Leviticus 20:21 "'If a man marries his brother's wife, it is an act of impurity; he has dishonored his brother. They will be childless.

How would childlessness be accomplished?


3 Answers 3


In the absence of some direct command to the congregation to enforce this order, I think we can assume that God himself would enforce it as he did when Abimelek was going to take Sarah, Abraham's wife, for himself:

"for the Lord had kept all the women in Abimelek’s household from conceiving because of Abraham’s wife Sarah." (Genesis 20:18, NIV)


To expand on Richard Fitzhugh's good answer, they believed that God opened and closed the womb of women.

Genesis 1:28a

God blessed them and said to them, "Be fruitful and multiply

Genesis 4:25

Adam made love to his wife again, and she gave birth to a son and named him Seth, saying, "God has granted me another child in place of Abel, since Cain killed him."

Genesis 25:21

Later, Isaac prayed to the LORD on behalf of his wife, because she was barren. And the LORD heard his prayer, and his wife Rebekah conceived.

Genesis 29:31

When the LORD saw that Leah was unloved, He opened her womb; but Rachel was barren.

Genesis 30:2

Jacob became angry with her and said, "Am I in the place of God, who has kept you from having children?"

Psalm 127:3

Children are a heritage from the LORD, offspring a reward from him.


Well, you have to look at the biblical time in which it was written and not just the content/context.

At that time and even now, it is against scripture. However, in those times there would have been a physical penalty imposed for violating scriptural ordinances and statutes that were in rebellion to God's laws.