‘I will not enter the house of anyone who clings to licentiousness, corruption or immoral acts.’

The aim of prenuptial agreements was to promote harmony between couples, usually by establishing rights for the bride beyond her basic entitlements in marriage. From this lengthy example, we can see that the bride Faiza’s future husband, Toviyya son of Eli, had a reputation for bad behaviour. Toviyya was forced to make a series of promises about his future conduct after marriage. In the presence of witnesses, he declares that he will avoid mixing with the wrong sort, for the purposes of ‘eating, drinking or anything else’. He also states that he will not spend one night away from Faiza, unless she wants him to, and that he will not even buy himself a slave girl, unless Faiza agrees.

Egypt, 1047 CE

Hebrew, paper

T-S 20.160