Levirate law

An injunction that if a married man died without children, it was the duty of a brother or other near relative to marry the widow, and the son of the union would be reckoned to be the son of the first husband (Deut. 25:5–10). The law did not forbid a man to be married twice (Deut. 21:15–17), but it was possible for a brother or kinsman to relinquish his right to marry a widow by taking off his shoe and giving it to a neighbour (Ruth 4:7). Levirate law seems to be presupposed in the dialogue of Matt. 22:23–30 between Jesus and the Sadducees—religious conservatives, who did not believe the comparatively recent doctrine of resurrection but did acknowledge the authority of the Pentateuch. Jesus argues that life after death is of a different order from that of the present, and the Levirate law does not apply to the case cited by the Sadducees. Jesus quotes Exod. 3:6.

Dictionary of the Bible.

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  • Levirate Law —    From 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… …   Easton's Bible Dictionary

  • Levirate marriage — is a type of marriage in which a woman marries one of her husband s brothers after her husband s death, if there were no children, in order to continue the line of the dead husband. The term is a derivative of the Latin word levir , meaning… …   Wikipedia

  • Levirate — Lev i*rate (l[e^]v [i^]*r[asl]t), Leviratical Lev i*rat ic*al ( r[a^]t [i^]*kal), a. [L. levir a husband s brother, brother in law; akin to Gr. dah r: cf. F. l[ e]virat leviration.] Of, pertaining to, or in accordance with, a law of the ancient… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • levirate — (n.) custom by which the male next of kin of a dead man was bound to marry his widow, 1725, from L. levir brother in law (from PIE *daiwer husband s brother ) + ATE (Cf. ate) (2) …   Etymology dictionary

  • levirate — [lev′ə rit, lev′ərāt΄; lē′vərit, lē′vərāt΄] n. [L levir, husband s brother, brother in law (< * daiwer < IE * dāiwēr > Sans dēvár, Gr daēr, OE tacor) + ATE2] a custom of the Jews in Biblical times by which a dead man s brother was… …   English World dictionary

  • LEVIRATE MARRIAGE AND ḤALIẒAḤ. — Definition Levirate marriage (Heb. יִבּוּם; yibbum) is the marriage between a widow whose husband died without offspring (the yevamah) and the brother of the deceased (the yavam or levir), as prescribed in Deuteronomy 25:5–6: „ If brethren dwell… …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • levirate — leviratic /lev euh rat ik, lee veuh /, leviratical, adj. /lev euhr it, euh rayt , lee veuhr it, veuh rayt /, n. the custom of marriage by a man with his brother s widow, such marriage required in Biblical law if the deceased was childless. Deut.… …   Universalium

  • levirate and sororate — Customs or laws regulating marriage following the death of a spouse, or in some cases during the lifetime of the spouse. The levirate decrees a dead man s brother to be the widow s preferred marriage partner. In ancient Hebrew society, this… …   Universalium

  • levirate — [ li:vɪrət, lɛv ] noun (usu. the levirate) a custom of the ancient Hebrews and some other peoples by which a man may be obliged to marry his brother s widow. Origin C18: from L. levir brother in law + ate1 …   English new terms dictionary

  • levirate — lev•i•rate [[t]ˈlɛv ər ɪt, əˌreɪt, ˈli vər ɪt, vəˌreɪt[/t]] n. jud Judaism. the custom of marriage between a man and his brother s widow, required in Biblical law under certain circumstances. Deut. 25:5–10 • Etymology: 1715–25; < L lēvir… …   From formal English to slang

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