The child of one’s aunt or uncle. The only occurrence of the Greek word a·ne·psi·osʹ (cousin) is at Colossians 4:10, where Paul calls Mark “the cousin of Barnabas.” The Greek term means primarily “first cousin,” but in a wider sense, any cousin. A·ne·psi·osʹ also occurs in the Septuagint at Numbers 36:11 (plural), but the Hebrew expression in the Masoretic text is rendered literally “sons of their father’s brothers.”
The King James Version calls Elizabeth Mary’s cousin (syg·ge·nisʹ) at Luke 1:36. This Greek word is considered a peculiar form of the word syg·ge·nesʹ, which is rendered “relative” in modern versions. (Lu 2:44; 21:16; Ac 10:24; CC, ED, NW) Syg·ge·nesʹ occurs five times in the Septuagint, again meaning “relatives” in general rather than the modern restricted designation “cousin.”—Le 18:14; 20:20; 25:45; 2Sa 3:39; Eze 22:6; LXX.
Though no word for cousin is found in the Hebrew Scriptures, this relationship is there indicated by expressions such as “the sons of . . . Aaron’s uncle,” “the son of his uncle.” (Le 10:4; 25:49) Marriages to cousins are reported: Jacob and Rachel, and the daughters of Zelophehad. (Ge 28:2; 29:10-12; Nu 36:11) Such marriages to cousins were not included in the Mosaic prohibitions against incest. (Le 18:8-16) Today civil laws are at variance on this matter; some states and nations allow cousins to marry, others forbid it.