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Levirate Law
Dictionaries
The Anchor Yale Bible Dictionary
Levirate Law
LEVIRATE LAW [Heb yibûm (יִבוּם)]. The Bible discusses levirate marriage in Genesis 38, Deut 25:5–10, and probably Ruth 4. According to Deuteronomy, when a man dies without leaving a son, his widow is forbidden to marry outside the family. Her husband’s brother “takes her as his wife and performs the
Baker Encyclopedia of the Bible
Levirate Marriage
Levirate Marriage. Israelite custom in which a man, upon the death of his brother, marries his brother’s widow and raises up children for his brother.See Marriage, Marriage Customs.
Tyndale Bible Dictionary
Levirate Marriage
LEVIRATE MARRIAGE* Israelite custom in which a man, upon the death of his brother, marries his brother’s widow and raises up children for his brother. See Marriage, Marriage Customs.
The Wycliffe Bible Encyclopedia
Marriage, Levirate
MARRIAGE, LEVIRATE. The term “levirate” is derived from Latin levir, a husband’s brother. The marriage of a childless widow to her husband’s brother was an ancient custom in practice at the time of the patriarchs (Gen 38:8), and later incorporated into the law of Moses (Deut 25:5–10). Such a legal custom
Eerdmans Dictionary of the Bible
Levirate Marriage
Levirate MarriageA cross-cultural phenomenon whereby the nearest kinsman of a man who dies without sons marries his widow. In ancient Israel, the first son of the levirate union (from Lat. levir, “brother-in-law”) was considered the dead man’s heir.Deut. 25:5–10 imposes the obligation of levirate marriage
Eerdmans Bible Dictionary
Levirate Law
Levirate Law [lĕvˊ ər ət] (Lat. levir “a husband’s brother, brother-in-law”).† The ancient Israelite law (Deut. 25:5–6) that when one brother in a family dies without fathering a son, his other brother shall marry his widow. The first male child resulting from such a union would carry on the deceased
The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church
levirate marriage
levirate marriage (Lat. levir, ‘husband’s brother’), the marriage of a man with his brother’s widow. The Mosaic legislation (Deut. 25:5–10) required that if a man died, leaving his widow without offspring, his surviving brother should marry the widow so that he might not be without descendants. Reference
The New Unger’s Bible Dictionary
Levirate Marriage
LEVIRATE MARRIAGE (from Lat. levir, a “husband’s brother”). The name applied to the custom among the Hebrews that when an Israelite died without leaving male issue, his nearest relative should marry the widow and continue the family of his deceased brother through the firstborn son of their union, he
Marriage, Levirate
MARRIAGE, LEVIRATE (from Lat. levir, a “brother-in-law”). The marriage of a man with his deceased brother’s widow, in the event of the brother’s dying childless. The first instance of this custom occurs in the patriarchal period, where Onan is called upon to marry his brother Er’s widow (Gen. 38:8).
Easton’s Bible Dictionary
Levirate Law
Levirate Lawfrom Latin levir, “a husband’s brother,” the name of an ancient custom ordained by Moses, by which, when an Israelite died without issue, his surviving brother was required to marry the widow, so as to continue his brother’s family through the son that might be born of that marriage (Gen.
Nelson’s New Illustrated Bible Dictionary
Levirate Marriage
LEVIRATE MARRIAGE — a form of marriage prescribed by the Law of Moses in which a man was required to marry the widow of a brother who died with no male heir. The term “levirate” means “husband’s brother.” The purpose of the law was to provide an heir for the dead brother, thereby preserving his name
A Dictionary of Christ and the Gospels: Aaron–Zion
Levirate Law
LEVIRATE LAW (Lat. levir, ‘a husband’s brother’) regulated the marriage of a man with his dead brother’s widow. In the story of Tamar and Judah (Gn 38) there is record of a marriage of this type, and at certain stages of civilization the Levirate marriage was a widespread custom.† Among the Jews the
Key passages
Ge 38:1–30

And it happened that at that time Judah went down from his brothers and pitched his tent near a certain Adullamite, whose name was Hirah. And Judah saw the daughter of a certain Canaanite there whose name was Shua. And he took her and went in to her. And she conceived and bore …

Dt 25:5–10

“When brothers dwell together and one of them dies and has no son, the wife of the deceased shall not become the wife of a man of another family; her brother-in-law shall have sex with her, and he shall take her to himself as a wife, and he shall perform his duty as a brother-in-law with respect …

Ru 4:1–12

And Boaz had gone up to the city gate and sat there. And look, the redeemer of whom Boaz had spoken was passing by. And he said, “Come over here to sit, friend.” And he came over and sat. And he took ten men from the elders of the city and said, “Sit here.” And they sat. And …

Mt 22:23–33

On that day Sadducees—who say there is no resurrection—came up to him and asked him, saying, “Teacher, Moses said if someone dies without having children, his brother is to marry his wife and father descendants for his brother. Now there were …

Mk 12:18–27

And Sadducees—who say there is no resurrection—came up to him and began to ask him, saying, “Teacher, Moses wrote for us that if someone’s brother dies and he leaves behind a wife and does not leave a child, that his brother should take the wife …

See also