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Deuteronomy 25:7-10

Context
25:7 But if the man does not want to marry his brother’s widow, then she 1  must go to the elders at the town gate and say, “My husband’s brother refuses to preserve his brother’s name in Israel; he is unwilling to perform the duty of a brother-in-law to me!” 25:8 Then the elders of his city must summon him and speak to him. If he persists, saying, “I don’t want to marry her,” 25:9 then his sister-in-law must approach him in view of the elders, remove his sandal from his foot, and spit in his face. 2  She will then respond, “Thus may it be done to any man who does not maintain his brother’s family line!” 3  25:10 His family name will be referred to 4  in Israel as “the family 5  of the one whose sandal was removed.” 6 

1 tn Heb “want to take his sister-in-law, then his sister in law.” In the second instance the pronoun (“she”) has been used in the translation to avoid redundancy.

2 sn The removal of the sandal was likely symbolic of the relinquishment by the man of any claim to his dead brother’s estate since the sandal was associated with the soil or land (cf. Ruth 4:7-8). Spitting in the face was a sign of utmost disgust or disdain, an emotion the rejected widow would feel toward her uncooperative brother-in-law (cf. Num 12:14; Lev 15:8). See W. Bailey, NIDOTTE 2:544.

3 tn Heb “build the house of his brother”; TEV “refuses to give his brother a descendant”; NLT “refuses to raise up a son for his brother.”

4 tn Heb “called,” i.e., “known as.”

5 tn Heb “house.”

6 tn Cf. NIV, NCV “The Family of the Unsandaled.”



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