The Seventh Commandment.png
This is Part 2 of Part 5 of our study on The Seventh Commandment.
 
Infidelity
 
You shall not have intimate relations with your neighbor’s wife, to be defiled with her.
(Leviticus 18:20, Amplified Bible (AMP), emphasis added)
The Bible contains many warnings against infidelity and its consequences:
10 For [skillful and godly] wisdom will enter your heart And knowledge will be pleasant to your soul.
11 Discretion will watch over you, Understanding and discernment will guard you,
 
12 To keep you from the way of evil and the evil man, From the man who speaks perverse things;
(Proverbs 2:10-12, Amplified Bible (AMP), emphasis and comment added)
Within marriage, sexual relations are meant to produce life, whereas outside of matrimony, they can lead to death both physically and spiritually. The last statement of the previous passage is used as a hyperbole for the sake of emphasis. Certain individuals, such as David, who were sexually unfaithful, repented and returned to the paths of life. The Apostle Paul, commented about such people:
9 Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit or have any share in the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither [This list of sinners, which continues into v 10, is used by the Apostle Paul to describe various sinful lifestyles. All such lifestyles are impossible for true believers, who continue to sin but not to live lives of sin.] the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate [by perversion], nor those [Literally, male homosexuals.] who participate in homosexuality, 10 nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers [whose words are used as weapons to abuse, insult, humiliate, intimidate, or slander], nor swindlers will inherit or have any share in the kingdom of God. 11 And such were some of you [before you believed]. But you were washed [by the atoning sacrifice of Christ], you were sanctified [set apart for God, and made holy], you were justified [declared free of guilt] in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the [Holy] Spirit of our God [the source of the believer’s new life and changed behavior].
(1 Corinthians 6:9-11, Amplified Bible (AMP), emphasis and comments added)
The number of people, however, who escape the addictive nature of this sin are far fewer than those who, once entrapped therein, are able to escape its dire consequences. King Solomon devoted a good part of four chapters in his proverbs to warning his sons about the dangers of infidelity:
5:3 For the lips of an immoral woman drip honey [like a honeycomb] And her speech is smoother than oil; 4 But in the end she is bitter like [the extract of] wormwood, Sharp as a two-edged sword. 5 Her feet go down to death; Her steps take hold of Sheol (the nether world, the place of the dead), 6 So that she does not think [seriously] about the path of life; Her ways are aimless and unstable; you cannot know where her path leads. 7 Now then, my sons, listen to me And do not depart from (forget) the words of my mouth. 8 Let your way [in life] be far from her, And do not go near the door of her house [avoid even being near the places of temptation], 9 Or you will give your honor to others, And your years to the cruel one, 10 And strangers will be filled with your strength And your hard-earned wealth will go to the house of a foreigner [who does not know God]; 11 And you will groan when your life is ending, When your flesh and your body are consumed; 12 And you say, “How I hated instruction and discipline, And my heart despised correction and reproof! 13 “I have not listened to the voice of my teachers, Nor have I inclined my ear to those who instructed me. 14 “I was almost in total ruin In the midst of the assembly and congregation.” 15 Drink [All of the Ten Commandments are reflected in the book of Proverbs; here it is the seventh, “You shall not commit adultery.”] water from your own cistern [of a pure marriage relationship. Vv 15-18 describe the purity of a man’s relationship in marriage. The cistern and well represent his wife.] And fresh running water from your own well. 16 Should your springs [I.e., children of one’s promiscuity who are fatherless.] be dispersed, As streams of water in the streets? 17 [Confine yourself to your own wife.] Let your children be yours alone, And not the children of strangers with you. 18 Let your fountain (wife) be blessed [with the rewards of fidelity], And rejoice in the wife of your youth. 19 Let her be as a loving hind and graceful doe, Let her breasts refresh and satisfy you at all times; Always be exhilarated [Literally, stagger (with passion).] and delight in her love. 20 Why should you, my son, be exhilarated with an immoral woman And embrace the bosom of an outsider (pagan)? 21 For the ways of man are directly before the eyes of the Lord [Strong’s Concordance #H3068 YHWH in the Hebrew text], And He carefully watches all of his paths [all of his comings and goings]. 22 The iniquities done by a wicked man will trap him, And he will be held with the cords of his sin. 23 He will die for lack of instruction (discipline), And in the greatness of his foolishness he will go astray and be lost.
