Bible Question:

Can a brother and sister get married according to the Bible?

Bible Answer:

People from different parts of the world have asked if a brother and sister can marry. More specifically they have asked something like, “Can a brother and sister get married according to the Bible?” They were not interested in the laws of their country, but what has God said. The purpose of this article is to answer that question.

Married Brother and Sister

After God created Adam and Eve, brothers and sisters had to marry one another in order for the population to increase. But eventually God no longer allowed  brothers and sister to marry. He never tells us why, but geneticists tell us that genetic defects can occur when family members intermarry, or in other words, commit incest.[1] The first time God prohibited marriages within families is in Leviticus 18:6. The chapter of Leviticus 18 describes marriages that God considers to be incest.

Verse 9 prohibits marriage or incest between a brother and a sister. Here is the verse,

The nakedness of your sister, either your father’s daughter or your mother’s daughter, whether born at home or born outside, their nakedness you shall not uncover.  Leviticus 18:9 (NASB)

The Hebrew word for naked is erwa, and it refers to nakedness, especially of the genitals. It is also a figurative expression for sexual intercourse. So, the prohibition includes seeing the genitals and engaging in sexual intercourse. That is, a brother and sister are not to see each other naked and/or engage in sexual intercourse.

Another passage is Leviticus 20:17. In this verse we are told that it is a disgrace for brothers and sisters to see each other naked and engage in sex activity. Deuteronomy 27:22 announces a curse for such incest. Then Ezekiel 20:11 says it is humbling to a sister for a brother to see her naked and engage in sex.

One has committed abomination with his neighbor’s wife and another has lewdly defiled his daughter-in-law. And another in you has humbled his sister, his father’s daughter. Ezekiel 22:11 (NASB)

So, can a brother and sister get married? The answer is no. If later, they realize their wrong, can their sin be forgiven by Jesus? Yes, if the brother and sister truly confess their sin, God will forgive them.


If they were married and had a child when they finally discovered that God prohibits marriage between a brother and sister, should they get a divorce? The answer is no! But if the laws of your state and/or government prohibit your marriage then may have to divorce. But if your state or government allows brothers and sisters to marry, and you are married then you should remain married and confess your sins to God. But beware that God may punish you for marrying.



1. Eva Seemanová. A Study of Children of Incestuous Matings. JTSOR. Vol. 21, No. 2 (1971), pp. 108-128 (

Suggested Links:

What does the Bible say about marrying your first cousin?
Can a stepsister and stepbrother marry according to Leviticus 18:11?
What does the Bible say about marrying your first cousin?