Thinking About Intermarriage – Deuteronomy 7-8

Read Deuteronomy 7-8

The Bible offers a negative view on intermarriage. Yet, the intermarriage in Scripture is not the intermarriage that Americans picture. Let me explain.

When Americans hear “intermarriage”, most incorrectly assume we are referencing “interracial” marriage. Until 1967, when the Supreme Court banned such laws, there were sixteen states within our nation that had laws prohibiting black-white interracial marriages. But the issue in today’s reading (7:3-4) is not about interracial marriage, but rather marriage between believers and unbelievers.

In Numbers 12:1-6, Moses’ siblings (Miriam and Aaron), opposed him for marrying a woman from Cush. Without question, this woman from Cush was a black woman; Cush was an area south of Egypt (see Jeremiah 13:23). When they married, Miriam and Aaron spoke against this because she was a black African woman. But God’s anger burned against these two (Numbers 12:9), and God changed Miriam’s skin to temporarily humble her. God made His will known that He is okay with interracial marriage. As we move into the New Testament, we learn that among those who are found in Christ, racial distinctions are insignificant because we have Christ in common (Colossians 3:9-11).

When we arrive in Deuteronomy, we have God’s word against intermarriage, marriage between believers and unbelievers. God commanded the Israelites to drive out and destroy the current inhabitants of the land. The Hebrew people were not to marry anyone who currently lived in the Promised Land, “for they would turn away your sons from following me, to serve other gods. Then the anger of the Lord would be kindled against you, and he would destroy you quickly.” (Deuteronomy 7:4)

Later, in 21:10-14, God permits the Hebrews to make peace and to marry people from outside the Promised Land. So, these limits on marriage only applied to the evil people in the land that Israel was about to own. The limit had nothing to do with race. God wanted His people to stay true to Him, and He knew that marrying a nonbeliever would change their loyalty.

Tragedy – Genesis 34-36

Our church family is reading through the first five books of the Bible together in ninety days. We invite you to join us as we believe this will be a time that will change our lives. 

Read Genesis 34-36

The Bible describes the brutality of Dinah’s rape (Genesis 34:2) by a man named Shechem with three words – “saw … lay … and humiliated.” After this horrific act, he has the gall to ask for her hand in marriage.

Dinah was the daughter of Jacob and Leah. Her father had always favored Rachel’s children over Leah’s, but Dinah was his only daughter. Jacob showed a callous indifference to his daughter’s rape. The fact that he has multiple wives only exacerbated the problems of his dysfunctional family. The father’s indifference stood in marked contrast to the brothers’ thirst for revenge.

Dinah’s two brothers, Simeon and Levi, developed a plan of their own to avenge their sister. They answered Shechem’s request deceitfully, granting Dinah’s hand in marriage (and allowing the Hivites to intermarry the other women of Jacob’s family) only if Shechem and the men of his tribe were circumcised.

It was normal for Hebrew men to be circumcised (Genesis 17:9-14). Consequently, the brothers’ request seemed plausible to Hamor and Shechem. Their cold plotting found its desired result. On the third day after the surgery, when the men of the city would be their most incapacitated, Dinah’s two brothers, Simeon and Levi, used their swords to kill every male of the city. Think of this atrocious scene for a moment. These two brothers killed not only the father and the son responsible for the rape, but every male of the city. They pushed aside children and women to kill every man in his own tent as the two blood-soaked men grabbed their sister on the way out of town. If this were a Hollywood movie, I would not let my kids see it.

This wasn’t justice, but rather cold-hearted revenge served up for all to see. This wasn’t “eye for an eye” nor could this masquerade as equitable justice. To make matters worse, the remainder of the brothers swooped in to steal all the wealth from the slain families for good measure. Wow! Double Wow!

Friday, January 22 – Catch Up Day

Saturday, January 23 – Catch Up Day