That the Israelites married relations on the father's side is thus indisputable, but if they were exogamous, as we must believe them to have been, since they had marriage by capture and marriage with the form of capture, marriages between blood-relations were forbidden; hence we must conclude that relations on the father's side were not accounted blood-relations, and that kinship and descent were traced through mothers exclusively.
All the above cases, and that of Amram, father of Moses, who married his father's sister (Exodus, vi, 20), are anterior to the Levitical law, which forbade marriage with a sister-german, or by the same father, and also with a father's sister; and so, had it been then in force, would have prevented the marriage of Abraham with Sarah, and that of Amram with Jochebed. The Levitical law was therefore an innovation, since it prohibited marriages which had formerly been allowed. It also prohibited marriage with a brother's wife, which is generally taken as meant to include his widow; but as in Deuteronomy, xxv, 5, a man is enjoined to marry his brother's widow, if the brother had died childless, it seems probable that the prohibition in Leviticus, xviii, 10, was directed against that form of polyandry in which the associated husbands are brothers, which, as we have before shown, the Israelites certainly at one time had.
As we have said, the Levitical law changed the existing custom; yet, strangely enough, long after the supposed date of its promulgation, we find Tamar, in the affair with her half-brother Amnon, saying (I Samuel, xiii, 13): "Speak to the king, for he will not withhold me from thee," just as if marriage with a sister-german was quite customary and had not been forbidden. From this we are driven to conclude that the Levitical law is misplaced chronologically—a conclusion which M. Renan seems also to have arrived at. It seems probable that the Levitical code was really
- History of the People of Israel, vol. i, p. 166; vol. ii, pp. 169, 298.