es-pouz'-al, es-pouz': In the King James Version these words, following English usage of an earlier day, are used to signify either marriage or betrothal, while the American Standard Revised Version discriminates, and uses them only for marriage. For example, in 2Sa 3:14, "I espoused to me" (Hebrew 'erasti li) becomes "I betrothed to me." So also, in Mt 1:18; Lu 1:27; 2:5 which refer to the relation between Joseph and Mary before the birth of Jesus, "espoused" (mnesteuo) becomes "betrothed." On the other hand, "espoused" is retained in Song 3:11 ("the day of his espousals"--that is, day of marriage); in Jer 2:2 ("the love of thine espousals"--that is, the love of married state); and in 2Co 11:2 ("I espoused (hermosamen) you to one husband").
E. J. Forrester