This has been a popular topic of debate, at least where I live. As Armenians, we like to...discourage marriages with spouses of a different ethnicity or nationality, simply in order to carry the culture and Armenian name for as many generations as possible.

Were there any mentions of interracial marriages or relationships in the bible, like whether it is condoned or not?

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    A big problem is this: The bible only contains stories that are interesting or edifying, not the common stories. Interracial marriages may have been common throughout the Bible, but it's only the ones that cause problems that are noted (Samson and Delilah), not the ones that go smoothly.
    – Richard
    Commented Aug 29, 2011 at 22:32
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    @Richard: I disagree: Ruth and Boaz were an interracial marriage that produced no less fruit than David. Commented Aug 30, 2011 at 18:09
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    @AmbroseH Thank you! I'm glad that we could find one. However, it should be noted that that story is both interesting and edifying, as I mentioned above. I do not consider the story of Ruth to be a common one (and that has nothing to do with her marriage to Boaz). Also, I don't consider Boaz to be a common man; rather I consider him a prime example of a man of honor.
    – Richard
    Commented Aug 30, 2011 at 18:27
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    @Richard: Ah yes. Indeed Ruth's story is uncommon for a Gentile: "Your people will be my people and your God my God." I failed to comprehend your interesting and edifying comment completely! Commented Aug 30, 2011 at 19:21
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    Incidentally, I just found out my great, great, great grandmother was Armenian. We all thought we were full-blooded Lebanese. I'm sure that was quite a scandal back in the late 1800s when she married a Lebanese man. In either case, that makes me an Armenian Calvinist, I suppose. Commented Apr 13, 2012 at 16:07

3 Answers 3


In the Old Testament the Jews are forbidden from marriage with non-Jews. See, for example, Deuteronomy 7:3-4. However that was on the basis of religious rather than racial purity, as it was clearly stated that the reason was to prevent the Jews from "following other Gods". It is also notable that in the Book of Ruth, Ruth is a non-Jew married to a Jew, and the Bible contains no commentary saying that this was a bad thing, although she clearly also becomes a follower of God. She is the ancestor of King David.

In the New Testament there is no equivalent restriction, since Christians are intended to be of every race: "In Christ there is neither Jew nor Gentile" and "make disciples of all nations".

In the past some Christians have claimed a prohibition on interracial marriage, based on either the Old Testament prohibition or a false understanding of Acts 17:24-26: ( "God ... hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation ...").

Recently there has been a strong movement away from such a prohibition. Even ultra-conservative Bob Jones university removed its prohibition on inter-racial dating in 2000.

This article gives more information on the history.

EDIT:I originally said that Bob Jones University continued its ban on inter-racial dating until 2005. In fact it stopped in 2000, and apologized for it in 2005.

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    Wow! It took them until 2005?!
    – user32
    Commented Aug 30, 2011 at 3:58
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    Bob Jones is a very legalistic school where going to a movie theater can get you kicked out.
    – Dale
    Commented Oct 24, 2011 at 4:02
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    Don't forget that Rahab was also in the lineage of David and Jesus. Commented Aug 15, 2013 at 19:57

Moses married an Ethiopian (descendant of Ham), and Miriam and Aaron didn't approve. The story is found in Numbers 12:1, and we don't find anything to say whether it was ok for him to have done so or not, only that he did it and some people didn't like it. To be honest, I used to have a problem with interracial marriage, and I made quite a lot of excuses as to why that was.

Frankly, people of every nationality are God's creations. He loves each and every one of them in a way that we cannot even begin to imagine or comprehend. I would think that it would please God very much for two of His beloved creations to find happiness and joy in the company of one another, despite race, or anything else.

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    Solomon did too, but that's not saying too much I suppose. =/ Commented Aug 29, 2011 at 22:52
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    Piper has a great sermon on this subject that touches on the issue with Moses.
    – Caleb
    Commented Aug 30, 2011 at 0:04

Yes Moses did marry an Ethiopian woman, and if you study the text then you'll see that God sanctified interracial marriages. When Miriam and Aaron began to talk against the marriage, God brought leprosy upon Miriam...... Numbers 12:1 "And Miriam and Aaron spoke against Moses because of the Ethiopian woman whom he had married: for he had married an Ethiopian woman."

9 And the anger of the LORD was kindled against them; and he departed.

10 And the cloud departed from off the tabernacle; and, behold, Miriam became leprous, as white as snow: and Aaron looked upon Miriam, and, behold, she was leprous.

11 And Aaron said unto Moses, Alas, my lord, I beseech you, lay not the sin upon us, in which we have done foolishly, and in which we have sinned.

12 Let her not be as one dead, whose flesh is half consumed when he comes out of his mother's womb.

13 And Moses cried unto the LORD, saying, Heal her now, O God, I beseech you.

14 And the LORD said unto Moses, If her father had but spit in her face, should she not be ashamed seven days? let her be shut out from the camp seven days, and after that let her be received in again.