"A lot of these laws have been on the books forever, and they have just not gotten changed," Brian said. In the absence of any specific biblical guidance, we’d suggest that there are two pressing questions you and your cousin should be asking yourselves: 1) How might your plans affect your relationships with family, friends, and the larger community? Copyright © 2011, Focus on the Family. You may contact our Counseling department for a free consultation. In times and places where marriage to a first cousin was the ideal, the Bible says such marriages are blessed by God. Albert Einstein The revered genius married his first cousin Elsa Lowenthal. As you’re apparently aware, you’ve touched upon a controversial issue. Discussing the biblical incest laws, Baruch Levine, Professor (Emeritus) of Bible at NYU writes, “The prohibition of incest reflects the almost universal, natural feelings of a person towards those with whom he has been reared.” Nevertheless, not all cultures in the ancient Near East had incest laws; even among the majority that did, the exact list of who was forbidden varied.The Laws of Hammurabi and the Hittite Laws prohibit only a handful of consanguines (blood relatives) and affines (relatives by marriage). Adam and Eve's children married their full-siblings. As a matter of fact, if the example of Jacob, Rachel, and Leah is any indication, it would appear that cousin marriage was fairly common in the ancient world. And please don’t quote the incest prohibitions listed in Leviticus 18. Kish had sons of his own, but Eleazar had no sons, only daughters, who married their “brethren,” the sons of Kish. There were many marriages between cousins in the Old Testament, including those of Isaac, Esau, and Jacob. 8605 Explorer Drive Colorado Springs, CO 80920-1051, contact our Counseling department for a free consultation, Tough Love in Adult Relationships: What It Is, What It’s Not, and How to Use It, Grandparents Threatened to Either Support Transgender Grandchild or Be Cut Off, How to Find Counseling Support for Teen With Sexual Identity Issues. and 2) How are these social pressures likely to impact your chances of forging a successful and lasting marriage? How distant from the family line does a relative need to be in order to qualify as a potential spouse? Their story begins in Genesis 28:1, 2, where Isaac charges his son: “You shall not take a wife from the daughters of Canaan. Most Relevant Verses. When polygamy was the cultural norm, that too is said to be blessed (as God blesses Jacob's marriages with the sisters Rachel and Leah, as well as with their slaves; Genesis 30). Arise, go to Padan Aram, to the house of Bethuel your mother’s father, and take yourself a wife from there of the daughters of Laban your mother’s brother.”. The second question is easy to answer, but the first one may involve some real soul-searching, for in many minds there is a definite stigma attached to marrying any relative, no matter how “distant” it may be. The Bible even mentions various accounts of cousin marriages, such as Jacob and Rachel, Milcah and Nahor, and Jacob and Leah, in the book of Genesis. Wells. Mahlah, Tirzah, Hoglah, Milcah and Noah, the daughters of Zelophehad married their uncles’ sons. Abraham's brother Nahor married his niece Milcah. His daughters married their cousins, the sons of Kish. It’s true that more recent studies have demonstrated that this risk is not as high as previously thought. What does it say about smoking pot in the bible? This is a list of 10 of the most famous people who have done this. Finding the Right One For You: Secrets to Recognizing Your Perfect Mate, What Every Christian Ought to Know Day by Day: Essential Truths for Growing Your Faith, Christian Beliefs: Twenty Basics Every Christian Should Know, What the Bible Teaches: The Truths of the Bible Made Plain, Simple, and Understandable. Mary’s promised husband Joseph was certain he was not the father, and though he agreed to marry her, the young woman was in disgrace with her family. But their union was short-lived, and he and Isabel Mary Wells divorced a mere three years later when he began a relationship with one of his students. Their cousins, the sons of Kish, married them. When Abraham sent his servant to find a wife for Isaac, God directed him back to Abraham’s family. It’s also important to find out whether your marriage would be legal in the state where you reside. Holman Christian Standard Bible Mahlah, Tirzah, Hoglah, Milcah, and Noah, the daughters of Zelophehad, married cousins on their father's side. Numbers 36:11. Isaac married Rebekah, his first cousin once removed (Genesis 24:12–15). Jacob's brother Esau also married his first cousin Mahalath, daughter of Ishmael, Isaac's half-brother. Nevertheless, it remains a factor that merits serious consideration. Having said that, Jacob went a step further and also married his cousin Leah, and Scripture is quite clear that God never condoned polygamy (though God’s grace came in and blessed Jacob in both marriages by providing him with 12 sons who made up the nation of Israel). Abraham married his half-sister (Genesis 20:2, 12); Isaac married Rebekah, the daughter of his cousin Bethuel (Genesis 24:15, 67); and Jacob married his cousins Leah and Rachel. 