Intermarriage: Deuteronomy 7:2-3


Dear Rabbi,

In Deuteronomy 7:2 the Jews are told to “doom to destruction” the 7 nations–Canaanites, etc. In the next verse, they are told not to intermarry with them. Don’t these verses contradict each other? If those nations are to be destroyed, why tell us not to intermarry with them?




  1. The Talmud (Tractate Yevamos 76a) says that the verse teaches that even after a Canaanite sincerely converts to Judaism, it is still forbidden to marry them. The logic of the Talmud is that marriage between a Jew and a non-Jew does not exist in Jewish Law – and therefore when the verse states that one should not “marry them,” it must refer to post-conversion – otherwise the Torah would not have used the language to not “marry them.”

    Interestingly enough, the Rabbis also learn from the verse that although in context the verses seems to be saying it is is forbidden to intermarry with any of the Seven Nations, the Rabbis understand the verse to be all-encompassing and is a command not to marry anyone other than a fellow Jew.

    (It should be noted that there is a general misconception that Deut. 7:2 was a command to smite and destroy all of the seven Nations from the Holy Land. In reality, they were allowed to stay if they agreed to observe the 7 Noahide Laws, which include not worshipping any idol; or they could leave of the Land; or they would be subject to the physical removal of the heathenness.)

    Best wishes from the Team