The high priest must not marry a widow

The Literal Commandment

A widow, or a divorced woman, or one who is profaned by harlotry, these he may not take; but rather he is to marry a virgin of his own people, so that he will not profane his offspring among his people; for I am the LORD who sanctifies him. (Leviticus 21:14)

 

The high priest (verse 10) may not take a widow for a wife.

 

Messiah Says

Messiah implicitly affirmed this commandment when He spoke about the Law:

"Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill. For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished. Whoever then annuls one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever keeps and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 5:17-19)

 

Pictures of Messiah

A widow is a woman who was previously married to a man who is now dead. In our unbelieving state we were "married" to the world and its ways. Once we have become belivers then the world is now dead to us. That would make believers a "widow" and as such we cannot be "married" to our Great High Priest: the Messiah. He makes believers into a new creature (2 Corinthians 5:17) and a new creation (Galatians 6:15).

Since we are now a "new creation" we can be "married" to our Great High Priest and we eagerly await the marriage supper of the Lamb (Lamb 19:9).

 

How Messiah Fulfilled

The literal commandment is given to the high priest of the Levitical priesthood. Since Messiah is not from the tribe of Levi this commandment does not literally apply to Him. Scripture never mentions that He was ever married to any single individual although it does indicate that the worldwide body of believers is the Bride of Messiah. The heavenly Jerusalem described in Revelation chapter 21 is called the bride of the Lamb. That is likely referring to the believers in Jerusalem rather than the streets, walls, and plumbing of the city itself.

 

Traditional Observance

Traditional observance of this commandment was the literal fulfillment of a person who was the high priest (or who was in the lineage of a person who might become the high priest) not marrying anyone who was a widow.

 

Other Notes

We are not able to fulfill this commandment absent a functioning Levitical priesthood with a high priest (to whom the commandment applies).

 

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Commandment Details

  • Mishneh Torah # 169
  • Mishneh Torah Book # 5
  • Mishneh Torah Book Holiness
  • Mishneh Torah Category 25- Forbidden Sexual Relations
  • Reference Leviticus 21:14
  • Scripture Book Leviticus
  • Chapter 21
  • Verse 14
  • English A widow, or a divorced woman, or one who is profaned by harlotry, these he may not take; but rather he is to marry a virgin of his own people,
  • Hebrew יד אַלְמָנָה וּגְרוּשָׁה וַחֲלָלָה זֹנָה, אֶת-אֵלֶּה לֹא יִקָּח: כִּי אִם-בְּתוּלָה מֵעַמָּיו, יִקַּח אִשָּׁה.
  • Greek 14 χήραν δὲ καὶ ἐκβεβλημένην καὶ βεβηλωμένην καὶ πόρνην, ταύτας οὐ λήμψεται, ἀλλ᾿ ἢ παρθένον ἐκ τοῦ γένους αὐτοῦ λήμψεται γυναῖκα·
  • Parashah 31- Emor
  • Positive/Negative Negative
  • Sefer Hachinuch # 273
  • Sef. Hach. Command That a kohen gadol is prohibited from marrying a widow
  • Category Levites & Priests
  • We can fullfill today No

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