Although the levirate was something bordering on incest, it was the only reasonable way the ancient Israelites, and the Jews after them, could keep property within a man's family, even after his death, and take care of a widow in her old age. While this may make us uncomfortable and push our accepted limits on morality, the pragmatic answer(s) of the people of the Old Testament time are intriguing, to say the least.
In a world where the economic condition of a woman was determined by her relationship to a male, whether her husband, her son, or, by default, her brother-in-law, something had to be done when the two primary contributors to her well-being were no longer there, or not yet present. Therein lies the economical dimensions in the stipulation of the law of the levirate as articulated in Deuteronomy 25.5-10. This analysis, therefore, aims to gain a clearer understanding of the purpose of the law of the levirate and to see if its was applied, simply referred to or totally ignored.