Upon giving the civil laws to Moses and the Israelites, God forbade marriage between those who were closely related ( Lev. Their cousins, the sons of Kish, married them. Jacob's brother Esau also married his first cousin Mahalath, daughter of Ishmael, Isaac's half-brother. 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. Again, the “cousin” is NOT included in this list of relatives, so some believe it is okay to marry a cousin. They can also provide you with referrals to qualified therapists practicing in your area. In some places, marriage to the first cousin is illegal – in others it is advised! Perhaps the best way to approach it is by answering your last question first. Cain was married to either his sister or his niece. 10 So Zelophehad’s daughters did as the Lord commanded Moses. If they do, one could expect some form of persecution or shunning from them. Can you explain Ecclesiastes 12:12? Notably, cousins are not included in the list. th century. Mahlah, Tirzah, Hoglah, Milcah and Noah, the daughters of Zelophehad married their uncles’ sons. Edgar Allan Poe. Have Focus on the Family resources helped you or your family? Does it matter if I pray vigorously or gently? This information has been approved by the Physicians Resource Council of Focus on the Family. Albert Einstein The revered genius married his first cousin Elsa Lowenthal. Since that time we've developed strong feelings for one another and have even begun to talk about marriage. H.G. 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 fire consumed their young men; and their maidens were not given to marriage. The bible does not say why, but one thing is clear from the bible, John and Jesus were cousins. Clearly, the Bible does not forbid the marriage of close relatives until the time of Moses. In modern times, marriage between first cousins is strictly illegal in most of the United States. How distant from the family line does a relative need to be in order to qualify as a potential spouse? It’s also important to find out whether your marriage would be legal in the state where you reside. As for the one who is weak in faith, welcome him, but not to quarrel over opinions. Eleazar died and had no sons, but daughters only, so their brothers, the sons of Kish, took them as wives. 6 Bible Verses about Cousins. I want to know what makes Jacob the bad one when it comes to his brother’s birthright. Albert Einstein The revered genius married his first cousin Elsa Lowenthal. 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. Holman Christian Standard Bible Mahlah, Tirzah, Hoglah, Milcah, and Noah, the daughters of Zelophehad, married cousins on their father's side. In times and places where marriage to a first cousin was the ideal, the Bible says such marriages are blessed by God. These “brethren” were really their cousins (1 Chr. 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). The fire consumed their young men; and their maidens were not given to marriage. Twenty-four states forbid cousin marriages. 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. Perhaps it’s worth adding that the United States is the only nation in the world with legal restrictions against first cousin unions. Mahlah, Tirzah, Hoglah, Milcah, and Noah, the daughters of Zelophehad, married cousins on their father's side. Their story begins in Genesis 28:1, 2, where Isaac charges his son: “You shall not take a wife from the daughters of Canaan. (Gen 19:36) When Abraham sent his servant to find a wife for Isaac, God directed him back to Abraham’s family. Bible verses about Marrying Your First Cousin. Bible verses about Marrying Cousins. 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). In fact, marriage between first cousins is still allowed in some states in the U.S. Isaac married Rebekah, the daughter of Bethuel, who was Nahor and Milcah’s son [Gen 24:15]. Also, Isaac's son Jacob married Leah and Rachel, both his first cousins (Genesis 28–29). Eleazar died with no sons, only daughters. 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.. In other words, one is NOT to have sexual relations with a close relative. 12 They married within the clans of the descendants of Manasseh son of Joseph, and their inheritance remained in their … Jacob's brother Esau also married his first cousin Mahalath, daughter of Ishmael, Isaac's half-brother. 1 Chronicles 23:22. and 2) How are these social pressures likely to impact your chances of forging a successful and lasting marriage? Mahlah, Tirzah, Hoglah, Milcah and Noah, the daughters of Zelophehad married their uncles’ sons. Soon after his arrival in Harran, Jacob fell in love with the “beautiful and lovely” Rachel, daughter of his cousin Laban (Genesis 29:17). Eleazar died with no sons, only daughters. Adam and Eve's children married their full-siblings. Getty Images Rudy Giuliani The former New York mayor married his second cousin once removed, Regina Peruggi. The Bible tells us that "he loved her; and Isaac was comforted after his mother’s death" (Genesis 24:67). Isaac and Rebekah's firstborn son Esau married his cousin Mahalah, daughter of his father's brother Ishmael. 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. Leviticus 18:6 says, “None of you shall approach any blood relative of his to uncover nakedness” (NASB). Abraham’s servant prayed to have success in finding a suitable wife, and God directed his quest. 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." Numbers 36:11. Does the Bible have anything to say about this? Eleazar died without having sons: he had only daughters. 1 Kings 11:1-2 ESV / 7 helpful votes Helpful Not Helpful. 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. Regina was the daughter of his father’s first cousin, making her his second cousin once removed. In many countries and about half of US states, including our most populous state, people can legally marry their first cousin. 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. This information has been approved by the Physicians Resource Council of Focus on the Family. But the circumstances were very different. The History of the Bible, Animated Time travel in this animation through the history of the Bible. 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). Milcah: Sister of Lot, married their uncle, Nahor. His daughters married their cousins, the sons of Kish. 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. 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). Is it appropriate for cousins or other relatives to marry? 