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Deuteronomy 23:1-8 lists some people that are forbidden to enter "the assembly of the LORD".

Deuteronomy 23:1-8 (NKJ)

Those Excluded from the Congregation

1 “He who is emasculated by crushing or mutilation shall not enter the assembly of the LORD. 2 “One of illegitimate birth shall not enter the assembly of the LORD; even to the tenth generation none of his descendants shall enter the assembly of the LORD. 3 “An Ammonite or Moabite shall not enter the assembly of the LORD; even to the tenth generation none of his descendants shall enter the assembly of the LORD forever, 4 because they did not meet you with bread and water on the road when you came out of Egypt, and because they hired against you Balaam the son of Beor from Pethor of Mesopotamia, to curse you. 5 Nevertheless the LORD your God would not listen to Balaam, but the LORD your God turned the curse into a blessing for you, because the LORD your God loves you. 6 You shall not seek their peace nor their prosperity all your days forever. 7 “You shall not abhor an Edomite, for he is your brother. You shall not abhor an Egyptian, because you were an alien in his land. 8 The children of the third generation born to them may enter the assembly of the LORD.

What does "the assembly of the LORD" mean or refer to?

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Welcome to BH.SE! :D – Richard Nov 3 '11 at 17:12
up vote 5 down vote accepted

According to the Sages of the Talmud, "entering into the assembly" means marriage.

Maimonides codifies this law of the four nations as follows:

Any gentile who converts to Judaism and accepts upon himself all the commandments of the Torah and slaves who are freed from slavery, attain the status of a Jew as the verse says: 'As for the congregation, there shall be one statute, both for you and for the stranger that sojourneth with you' (Numbers 15:15). And such a person is allowed to enter the congregation immediately except for an individual of the following nations: Amon, Moab, Egypt and Edom. When an individual from one of these nations converts to Judaism, he is a complete Jew in every respect except for the aspect of marriage into the congregation.

Hilchot Issurei Biah (Laws Pertaining to Forbidden Relationships) 12:17

A few years ago I wrote this short piece about the status of Amonites, Moabites, Egyptians and Edomites in Jewish law.

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Interesting article. My naive assumption was that the assembly had something to do with public worship. – Jon Ericson Nov 4 '11 at 18:08

protected by Dan Dec 26 '15 at 20:02

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