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BASTARD (Heb. mamzēr, Gr. nothos, bastard, specifically, child of incest). In Deut.23.2 the word probably means a “child of incest,” not simply an illegitimate child (niv “one born of a forbidden marriage”). There it says that a bastard and his descendants to the tenth generation are excluded from the assembly of the Lord. Jephthah, the “son of a strange woman” (kjv), a “prostitute” (niv), was called to be a judge of Israel (Judg.11.1-Judg.11.2). In Zech.9.6 KJV reads, “And a bastard shall dwell in Ashdod,” but NIV renders it, “Foreigners will occupy Ashdod.” In Heb.12.8 the word is used in its proper sense of born out of wedlock. Bastards had no claim to paternal care or the usual privileges and discipline of legitimate children.

BASTARD, an illegitimate, one born out of wedlock, used by KJV to tr. one Heb. and one Gr. word. Heb. מַמְזֵר, H4927, “corrupt,” “rotten thing,” applied to illegitimate children in the prohibition against their entry into the congregations of the people of Israel (Deut 23:2) and in a curse against the Syrians wherein it is promised that a “bastard” nation shall inherit their lands (Zech 9:6, RSV “mongrel”). In the NT the Gr. term is νόθος, G3785, “born out of wedlock,” known from Homeric times, but used only in Hebrews 12:8, to describe those who reject God’s authority and discipline.

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (1915)

In De 23:2 probably the offspring of an incestuous union, or of a marriage within the prohibited degrees of affinity (Le 18:6-20; 20:10-21). He and his descendants to the tenth generation are excluded from the assembly of the Lord. (See Driver, at the place). Zechariah (Zec 9:6), after prophesying the overthrow of three Philistine cities, declares of the fourth: "And a bastard (the Revised Version, margin "a bastard race") shall dwell in Ashdod," meaning probably that a "mixed population" (BDB) of aliens shall invade and settle in the capital of the Philistines. In Heb (He 12:8) in its proper sense of "born out of wedlock," and therefore not admitted to the privileges of paternal care and responsibility as a legitimate son.

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