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. Author of “Island of Dr. Moreau” and “The War of the Worlds,” Wells married his first cousin in 1891. Yes, in the Bible people married their cousins and there’s is no command against that. This was to avoid the degeneration of offspring. It is also prohibited for Roman Catholics: Pope Gregory I banned the practice in the 6 Romans 14:1-23 ESV / 25 helpful votes Helpful Not Helpful. 18; 20 ). 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? As you’re apparently aware, you’ve touched upon a controversial issue. There are several examples in the Bible of cousins marrying. Admi… 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. When people breed within their own gene pools, certain flaws and deficiencies tend to emerge. According to Leviticus 18:6-18, a man is forbidden to marry the following: Notably, cousins are not included in the list. 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. 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. 2) Is it legal to marry your cousin where you live? Made with clay, wire, and recycled paper, the characters come to life in frame-by-frame motion. First cousins are more likely to have a baby with a serious birth defect, mental retardation, or genetic disease. There’s nothing wrong with an … "A lot of these laws have been on the books forever, and they have just not gotten changed," Brian said. And please don’t quote the incest prohibitions listed in Leviticus 18. 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. Then Rehoboam married Maacah the daughter of Absalom. The United States is the only western country in the world where these laws still exist. Can you give us any advice? The second generation had to marry their cousins, just as after the flood the grandchildren of Noah had to intermarry amongst their cousins. The terms “brothers,” “brother,” and “sister” did not refer only to close relatives. 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? "The name of Nahor's wife was Milcah; she was the daughter of Haran, the father of both Milcah and Iscah." 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. It’s true that more recent studies have demonstrated that this risk is not as high as previously thought. 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. Isaac married Rebekah, his first cousin once removed (Genesis 24:12–15). Also, Isaac's son Jacob married Leah and Rachel, both his first cousins (Genesis 28–29). The Bible doesn’t address the subject of cousin marriage directly. Numbers 36:11. It never mentions first cousins. When he was forty, Isaac married his cousin Rebekah (Genesis 25:20). This is a list of 10 of the most famous people who have done this. Thus, Isaac married his first cousin one removed. Wells. are all passed on in the genes to the next generation, whether expressed or not. 11 Zelophehad’s daughters—Mahlah, Tirzah, Hoglah, Milkah and Noah—married their cousins on their father’s side. 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. Most Relevant Verses. They sent her away, probably for her own safety, to visit her respectable cousin Elizabeth. Isaac married Rebekah, his first cousin once removed (Genesis 24:12–15). Why was incest allowed in the Bible? Saddam Hussein. Most Relevant Verses. 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. There is one passage of Scripture that clearly forbids marrying various relatives, but interestingly enough the “cousin” is not included in that list. One of the most popular cases is that of Jacob marrying his cousin Rachel. At age sixty, Isaac became the father of twins—Jacob and Esau. 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). The Bible does not forbid marriage between cousins. diabetes, etc. 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. Sarah was Abraham's half-sister. 23:21–22). 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. Copyright © 2011, Focus on the Family. 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). Giuliani filed for an annulment in 1982 to end their marriage after 14 years. There were many marriages between cousins in the Old Testament, including those of Isaac, Esau, and Jacob. 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. I now discovered two ancestors that though being first cousins on their respective mother's sides, married. 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 … In fact, marriage between first cousins is still allowed in some states in the U.S. The Bible does not forbid marriage between cousins. 6 Bible Verses about Cousins. 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. They sent her away, probably for her own safety, to visit her respectable cousin Elizabeth. (Gen 11:29) The names of Lot's daughters are not recorded in the Bible. 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.”. Two thousand years later, Abraham was Sarah's half-brother. 10 Famous People Who Married Their Cousins. 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. (258.9) (DO). Some people in the Bible married closer relatives than that. Home » Family QAs » Get Help » Family Q&A » Relationships & Marriage Q&As » Cousin Marriage. As Mary and Johns mother Elizabeth were cousins. This is a point you should bear in mind. So much, then, for the scriptural aspects of the subject. Kish had sons of his own, but Eleazar had no sons, only daughters, who married their “brethren,” the sons of Kish. Abraham's brother Nahor married his niece Milcah. Abraham's son Isaac married Rebekah, his first cousin once removed, the granddaughter of his father Abraham's brother Nahor with Milcah. They may also point to actual examples of “cousin marriage” in Scripture. The former mayor of New York City married Regina Peruggi in 1968. Eleazar died having no sons, but only daughters; their kinsmen, the sons of Kish, married them. DanielleR. Regardless, Caren and Brian had a church wedding in Virginia, one of 25 states … Is it permissible for cousins to marry? Through history there have been many famous people who, for reasons known only to them, have married within the family. Their sons were Abijah, Attai, Ziza, and Shelomith. 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 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)… His daughters married their cousins, the sons of Kish. 1 Chronicles 23:22. Nevertheless, it remains a factor that merits serious consideration. There were many marriages between cousins in the Old Testament, including those of Isaac, Esau, and Jacob. 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