Why were the Hebrews forbidden to intermarry with non-Semites?


#1

What were the main reasons ...given in OT scripture?


#2

It was a precautionary measure to prevent the Jews from losing their faith by mixing with other religions. Many of the laws in the old law were not laws of a strictly moral nature, but rather, you could say, “disciplines,” to help the Jews remain firm and faithful in the hard time period of which the Old Testament tells.


#3

More mystically and cosmically-speaking, the Hebrews were forbidden to intermarry with non-Semites so that, when the Messiah came, all would truly know that He was of the Seed of Abraham, and the House of David. There could be no room for doubt that He was illegitimate, gentile, or anything else. It was God’s whole plan for the Incarnation. :smiley:


#4

[quote="dshix, post:2, topic:322318"]
It was a precautionary measure to prevent the Jews from losing their faith by mixing with other religions. Many of the laws in the old law were not laws of a strictly moral nature, but rather, you could say, "disciplines," to help the Jews remain firm and faithful in the hard time period of which the Old Testament tells.

[/quote]

I don't know for sure why Jews were forbidden from intermarrying, but this strikes me as not improbable. I'm not saying "mixed marriages" dont' ever work, but religion is a big deal in one's life. I avoided forming relationships with non-Catholic girls for that reason, back in the day.


#5

[quote="dshix, post:2, topic:322318"]
It was a precautionary measure to prevent the Jews from losing their faith by mixing with other religions. Many of the laws in the old law were not laws of a strictly moral nature, but rather, you could say, "disciplines," to help the Jews remain firm and faithful in the hard time period of which the Old Testament tells.

[/quote]

This is the reason Jews were expelled from Spain during the inquisition, where they were mixing with Christians and Muslims. The Jews eventually made there way to Lithuania, one of the last nations to become Christianized, but the Germans expelled them during WW II.


#6

[quote="Classicist, post:3, topic:322318"]
More mystically and cosmically-speaking, the Hebrews were forbidden to intermarry with non-Semites so that, when the Messiah came, all would truly know that He was of the Seed of Abraham, and the House of David. There could be no room for doubt that He was illegitimate, gentile, or anything else. It was God's whole plan for the Incarnation. :D

[/quote]

While interesting, this argument ignores that both Tamar (a Canaanite) and Ruth (a Moabite) are canonically part of Christ's ancestry, as seen in Matthew 1. Of course, these are exceptional cases, but *"no room for doubt that He was illegitimate, gentile, or anything else" *is not quite accurate.

However, dshix has the correct answer. In the collectivist societies of that time, marrying outside one's tribe meant accepting the worship of other gods - in the case of the Israelites, this usually meant the "Baals and Astartes" of the Caananites. (Consider that even when the Israelites made military alliances with other nations - such as Ahaz's pact with Assyria - part of the condition was accepting the worship of Assyrian gods.) This point is often lost on us today, because we tend to live more individualistic lives, but it made perfect sense in Old Testament times.


#7

Good point. Much better than mine. I retract my opinion. :slight_smile:


#8

Can’t claim credit, though, I was borrowing ideas from Pope Benedict XVI and his book on the Infancy Narratives. :smiley:


#9

[quote="RPRPsych, post:8, topic:322318"]
Can't claim credit, though, I was borrowing ideas from Pope Benedict XVI and his book on the Infancy Narratives. :D

[/quote]

Sneaky! :p;):rolleyes::cool:


#10

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