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Scripture dissicusion, How do both these quotes work together in bible?

(Deu 25:5) If brothers are living together and one of them dies without a son, his widow must not marry outside the family. Her husband's brother shall take her and marry her and fulfill the duty of a brother-in-law to her.

(Leviticus 20:21) If a man marries his brother's wife, it is an act of impurity; he has dishonored his brother. They will be childless.

Sorry if my spelling is bad, it is 3 am. I was thinking about how these two passages contradict each other. Any thoughts? some people may say that this does not matter to modern Christians, but these quotes have been used to divorce before a wife before, ie Henry the VIII.


Asked by fireball1978 at 3:13 AM on Sep. 21, 2009 in Religion & Beliefs

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Answers (8)
  • It's the difference between death and sharing a wife. The first, In the case of death, the BIL held a responsibility to take her to care for her, this was common in those times - sort of the same as taking your brother's children to raise and care for if he died. The second was a case of "laying with" , having sex with or marrying the brother's wife while the brother is alive. Remember in those times it was common to have multiple wives. The second just means that the two brothers couldn't take the same woman as a wife - the only law that allowed the second brother to take the woman as his wife was if the first brother died.

    Answer by PaceMyself at 6:35 AM on Sep. 21, 2009

  • The first scripture means that if your husband dies, then it is the responsibility of the brother-in-law to make sure that the widow is okay. Play the role a husband would play but strictly platonic.

    The second scripture means that a brother should not marry his brothers wife.

    I don't think they contradict each other at's just a matter of interpratation.

    Answer by Anonymous at 3:42 AM on Sep. 21, 2009

  • The first speaks of a brother marrying his dead brother's widow for the purpose of producing an heir (read on to verse 7). The second is speaking of a man committing adultery with his brother's wife (meaning his brother is still living whether he marries the woman or not, read the entire chapter). Compare different translations:

    (KJV)--And if a man shall take his brother's wife, it is an unclean thing: he hath uncovered his brother's nakedness; they shall be childless.

    NKJV- If a man takes his brother’s wife, it is an unclean thing. He has uncovered his brother’s nakedness. They shall be childless.

    Compare with this verse--

    1 Cor. 7:39-The wife is bound by the law as long as her husband lives; but if her husband be dead, she is at liberty to be married to whom she will; only in the Lord.



    Answer by Lexylex at 5:31 AM on Sep. 21, 2009

  • The word used for "take" (KJV) and "marry" (NIV) in Lev. 20:21 is "laqach" meaning to take, get, fetch, lay hold of, seize, receive, acquire, buy, bring, marry, take a wife, snatch, take away

    It is the same word used in these verses:

    Psalm 31:13--For I have heard the slander of many: fear was on every side: while they took counsel together against me, they devised to take away my life. (of course "marry" wouldn't fit here)

    Proverbs 22:27--If thou hast nothing to pay, why should he take away thy bed from under thee? (marry doesn't fit here either)

    These verses use the same word the NIV uses for "marry". When "take" is used the meaning is clearer and we see that the Bible is not contradicting itself.


    Answer by Lexylex at 5:43 AM on Sep. 21, 2009

  • I totally agree with Lexy and Pacemyself. I think the intention of the first verse it to provide for the widow, and the prohibition in the second verse it in reference to adultery.

    It is also interesting to remember that John the Baptist had confronted Herod about the immoral relationship he had with Herodias, saying, "It is not lawful for you to have your brother's wife." This upset Herodias so much, that when she had the opportinity she had John beheaded.

    When my friends DH died, he told her to marry his brother, She said, "Your brother?" And he said, "My brother in the Lord." Meaning his best friend. It was actually prophetic, because she did end up marrying his best friend a few years later. They shared a special bond, both losing someone they loved so much, and now she is very well taken care of and loved. God wants to provide for the widow.

    Answer by Cinnamon-mom at 1:02 PM on Sep. 21, 2009

  • but doesn't a platonic marriage with ones brother mean that she would never have children or another family. And if they did not mean marriage why use the word. It provides a very unclear massage.

    Answer by fireball1978 at 8:03 PM on Sep. 21, 2009

  • well you aint suppose to take the other family relation unless in death.

    Answer by lawla at 9:58 PM on Sep. 21, 2009

  • Widow and wife are not the same
    Widow-spouse died
    Wife-spouse is alive

    Answer by Ministerswife at 10:24 PM on Sep. 21, 2009