Mary was a virgin (Luke 1:26-38), engaged to Joseph. It is strange to our culture that girls were betrothed at age twelve to fourteen* and would have married about a year later. But, is our society really superior? Young males produce the most testosterone around 18. Young females reach sexual peak a few years later. Do we expect them to wait and be abstinent during their peak sexual years until they finish their education, their career is developed and they can prepare for marriage? It is a very difficult request and most young people in our culture are not able to comply. At the same time our businesses and media profit by placing sexual temptation before the young. Our culture leads the young into unwed sex and all the problems associated with that. How dare we judge their culture?
*Philip King and Lawrence Stager, Life in Biblical Israel, (Westminster John Knox Press, Louisville, 2001), p. 37.