Levirate Marriage

Levirate marriage is a type of marriage in which a surviving brother is obligated to marry his brother’s widow if he died without being able to have children. This term came from the Latin word “levir” which means “husband’s brother”. Those who practice this believe that it is better for the widow to marry someone from within the family so that the name of her dead husband will not be blotted out from history. The one who will marry his late brother’s widow will not only inherit the wife but also the dead brother’s property. This may be advantageous for the wife as she can have protection.

In Judaism, levirate marriage is encouraged; however, if the widow or the brother refuses to enter it, both parties are required to go through a ceremony which renounces their right to actualize the marriage. Levirate marriage is also practiced in Kenya, South Sudan, Nigeria, Cameroon, Somalia, Turkey, and Indonesia.

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