Treatise in the Mishnah, the Tosefta, and in the Babylonian and Jerusalem Talmuds. In the Mishnaic order of the Seder Nashim, Ketubot stands second. It is divided into thirteen chapters, containing in the aggregate 101 paragraphs, of which the following is a synopsis:
- Ch. i.: Wednesday is the appointed wedding-day for virgins, and Thursday for widows (§ 1); the amount of the settlement is 200 zuzim if the bride be a virgin on her wedding-day, and 100 zuzim in other cases (§§ 2-4); in the case of the marriage of a priest's virgin daughter the amount of the ketubah is fixed by the court of the priests at 400 zuzim (§ 5); the credibility of a woman regarding her ownstatement as to the loss of her virginity (§§ 6-7); whether a woman may be believed concerning the lineage of the man with whom she has had intercourse or concerning the paternity of her child (§§ 8-9).
- Ch. ii.: How far the ceremonies observed at the wedding of a virgin serve as evidence when she comes to demand her ketubah (§ 1); credibility of those who declare an act to be invalid or annulled by another in case the act in question is known only through their own statements (see Miggo; §§ 2-5); credibility of those who testify to their own or to one another's advantage (§§ 6, 7, 9); credibility of a witness in regard to priestly descent (§ 8); cases in which adults may be trusted to testify to what they saw when they were minors (§ 10).
- Ch. iii.: Punishments for seduction of a virgin (Ex. xxii. 15-16) and for assault on one (Deut. xxii. 25 et seq.); the classes of women to which the laws contained in Deut. xxii. 28-29 are applicable (§§ 1-3); difference between a seducer and one who commits assault (§§ 4-6); method of estimating the fine (§ 7); certain civil laws varying with the age of the victim (§ 8); how far punishment is reducible by voluntary confession (§ 9).
- Ch. iv.: To whom the fine belongs (§§ 1-2); of the female proselyte (§ 3); rights of a father; rights and duties of a husband (§ 4); when the husband's duties begin (§ 5); duties of the husband to the wife or her heirs; what belongs to the widow and her daughters after the death of the husband and father, even when there is no distinct provision (§§ 6-12); differences in the form of the ketubah adopted respectively by the people of Judea and by the Galileans (§ 12).
- Ch. v.: Additions made by the husband to the minimum amount of the ketubah, mentioned above (§ 1); the time to be allowed the woman wherein to prepare for the wedding (§§ 2-3); extent of the control of the husband over the earnings of his wife, and whether he may assign them to the Temple (§ 4); what work must be performed by the wife, since it is considered advisable that she have some employment lest idleness lead her to an evil life (§ 5); the mutual duties of husband and wife in their conjugal and other relations (§§ 6-9).
- Ch. vi.: To what extent a husband is entitled to share in money belonging to his wife, whether earned by work or acquired by inheritance (§ 1); the wife's dowry; the responsibility of the husband for the dowry brought to him is decided by the custom of the land (§§ 2-4); dowry of a daughter (§§ 5-7).
- Ch. vii.: The following are grounds for the dissolution of marriage: vows, certain diseases, faithlessness to the marriage vow on the part of the wife (§§ 1-8); by transgression of certain Mosaic laws or Jewish customs, the wife forfeits all rights to her ketubah (§ 6); cases in which marriages may be annulled in consequence of the sickness or disreputable status of the husband (§§ 9-10).
- Ch. viii.: Property of the woman before and during wedlock, and the rights of the husband over it (§§ 1-5); of the rights of the man over the property of his deceased brother's widow with whom he has contracted a levirate marriage (§§ 6-7).
- Ch. ix.: How the husband may surrender his rights to his wife's possessions (§ 1); rights of the wife to property left by her husband, and the cases in which she must take oath that she has not received her ketubah (§§ 2-8); cases in which the wife may obtain her ketubah without showing her bill of divorce (§ 9).
- Ch. x.: Laws applicable to cases where the husband dies and leaves more than one wife.
- Ch. xi.: Rights of the widow to property of the heirs (§ 1); right of the widow to sell, pawn, or give away her ketubah (§§ 2-4); cases in which sales by auction are invalid (§ 5); what women have no claims to the ketubah (§ 6).
- Ch. xii.: The rights of an adopted daughter (§§ 1-2); right of a widow to remain in her husband's house or to be supported in her father's house by her husband's heirs (§ 3); cases in which the requirements of the ketubah lapse.
- Ch. xiii.: Opinions and maxims of Admon and Hanan, judges of Jerusalem (§§ 1-9); cases in which the wife is obliged to follow her husband to foreign lands; superiority of the land of Israel over other lands, and of Jerusalem over the other cities of Palestine (§§ 10-11).
The Tosefta contains much which serves to illustrate and supplement the Mishnah. Especially noteworthy is its description of the ancient marriage customs of Judea and Galilee (i. 4), the peculiar mode of betrothal in Alexandria (iv. 9), and the plan of Simeon b. Sheṭaḥ to make divorces more difficult (xii. 1).
Both Gemaras discuss and explain the statements of the Mishnah, and contain, moreover—especially the Babylonian Gemara—a mass of stories, legends, aphorisms, and proverbs, as well as other important haggadic interpretations and comments.Maxims and Haggadot.
The following passages from Ketubot may be cited: "When impure words are spoken, close thine ears" (5b); "He who useth impure speech will forfeit all the rewards of his life" (8b); "The creditor need not keep the paid bill" (19b); "Thou shouldest have neither a savage dog nor a broken stairway in thy house, lest people come to harm" (41b); "'His righteousness endureth for ever' (Ps. cxii. 3) refers to him who learns the Torah and teaches others, and to him who has books and lends them to his felḷow students in order to make their study easier" (50a); "Do not act as judge in the case either of thy friend or of thine enemy, for thy sentiments will not allow thee to be just to both" (105b); "It were better to submit thyself to the torture of a death by fire than to cause shame to thy neighbor in public" (67b).
Special mention should also be made of the enumeration of the benedictions customary at a wedding (7a-8b), of the Hebrew words of consolation (8b), of the catalogue of the ordinances which were established at Usha (49b-50a), of the narratives of several teachers who were absent from their families an unusually long time for the sake of study (62b-63a), of the detailed account of the death of R. Judah ha-Nasi (103a-104a), and of the words of many teacherswho extolled the superiority of Palestine, expressing their longing for the land of their fathers, and who, when they had reached their goal, kissed the stones and cast themselves in the dust (110b-112b).