But if any man think
This some understand of a man that is engaged, or betrothed to a virgin, and protracts marriage, who may use his prudence in consummating it, if he pleases, for any thing the apostle has said to the contrary: but it is better to understand it of a parent, or one that has the care and guardianship of virgins; if such an one is of opinion,
that he behaveth himself uncomely towards his virgin:
by exposing her to contempt and reproach, in retaining her at home, and not giving her in marriage when at proper age for such a state; it being reckoned reproachful to be at, or past the age of marriage, or to be in years, and not married; or by so doing lay her under temptation to do that which is uncomely, to commit fornication, which would be uncomely, both to him, and to her; and such a tendency has living in a single state, contrary to inclination. The apostle may have respect to a Jewish tradition founded upon the supposed sense of ( Leviticus 19:29 ) "do not prostitute thy daughter to cause her to be a whore" F19.
``Says R. Eliezer, this is he who marries his daughter to an old man. Says R. Akiba, (who was contemporary with the apostle,) this is he who detains his daughter at home when she is marriageable.''If she pass the flower of her age;
that is, one that is arrived to years of maturity, is ripe for marriage, and is what the Jewish doctors call (trgb) ; who, according to them, was one of twelve years and a half old F20, at which age virgins were judged fit to marry: hence that saying of theirs F21
``if thy daughter, (hrgb) , "is ripe", or come to the flower of her age, make thy servant free and give her to him.''Moreover, according to their canons, such an one was no longer under her father's power; for so runs the canon F23,
``(hrgbv Nwyk) "when she is at the flower of her age", she is no more under her father's power:''her father cannot make void her vows, though a husband can F24:
and need so require:
that she be given in marriage to a man; if she has not the gift of continence; if she is in danger of falling into the sin of fornication, and the father or guardian are sensible of this:
let him do what he will, he sinneth not;
he is under no obligation by what the apostle had said to detain her in a single life; he may give her in marriage if he pleases: he may
do what she will,
as it may be rendered; comply with her inclination and desire in marrying her to some person; in doing which, neither he nor she will break any law of God, and so not sin therein:
let them marry;
let parents marry their children when this is the case; let the young men and young women marry who are so disposed; there is no reason why they should not; there is nothing contrary to it in the word of God, nor in the advice of the apostle; nay, according to him, it was much better to marry than to burn, or to be exposed to any snare and temptation.
F19 T. Bab. Sanhedrin, fol. 76. 1.
F20 Maimon. Hilchot Ishot, c. 2. sect. 2.
F21 T. Bab. Pesach. fol. 113. 1.
F23 Misn. Nidda, c. 5. sect. 7.
F24 Misn. Nedarim, c. 10. sect. 2. T. Bab. Nedarim, fol. 70. 2. Maimon. Hilch. Nedarim, c. 11, sect. 7.