Some Laws Regarding Marriage

Deuteronomy 22:13-23:9

The next group of laws Moses outlines relate to marriage. The first deals with a husband who comes to despise his wife and accuses her of not being a virgin when they married. If her parents produce signs of her virginity to the elders of the city, the husband is required to keep her as his wife and may not divorce her. If his accusations are found to be true, however, the wife is stoned.


If a man and woman commit adultery, both are stoned.


If a man lies with a betrothed woman, both are killed, but if the incident takes place outside an inhabited area, she is spared, because it is assumed she cried for help and nobody heard her to rescue her. If the woman was not betrothed, he must pay her father for his actions and marry the girl, keeping her as his wife forever.


Moses then lists a series of forbidden marriages: a man may not marry the wife of his father; a bastard child cannot marry a member of the congregation of Israel, nor can an Ammonite or Moabite, or a man with a crushed or severed organ; and a convert from the nation of Edom or Egypt may only marry into the nation after three generations.


The Israel Bible relates that despite the abuse suffered by the Israelites during the slavery in Egypt, God commands us not to treat them the same way. We must have compassion for all His children. The Torah warns us against rejoicing at the suffering of an enemy. For this reason,  every Passover, when the Jewish people celebrate their salvation from the hands of their Egyptian oppressors, they spill symbolic drops of wine from their cups to indicate that their joy is diminished due the suffering endured by their enemies.


Virtual Classroom Discussion

Why do you think the Ammonites and Moabites are treated differently by the Torah than the Egyptians? Why might their offences be considered more serious than anything the Egyptians did to the Israelites?

Comments ( 10 )

The comments below do not necessarily reflect the beliefs and opinions of The Israel Bible™.

  • Samuel granita

    "3 An Ammonite or Moabite shall not enter into the congregation of the LORD; even to their tenth generation shall they not enter into the congregation of the LORD for ever:
    4 Because they met you not with bread and with water in the way, when ye came forth out of Egypt; and because they hired against thee Balaam the son of Beor of Pethor of Mesopotamia, to curse thee.
    5 Nevertheless the LORD thy God would not hearken unto Balaam; but the LORD thy God turned the curse into a blessing unto thee, because the LORD thy God loved thee.
    6 Thou shalt not seek their peace nor their *prosperity all thy days for ever. "(Deut 23:3-6)
    It seems that this had been set as a forever hate.

  • The Moabites and Ammonites are family of the Israelites. (through Avraham’s cousin Lot. ) So of them, Israel would have expected a far better welcome on their way to the promised land. They didn’t. In stead of this they even lured Israel into idolatry through fornication.(Baal Peor) Therefore this different treatment.

  • I 've heard that Ruth was beyond the third and fourth generation of the Moabites that worked with Baalam and hence the sin of her ancestors (Exodus 20:5) could not visit her or limit her.

    • I realize that this Torah portion says Moab should not be helped forever, that means my comment above is wrong, sorry.

  • Thank you for your comments. Jesse makes a very good point when he reminds us that the Egyptians initially welcomed Joseph’s family, providing them with food and water when there was famine in Canaan, precisely the opposite of the behavior for which Moab and Ammon ore censured. It is true, as Diana points out, that Ammon and Moab are descended from Lot, but that would only seem to make it more likely they COULD intermarry with the Israelites.
    The Sages determined that this law applies only to male Ammonites and Moabites, since only they would have been expected to bring food and water to the Israelites in the desert, while the women would have stayed home. This is the reason Ruth the Moabitess was permitted to marry Boaz and become King David’s great-grandmother.

    • Thank you for this explaination. I always questioned why Ruth was permitted to Marry Boaz. It is sometimes difficult for us in this time to realize that the women would have remained home.

    • Pauline Graham

      I think it could be that both of these tribes were committed by an incestuous relationship with a drunken Lot and his 2 daughters. Could be why they were forbidden, would these not be classed as unclean by Moses.

  • Diana Brown

    Both are descendants of Lot.

  • Jesse

    The Egyptians initially supported and cared for Israel before subjecting them to slavery whereas Ammon and Moab both rejected Israel at the outset.

  • Jayne

    The Ammonites did not provide food and water for the Israelites in the desert and the Moabites tried to get Balaam to curse and destroy them.
    The Egyptians did not go that far.

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