Keeping it in the Family: Intermarriage in the Tanakh
1 א

(א) כִּ֤י יְבִֽיאֲךָ֙ ה' אֱלֹקֶ֔יךָ אֶל־הָאָ֕רֶץ אֲשֶׁר־אַתָּ֥ה בָא־שָׁ֖מָּה לְרִשְׁתָּ֑הּ וְנָשַׁ֣ל גּֽוֹיִם־רַבִּ֣ים ׀ מִפָּנֶ֡יךָ הַֽחִתִּי֩ וְהַגִּרְגָּשִׁ֨י וְהָאֱמֹרִ֜י וְהַכְּנַעֲנִ֣י וְהַפְּרִזִּ֗י וְהַֽחִוִּי֙ וְהַיְבוּסִ֔י שִׁבְעָ֣ה גוֹיִ֔ם רַבִּ֥ים וַעֲצוּמִ֖ים מִמֶּֽךָּ׃ (ב) וּנְתָנָ֞ם ה' אֱלֹקֶ֛יךָ לְפָנֶ֖יךָ וְהִכִּיתָ֑ם הַחֲרֵ֤ם תַּחֲרִים֙ אֹתָ֔ם לֹא־תִכְרֹ֥ת לָהֶ֛ם בְּרִ֖ית וְלֹ֥א תְחָנֵּֽם׃ (ג) וְלֹ֥א תִתְחַתֵּ֖ן בָּ֑ם בִּתְּךָ֙ לֹא־תִתֵּ֣ן לִבְנ֔וֹ וּבִתּ֖וֹ לֹא־תִקַּ֥ח לִבְנֶֽךָ׃ (ד) כִּֽי־יָסִ֤יר אֶת־בִּנְךָ֙ מֵֽאַחֲרַ֔י וְעָבְד֖וּ אֱלֹקִ֣ים אֲחֵרִ֑ים וְחָרָ֤ה אַף־ה' בָּכֶ֔ם וְהִשְׁמִידְךָ֖ מַהֵֽר׃ (ה) כִּֽי־אִם־כֹּ֤ה תַעֲשׂוּ֙ לָהֶ֔ם מִזְבְּחֹתֵיהֶ֣ם תִּתֹּ֔צוּ וּמַצֵּבֹתָ֖ם תְּשַׁבֵּ֑רוּ וַאֲשֵֽׁירֵהֶם֙ תְּגַדֵּע֔וּן וּפְסִילֵיהֶ֖ם תִּשְׂרְפ֥וּן בָּאֵֽשׁ׃ (ו) כִּ֣י עַ֤ם קָדוֹשׁ֙ אַתָּ֔ה לַה' אֱלֹקֶ֑יךָ בְּךָ֞ בָּחַ֣ר ׀ ה' אֱלֹקֶ֗יךָ לִהְי֥וֹת לוֹ֙ לְעַ֣ם סְגֻלָּ֔ה מִכֹּל֙ הָֽעַמִּ֔ים אֲשֶׁ֖ר עַל־פְּנֵ֥י הָאֲדָמָֽה׃ (ס)

(1) When Adonai your God brings you to the land that you are about to enter and possess, and God dislodges many nations before you—the Hittites, Girgashites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites, seven nations much larger than you— (2) and Adonai your God delivers them to you and you defeat them, you must doom them to destruction: grant them no terms and give them no quarter. (3) You shall not intermarry with them: do not give your daughters to their sons or take their daughters for your sons. (4) For they will turn your children away from Me to worship other gods, and Adonai’s anger will blaze forth against you and God will promptly wipe you out. (5) Instead, this is what you shall do to them: you shall tear down their altars, smash their pillars, cut down their sacred posts, and consign their images to the fire. (6) For you are a people consecrated to Adonai your God: of all the peoples on earth the Adonai your God chose you to be God's treasured people.