6:1 My son, if you have become surety (guaranteed a debt or obligation) for your neighbor, If you have given your pledge for [the debt of] a stranger or another [outside your family], 2 If you have been snared with the words of your lips, If you have been trapped by the speech of your mouth, 3 Do this now, my son, and release yourself [from the obligation]; Since [Under the ancient laws governing debt, a man obligated for another’s debt could lose his money, land, bed, and clothing; and if these were not sufficient, he and his wife and children could be sold as slaves, not to be released until the next Year of Jubilee—fifty years after the previous one.] you have come into the hand of your neighbor, Go humble yourself, and plead with your neighbor [to pay his debt and release you]. 4 Give no [unnecessary] sleep to your eyes, Nor slumber to your eyelids; 5 Tear yourself away like a gazelle from the hand of the hunter And like a bird from the hand of the fowler. 6 Go to the ant, O lazy one; Observe her ways and be wise, 7 Which, having no chief, Overseer or ruler, 8 She prepares her food in the summer And brings in her provisions [of food for the winter] in the harvest. 9 How long will you lie down, O lazy one? When will you arise from your sleep [and learn self-discipline]? 10 “Yet a little sleep, a little slumber, A little folding of the hands to lie down and rest”—11 So your poverty will come like an approaching prowler who walks [slowly, but surely] And your need [will come] like an armed man [making you helpless]. 12 A worthless person, a wicked man, Is one who walks with a perverse (corrupt, vulgar) mouth. 13 Who winks with his eyes [in mockery], who shuffles his feet [to signal], Who points with his fingers [to give subversive instruction]; 14 Who perversely in his heart plots trouble and evil continually; Who spreads discord and strife. 15 Therefore [the crushing weight of] his disaster will come suddenly upon him; Instantly he will be broken, and there will be no healing or remedy [because he has no heart for God]. 16 These six things the Lord [Strong’s Concordance #H3068 YHWH in the Hebrew text] hates; Indeed, seven are repulsive to Him: 17 A proud look [the attitude that makes one overestimate oneself and discount others], a lying tongue, And hands that shed innocent blood, 18 A heart that creates wicked plans, Feet that run swiftly to evil, 19 A false witness who breathes out lies [even half-truths], And one who spreads discord (rumors) among brothers. 20 My son, be guided by your father’s [God-given] commandment (instruction) And do not reject [Literally, forsake.] the teaching of your mother; 21 Bind them continually upon your heart (in your thoughts), And tie them around your neck. 22 When you walk about, they (the godly teachings of your parents) will guide you; When you sleep, they will keep watch over you; And when you awake, they will talk to you. 23 For the commandment is a lamp, and the teaching [of the law] is light, And reproofs (rebukes) for discipline are the way of life, 24 To keep you from the evil woman, From [the flattery of] the smooth tongue of an immoral woman. 25 Do not desire (lust after) her beauty in your heart, Nor let her capture you with her eyelashes. 26 For on account of a prostitute one is reduced to a piece of bread [to be eaten up], And the immoral woman hunts [with a hook] the precious life [of a man]. 27 Can a man take fire to his chest And his clothes not be burned? 28 Or can a man walk on hot coals And his feet not be scorched? 29 So is the one who goes in to his neighbor’s wife; Whoever touches her will not be found innocent or go unpunished. 30 People do not despise a thief if he steals To satisfy himself when he is hungry; 31 But when he is found, he must repay seven times [what he stole]; He must give all the property of his house [if necessary to meet his fine]. 32 But whoever commits adultery with a woman lacks common sense and sound judgment and an understanding [of moral principles]; He who would destroy his soul does it. 33 Wounds and disgrace he will find, And his reproach (blame) will not be blotted out. 34 For jealousy enrages the [wronged] husband; He will not spare [the guilty one] on the day of vengeance. 35 He will not accept any ransom [offered to buy him off from demanding full punishment]; Nor will he be satisfied though you offer him many gifts (bribes).
