Does the Bible permit or forbid interracial dating and marriage? Were the ancient Israelites racially "pure" when they left Egyptian bondage? Did God warn them to not intermix with or marry anyone of another nation (Egyptians, Philistines, Hittites, Amorites, etc.) in order to maintain this purity? This short article will examine a few of the assumptions and conclusions made by those who firmly believe God does not approve of interracial "mixing."
A matter of purity
Perhaps the greatest assumption made by those who thunder that interracial dating is wrong is that the Israelites had a "pure" heredity which God wanted them to maintain. The Bible shows, however, that the group who left Egyptian bondage was anything but pure genetically.
Joseph is one of the many sons of Jacob (renamed Israel). Brothers who are envious of him sell him into slavery at an early age. After a period of several trials, God blesses him with the responsibility of overseeing all of Egypt in order to save the entire family from a famine. He marries an Egyptian woman and produces two sons named Manasseh and Ephraim (Genesis 46:20). Was Joseph's 'interracial marriage' against the will of God? Was he and his family considered not true Israelites and rejected?
Before his death, the patriarch Jacob not only specially "adopts" Joseph's two boys and makes them the chief inheritors of the birthright blessings received by his grandfather Abraham, he gives them the blessing of representing the family name ISRAEL (see Genesis 48)! At the time of the Exodus there were more than 32,000 fighting men in the tribe of Manasseh and 40,500 males able to fight from Ephraim's tribe (Numbers 1:33 - 35).
Some who study the topics of dating and interracial relationships in the Bible often overlook the fact that God did not restrict who could and could not leave Egypt in the Exodus. Scripture states, "also a mixed multitude went up with them" (Exodus 12:37), meaning that MANY non-Israelites (Egyptians, people from various countries who were also slaves, etc.) left Egypt under the leadership of Moses. It was to this mass of people that God gave instructions some have mistakenly used as "proof text" to show that interracial relationships are a sin.