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Mark 12:19

Context
12:19 “Teacher, Moses wrote for us: ‘If a mans brother dies and leaves a wife but no children, that man 1  must marry 2  the widow and father children 3  for his brother.’ 4 

1 tn Grk “his brother”; but this would be redundant in English with the same phrase “his brother” at the end of the verse, so most modern translations render this phrase “the man” (so NIV, NRSV).

2 tn The use of ἵνα (Jina) with imperatival force is unusual (BDF §470.1).

3 tn Grk “raise up seed” (an idiom for fathering children).

4 sn A quotation from Deut 25:5. This practice is called levirate marriage (see also Ruth 4:1-12; Mishnah, m. Yevamot; Josephus, Ant. 4.8.23 [4.254-256]). The levirate law is described in Deut 25:5-10. The brother of a man who died without a son had an obligation to marry his brother’s widow. This served several purposes: It provided for the widow in a society where a widow with no children to care for her would be reduced to begging, and it preserved the name of the deceased, who would be regarded as the legal father of the first son produced from that marriage.



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