7:1 My son, keep my words And treasure my commandments within you [so they are readily available to guide you]. 2 Keep my commandments and live, And keep my teaching and law as the apple of your eye. 3 Bind them [securely] on your fingers; Write them on the tablet of your heart. 4 Say to [skillful and godly] wisdom, “You are my sister,” And regard understanding and intelligent insight as your intimate friends; 5 That they may keep you from the immoral woman, From the foreigner [who does not observe God’s laws and] who flatters with her [smooth] words. 6 For at the window of my house I looked out through my lattice. 7 And among the naive [the inexperienced and gullible], I saw among the youths A young man lacking [good] sense, 8 Passing through the street near her corner; And he took the path to her house 9 In the twilight, in the evening; In the black and dark night. 10 And there a woman met him, Dressed as a prostitute and sly and cunning of heart. 11 She was boisterous and rebellious; She [Literally, Her feet do not.] would not stay at home. 12 At times she was in the streets, at times in the market places, Lurking and setting her ambush at every corner. 13 So she caught him and kissed him And with a brazen and impudent face she said to him: 14 “I have peace offerings with me; Today I have paid my vows. 15 “So I came out to meet you [that you might share with me the feast of my offering], Diligently I sought your face and I have found you. 16 “I have spread my couch with coverings and cushions of tapestry, With colored fine linen of Egypt. 17 “I have perfumed my bed With myrrh, aloes, and cinnamon. 18 “Come, let us drink our fill of love until morning; Let us console and delight ourselves with love. 19 “For my husband is not at home. He has gone on a long journey; 20 He has taken a bag of money with him, And he will come home on the appointed day.” 21 With her many persuasions she caused him to yield; With her flattering lips she seduced him. 22 Suddenly he went after her, as an ox goes to the slaughter [not knowing the outcome], Or as one in stocks going to the correction [to be given] to a fool, 23 Until an arrow pierced his liver [with a mortal wound]; Like a bird fluttering straight into the net, He did not know that it would cost him his life. 24 Now therefore, my sons, listen to me, And pay attention to the words of my mouth. 25 Do not let your heart turn aside to her ways, Do not stray into her [evil, immoral] paths. 26 For she has cast down many [mortally] wounded; Indeed, all who were killed by her were strong. 27 Her house is the way to Sheol [Hades, the nether world, the place of the dead.], Descending to the chambers of death.
(Proverbs 5:3 — 7:27, Amplified Bible (AMP), emphasis and comments added)
Offering Seed to Molech
Sandwiched between prohibitions against infidelity (verse 20) and sodomy (verse 22), is a prohibition that at first appears to be entirely out of context:
You shall not give any of your children to offer them [by fire as a sacrifice] to Molech [the god of the Ammonites], nor shall you profane the name of your God [by honoring idols as gods]. I am the Lord [Strong’s Concordance #H3068 YHWH in the Hebrew text].
(Leviticus 18:21, Amplified Bible (AMP), emphasis and comments added)
This verse is typically interpreted as a prohibition against idolatry. But, why would a statement about idolatry, specifically child sacrifice, be included in a chapter devoted to sexual interdictions? Perhaps this prohibition is not out of place after all – provided it is translated and interpreted correctly. Following are four clues that should prove helpful in determining Yahweh’s intent.
Clue #1
In the KJV version of Leviticus 18:21, the phrase “the fire” is in italics, indicating that there are no corresponding words in the Hebrew manuscripts and that these two words were added by the translators. This is not to say that Molech worship did not include offering children as burnt sacrifices. The fact that this did occur is indicated in other passages. However, this is not what is being addressed in Leviticus Chapter 18 and, therefore, the words “the fire” do not belong in this verse. The judgment for passing one’s seed to Molech is found in Leviticus Chapter 20:
people-bowing-to-moloch.jpg
1 Then the Lord [Strong’s Concordance #H3068 YHWH in the Hebrew text] spoke to Moses, saying, 2Moreover, you shall say to the children of Israel,
‘Any Israelite or any stranger residing in Israel who gives any of his children to Molech (the god of the Ammonites) [as a human sacrifice] shall most certainly be put to death; the people of the land shall stone him with stones.”
(Leviticus 20:1-2, Amplified Bible (AMP), emphasis and comments added)
Again, in the KJV of Leviticus 20:1-2. the translators did not add the phrase “the fire” in the judgment for this sin and its absence leaves room for the possibility that there is more than one way to offer or sacrifice your seed to Molech.