2) Is it legal to marry your cousin where you live? There’s nothing wrong with an … Also, Isaac's son Jacob married Leah and Rachel, both his first cousins (Genesis 28–29). The fire consumed their young men; and their maidens were not given to marriage. Abraham’s servant prayed to have success in finding a suitable wife, and God directed his quest. Edgar Allan Poe. The Bible doesn’t address the subject of cousin marriage directly. His daughters married their cousins, the sons of Kish. Also, Isaac's son Jacob married Leah and Rachel, both his first cousins (Genesis 28–29). Yes, in the Bible people married their cousins and there’s is no command against that. Whatever you decide, you can be pretty sure of one thing: your choice could entail a great deal of emotional anguish for everyone concerned – you, your cousin, and the entire extended family. If you feel it would be helpful to discuss your situation with a member of our staff, Focus on the Family has a team of professional counselors available who would be happy to speak with you over the phone. Made with clay, wire, and recycled paper, the characters come to life in frame-by-frame motion. Numbers 36:6 - This [is] the thing which the LORD doth command concerning the daughters of Zelophehad, saying, Let them marry to whom they think best; only to … Mahlah, Tirzah, Hoglah, Milcah and Noah, the daughters of Zelophehad married their uncles’ sons. They sent her away, probably for her own safety, to visit her respectable cousin Elizabeth. are all passed on in the genes to the next generation, whether expressed or not. And finally, here are some notable people who’ve married their third cousins: John Adams… Charles Darwin’s grandparents (and then Darwin married his first cousin)… Having said that, Jacob went a step further and also married his cousin Leah, and Scripture is quite clear that God never condoned polygamy (though God’s grace came in and blessed Jacob in both marriages by providing him with 12 sons who made up the nation of Israel). Isaac married Rebekah, his first cousin once removed (Genesis 24:12–15). The History of the Bible, Animated Time travel in this animation through the history of the Bible. In most cases, the state laws in question were originally based upon data indicating a high incidence of birth defects in children of first cousins or closer relatives. I want to know what makes Jacob the bad one when it comes to his brother’s birthright. They may also point to actual examples of “cousin marriage” in Scripture. This information has been approved by the Physicians Resource Council of Focus on the Family. Isaac and Rebekah's firstborn son Esau married his cousin Mahalah, daughter of his father's brother Ishmael. Eleazar died without having sons: he had only daughters. Regina was the daughter of his father’s first cousin, making her his second cousin once removed. According to Leviticus 18:6-18, a man is forbidden to marry the following: Notably, cousins are not included in the list. Clearly, the Bible does not forbid the marriage of close relatives until the time of Moses. 10 Famous People Who Married Their Cousins. Soon after his arrival in Harran, Jacob fell in love with the “beautiful and lovely” Rachel, daughter of his cousin Laban (Genesis 29:17). Upon giving the civil laws to Moses and the Israelites, God forbade marriage between those who were closely related ( Lev. This information has been approved by the Physicians Resource Council of Focus on the Family. Through history there have been many famous people who, for reasons known only to them, have married within the family. Eleazar died with no sons, only daughters. Isaac married Rebekah, the daughter of Bethuel, who was Nahor and Milcah’s son [Gen 24:15]. DanielleR. At age sixty, Isaac became the father of twins—Jacob and Esau. Twenty-four states forbid cousin marriages. There are several examples in the Bible of cousins marrying. Perhaps the two greatest questions would be: 1) Would marrying your cousin affect your relationships with your other family members, your friends, or your neighbors? Thus, Isaac married his first cousin one removed. However, marriage between first cousins is illegal in about half the states in the U.S.; the Biblical principle here is that God has instituted the government’s authority, so there may be a legal issue depending on where you live. Both had sexual relations with Lot, "so both of Lot's daughters became pregnant by their father." Home » Family QAs » Get Help » Family Q&A » Relationships & Marriage Q&As » Cousin Marriage. (Gen 11:29) The names of Lot's daughters are not recorded in the Bible. One reason that incest is so strongly discouraged in the world today is the understanding that reproduction between closely related individuals has a much higher risk of causing genetic abnormalities. Perhaps it’s worth adding that the United States is the only nation in the world with legal restrictions against first cousin unions. 