So Yocheved, as it is known, is the wife of Amram, mother of Moshe Rabbeinu, Aharon HaCohen, and Miriam the prophetess, peace be on them. And Yocheved, like Amram, is from the Tribe of Levi.

Amram is the son of Kehas. But who is Yocheved's father? I know that most people say that she is the daughter of Laivi, and thus the aunt of Amram, I most definitely think this cannot be the case. Because the Torah She-baal peh states that Amram was one of the four people who never sinned in their life, and the Yisroelim were in only obligated in the Noachide Laws (and I'm guessing they also held on to other traditions, you know, from their forefathers) and one of the Noachide laws (#4 to be exact) is that incest is not permitted.

So, if Yocheved is the aunt of Amram, then Amram would have been doing a Aveirah for quite some time, and thus makes the account that he never sinned questionable, which is not true.

Also when it says that she is a daughter of Levi, it could mean granddaughter, because a granddaughter can be considered a daughter in the Hebrew language. So she is either the daughter of Gershon, an unknown son of Laivi, or Merari, so which one is it?

  • 2
    How do you know that one is not allowed to marry their aunt?
    – DonielF
    Commented Sep 5, 2016 at 2:26
  • Specifically, what is the law of incest that would apply to a Noachide. Note that the two surviving sons of Terach were allowed to marry the daughter of their deceased brother (Sarah is Yiskah). If they followed the Torah laws then this would have been forbidden. Yocheved and Amram would be the reciprocal relationship that would apparently be permitted before the giving of the Torah. Commented Sep 5, 2016 at 3:17
  • 1
    The Noahide Law against immoral relations is not the same as the Jewish one. A non-Jew is only prohibited to five people: his mother, his father's wife, his mother's daughter, a male and an animal. he.wikisource.org/wiki/…
    – iKay
    Commented Nov 22, 2016 at 5:26
  • judaism.stackexchange.com/a/9057/603
    – Menachem
    Commented May 12, 2017 at 7:32
  • @DonielF - Leviticus 18:12
    – ezra
    Commented Oct 17, 2017 at 23:54

2 Answers 2


Yocheved's relationship to Amram

Regarding Yocheved's relationship to Amram, Exodus (6:20) certainly implies that she was his aunt:

וַיִּקַּח עַמְרָם אֶת-יוֹכֶבֶד דֹּדָתוֹ, לוֹ לְאִשָּׁה

And Amram took Jochebed his father's sister for a wife.

Incest Prohibition

Regarding your question:

I most definitely think this cannot be the case. Because the Torah She-baal peh` states that Amram was one of the four people who never sinned in their life

It should first be noted that Aggadic Midrashim are not necessarily based on ancient tradition.

However, that is besides the point, since maintaining that he married his aunt does not necessitate rejecting the Midrash. Regarding the possible violation of Noahide incest laws, some state that she was a paternal aunt, rather than a maternal aunt. (Yalkut Shim'oni B'reshit: 25, cf. Rashi Exod. 6:20).

Furthermore, it is not clear that a gentile is forbidden from marrying any aunt. R. Akiva (arguing with R. Eliezer) cited in Sanhedrin (58a) is of the opinion that a gentile is permitted to marry his aunt! (Incidentally, this is the ruling of Rambam Hilkhot Issurei Biah 14:10).

Thus there the issue of marriage to his aunt does not seem to be evidence whatsoever that Yocheved was not Amram's aunt.

Yocheved's Father

However, in spite of all of that the answer to the initial question "who is Yocheved's father" is actually not obvious.

The Torah seems to say that she is the the daughter of Levi (Numbers 26:29):

וְשֵׁם אֵשֶׁת עַמְרָם, יוֹכֶבֶד בַּת-לֵוִי, אֲשֶׁר יָלְדָה אֹתָהּ לְלֵוִי, בְּמִצְרָיִם

And the name of Amram's wife was Jochebed, the daughter of Levi, who was born to Levi in Egypt.

Indeed, this simple understanding is affirmed by numerous commentators such as Ibn Ezra in his extended commentary to Exodus (2:1), and Rabbenu Bahya is his commentary to Exodus (2:1).

However, for reasons wholly unrelated to those in the questions, R. Shadal, writes in his commentary to Exodus (6:20) that Scripture did not list every generation in Levi's genealogy. Instead, some of the names of his descendants became family names. In this vein, he cites an opinion that until Levi died, the family of his descendants was knows as "Levi", after which the family split into three; Gershom, Kehat, and Merari.

According to this original explanation (which It appears Ibn Ezra and Rabbenu Bahya were specifically trying to preempt), Yocheved would not necessarily have been a daughter of Levi, the man, but any descendant of the family born until his death.


The Gemara in Sanhedrin says that a Noachide can marry their aunt as long as it is their fathers sister not mothers

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    Where?.......... Commented Mar 27, 2017 at 3:33

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