An important function of levirate marriage -- requiring women without husbands or heirs to delegate their land rights to guardians – is to protect the rights of elite males by limiting the number of women exercising their land rights independently. Therefore, the primary intention of Instructions on Widows (Deut 25:5-10) is not to provide widows with children, but to put their land back into production.
See Also: The Social World of Deuteronomy: A New Feminist Commentary (Cascade Books, 2015).
By Don C. Benjamin
School of Historical, Philosophical & Religious Studies
Arizona State University
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