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Ethics In Practicing Your Faith

You may not marry the sister of your wife while your wife is still living. It is incest.

Leviticus 18:18 Neither shalt thou take a wife to her sister, to vex [her], to uncover her nakedness, beside the other in her life [time].

In short, marrying two sisters at the same time is a violation of the laws against incest. You are forbidden to do it. There are some who enter into a semantic type of nonsense concerning this verse while ignoring the context. They claim that if a man doesn't set out to vex his wife by marrying her sister that he's not violating Leviticus 18:18 but that's not the point of this verse. Leviticus 18:18 is a law against committing a particular type of incest. The context in which this incest law is found is within a long list of incestuous bans.

Leviticus 18:14 Thou shalt not uncover the nakedness of thy father's brother, thou shalt not approach to his wife: she [is] thine aunt.

This is speaking of after the uncle is dead. During the life of the uncle it would be adultery but this has no limit such as in the ban on uncovering the nakedness of a wife.

Leviticus 18:16 Thou shalt not uncover the nakedness of thy brother's wife: it [is] thy brother's nakedness.

Again, this is speaking of after the brother is dead for during the life of the brother it would be adultery and this also has no limit such as in the ban on uncovering the nakedness of a wife.

Now let's look at the verse in question:

Leviticus 18:18 Neither shalt thou take a wife to her sister, to vex [her], to uncover her nakedness, beside the other in her life [time].

To uncover whose nakedness? If we are using the context of the verses that precede Leviticus 18:18 then we are forced to specify that the "her" is the current wife. Like this:

Leviticus 18:18 Neither shalt thou take a wife to her sister, to vex [your wife], to uncover [your wife's] nakedness, beside the other in her life [time].

You see, the wife of your sister is "your wife's nakedness." In other words, it is incestuous.

This case could be put on a test as follows:

Question: What is the only incestuous relationship that ceases to be incestuous after the death of your wife?

Answer: Marriage to your wife's sister.


Note: Copyright 2007 Don Milton All Rights Reserved.
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