Early marriages in scripture, from Adam and Eve to Abraham and Sarah :-)
Just been doing some study / reflection on those early marriages, starting with Adam.
Adam with his “XY” chromosomes has children with Eve (with “XX” chromosomes) , in Genesis, close to being a “clone” of Adam (taken from his rib) but with her own God-formed spirit and soul.
According to early Jewish teaching, the first sons of Adam (XY) would have then married their sisters (XX). Yep, there aren’t any others to marry.
It was at the time of Abraham and Moses, 2000 years later, that marriage to sisters was not on.
Also to grandmothers, mothers, step-mothers and aunties, daughters, step-daughters, daughters-in-law, and granddaughters.
See here reflecting these rules in Leviticus 18.
It was seen as complicating / abusing / screwing up your relationship with your father, your mother, your son or your daughter. Not to mention theirs, or the children you then had. The children of such a union in fact would be forbidden to enter the assembly of the Lord, to the tenth generation.
Marriage to half-sisters was also not on, for the same reason.
However, in the passage in Leviticus 18, marriage to unmarried nieces were ok, also to unmarried cousins.
So, because of the half-sister rule, in early Jewish teaching, when Abraham says Sarah is the daughter of his father, he means daughter (once removed).
Sarah was in fact his half-brother Haran’s daughter, Abraham’s niece and Lot’s sister.
Haran, according to Josephus and other commentaries, was Terah’s son by an earlier marriage. Haran also had another daughter, Milcah, who married Abraham’s brother, Nahor. Thus the two sisters married their two uncles. Kind of cute.
Nahor and Milcah have a son Bethuel, the father of Rebekah and Laban. Bethuel and Isaac are thus cousins, so Rebekah is Isaac’s cousin, once removed. Marriage is fine.
Laban, her brother, is the father of Rachel and Leah.
Thus, through Jacob’s mother, Rachel and Leah are his first cousins. Through his much older father’s side, they are also second cousins, once removed. So marriage to either is fine.
However, when Jacob marries them both simultaneously, the later law in Leviticus 18:18 says, in future, do not do this, in order not to “vex” them both.
Click here for further information relating to modern marriage in Israel.
Click here for another article on "prohibited degrees of kinship" (known as consanguinity), both in historical records and today, according to Wikipedia.
Blessings all Steve
Postscript — further note re Ruth :-)
Further to writing that page yesterday, I remember reading about this years ago, just checked my genealogies page regarding that ten generation rule that discouraged incest / inbreeding in such a major way.
Yep, Ruth/Boaz were exactly 10 generations from Lot and his son Moab (he’d been fathered when he was made drunk by one of his daughters after the Sodom holocaust) – a bit off.
No doubt why, in the story of
Blessings all Steve