and if women were carried off by force from neighboring tribes and then married, there could be no certainty that the child borne by a captive woman was the offspring of one of the men in whose keeping she happened to be at the time of its birth. Fathers being thus uncertain, if not absolutely unknown, the paternal tie could not be taken into account. Blood-relationship would be traced through the mother, and this system would, through custom, prevail long after the conditions which gave rise to it had come to an end. Independently, then, of any evidence that may be forthcoming, we should conclude that the Israelites must at one time have had a system of kinship through mothers.
We now come to another point. There is no known case of a nation having marriage by capture and marriage with the form of capture without being exogamous; and since the Israelites had both these customs we infer that, unless they were altogether exceptional, they were also exogamous—that is, they prohibited marriage between those who were recognized as being related by blood. When we examine in detail all the marriages mentioned in which it is possible to trace the pedigrees both of husband and wife, we find that there is not one that would violate the principle of exogamy if descent were in the female line, while there are a great number which could not possibly occur if the Israelites were exogamous and traced descent in the male line. For instance, Nahor, Abraham's brother, married the daughter of his brother Haran (Genesis, xi, 29)—his niece, if descent were in the male line, but no relation if in the female. Abraham married his father's daughter (Genesis, xx, 12)—his half-sister if kinship was traced through males, but if through females, no relation. Marriages of this kind, it may be mentioned, are peculiar to the system of female descents and could not occur under any other system of kinship, if marriages between blood-relations were forbidden. We see in this case, too, what a point Abraham made of explaining that his wife was not the daughter of his mother, but only of his father. Isaac married Rebekah, granddaughter of his paternal uncle Nahor, who had himself married his brother's daughter (Genesis, xxiv, 15). Isaac and Rebekah would not be blood-relations if descent were in the female line. Esau married the daughter of Ishmael, his uncle on the father's side (Genesis, xxviii, 9; xxxvi, 3). Jacob married the daughters of his maternal uncle, Laban (Genesis, xxix, 10, 16). With descent in the female line Laban would be Jacob's blood-relation, but his daughters would not, since they would be of the kin of their mother. Laban and Jacob were both great-grandsons of Terah, and the following "tree" will show to what an extent, if kinship was reckoned in the male line, the descendants of Terah knowingly intermarried in the same blood.