Judges 12:13: "Outside"

David Stabnow dstabno at lifeway.com
Thu Mar 1 12:02:02 EST 2001

The question is the meaning of "outside" when in Judg 12:9 Ibzan married
off his sons and daughters to people from "outside."

Dt 25:5 is a related text, though it does not shed a lot of light on the
problem. Here, when brothers are living together (perhaps on the same
compound, under the same "head of his father's house") and one dies without
siring a son, the woman is not to have _HXWC L)Y$_ "an outsider for a
husband," a *zar* "stranger," but one of the brothers is to sire a son
through her.

Perhaps we can assume that here it means that she must not marry outside
the family, but rather to his brother inside the family. That is, "outside"
is opposed to "all in the family." This would provide offspring for the
dead man and thereby keep his portion of the inheritance within the family.
There might also be an assumption that it would be out of the question to
marry outside Israel, so this must refer to outside this particular family
or clan.

On the other hand, *zar* "stranger" often means "foreigner," i.e.,
non-Israelite. For my argument to stand it would have to mean, generically,
"outsider," i.e., someone outside the group under discussion.

Dave Stabnow

More information about the b-hebrew mailing list