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What Is A Forbidden Marriage In The Bible?

Marriage is a sacred union between a man and a woman. It has been entered into by man and woman, but as they do so, they make a covenant not only with their partners but with God as well. Marriage is something that should not be taken lightly because, while it is a wonderful occasion, the married spouses have responsibilities to fulfill. The Bible contains a number of passages in which marriage is expressly forbidden. Why did the Bible forbid such marriages in the first place?

The Bible expressly forbids marriages between a mother and her daughter, a brother and sister, a granddaughter and her aunt, and a mother and her sister’s daughter. In the same way, you can’t marry your mother-in-law, your daughter-in-law, the wife of your brother, your stepmother, your stepdaughter, or your step-granddaughter, or the wife of your uncle or your aunt by marriage (Leviticus 20:17-21, Deuteronomy 27:20-23)

Since the beginning of creation, God intended for a man to share his life with a woman so that the man would have someone to share his joy with and so that he would have a companion. In the early days of our first parents, the Lord gave them the command to spread out across the world, have children, and populate the entire world. On the other hand, He did not intend for either the man or the woman to have more than one partner (Matthew 19:4-6). It is written that when a man and a woman enter into holy matrimony, the man should leave his father’s house and live with his wife and that the two of them will become one flesh. This is because when a man marries a woman, the man and the woman are no longer two but one flesh. It is abundantly clear that this indicates that there are only two people involved.

In later times, it was written down that the Lord God issued commands and provided a set of guidelines for the people of Israel to adhere to. In the same legal code, God forbade polygamy as well as marriages of incest between members of the same family or between members of different families who were related by affinity. He acknowledges the holiness of marriage and considers that it ought to be respected. Even though it was not expressly forbidden in the Old Testament, polygamy was not actively encouraged either. At the foundation of creation, there was only a man and a woman there at the time. When it was written that a man is united to his wife, the implication is that there is only one man and one woman, and they will become one flesh once they are married. 

As time has passed and the world has become increasingly complex, so too has the traditional notion of a husband and wife in most cultures. There are numerous marriages, in the world’s definition, that are an abomination and a contradiction to the Christian point of view. It comes down to a choice between worldly desires and the spiritual obedience that God requires. There are men marrying men and women marrying women. According to the Scriptures, a man and a woman are the only people who should be allowed to enter into holy matrimony. Therefore, marriage with someone of the same sexual orientation is problematic and goes against the will of God (Matthew 19:4-5). It is something that God does not approve of or condone in any way.

These scriptures, which describe the nature of forbidden marriages, can be considered in depth.

Leviticus 18:6-18

6 None of you shall approach to any that is near of kin to him, to uncover their nakedness: I am the Lord.

7 The nakedness of thy father, or the nakedness of thy mother, shalt thou not uncover: she is thy mother; thou shalt not uncover her nakedness.

8 The nakedness of thy father’s wife shalt thou not uncover: it is thy father’s nakedness.

9 The nakedness of thy sister, the daughter of thy father, or daughter of thy mother, whether she be born at home, or born abroad, even their nakedness thou shalt not uncover.

10 The nakedness of thy son’s daughter, or of thy daughter’s daughter, even their nakedness thou shalt not uncover: for theirs is thine own nakedness.

11 The nakedness of thy father’s wife’s daughter, begotten of thy father, she is thy sister, thou shalt not uncover her nakedness.

12 Thou shalt not uncover the nakedness of thy father’s sister: she is thy father’s near kinswoman.

13 Thou shalt not uncover the nakedness of thy mother’s sister: for she is thy mother’s near kinswoman.

14 Thou shalt not uncover the nakedness of thy father’s brother, thou shalt not approach to his wife: she is thine aunt.

15 Thou shalt not uncover the nakedness of thy daughter in law: she is thy son’s wife; thou shalt not uncover her nakedness.

16 Thou shalt not uncover the nakedness of thy brother’s wife: it is thy brother’s nakedness.

17 Thou shalt not uncover the nakedness of a woman and her daughter, neither shalt thou take her son’s daughter, or her daughter’s daughter, to uncover her nakedness; for they are her near kinswomen: it is wickedness.

18 Neither shalt thou take a wife to her sister, to vex her, to uncover her nakedness, beside the other in her life time.

Genesis 2:24

Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.

Matthew 19:4-9

 4 And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female,

5 And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh?

6 Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.

7 They say unto him, Why did Moses then command to give a writing of divorcement, and to put her away?

8 He saith unto them, Moses because of the hardness of your hearts suffered you to put away your wives: but from the beginning it was not so.

9 And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery.

Though we are unable to exert direct control over the circumstances because individuals are imbued with their own free will, it is still our duty to remind people of the Word of God. We shouldn’t give in to the standards that have been established by the world because they are a trap that the enemy has set up, and they are designed to strike at the very essence of human nature, which is a person’s emotions. We need to maintain our resolve and draw our fortitude from the love that God has for us. Let us pray and ask for the strength of character to face these challenges— because we need it.

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