Clue #2
Leviticus 20:5 uses the words “whoring” and “whoredom” to describe this same transgression. These two words are, of course, indicative of some kind of sexual misconduct, either figurative or literal:
3 And I [Yahweh] will set my face against that man, and will cut him off from among his people; because he hath given of his seed unto Molech, to defile my sanctuary, and to profane my holy name.
4 And if the people of the land do any ways hide their eyes from the man, when he giveth of his seed unto Molech, and kill him not:
5 Then I will set my face against that man, and against his family, and will cut him off, and all that go a whoring after him, to commit whoredom with Molech, from among their people.
(Leviticus 20:3-5, King James Version (KJV), emphasis and comment added)
This passage is not addressing Israel’s “whoredom,” that is, idolatry as a nation. Instead, it pertains to an individual’s whoredom with Molech or with what Molech represents. Therefore, the whoredom addressed in Leviticus Chapter 18 and 20 is more likely literal than figurative.
Clue #3
Leviticus 18:21 forbids letting one’s seed pass through to Molech. The phrase “pass through” is translated from the Hebrew word `abar. Strong’s Concordance #H5674 and The New Brown-Driver-Briggs-Gesenius Hebrew-English Lexicon define `abar:
…a primitive root; to cross over; used very widely of any transition (literal or figurative; transitive, intransitive, intensive, causative); specifically, to cover (in copulation).”[1]
[1] James Strong, “עָבַר,” “Hebrew and Chaldee Dictionary,” The New Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1990) page 85.
…prop. causeth to pass over, sc. semen….[2]
[2] Francis Brown, S.R. Driver, Charles A. Briggs, William Gesenius, “עָבַר,” The New Brown-Driver-Briggs-Gesenius Hebrew-English Lexicon (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers, 1979) page 718.
The latter lexicon also quotes Job Chapter 21 in which the Hebrew word `abar is translated gendereth:
Their bull gendereth, and faileth not; their cow calveth, and casteth not her calf.
(Job 21:10, King James Version (KJV), emphasis added)
Other versions of Job 21:10 translate `abar as mates and breeds. It may not yet be evident what specific sexual sin is being referred to in Leviticus 18:21; but it should be apparent that this prohibition does indeed agree with the context and it is consonant with the other Seventh Commandment statutes found in Leviticus Chapter 18.
Clue #4
The statute in Leviticus Chapter 18 and the judgment in Leviticus Chapter 20 are, obviously, not meant to be understood as prohibitions against sexual participation with the god Molech himself. Therefore, Molech represents something or someone else. Molech was the national deity of the Ammonites, who were one of several lineages with whom the Israelites were forbidden to intermarry with. The fact that the Ammonites were a forbidden lineage is the final clue for the correct interpretation of this prohibition. Passing one’s seed to Molech is a Hebrew idiom indicating forbidden lineage and interracial relationships. Both transgressions are condemned because they mingle or pollute Israel’s genes and usually lead to idolatry.
Peake’s Commentary on the Bible questions the customary interpretation of Leviticus 18:21 and then provides alternate analyses:
21 is generally interpreted as referring to a ceremony whereby children were passed through fire, possibly burning them as whole-offerings. But it is curious that the prohibition here occurs among sexual matters. The ancient versions have ‘cause to serve’ (Sam.), ‘serve,’ (LXX), ‘cause to lie down for sexual intercourse(Syr.), whilst other Greek Versions have ‘compel by force’.[3]
[3] Matthew Black, General Editor, Peake’s Commentary on the Bible (Nairobi, Kenya: Thomas Nelson And Sons LTD, 1962) page 249.
In his book Old Testament Light: The Indispensable Guide to the Customs, Manners, & Idioms of Biblical Times, George Lamsa provides Leviticus 18:21 from the Syriac translation of the Old Testament:
“Seed,” in this instance, means “semen.” The Eastern text reads: “You shall not let any of your semen be cast into a strange [non-Israelite] woman to cause her to be pregnant….” …This ordinance is against cohabiting with pagan women….[4]
[4] George M. Lamsa, Old Testament Light – The Indispensable Guide to the Customs, Manners, & Idioms of Biblical Times (New York, NY: Harper & Row, Publishers, Inc., 1964) page 177.
