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Q&A#108 Levirate Marriage

Alastair Roberts

Q&A#108 Levirate Marriage

February 19, 2019
Alastair Roberts
Alastair Roberts

Today's question: "What were the purposes of levirate marriage? I can see that it would help to provide for widows, but its described purposes appear to go beyond that. In our culture, if a brother dies, he and his brother already share a name and his nieces and nephews by a brother will carry on the family name. My understanding is that the Israelites did not have family names in the same manner as modern English-speaking cultures. What was different about Israelite culture that causes the first child born of a levirate marriage being described in Deuteronomy 25 as assuming the name of the dead brother (and what does such a taking of the brother's name mean, in cultural context)? Also, does levirate marriage imply polygamy because of how, with regard to the levirate marriage, it apparently contains an increased risk that the surviving brother will not have a child from that marriage to succeed him (if, for instance, he only has one son by that wife)?"

I mention a series of videos by Rabbi David Fohrman. That can be watched here: https://www.alephbeta.org/playlist/shavuot-does-the-book-of-ruth-matter.

My blog for my podcasts and videos is found here: https://adversariapodcast.com/.

If you have any questions, you can leave them on my Curious Cat account: https://curiouscat.me/zugzwanged.

If you have enjoyed these talks, please tell your friends and consider supporting me on Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/zugzwanged. You can also support me using my PayPal account: https://bit.ly/2RLaUcB.

The audio of all of my videos is available on my Soundcloud account: https://soundcloud.com/alastairadversaria. You can also listen to the audio of these episodes on iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/gb/podcast/alastairs-adversaria/id1416351035?mt=2.

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