Leviticus 18:16, (DRB):

Thou shalt not uncover the nakedness of thy brother's wife: because it is the nakedness of thy brother.

Deuteronomy 25:5-10, (DRB):

Widowhood and Marriage 5When brethren dwell together, and one of them dieth without children, the wife of the deceased shall not marry to another: but his brother shall take her, and raise up seed for his brother: 6And the first son he shall have of her he shall call by his name, that his name be not abolished out of Israel. 7But if he will not take his brother's wife, who by law belongeth to him, the woman shall go to the gate of the city, and call upon the ancients, and say: My husband's brother refuseth to raise up his brother's name in Israel: and will not take me to wife. 8And they shall cause him to be sent for forthwith, and shall ask him. If he answer: I will not take her to wife: 9The woman shall come to him before the ancients, and shall take off his shoe from his foot, and spit in his face, and say: So shall it be done to the man that will not build up his brother's house: 10And his name shall be called in Israel, the house of the unshod.

Lev 18:16 is NOT discussing an adulterous relationship with a man's sister-in-law while the brother is still alive, for the adulterous relationship is forbidden with any woman!, while the husband is alive or after his death!. Are the adulterous relationship, or MARRIAGE of stepmother is allowed after FATHER'S DEATH?

Thus, Leviticus 18:16 is explicitly discussing MARRIAGE of your Sister-in-law after the death of your Brother.

The Main Question:

Does Deuteronomy 25:5-10 supersede Leviticus 18:16 or vice versa?

Supersede=cancel, call off, replace, or displace.

Queries may help in clarification of my point of view:

There are two reasons contradict each other:

  • The Nakedness of the Brother shouldn't be uncovered.
  • Raising up seed for the deceased Brother.

Thus, to raise up seed for the deceased Brother, the living Brother should uncover the nakedness of his deceased Brother. Is this reasonable?

Could we use the same Idea with the nakedness of the Uncle?

Is there a difference between The nakedness of the Brother and the nakedness of the Uncle or the nakedness of the Father?

Could a nephew marry a divorced wife of his alive Uncle?

Is the Order of the Books of Torah correct?

Could we consider the teaching of Jesus regarding Divorce and Marriage a going back to Leviticus?

Thus, I hope you Correct me if I am Wrong.

Thank you.

  • 2
    salah I would like to give you some helpful advice. You have good questions, however it is hard to attempt an answer since there are like five questions crammed into this one post! It's a bad habit, and also confounds and confuses users who would like to help you out with your hermeneutical problems. It would be helpful in the future if you tried to focus on one question at a time. If you find that you have a lot of questions you can always create for them separate posts. But cramming all your questions into one post is not very constructive. Hope you internalize my advice.
    – bach
    Apr 30, 2020 at 14:51
  • @Bach Thank you for your good advice, BUT, you may consider extra 4 questions as secondary and subsidiary to the main question, which is: is there superseding from one Book to the Other?
    – salah
    Apr 30, 2020 at 15:05
  • I understand Salah, but I have no idea which one is your main question, and what is only secondary. Just looking at your post I have no idea where to start. You might wanna edit this post to clarify what is most important and what is an add on, or to remove the secondary question altogether (which in my opinion would be preferable).
    – bach
    Apr 30, 2020 at 15:07
  • Also you may want to clarify and elaborate on what you mean by supersede? Do you mean that one was written earlier, or that it implies a contradiction?
    – bach
    Apr 30, 2020 at 15:11
  • @Bach supersede=cancel or call off.
    – salah
    Apr 30, 2020 at 15:21

2 Answers 2


There is a simple difference here:

  • Lev 18:16 is discussing an adulterous relationship with a man's sister-in-law while the brother is still alive
  • Deut 25:5-10 is discussing the problem of inheritance of a man who dies childless. After the man has died, there can be no adulterous relationship with the wife because the first marriage (to the brother) has ended. (See Rom 7:1-3)

The two laws are not contradictory at all.

  • @salah No, it is yourself has misunderstood the scripture. And now, you have been rude to someone who tried to help you.
    – Nigel J
    Apr 30, 2020 at 15:18
  • @NigelJ I am so sorry, if I was rude. You can correct me in an answer, if I misunderstood. Thank you.
    – salah
    Apr 30, 2020 at 15:25
  • @salah Perhaps you might feel able to delete your comment.
    – Nigel J
    Apr 30, 2020 at 16:36

The answer is that Leviticus 18:16 is the general rule and Deuteronomy 25:5 is a narrow exception to that rule.

Leviticus 18:16's general rule is that a person is prohibited from having intercourse (or marrying) his brother's wife. This prohibition applies whether his brother is alive or dead (compare with Leviticus 18:18 which specifically limits the prohibition on having intercourse with one's wife's sister to in his wife's lifetime).

Dueteronomy 25:5 is a narrow exception for when (a) the person's brother died; and (b) the brother was childless. In that situation, and only that situation, the living brother is permitted to marry his widowed sister-in-law as a way of keeping his brother's memory alive for future generations.

This exception does not apply to uncles (it is obviously impossible to apply to a Father's spouse because the Father by definition is not childless) because we have no basis for presuming the exception goes beyond what is expressly provided.

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