From: George Murphy (email@example.com)
Date: Fri Feb 21 2003 - 10:35:47 EST
> "The policy described in the Book of Numbers, Dueteronomy and Joshua is to
> commit genocide rather than permitting intermarriage with the conquered
> peoples in the zone of settlement. (Deut.7:3, Josh 23,12-13, Numbers 25:6)."
> APTSDA, K. MacDonald, p.41
> Also, "The apotheosis of the abhorrence of exogamy appears in the Books of
> Ezra and Nehemiah which recount events and attitudes in the early post-exilic
> period. The officials are said to complain that," The people of Israel and
> the and the priests and the levites, have not separated themselves from the
> peoples of the lands, doing according to their abominations... for they have
> taken of their daughters for themselves and for their sons, so that the holy
> seed have mingled themselves with the peoples of the lands" (Ezra 9:2).APTSDA
> also Nehemiah as in Neh:13:28, Neh. 13, 23-25).APTSDA
> I don't know that anything more instructive of a return to Levitical law (not
> in opposition to Mosaic Law but an elaboration of it) can be found than in
> the return from exile in Babylon and the reestablishment of the Temple.................................
The policies established against intermarriage in the times of Ezra & Nehemiah
are understandable for a small group of returned exiles who are surrounded by enemies
and threatened with the possibility that their faith community will disappear through
processes of assimilation & syncretism.
But that is emergency legislation which absolutely must not be turned into a
general rule, especially for Christians. It's clear that before the exile there was
relatively little concern for biological "purity," as the Book of Ruth - among
other texts - shows. In the NT it is significant that of the 4 women mentioned (
before Mary) in Mt's genealogy of Jesus, 3 were certainly foreigners & the other (the
wife of Uriah "the Hittite") quite likely was.
& note Jesus' words in Lk.4:25-27 - words that almost got him killed
prematurely! For Christians, any attempt to claim religious sanction for policies of
racial or ethnic "purity" is - to use a Levitical term - abomination.
George L. Murphy
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