2 ב

(ד) לֹֽא־יָבֹ֧א עַמּוֹנִ֛י וּמוֹאָבִ֖י בִּקְהַ֣ל ה' גַּ֚ם דּ֣וֹר עֲשִׂירִ֔י לֹא־יָבֹ֥א לָהֶ֛ם בִּקְהַ֥ל ה' עַד־עוֹלָֽם׃ (ה) עַל־דְּבַ֞ר אֲשֶׁ֨ר לֹא־קִדְּמ֤וּ אֶתְכֶם֙ בַּלֶּ֣חֶם וּבַמַּ֔יִם בַּדֶּ֖רֶךְ בְּצֵאתְכֶ֣ם מִמִּצְרָ֑יִם וַאֲשֶׁר֩ שָׂכַ֨ר עָלֶ֜יךָ אֶת־בִּלְעָ֣ם בֶּן־בְּע֗וֹר מִפְּת֛וֹר אֲרַ֥ם נַהֲרַ֖יִם לְקַֽלְלֶֽךָּ׃ (ו) וְלֹֽא־אָבָ֞ה ה' אֱלֹקֶ֙יךָ֙ לִשְׁמֹ֣עַ אֶל־בִּלְעָ֔ם וַיַּהֲפֹךְ֩ ה' אֱלֹקֶ֧יךָ לְּךָ֛ אֶת־הַקְּלָלָ֖ה לִבְרָכָ֑ה כִּ֥י אֲהֵֽבְךָ֖ ה' אֱלֹקֶֽיךָ׃ (ז) לֹא־תִדְרֹ֥שׁ שְׁלֹמָ֖ם וְטֹבָתָ֑ם כָּל־יָמֶ֖יךָ לְעוֹלָֽם׃ (ס) (ח) לֹֽא־תְתַעֵ֣ב אֲדֹמִ֔י כִּ֥י אָחִ֖יךָ ה֑וּא (ס) לֹא־תְתַעֵ֣ב מִצְרִ֔י כִּי־גֵ֖ר הָיִ֥יתָ בְאַרְצֽוֹ׃ (ט) בָּנִ֛ים אֲשֶׁר־יִוָּלְד֥וּ לָהֶ֖ם דּ֣וֹר שְׁלִישִׁ֑י יָבֹ֥א לָהֶ֖ם בִּקְהַ֥ל ה' (ס)

(4) An Ammonite or a Moabite shall not enter into the assembly of Adonai; even to the tenth generation shall none of them enter into the assembly of Adonai forever; (5) because they met you not with bread and with water in the way, when ye came forth out of Egypt; and because they hired against thee Balaam the son of Beor from Pethor of Aram-naharaim, to curse thee. (6) Nevertheless Adonai your God would not hearken unto Balaam; but Adonai your God turned the curse into a blessing unto thee, because Adonai your God loved thee. (7) Thou shalt not seek their peace nor their prosperity all thy days for ever. (8) Thou shalt not abhor an Edomite, for he is thy brother; thou shalt not abhor an Egyptian, because thou wast a stranger in his land. (9) The children of the third generation that are born unto them may enter into the assembly of Adonai.

3 ג
(ב) כִּֽי־נָשְׂא֣וּ מִבְּנֹֽתֵיהֶ֗ם לָהֶם֙ וְלִבְנֵיהֶ֔ם וְהִתְעָֽרְבוּ֙ זֶ֣רַע הַקֹּ֔דֶשׁ בְּעַמֵּ֖י הָאֲרָצ֑וֹת וְיַ֧ד הַשָּׂרִ֣ים וְהַסְּגָנִ֗ים הָֽיְתָ֛ה בַּמַּ֥עַל הַזֶּ֖ה רִאשׁוֹנָֽה׃ (ס)

(2) They have taken their daughters as wives for themselves and for their sons, so that the holy seed has become intermingled with the peoples of the land; and it is the officers and prefects who have taken the lead in this trespass.”

4 ד
(יב) וְ֠עַתָּה בְּֽנוֹתֵיכֶ֞ם אַל־תִּתְּנ֣וּ לִבְנֵיהֶ֗ם וּבְנֹֽתֵיהֶם֙ אַל־תִּשְׂא֣וּ לִבְנֵיכֶ֔ם וְלֹֽא־תִדְרְשׁ֧וּ שְׁלֹמָ֛ם וְטוֹבָתָ֖ם עַד־עוֹלָ֑ם לְמַ֣עַן תֶּחֶזְק֗וּ וַאֲכַלְתֶּם֙ אֶת־ט֣וּב הָאָ֔רֶץ וְהוֹרַשְׁתֶּ֥ם לִבְנֵיכֶ֖ם עַד־עוֹלָֽם׃
(12) Now then, do not give your daughters in marriage to their sons or let their daughters marry your sons; do nothing for their well-being or advantage, then you will be strong and enjoy the bounty of the land and bequeath it to your children forever.’
5 ה
(ב) וַיַּעַן֩ שְׁכַנְיָ֨ה בֶן־יְחִיאֵ֜ל מִבְּנֵ֤י עולם [עֵילָם֙] וַיֹּ֣אמֶר לְעֶזְרָ֔א אֲנַ֙חְנוּ֙ מָעַ֣לְנוּ בֵאלֹקֵ֔ינוּ וַנֹּ֛שֶׁב נָשִׁ֥ים נָכְרִיּ֖וֹת מֵעַמֵּ֣י הָאָ֑רֶץ וְעַתָּ֛ה יֵשׁ־מִקְוֶ֥ה לְיִשְׂרָאֵ֖ל עַל־זֹֽאת׃ (ג) וְעַתָּ֣ה נִֽכְרָת־בְּרִ֣ית לֵ֠אלֹקֵינוּ לְהוֹצִ֨יא כָל־נָשִׁ֜ים וְהַנּוֹלָ֤ד מֵהֶם֙ בַּעֲצַ֣ת אדושם וְהַחֲרֵדִ֖ים בְּמִצְוַ֣ת אֱלֹקֵ֑ינוּ וְכַתּוֹרָ֖ה יֵעָשֶֽׂה׃

