Words from the Weary Wilderness - Lenten Journey Day 34
Day Thirty-Four Saturday, April 9
Duties to your Brother’s Wife
Read: Deuteronomy 25:5-10
5 When brothers reside together, and one of them dies and has no son, the wife of the deceased shall not be married outside the family to a stranger. Her husband’s brother shall go in to her, taking her in marriage, and performing the duty of a husband’s brother to her, 6 and the firstborn whom she bears shall succeed to the name of the deceased brother, so that his name may not be blotted out of Israel. 7 But if the man has no desire to marry his brother’s widow, then his brother’s widow shall go up to the elders at the gate and say, “My husband’s brother refuses to perpetuate his brother’s name in Israel; he will not perform the duty of a husband’s brother to me.” 8 Then the elders of his town shall summon him and speak to him. If he persists, saying, “I have no desire to marry her,” 9 then his brother’s wife shall go up to him in the presence of the elders, pull his sandal off his foot, spit in his face, and declare, “This is what is done to the man who does not build up his brother’s house.” 10 Throughout Israel his family shall be known as “the house of him whose sandal was pulled off.”
Today’s Word from the Weary Wilderness: Her husband’s brother shall go in to her, taking her in marriage, and performing the duty of a husband’s brother to her. (Deuteronomy 25:5b)
Reflection: We do not practice Levirate marriage today. Many would take offense at the very notion of this biblical principle. The idea of a husband’s brother becoming a substitute husband is not one that most of us embrace. But, as we look at life in the weary wilderness, we see some reasons why the people might have embraced this principle. It provided care for the widow, and the perpetuation of the family name. There is even a punishment and a “curse” of sorts for the man who will not take part in Levirate marriage. How do you feel about this? How would this law of the wilderness have effected your life or your future? Is it okay that we disregard this one?
Prayer: God of the Weary Wilderness, today we come across a biblical principle that we consider obsolete, unfair, and even taboo. As we look at this principle, help us to see the wider wisdom of this passage. Convict us also when we pull out any one passage of scripture, make it an absolute principle, but disregard so many others. Amen.
Blessings of Peace and Health,
Rev. Beverly B. Coppley
& Chief Missional Strategist