Search This Blog

Could people marry outside their tribes in the Old Testament?

 Now suppose they marry men from other Israelite tribes; then their inheritance will be taken from our ancestral inheritance and added to that of the tribe they marry into. And so part of the inheritance allotted to us will be taken away. Numbers 36:3
No inheritance in Israel is to pass from one tribe to another, for every Israelite shall keep the tribal inheritance of their ancestors.  Every daughter who inherits land in any Israelite tribe must marry someone in her father’s tribal clan, so that every Israelite will possess the inheritance of their ancestors. No inheritance may pass from one tribe to another, for each Israelite tribe is to keep the land it inherits.” Numbers 36:7-9
            If a woman from one tribe (say Judah) fell in love with a man from another tribe (say Reuben), they could be married but she would become a part of her husband’s tribe.  However, if she had an inheritance because she was the only surviving sibling, a woman’s inheritance could not travel between tribes.
            The tribes lived in specific regions with land borders.  Things would get confusing if a family from Gad owned a portion of land inside the borders of Issachar.  This was done to keep the tribal lines clear.