Lamsa also points out that the word “ ‘Molech’ … [in] the Aramaic reads “a strange woman;” that is, a woman of another race or religion.” [5]
[5] Lamsa, page 182.
Both the Encyclopedia Judaica and The Jewish Encyclopedia reference the book of Jubilees while commenting upon the meaning of this idiom in Leviticus Chapter 18 and 20:
The book of Jubilees 30:7ff. connects intermarriage or rather the marrying off of one’s children to pagans [non-Israelites] with the sin of Moloch. …the prohibition of Moloch … the impregnation of a pagan woman, an interpretation lying behind the Syriac translation in Leviticus 18 and 20. The common denominator of all these traditions is the understanding of Moloch worship as the transfer of Jewish [Israelite] children to paganism either by delivering them directly to pagan priests or by procreation through intercourse with a pagan woman. This tradition, which could hardly be an invention, is now corroborated by the evidence in the Assyrian documents.[6]
[6] “Moloch, Cult of,” Encyclopaedia Judaica (Jerusalem, Israel: Encyclopaedia Judaica Company, 1971) Volume 12, page 232.
In the book of Jubilees intermarriage with all [non-Israelite] Gentiles is prohibited, no allowance being made for proselytes (Jubilees, xx. 4, xxii. 20, xxx. 11; comp. Targ. Yer. To Lev. xviii. 21, “Thou shalt not give any of thy seed to make them pass through the fire of Moloch,” which is translated: “Thou shalt not give a child in marriage to a Gentile by which the offspring is turned over to idolatry….”) ”[7]
[7]Intermarriage,” The Jewish Encyclopedia (New York & London: Funk and Wagnalls Company, 1904) Volume VI, page 611.
A portion of the passage from the book of Jubilees follows:
…if there is any man in Israel who desires to give his daughter or his sister to any man who is of the seed of the [non-Israelite] Gentiles, he shall surely die … for he has committed a sin and a shame in Israel…. And to this law there is no limit of days and no ceasing and no forgiveness, but he shall be rooted out who defiles his daughter, among all Israel, because he has given of his seed to Moloch…. And thou, Moses, command the children of Israel and testify over them that they shall not give any of their daughters to the Gentiles and that they shall not take any of the daughters of the Gentiles; for this is accursed before the Lord…. And it is disgraceful to Israel to those that give and to those that receive from any Gentiles any daughters, for it is unclean and accursed to Israel; and Israel will not be clean of this uncleanness of him who has of the daughters of the Gentiles for a wife, or who has given of his daughters to a man who is of any of the seed of the Gentiles….[8]
[8] Jubilees 30:6-12.
Only peoples of other races and the forbidden lineages of Canaan, Moab and Ammon are included in the prohibition in Leviticus 18:21. Israelites were permitted to marry other racially alike non-Israelites. The Midianites, for example, were not Israelites but because they were descendants of Abraham, they were not included in the Leviticus 18:21 prohibition.
 
Leviticus 18:21 addresses this sin in an idiomatic fashion; the priest Ezra is more direct:
Mixed Marriages
 
1 When these things were completed, the officials came to me [Ezra] and said, “The people of Israel and the priests and Levites have not separated themselves from the peoples of the lands, but have committed the repulsive acts of the Canaanites, Hittites, Perizzites, Jebusites, Ammonites, Moabites, Egyptians, and Amorites. 2 For they have taken some of their daughters as wives for themselves and for their sons, so that the holy race [Literally, seed.] has intermingled [Historically, intermarriage with other nations led the Jews into pagan practices which brought God’s wrath and judgment upon all the people.] with the peoples of the lands. Indeed, the officials and chief men have been foremost in this unfaithful act and direct violation [of God’s will].” 3 When I [Ezra] heard this, I tore my clothing and my robe [in grief], I pulled out some of the hair from my head and my beard, and sat down appalled [at the shame of it]. 4 Then everyone who trembled at the words of the God of Israel because of the unfaithfulness of the exiles gathered to me as I sat appalled until the evening offering.
