The local paper, here in the Gulf, is in a crusading mood. It reports on a 20-year-old Indian woman marrying an 80-year-old Saudi sheikh, referring to it—in a news story, mind—as “an endless circle of exploitation.”
Really? Let’s look at historical precedents. Muhammad married Ayesha when she was about nine and he was around 54. That’s the Prophet Muhammad, founder of the Muslim faith.
Perhaps, however, Christians are inclined to scoff, that this showed earthly failings on his part. Then consider Mary and Joseph. Recently, I was in Turkey, and had the chance to see some of the earliest surviving Christian mosaics. They regularly show Joseph as an old man with grey beard and hair and grown sons, while, by tradition, Mary was fourteen when they married. It stands to reason: otherwise what happened to Joseph? For he disappears from the Bible account by the time Jesus has grown up.
Jews? Look up Abishag. Or note the following words of the Song of Songs, that is Solomon’s: “We have a little sister, and she hath no breasts: what shall we do for our sister in the day when she shall be spoken for?”
An endless circle of exploitation indeed.
The prejudice against age differences in marriage is apparently a modern one, and apparently just that, a prejudice. Is it any more creditable to be opposed to marriages that are intergenerational than against marriages that are interracial?