Standing on the name of the deceased brother (Deut.25:6)

Discussion in 'OT Historical Books' started by JTB.SDG, Dec 4, 2018.

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  1. JTB.SDG

    JTB.SDG Puritan Board Sophomore

    I think everything I've read about this interprets it as: the first-born son of the new union is reckoned as being THE SON of the deceased man. Does anyone take the position that, rather: the first-born son of the new union is reckoned as being the actual (deceased) man (in terms of future lineage)?

    It sounds weird, but the language of Scripture is confusing. Deuteronomy 25:6 in the NASB reads: "It shall be that the first-born whom she bears shall assume the name of his dead brother. . ." At first glance it seems like the child is reckoned as taking the place of the dead brother (rather than as the child of the dead brother).

    And in Ruth 4, the neighbor women say: "A son has been born to Naomi!" (NOT: "A grandson has been born to Naomi"). But if the child of the new union is reckoned as being THE CHILD/SEED of the deceased, then the child of Boaz/Ruth wasn't properly Naomi's adopted SON, but her adopted grandson (reckoned as Mahlon's son). Right? (Or is it just figurative? They say "son" but it's actually "grandson"?)
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2018
  2. Contra_Mundum

    Contra_Mundum Pilgrim, Alien, Stranger Staff Member

    I don't think it makes any difference, Jon. Not that it makes any rational or religious sense in Israel to identify a child as a kind of "reincarnation" of the dead. So the child is reckoned as the lawful successor of a particular branch of the family tree.

    In the case of Elimelech, he had apparently lost his whole heritage of sons. The other person(s) who lost out were wives/mothers, who had no dedicated social security without descendants. Naomi is the (native) Israelite wife and mother most directly impacted by Boaz' love.

    As for "son" in place of "grandson," this is everywhere in the Bible, most famously in the Person of the Son of David. Elsewhere, in Mt.1:8, Joram is named the father of Uzziah, which skips three generations between--Ahaziah, Joash, and Amaziah.

    Other compressions of note: Lot is called Abraham's brother, Gen.14:16, rather than his nephew. Gen.29:5 calls Laban the son of Nahor, when he is his grandson. I think Canaan is Noah's "youngest son" Gen.9:24, as he's the youngest mentioned thus far from v18, and receives the curse.
  3. JTB.SDG

    JTB.SDG Puritan Board Sophomore

    Thanks Bruce, this was my thinking as well but wanted to double check with the board (and was hoping you would also chime in), just to make sure I wasn't missing something before writing a small section on Ruth. Many thanks again.
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