Prayer of Confession
5 At the evening offering I [Ezra] arose from my [time of] humiliation and penitence and having torn my clothing and my robe, I fell on my knees and stretched out my hands to the Lord [Strong’s Concordance #H3068 YHWH in the Hebrew text] my God, 6 and I said, “O my God, I am ashamed and embarrassed to lift up my face to You, my God, for our wrongdoings have risen higher than our heads and our guilt has grown to the heavens. 7 Since the days of our fathers to this day we have been exceedingly guilty; and on account of our wrongdoings we, our kings, and our priests have been handed over to the kings of the lands, to the sword, to captivity, to plundering, and to complete shame, as it is today. 8 But now for a brief moment grace has been [shown to us] from the Lord [Strong’s Concordance #H3068 YHWH in the Hebrew text] our God, who has left us a surviving remnant and has given us a peg (secure hold) in His holy place, that our God may enlighten our eyes and give us a little reviving in our bondage. 9 For we are slaves; yet our God has not abandoned us in our bondage, but has extended lovingkindness to us before the kings of Persia, to revive us to rebuild the house of our God, to repair the site of its ruins and to give us a wall [of protection] in Judah and Jerusalem.
10 Now, O our God, what shall we say after this? For we have abandoned (turned away from) Your commandments, 11 which You have commanded by Your servants the prophets, saying, ‘The land which you are entering to possess is a defiled land with the uncleanness of the peoples of the lands, through their repulsive acts which have filled it from one end to the other along with their impurity. 12 So now do not give your daughters to their sons or take their daughters for your sons; and never seek their peace or their prosperity, so that you may be strong and eat the good things of the land and leave it as an inheritance to your children forever.’
(Ezra 9:1-12, Amplified Bible (AMP), emphasis and comments added)
2 Shecaniah the son of Jehiel, of the sons of Elam, said to Ezra, “We have been unfaithful to our God and have married foreign women from the peoples of the land; yet now there is hope for Israel in spite of this. 3 Therefore let us now make a covenant with our God to send away all the [foreign] wives and their children, in accordance with the advice of my lord and of those who tremble [in reverent obedience] at the commandment of our God; and let it be done in accordance with the Law.
(Ezra 10:2-3, Amplified Bible (AMP), emphasis and comments added)
This was to be done according to the Law/Torah. The only Law Ezra could have been referring to was the Seventh Commandment statute we find in Leviticus 18:21. The fact that the Israelites were commanded to live separate from other peoples also demonstrates that Yahweh forbade miscegenation or a mixture of races.
With these witnesses in mind and because Deuteronomy Chapter 20 associates this sin with whoredom and because the phrase “pass through” can have sexual implications, and because Leviticus Chapter 18 is a chapter devoted to sexual perversions and not to idolatry, it should be apparent that verse 21 fits the chapter’s context perfectly. This verse condemns forbidden lineage and interracial relationships – also known as miscegenation – that pollute Israel’s genes and often lead to the worship of false gods.
Yahweh’s desire for racial purity, cannot be denied. His design for His creation to produce after its own kind is repeated ten times in Genesis Chapter 1. This idea was expanded upon in the Apocryphal book of Ecclesiasticus:
Every beast loveth his like, and every man loveth his neighbour. All flesh consorteth according to kind, and a man will cleave to his like.
(Ecclesiasticus 13:15-16, KJV, emphasis added)[9]
[9] Apocrypha, Ecclesiasticus 13:15-16.
 
Consider also the following prohibitions:
You are to keep My statutes. You shall not breed together two kinds of your cattle; you shall not sow your field with two kinds of seed, nor wear clothing of two kinds of material (linen and woollen) mixed together.
(Leviticus 19:19, Amplified Bible (AMP), emphasis added)
Was Yahweh only concerned with livestock, produce and clothing? Or was it for man’s sake that it was written that we are not to gender diverse kinds? The answer to this question is found in Deuteronomy Chapter 23:
A bastard [An illegitimate birth. That is, one who was born from incest, an adulterous relationship, or a mixed marriage (a Jew or a Jewess and a Gentile).] shall not enter into the congregation of LORD [Strong’s Concordance #H3068 YHWH in the Hebrew text]; even to his tenth generation shall he not enter into the congregation of LORD [Strong’s Concordance #H3068 YHWH in the Hebrew text].
