win his grace and his protection.” She stood up, and they began praying for protection, and this was how he began:
You are blessed, O God of our fathers; blessed too is your name for ever and ever. Let the heavens bless you and all things you have made for evermore. You it was who created Adam, you who created Eve his wife to be his help and support; and from these two the human race was born. You it was who said, ‘It is not right that the man should be alone; let us make him a helper like him.”
And so I take my sister not for any lustful motive, but I do it in singleness of heart. Be kind enough to have pity on her and on me and bring us to old age together. And together they said, “Amen, Amen,” and lay down for the night.
6) From the Book of Tobit 8:13-21
(Grant them mercy and protection)
In the morning the maid opened the door and went in. She found the two fast asleep together; and she came out again and whispered, “all is well.” Then Raguel blessed the God of heaven with these words: You are blessed, my God, with every blessing that is pure; may you be blessed for evermore! You are blessed for having made me glad. What I feared has not happened, instead you have shown us your boundless mercy. You are blessed for taking pity on this only son, this only daughter.
Grant them, Master, your mercy and your protection; let them live out their lives in happiness and in mercy. He called Tobias and said, “I will not hear of your leaving here for a fortnight. You are to stay where you are, eating and drinking, with me. You will make my daughter happy again after all her troubles. After that, take away a half of all I have, and take her safe and sound back to your father. When my wife and I are dead you shall have the other half.
7) From the Song of Songs 2:6-14
("Arise, my love, my fair one, and come away")
"O that his left hand were under my head, and that his right hand embraced me! I adjure you, O daughters of Jerusalem, by the gazelles or the wild does: do not stir up or awaken love until it is ready! The voice of my beloved! Look, he comes, leaping upon the mountains, bounding over the hills. My beloved is like a gazelle or a young stag. Look, there he stands behind our wall, gazing in at the windows, looking through the lattice."
My beloved speaks and says to me: "Arise, my love, my fair one, and come away; for now the winter is past, the rain is over an gone. The flowers appear on the earth; the time of singing has come, and the voice of the turtledove is heard in our land. The fig tree puts forth its figs, and the vines are in blossom; they give forth fragrance. Arise, my love, my fair one, and come away."
He says: "O my dove, in the clefts of the rock, in the covert of the cliff, let me see your face, let me hear your voice; for your voice is sweet, and your face is lovely."
8) From the Book of Sirach 26:1-4, 13-16
(A good wife in her well-ordered home)
Happy is the husband of a good wife; the number of his days will be doubled. A loyal wife brings joy to her husband, and he will complete his years in peace. A good wife is a great blessing; she will be granted among the blessings of the man who fears the Lord. Whether rich or poor, his heart is content, and at all times his face is cheerful.
A wife’s charm delights her husband, and her skill puts flesh on his bones. A silent wife is a gift from the Lord, and nothing is so precious as her self-discipline. A modest wife adds charm to charm, and no scales can weigh the value of her chastity. Like the sun rising in the heights of the Lord, so is the beauty of a good wife in her well-ordered home. Like the shining lamp on the holy lampstand, so is a beautiful face on a stately figure. Like golden pillars on silver bases, so are shapely legs and steadfast feet.
9) From the Book of Jeremiah 31:31-34
(I will be their God, and they shall be my people)
The days are surely coming, says the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah. It will not be like the covenant that I made with their ancestors when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt—a covenant that they broke, though I was their husband, says the LORD.
But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the LORD: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. No longer shall they teach one another, or say to each other, “Know the LORD,” for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, says the LORD; for I will forgive their iniquity, and remember their sin no more.
10) From the Book of Proverbs 31:10-13, 19-20, 30-31
(A woman who is to be praised)
A capable wife who can find? She is far more precious than jewels. The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will have no lack of gain. She does him good, and not harm, all the days of her life. She seeks wool and flax, and works with willig hands. She is like the ships of the merchant, she brings her food from far away. She rises while it is still night and provides food for her household and tasks for her servant girls. She considers a field and buys it; with the fruit of her hands she plants a vineyard. She girds herself with strength, and makes her arms strong. She perceives that her merchandise is profitable. Her lamp does not go out at night. She puts her hands to the distaff, and her hands hold the spindle. She opens her hand to the poor, and reaches out her hands to the needy.
She is not afraid for her household when it snows, for all her household are clothed in crimson. She makes herself coverings; her clothing is fine linen and purple. Her husband is known in the city gates, taking his seat among the elders of the land. She makes linen garments and sells them; she supplies the merchant with sashes. Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she laughs a the time to come. She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue. She looks well to the ways of her household, and does not eat the bread of idleness.
Her children rise up and call her happy; her husband too, and he praises her: "Many women have done excellently, but you surpass them all.” Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised. Give her a share in the fruit of her hands, and let her works praise her in the city gates.
11) From the Book of Ecclesiastes 4:7-11
(Better together than alone)
Again, I saw vanity under the sun: it is the case for solitary individuals, without children or kindred; yet there is no end to all their toil, and their eyes are never satisfied with riches. “For whom am I toiling," they ask, “and depriving myself of pleasure?" This also is vanity and chasing the wind.
Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up the other; but woe to one who is alone and falls and does not have another to help. Again, if two shall sleep together, they keep each other warm; but how can one keep warm alone? And though one might prevail against another, two will prevail against one.