Should we again break thy commandments, and join in affinity with the people of these abominations?, Ezra 9:14.
Affinity is word with a very narrow definition. It is used only three times in the King James bible. It is a powerful word for expressing a very distinct action. The Oxford English Dictionary traces its definition through the centuries and had this to say:
1. Senses relating to connection, and to the forming of connections.
a. Relationship by marriage (as distinguished from relationship by blood); kinship between people or families that results from marriage;
b. A family or group related to a person by marriage; (individually) a relative by marriage. Obsolete.
We see the link to marriage in its use in the Books of the Kings. And Solomon made affinity with Pharaoh king of Egypt, and took Pharaoh's daughter, 1st Kings 3:1. We can be pretty sure that most of Solomon's wives were made in this regard. As a tribal area or some place that might not be easily subdued was brought under Solomon's control or brought in as an ally, a chieftain or some other powerful leader would give his daughter in marriage to Solomon to join affinity. That had long been a standard practice in Europe where alliances were made and sealed by royal families making just such an affinity.
Ezra was troubled by the marriages made between Jews of his time and women who had by no means converted. He hated the yoking of God's people with those who committed abominations. Henceforth, he spoke those words found in our opening verse.
By far the worst case of making affinity was done by Jehoshaphat. Now Jehoshaphat had riches and honour in abundance, and joined affinity with Ahab, 2nd Chronicles 18:1. Jehoshaphat married his son Jehoram to Ahab's daughter. I suspect that Jehoram was married to not only the daughter of Ahab and Jezebel, but also to Omri's daughter Athaliah.
The more I study Jehoshaphat the more I think that he is like some of the great fundamental ministries of the last 50 years. He was a great man who loved God. When he died, the kingdom devolved into a worldly mess designed by the Northern Kingdom. He gives us a tremendous lesson in realizing that no matter how much we love God and honor his word, if we allow the things of hell in through the bible colleges, the the ungodly music, and all of the programs that seek to replace plain old bible preaching, we pave the path for our ministries destruction. I grieve over the ministries left behind by men that I have seen God use mightily.
More now than ever, it is important for those of us who have clung to this blessed book to learn its vocabulary. It's not hard to understand if we just take a little time. My son Stephen discovered the meaning of the word affinity and its relationship to marriage from within the text itself merely by studying its three usages in context. We looked it up later in the dictionary. There is no way that the new versions can ever guide a people to a proper understanding of God and his work.