(Deuteronomy 23:2, King James Version (KJV), emphasis and comments added)
The Hebrew word mamzer (Strong’s #H4464), translated “bastard” and “illegitimate birth” in the King James and New American Standard versions, is defined in Strong’s Hebrew Dictionary:
…from an unused root meaning to alienate; a mongrel, i.e. born of a Jewish [Israelite] father and a [non-Israelite] heathen mother.[10]
[10] James Strong, “מַמְזֵר” “Hebrew and Chaldee Dictionary,” The New Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1990) page 67.
A child conceived from an interracial relationship is just as illegitimate in Yahweh’s sight as is a child born out of wedlock – both are the consequence of adultery, the mating of two people outside lawful limits.
Along with other Old Testament passages, Nehemiah’s inspired commentary (Nehemiah 13:1-3) on Deuteronomy 23:3 reveals that the congregation or assembly of Yahweh is not speaking of a religious assembly but instead of the geographical territory wherein Israel abode. This phrase demands racial, not necessarily religious, segregation.
 
The Bible clearly dictates racial and, therefore, geographical segregation for the Israelites (Exodus 33:16; Leviticus 20:24-26; Numbers 23:9; Deuteronomy 32:8; 1 Kings 8:51-53; Acts 17:26, etc.) Nevertheless, Yahweh intends that His Laws, including those concerning racial purity and segregation, be communicated to the rest of the world (1 Kings 8:41-60; Isaiah 2:2-3, 49:3-6, 56:3-8; Mark 16:15-16, etc.).
The judgment upon the offspring from a forbidden lineage or interracial relationship, as described in Deuteronomy Chapter 23, may seem harsh, especially because the offspring was not a participant in the initial sin. However, the Bible provides precedent for this kind of judgment. Canaan, Moab and Ammon were the consequence of incest and yet Yahweh judged them and their respective lineages by forbidding Israel to intermarry with or live among them, even though they were racially alike.
Why would Yahweh be so harsh upon the innocent victims of their parents’ transgressions? It should be kept in mind that Yahweh knows the beginning from the end and that His judgments are remedial in nature for the overall good of mankind. Therefore, one of the reasons for Yahweh’s judgment upon the mamzer or mongrel, it would appear, was to deter the perpetuation of the same sin, thereby retaining purity in the bloodlines and preventing the weaknesses that result from genetic interbreeding.
People are more likely to mix with those who are or appear to be racially alike. Therefore, according to the Laws of Yahweh, the mamzer, who would look more like an Israelite than a pure-blood non-Israelite, is to be segregated from Israel, the same as the pure-blood person of another race or forbidden lineage.
Ezra and other leaders in Judah understood the importance of keeping Israel’s bloodline pure:
Mixed Marriages
1 When these things were completed, the officials came to me [Ezra] and said, “The people of Israel and the priests and Levites have not separated themselves from the peoples of the lands, but have committed the repulsive acts of the Canaanites, Hittites, Perizzites, Jebusites, Ammonites, Moabites, Egyptians, and Amorites. 2 For they have taken some of their daughters as wives for themselves and for their sons, so that the holy race [Literally, seed.] has intermingled [Historically, intermarriage with other nations led the Jews into pagan practices which brought God’s wrath and judgment upon all the people.] with the peoples of the lands. Indeed, the officials and chief men have been foremost in this unfaithful act and direct violation [of God’s will].” 3 When I [Ezra] heard this, I tore my clothing and my robe [in grief], I pulled out some of the hair from my head and my beard, and sat down appalled [at the shame of it]. 4 Then everyone who trembled at the words of the God of Israel because of the unfaithfulness of the exiles gathered to me as I sat appalled until the evening offering.
Prayer of Confession
5 At the evening offering I [Ezra] arose from my [time of] humiliation and penitence and having torn my clothing and my robe, I fell on my knees and stretched out my hands to the Lord [Strong’s Concordance #H3068 YHWH in the Hebrew text] my God, 6 and I said, “O my God, I am ashamed and embarrassed to lift up my face to You, my God, for our wrongdoings have risen higher than our heads and our guilt has grown to the heavens. 7 Since the days of our fathers to this day we have been exceedingly guilty; and on account of our wrongdoings we, our kings, and our priests have been handed over to the kings of the lands, to the sword, to captivity, to plundering, and to complete shame, as it is today. 8 But now for a brief moment grace has been [shown to us] from the Lord [Strong’s Concordance #H3068 YHWH in the Hebrew text] our God, who has left us a surviving remnant and has given us a peg (secure hold) in His holy place, that our God may enlighten our eyes and give us a little reviving in our bondage. 9 For we are slaves; yet our God has not abandoned us in our bondage, but has extended lovingkindness to us before the kings of Persia, to revive us to rebuild the house of our God, to repair the site of its ruins and to give us a wall [of protection] in Judah and Jerusalem.