(2) Then Shecaniah son of Jehiel of the family of Elam spoke up and said to Ezra, “We have trespassed against our God by bringing into our homes foreign women from the peoples of the land; but there is still hope for Israel despite this. (3) Now then, let us make a covenant with our God to expel all these women and those who have been born to them, in accordance with the bidding of Adonai and of all who are concerned over the commandment of our God, and let the Teaching be obeyed.

6 ו
(כג) גַּ֣ם ׀ בַּיָּמִ֣ים הָהֵ֗ם רָאִ֤יתִי אֶת־הַיְּהוּדִים֙ הֹשִׁ֗יבוּ נָשִׁים֙ אשדודיות [אַשְׁדֳּדִיּ֔וֹת] עמוניות [עַמֳּנִיּ֖וֹת] מוֹאֲבִיּֽוֹת׃ (כד) וּבְנֵיהֶ֗ם חֲצִי֙ מְדַבֵּ֣ר אַשְׁדּוֹדִ֔ית וְאֵינָ֥ם מַכִּירִ֖ים לְדַבֵּ֣ר יְהוּדִ֑ית וְכִלְשׁ֖וֹן עַ֥ם וָעָֽם׃

(23) Also at that time, I saw that Jews had settled Ashdodite, Ammonite, and Moabite women; (24) a good number of their children spoke the language of Ashdod and the language of those various peoples, and did not know how to speak Judean.

7 ז

אמר רבא אטו התם משום קדושה ולאו קדושה הוא דלמא מוליד בן ואזיל פלח לעבודת כוכבים וה"מ בהיותן עובדי כוכבים כי מגיירי בישראל שרו

Rava, is the reason for the prohibition “do not intermarry with them” a matter of sanctity? Rather, it is out of fear that the intermarried couple will have a child who will worship idolatry. This prohibition against intermarriage applies only against non-Jews, but if they convert, they are allowed for marriage.

8ח

הלכות איסורי ביאה פרק יב

א ישראל שבעל גויה משאר האומות, דרך אישות, או ישראלית שנבעלה לגוי, דרך אישות--הרי אלו לוקין מן התורה, שנאמר "לא תתחתן, בם" (דברים ז,ג): אחד שבעה עממין, ואחד כל האומות באיסור זה. וכן מפורש על ידי עזרא "ואשר לא ניתן בנותינו, לעמי הארץ; ואת בנותיהם, לא ניקח לבנינו" (נחמיה י,לא). [ב] ולא אסרה תורה, אלא דרך חתנות.

Maimonides, Laws of Prohibited Sexual Relations, 12:1

If a Jewish person sleeps with a non-Jew in the way of married people, they receive biblically ordained lashes, as it says “You shall not intermarry with them: do not give your daughter to their sons or take their daughters for your sons.” The same law is true concerning the seven nations of the land of Canaan and all other nations. This is also explained by Ezra, “We will not give our daughters in marriage to the peoples of the land, or take their daughters for our sons.” The Torah only forbade marriage, but one who sleeps with a non-Jew in a licentious manner gets rabbinically ordained lashes as a decree lest they come to get married.

9 ט

Rabbi Elliot Cosgrove

I don’t think Conservative rabbis should rush too quickly to perform intermarriages for the simple reason that as a parent, as a rabbi and as a shaper of Jewish community and identity, I unapologetically want young Jews to marry other Jews. Rabbinic officiation at intermarriages signals an implicit and explicit leveling of the field, sending the message that all choices are equal, a message that I do not think wise given the undisputed place in-marriage has as the single most important determinant in ensuring Jewish continuity.

10 י

Rabbi Angela Buchdahl

What I learned during those years is that refusing to stand under the chuppah with the children of our community does not prevent them from marrying the people they love. Instead, saying “No” often leads to a profound alienation from the Jewish community.