1 Chronicles 23:22. My first cousin and I lived on opposite sides of the country during childhood and never met until we were in our late teens. The terms “brothers,” “brother,” and “sister” did not refer only to close relatives. Have Focus on the Family resources helped you or your family? There are several examples in the Bible of cousins marrying. We've done this secretly, because we're aware that many people would take a very dim view of our plans. Does it matter if I pray vigorously or gently? th century. (Gen 19:36) The laws date back hundreds of years to the time when the Catholic Church campaigned against cousin marriages because in the Bible Leviticus says, "None of you shall approach to any that is near of kin." Most Relevant Verses. 1 Chronicles 23:22. Since that time we've developed strong feelings for one another and have even begun to talk about marriage. So much, then, for the scriptural aspects of the subject. The relatives included are listed in verses 7-18: “Your father’s wife” (your “stepmother”); “Your father’s daughter” (your “sister”); “Your son’s daughter or your daughter’s daughter” (your granddaughter); “Your father’s wife’s daughter” (your “half-sister”); “Your father’s sister” or “your mother’s sister” (your aunt); “Your brother’s wife” (your sister-in-law). They can also provide you with referrals to qualified therapists practicing in your area. In many countries and about half of US states, including our most populous state, people can legally marry their first cousin. Eleazar died having no sons, but only daughters; their kinsmen, the sons of Kish, married them. Why was incest allowed in the Bible? Perhaps the best way to approach it is by answering your last question first. Their sons were Abijah, Attai, Ziza, and Shelomith. diabetes, etc. Having said that, Jacob went a step further and also married his cousin Leah, and Scripture is quite clear that God never condoned polygamy (though God’s grace came in and blessed Jacob in both marriages by providing him with 12 sons who made up the nation of Israel). Regardless, Caren and Brian had a church wedding in Virginia, one of 25 states … Albert Einstein The revered genius married his first cousin Elsa Lowenthal. Is it permissible for cousins to marry? The Bible does not forbid marriage between cousins. Sarah was Abraham's half-sister. Saddam Hussein. The second generation had to marry their cousins, just as after the flood the grandchildren of Noah had to intermarry amongst their cousins. 1 Kings 11:1-2 ESV / 7 helpful votes Helpful Not Helpful. This is still "normal" to some extent, but what makes it more intriguing is that both these individuals are also related, in that they share a grandmother on their respective fathers' sides :). Mary’s promised husband Joseph was certain he was not the father, and though he agreed to marry her, the young woman was in disgrace with her family.. These “brethren” were really their cousins (1 Chr. In modern times, marriage between first cousins is strictly illegal in most of the United States. 6 Bible Verses about Cousins. 11 Zelophehad’s daughters—Mahlah, Tirzah, Hoglah, Milkah and Noah—married their cousins on their father’s side. Getty Images Rudy Giuliani The former New York mayor married his second cousin once removed, Regina Peruggi. However, marriage between first cousins is illegal in about half the states in the U.S.; the Biblical principle here is that God has instituted the government’s authority, so there may be a legal issue depending on where you live. I now discovered two ancestors that though being first cousins on their respective mother's sides, married. When he was forty, Isaac married his cousin Rebekah (Genesis 25:20). This was to avoid the degeneration of offspring. As a matter of fact, if the example of Jacob, Rachel, and Leah is any indication, it would appear that cousin marriage was fairly common in the ancient world. Milcah: Sister of Lot, married their uncle, Nahor. Does the Bible have anything to say about this? It never mentions first cousins. "The name of Nahor's wife was Milcah; she was the daughter of Haran, the father of both Milcah and Iscah." The bible does not say why, but one thing is clear from the bible, John and Jesus were cousins. Again, the “cousin” is NOT included in this list of relatives, so some believe it is okay to marry a cousin. Approximately half of the states permit first cousin marriage either without restrictions or under certain specified circumstances; in all others it is against the law. In some places, marriage to the first cousin is illegal – in others it is advised! Some people in the Bible married closer relatives than that. This is a point you should bear in mind. Getty Images Rudy Giuliani The former New York mayor married his second cousin once removed, Regina Peruggi. (258.9) (DO). Numbers 36:11. 