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Levirate marriage
A law and custom in ancient Israel that if a man died without sons his brother would take the widow for a wife in order to provide male offspring for his dead brother. The children then would be the heirs of their dead father's land and possessions and the family line would not be broken.
Key passages
Ge 38:8–9

Then Judah said to Onan, “Go in to the wife of your brother and perform the duty of a brother-in-law to her, and raise up offspring for your brother.” But Onan knew that the offspring would not be for him, so whenever he went in to the wife of his brother he would waste it on the ground so as …

Mk 12:19–22

“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 and father descendants for his brother. There were seven brothers, and the first took a wife. And when he died, he did not leave descendants. …

Lk 20:28–33

saying, “Teacher, Moses wrote for us if someone’s brother dies having a wife, and this man is childless, that his brother should take the wife and father descendants for his brother. Now there were seven brothers, and the first took a wife and died childless, and the second, and the …