Luke 1:27—How could Elizabeth be related to Mary when she was from the tribe of Aaron?

Problem: According to Luke 1:5, Elizabeth was from the priestly tribe of Aaron. But here in Luke 1:36 she is described as a relative of Mary, who was from the tribe of Judah (1:39; 3:30).

Solution: Being a relative of someone in the tribe of Judah does not mean she was from that tribe. She could have been related by marriage. Intermarriage between tribes was permitted, except in the case of an heiress. Aaron himself married someone from the tribe of Judah (Ex. 6:23; 1 Chron. 2:10).

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This excerpt is from When Critics Ask: A Popular Handbook on Bible Difficulties (Wheaton, Ill.: Victor Books, 1992). © 2014 Norman Geisler and Thomas Howe. All rights reserved. Used by permission. Click here to purchase this book.