Marriage Index
Van Deusen/Kosinski Collection

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have unnecessarily multiplied the words of the law, without rendering them more explicit or intelligible.

III.  As the law before us in, beyond contradiction, a state against Incest, we may expect to find in it, some precept respecting A SISTER IN LAW, since she is also very near of kin. - In this we are not disappointed. It is contained in v. 16. "Thou shalt not uncover the nakedness of thy brother's wife; it is thy brother's nakedness." - To remove every temptation and silence all prevarication upon this article, the same precept is repeated in chap. xx. 21. "If a man shall take his brother's wife, it is an unclean thing: he hath uncovered his brother's nakedness." - Here two brothers are forbidden to marry the same woman; and of course two sisters may not marry the same man. - "The sister of a deceased wife stands in the very same relation with a brother of a deceased husband; the law therefore is express and full, that two sisters shall not marry the same man. Whoever then marries his deceased wife's sister is, by the clear and unequivocal sentence of God's law guilty of incest."


There are two classes of sisters in law. One is the wife of a brother, the other the sister of a wife. Both these are always called by the same name, and with great propriety. They are both sisters in and by the law of God, upon the same principle of affinity; and are both related in exactly the same degree of kindred. If there be any difference, the sister of the wife, in consequence of the union of husband and wife, is the nearest. The law therefore which prohibits a marriage, with one sister in law, must agreeably to rule 5, forbid a marriage with the other sister in law.

The objection urged from the precept, Deut. xxv. 5. 10. will be considered and answered in its proper place, where it will be seen, that it makes no alteration in the spirit or letter of this Law. It suffices here to observe, that whatever may be the scope or extent of that exception, in regard to a brother's wife, in a particular instance; it evidently can have no reference at all to the other class of sisters in law. The sisters of the wife are clearly, and absolutely prohibited, without any admissable condition or supposed dispensation.


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