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  • Writer's pictureJan Weihl

Sin of Intermarriage (Nehemiah 13)

Scripture tells us that the splendor of Solomon was destroyed because he disobeyed God's command and married foreign wives. Likewise Nehemiah had a fit when he found out the Jews had married foreign women. Why is this such a big deal?

This repeated command throughout Scripture could so easily be taken out of context and twisted to justify division, discrimination, and racism.

This is a reminder to always ask why and understand the context.

God did not forbid Solomon from marrying foreign women because they were a different race or nationality.

Nehemiah didn't get angry with the Jews in Jerusalem for marrying foreign women because they were a different race or nationality.

The issue was who they worshiped, not their bloodline. These foreign women worshiped pagan gods. They took Solomon's eyes off of God and caused him to sin by worshiping their pagan gods. Likewise pagan influence in Nehemiah's time was creeping into Jerusalem and even among the priests and Levites causing them to sin against God.

Nehemiah 13:23,26-27 In those days I also saw that the Jews had married women from Ashdod, Ammon and Moab. Did not Solomon king of Israel sin regarding these things? Yet among the many nations there was no king like him, and he was loved by his God, and God made him king over all Israel; nevertheless the foreign women caused even him to sin. Do we then hear about you that you have committed all this great evil by acting unfaithfully against our God by marrying foreign women?

This is why even in the New Testament Paul instructed the Corinthians not to be unequally yoked.

2 Corinthians 6:14 Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers.

When we are unequally yoked whether in marriage or close relationship, we cannot be chasing after God with our whole heart. In fact, we will be constantly encouraged to take our eyes off of Jesus and focus on the world around us.

So whether we are talking about marriage or close relationships, race is irrelevant. Nationality is irrelevant. Even church denomination is irrelevant.

All that matters is that those we marry or those who we are in close relationship with, absolutely love Jesus, have pledged their life to Him, and will base their life on the truth of God's Word, beginning to end. When we get that right, the relationship will be protected because Jesus will always be in the center, holding it together, and guiding both of you. The "yoke" will always be leading both of you, along the narrow road which brings God glory and points to Jesus.

Jan Weihl

Living Word Ministries

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