The general principle of this section is given in verse 6: Do not have sexual relations (the Heb. lit., “to uncover the nakedness of”) with any close relative other than your spouse.
Dating third cousin
In the time of Adam and Eve, such close unions were perfectly safe genetically, even though later the accumulation of genetic mutations over many generations would make them sufficiently dangerous so that actual legal prohibitions against incest (Leviticus 18:6) had to be imposed by God.
) with the blood relative, and so were regarded as a part of the larger family unit (cf. 254-8, for specific examples of some of the more difficult identifications).
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Also assumed is the prohibition against marrying a non-Israelite (forbidden in Deut. The following regulations can be gleaned from this section. 18:7) or his sister (or half-sister; first degree of consanguinity according to modern genetics, v. Prohibition of marriage to one’s daughter was assumed and so not mentioned (cf.
However, if a non-Israelite (as Ruth) converted to the Lord, marriage was permissible. Nor could he marry his granddaughter (second degree of consanguinity, Lev. The genetic basis for this probability is that inherited mutant genes, producing such unwholesome characteristics, are more likely to find expression in the children if they are carried by both parents.
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures: "Twenty-five states prohibit marriages between first cousins.
Six states allow first cousin marriage under certain circumstances, and North Carolina allows first cousin marriage but prohibits double-cousin marriage.
Also forbidden were marriages to a widowed wife of a close blood relative, that is, a man’s stepmother (v. The scientific reason for this restriction is that children of such marriages are more likely to be deformed or sickly or moronic than those of other marriages.
In later generations, brother-sister marriages would come to be recognized as genetically dangerous and would be prohibited as “incest.” Not only the Bible but also most other legal codes refuse to sanction marriages of close relatives.
Albert Einstein married his cousin, Elsa Lowenthal, and we can probably all agree that he was a pretty smart fellow.