At that point, the prospective bride chose to drink
from the second cup, or to let it stay. By drinking
from the cup she signified her acceptance of the
Bridegroom! By letting it sit on the table, she signified
her rejection of the Ketubah.
Once the bride drank from the cup, the Ketubah was forever sealed, and the young couple were known to be Betrothed!
The Betrothal, or "Kiddushin" was not like today's engagement period. It included a one year period in which Jewish men were excused from military service for the express purpose of preparing and building a bridal chamber facility, replete with every provision befitting a Queen.
Compare with John 14:1-3
Let not your heart be troubled; ye believe in God, believe also in me.
In my Father's house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.
And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.
Similarly, Jesus has promised in his Ketubah to come back from his Father's house upon completing a mansion for all Christians, and to fetch us away with him to dwell in his bridal chambers.
The betrothal time, or Kiddushin, for the bride was in actuality a year long time for preparation and demonstration of her purification. The bride always wore a veil whenever she would go out in public, to show that she was out of circulation, and therefore was set apart for marriage to her bridegroom. She was by all accounts considered to have been purchased with a bride-price, and everyone knew she was consecrated to another.
The Hebrew word describing a consecrated bride was, "Kudeshet"; meaning one who is betrothed, and sanctified, or dedicated to another.
The young Kudeshet lived in anticipation of the impending return of her groom. She never knew for sure just when he might appear, so she had to keep constant vigilance. She routinely kept an oil lamp lit in a visible place every night before retiring for bed. Often at night, with the bride unaware; the groom would sneak down to a prominent hill or overlook to see if his bride was burning the midnight oil in his honor.
On some occasions a bridegroom might leave some signal that he had been distantly present, to give assurance to the bride that he was indeed returning someday.
You can no doubt imagine the ecstasy that each would feel, being out of contact for a whole year; when some little signal like the lamp being on, or some personal momento being left out on a distant hill might cause. Undoubtedly there were many very anxious moments during the betrothal year.
The betrothal period also served to give each party time to reflect on the sanctity of their relationship. The groom put forth the extra care to prepare the absolute best environment for his new bride. He had the great wisdom of his father available to guide him and inspect every phase, to ensure that it was being done perfectly. The bride took every precaution to be able to present herself without spot, wrinkle, or any stain of unholiness or blemish; on her wedding day!
Everyone probably will recall that Mary was betrothed to Joseph, and that suddenly during her Kiddushin, the angel appeared to announce that she was pregnant. This would have been the ultimate disaster in this process of purification. And, Joseph, being a carpenter by trade, personifies the aspect of a bridegroom in the construction phase of building a place for Mary.
Just as the nation of Israel would be found impure before the father, so also God was able to sanctify the institution called the Church, and bring it into his family; and also to bring Jesus from Mary and Joseph's dilemma. Someday Israel will enjoy the same purification.
The next step in the Jewish wedding system was called the "Nissuin", or the nuptials. When the father of the bridegroom deemed that the bridal chamber estate was in perfect condition, he would grant his approval for the groom to depart to catch away his bride.
There was great jubilation ringing all throughout the father's estate upon this announcement. Finally, at long last, the bridegroom gathered together all his closest friends and laid out plans for the ensuing trip to actually fetch away his bride!
For the bridegroom, this was his moment!
Typically, the bridegroom took great pains to enact a secret entourage that could effect a travel mission overland at midnight to maximize fully the element of surprise at the very moment he would sound out the blasting of the shofar; to catch away his waiting bride!
The Hebrew word "Nissuin", means to take, or to abduct. The idea was to literally steal his bride away from out of the house. This action was filled with much funfare for the abducters, and was intended to be a romantic thrill for the bride.
All Jewish brides longed to be stolen away by her prince. What a thrill for her, to be snatched up, and carried off into the night by the one who loved her so much; that he was willing to pay the highest price he could pay for her.
John 15:13 Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friend
This is the brideprice that Jesus paid for his bride; the Church!
Upon arrival at the home of the bride, the groom's party would not go into the house. Rather, upon the signal from the groom, the best friend of the groom would sound out a blast on the shofar; the tradition of the blowing of the trumphet.
Then; they would all cry out; "Behold; the Bridegroom Cometh! Come ye out to meet him"!
Matthew 25:6 And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh: "Go ye out to meet him!"
At this point, trying to write, as I sit here crying, tears running down my cheeks; I can't help but ponder about what happened if the young lady didn't come streaking out to meet the young groom.
No doubt all the fanfare and happy feeling built around this moment led to quite a climax. The call has been issued, and then, nobody comes out to greet the groom.
Now suppose the young girl, suddenly appears at her window, only to say, "I am not ready yet; go away and come back later". How would the bridegroom feel in that situation? His friends have all made the long trip with him, only to see him embarrassed by a bride who isn't even keeping watch for him!