10 Now, O our God, what shall we say after this? For we have abandoned (turned away from) Your commandments, 11 which You have commanded by Your servants the prophets, saying, ‘The land which you are entering to possess is a defiled land with the uncleanness of the peoples of the lands, through their repulsive acts which have filled it from one end to the other along with their impurity. 12 So now do not give your daughters to their sons or take their daughters for your sons; and never seek their peace or their prosperity, so that you may be strong and eat the good things of the land and leave it as an inheritance to your children forever.’ 13 And after everything that has come upon us for our evil deeds and for our great guilt, since You our God have punished us less than our wrongdoings deserve, and have given us survivors like these, 14 shall we again break Your commandments and intermarry with the peoples who practice these repulsive acts? Would You not be angry with us to the point of total destruction, so that there would be no remnant nor survivor? 15 O Lord [Strong’s Concordance #H3068 YHWH in the Hebrew text] God of Israel, You are [uncompromisingly] just (righteous), for we have been left as survivors, as it is this day. Behold, we are before You in our guilt, for no one can stand before You because of this.
(Ezra 9:1-15, Amplified Bible (AMP), emphasis and comments added)
This passage is principally addressing Canaan, Moab and Ammon and those with whom they had mixed. These were the people in and near the land of Judah in Ezra’s day. The same would have applied to other races if they had been the non-Israelites in the land at that time. Nehemiah expanded and applied the prohibitions we find in Deuteronomy 23:3 against mixing with Ammon and Moab, to all forbidden foreigners:
…they read in the book of Moses in the audience of the people; and therein [Deuteronomy 23:3] was found written, that the Ammonite and the Moabite should not come into the congregation of God for ever…. Now it came to pass, when they had heard the law, that they separated from Israel all the mixed multitude…. And I [Nehemiah] contended with them … and made them swear by God, saying, Ye shall not give your daughters unto their sons, nor take their daughters unto your sons, or for yourselves. Did not Solomon king of Israel sin by these things? …Shall we then hearken unto you to do all this great evil, to transgress against our God in marrying strange wives? …Thus cleansed I them from all strangers….
(Nehemiah 13:1-30, King James Version (KJV), emphasis and comments added)
The phrase “the mixed multitude” is translated from the Hebrew word `ereb (Strong’s #H6154). `Ereb is defined by James Strong:
…the web (or transverse threads of cloth); also a mixture, (or mongrel race).[11]
[11] James Strong, “עֶרֶב,” “Hebrew and Chaldee Dictionary,” The New Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1990) page 91.
The Prophet Hosea rebuked the house of Israel for bearing strange children:
They have dealt treacherously against the Lord [Strong’s Concordance #H3068 YHWH in the Hebrew text], For they have borne illegitimate (pagan) children. Now the New [Instead of a celebration, judgment would occur at the time of the New Moon Festival; 2:11.] Moon will devour them along with their land [bringing judgment and captivity].
(Hosea 5:7, Amplified Bible (AMP), emphasis and comments added)
Miscegenation or race mixing is forbidden in the Bible. It is adultery, that is, the adulteration of any and all races, the mixing of two diverse seeds that Yahweh never intended to be mixed.
Typical of cultures that have rejected their biblical moorings and that, more often than not, call good evil and evil good (Isaiah 5:20), today’s multicultural society condemns segregation and promotes miscegenation. Man’s desire to integrate and miscegenate will ultimately destroy the different races and their cultures. In contrast, Yahweh’s biblical design for man to segregate and remain pure, protects and perpetuates all the different races and their cultures. It should be apparent which of the two ideologies is truly hateful and destructive.
This concludes our study of Part 2 of Part 5 on The Seventh Commandment. Stay tuned for Part 3.