Incest Versus Fornication

Deuteronomy 23:2, A child of incest shall not. Mamzer (translated in the KJV as bastard; NKJV one of illegitimate birth) means “a child of a prohibited marriage.” Contrary to popular opinion, this is not referring to one born out of wedlock (the result of fornication or premarital relations), but rather the fruit of an incestuous or adulterous relationship (The ArtScroll Stone Edition Chumash, p. 1054).

According to S. R. Hirsch, a Jewish Torah scholar, a mamzer was disadvantaged legally in no other way except that he was excluded from the assembly or congregation (qahal) of YHVH. According to The Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament, the Hebrew word qahal is equivalent to the Greek word ecclesia, which is commonly translated as church in the NT (ibid., vol. 2, p. 790).

What does Torah’s treatment of a mamzer say about YHVH’s view of the sanctity of marriage and the family and the upholding of such as a cornerstone institution within the assembly of the saints? Hirsch comments on this verse, “[A] mamzer accordingly represents, by his existence, a sin against those laws by which God wishes marriage in His qahal to be elevated out of the sphere of simply physical association by that which [the Talmud in] Kiddushin [73a] expresses” (Judaica Press The Pentateuch/Deuteronomy, p. 456).

In the Torah, premarital sex isn’t a capital offense. When it happened, the man was either to marry the young lady, or he was to pay a fine to her father. Incest, however, like homosexuality, was an abomination in YHVH’s eyes (Lev 18), thus it would stand to reason that YHVH would take a harder stand on the product of such a sexual union. The point is to teach his people not to get involved in such sinful sexual practices in the first place.

Would excluding certain individuals who oppose traditional marriage and define it in ways contrary to biblical definition now be politically correct in our society? Discuss the implications and what the saints can do to protect the sanctity of the congregation of the believers from those who would thumb their noses at the Word of the Creator of the universe, the very Author of the marriage institution.


9 thoughts on “Incest Versus Fornication

  1. The “illegitimate marriage” referred to here is the “worshipping of false gods or other idols” apart from Elhohim. The child from incest produced is not a true “child of God”.

    While I believe it has physical ramifications in this world also, I think the teaching is primarily intended to be spiritual in nature, referring to marriage as a union of mortal man (bride of Yeshua) and Elohim, produced by true and genuine worship in the true and only God.

    This is why covenant breakers are referred to as “harlots”.

    • “Illegitimate birth” is not from the true “seed” of Abraham and Yeshua, (righteousness by belief in Yeshua and his atoning sacrifice) and therefore shall not come into a true inheritance of the kingdom of heaven (“enter into the assembly of the Lord”).

    • Correct, but this verse also has a literal application as well as a spiritual application. If we can allegorize away this verse, then we can allegorize or spiritualize away half the Bible, which is what the church does. They say, for example, that we don’t have to keep a literal seventh day Sabbath as long as we keep one day in seven, or view Jesus/Yeshua as our spiritual rest. See the trap of this type of thinking?

      In reality, many Bible passage have several levels of meaning at the same time: a literal application or meaning, a broader literal application the principle of which can apply to other similar situations, an allegorical meaning (as you correctly point out), and a deep, hidden or mysterious meaning (e.g., much of the Book of Revelation).

      I have expounded on this subject elsewhere. To correctly interpret the Bible, one must understand these principles, or else we won’t get the full meaning out of a scripture or we can back the Bible say what we want it to say. These are called the rules of biblical interpretation.

  2. Shalom to All . Is this the union of Bathsheba & David to produce the first child taken by illness though Solomon was considered legitimate? FJ

    • FJ – the following are MY thoughts, not Natan’s, I cannot speak for him, but this is what I believe.

      The short answer to your question is NO.

      BOTH sons of David and Bathsheba foreshadow Yeshua. Remember Yeshua (the Messiah) was prophesied to be the “son of David” (through genealogical lineage it turns out!).

      The FIRST son that God killed for punishment of David’s sin foreshadowed the “suffering Messiah”, who God allowed to die to atone for our sins.

      The SECOND son was Solomon, who foreshadows the “resurrected Messiah” and, as King of Israel, illustrates that when He comes again (2nd coming), He shall reign over all the Earth as King.

      • Thanks for your response Mike. A perspective I had never thought of. Shalom FJ

      • To support this thought, note 2 Samuel 12:23 in which David says “I will go to him but he will not return to me”.

      • Interesting thought. Instead of David and Bathsheba representing Yeshua, it seems to me that it might be better to say that they represent Father YHVH and Mary.

    • According to the Jewish understanding of this verse, it doesn’t address illegitimately born children of fornication or adultery, so I’m not sure that it applies to David and Bathsheba’s first child.

Share your thoughts...