12 They married within the clans of the descendants of Manasseh son of Joseph, and their inheritance remained in their … But the circumstances were very different. The fire consumed their young men; and their maidens were not given to marriage. The former mayor of New York City married Regina Peruggi in 1968. Author of “Island of Dr. Moreau” and “The War of the Worlds,” Wells married his first cousin in 1891. One of the most popular cases is that of Jacob marrying his cousin Rachel. Abraham's son Isaac married Rebekah, his first cousin once removed, the granddaughter of his father Abraham's brother Nahor with Milcah. Is it appropriate for cousins or other relatives to marry? 6 Bible Verses about Cousins. The Bible does not forbid marriage between cousins. Can you explain Ecclesiastes 12:12? 18; 20 ). Notably, cousins are not included in the list. Their story begins in Genesis 28:1, 2, where Isaac charges his son: “You shall not take a wife from the daughters of Canaan. Bible verses about Marrying Your First Cousin. Go track down your third or fourth cousin and go out for a cuisine that doesn’t match your heritage (just to avoid potentially awkward conservations about old family recipes). In fact, marriage between first cousins is still allowed in some states in the U.S. There is one passage of Scripture that clearly forbids marrying various relatives, but interestingly enough the “cousin” is not included in that list. Bible verses about Marrying Cousins. Admi… Giuliani filed for an annulment in 1982 to end their marriage after 14 years. 23:21–22). Eleazar died and had no sons, but daughters only, so their brothers, the sons of Kish, took them as wives. Leviticus 18:6 says, “None of you shall approach any blood relative of his to uncover nakedness” (NASB). I should also mention that “some” studies have been done that show a possible risk of birth defects in children of “first cousin marriages,” so one must be aware of this potential danger if they are considering marrying their first cousin. When people breed within their own gene pools, certain flaws and deficiencies tend to emerge. H.G. In other words, one is NOT to have sexual relations with a close relative. As Mary and Johns mother Elizabeth were cousins. Eleazar died with no sons, only daughters. The United States is the only western country in the world where these laws still exist. Two thousand years later, Abraham was Sarah's half-brother. 10 So Zelophehad’s daughters did as the Lord commanded Moses. Cain was married to either his sister or his niece. First cousins are more likely to have a baby with a serious birth defect, mental retardation, or genetic disease. The fact that “cousin marriage” was NOT forbidden in Leviticus 18:6-18 seems to give one liberty to do so, but there are other things to consider. Then Rehoboam married Maacah the daughter of Absalom. Mahlah, Tirzah, Hoglah, Milcah, and Noah, the daughters of Zelophehad, married cousins on their father's side. In fact, he was commanded to do this by his father Isaac as we see in Genesis 28:1-2: “So Isaac called Jacob and blessed him and charged him, and said to him, ‘You shall not take a wife from the daughters of Canaan. In fact, marriage between first cousins is still allowed in some states in the U.S. Can you give us any advice? It is also prohibited for Roman Catholics: Pope Gregory I banned the practice in the 6 ResourcesIf a title is currently unavailable through Focus on the Family, we encourage you to use another retailer. Eleazar died and had no sons, but daughters only, so their brothers, the sons of Kish, took them as wives. There were many marriages between cousins in the Old Testament, including those of Isaac, Esau, and Jacob. They sent her away, probably for her own safety, to visit her respectable cousin Elizabeth. Arise, go to Paddan-aram, to the house of Bethuel your mother’s father; and from there take to yourself a wife from the daughters of Laban your mother’s brother.” I personally believe that Isaac had God’s Mind when he charged Jacob to seek a wife among his cousins that lived in Paddan-aram. If they do, one could expect some form of persecution or shunning from them. As for the one who is weak in faith, welcome him, but not to quarrel over opinions. Jacob's brother Esau also married his first cousin Mahalath, daughter of Ishmael, Isaac's half-brother. The Bible tells us that "he loved her; and Isaac was comforted after his mother’s death" (Genesis 24:67). Romans 14:1-23 ESV / 25 helpful votes Helpful Not Helpful. The only nation in the list father Abraham 's son Isaac married Rebekah, the daughters of Zelophehad married cousins. Makes Jacob the bad one when it comes to his brother ’ s Family 11:29 ) the of. ” were really their cousins and there ’ s true that more recent studies have demonstrated this. T quote the incest prohibitions listed in Leviticus 18 the sons of Kish one when comes... The Physicians Resource Council of Focus on the Family the daughters of Zelophehad, married their cousins and there s., including those of Isaac, Esau, and Jacob in frame-by-frame motion according to Leviticus 18:6-18, man... 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