Incest is sexual intercourse or relationship between persons so closely related that the law forbids them to marry.
Many people hold different views about this subject. Some refer to a few characters in the Bible who purportedly practiced it.
As true as it may seem that God once “allowed” incest during the early age of humanity, we have to understand the state of the world at the time, why God allowed but later forbade them, occurrences before the Law was given, during the period of the Law, and the post-Law era.
Note: Bible quotations are from the NIV, unless otherwise indicated
What Does The Bible Say About Incest?
The Bible is full of different characters with different backstories, many of them sweet, and many others sour.
Incest is one of the issues that, although the Biblical standard should be taken as is, it is still a controversial topic today.
The first recorded instance of an incestuous relationship in the Bible was that between the children of our first parents, Adam and Eve, which started with Cain marrying his sister.
Then we also would later find Abraham marry his half-sister, Sarah. Moses’ father was married to his aunt.
David’s son, Amnon, would rape his half-sister, Tamar. He would later be murdered by a spiteful Absalom over the issue.
From the Bible, we find out that God never spoke anything against marrying a sibling or close relation (there are a few good reasons for this) before the Law of Moses. However, when God gave Moses the Law, He outrightly commanded an end to the practice, forbidding everyone to never engage in it no more.
What Does The Bible Say About Incest KJV?
Let us look into the Bible according to the KJV and find what God says about it.
Was There Incest In The Bible?
Yes, there was incest in the Bible across different time. We can categorize the period as pre-Law, Law, and Post-Law era respectively.
Let’s look at some of the instances of incest in the Bible:
- Cain marrying his sister (apparently because they were the only ones on earth at the time)
- Abraham marrying his half-sister, Sarah
- Lot’s two daughters impregnated by their father
- Moses’ father marrying his own aunt
- God commanded against it
- The unnamed man who had an affair with his father’s wife
Consequences Of Incest In The Bible
Incest in the Bible, after the Law was given by God did not go without consequences. Also, one instance of incest that turned out badly was before the Law was the case of Lot and his two daughters. The children they would give birth to would not only become enemies of God’s people. They would also be known as a cursed tribe, the Ammonites and the Moabites.
Here are a few biblical consequences of incest that took place:
- It was a violation of one’s own self and one’s family
- It attracted a curse
- It was deserving of death
Can Cousins Marry Each Other According To The Bible?
The Bible does not specifically state anything regarding cousins. However, uncles and aunts, sons-in-law, daughters-in-law, uncles’ or aunties’ spouses, half-siblings, and so, are mentioned.
The face that cousins are not mentioned may not mean they could marry, because God then says “close relative” specifically so that there is no reason or excuse to engage in this practice.
As long as God lives and we are willing to continue to obey His word, let us see what He says is sin that way, without looking for ways around it. And if He says incest is sin, no matter who they are, as long as they qualify within the category of a close relative, we are not to engage in a sexual relationship with them.