The high priest might not marry, whether the widow of a priest or of an Israelite, as Aben Ezra, that is, of any Israelite that was not of the priesthood; and this, whether a widow after espousals, or after marriage, as runs the Jewish canon F21; the meaning is, that if she was betrothed to a man, and that man died before he married her, and so was a virgin; yet being betrothed to him was reckoned as his widow; and such an one the high priest might not marry, any more than one that had been left a widow, having being married: though, according to the same constitutions, if he had betrothed a widow, and after that was appointed an high priest, he might marry her, and an instance of it is given in Joshua the son of Gamla: and in the same it is observed, that an high priest, when his brother dies, must suffer his shoe to be plucked off, and not marry his brother's widow; which, in other cases, when there was no issue, was required:
or a divorced woman;
whether by a priest, or a common Israelite; and indeed, if a common priest might not marry such a person, much less an high priest: or profane anyone born of those that were not fit for priests to marry, as the Targum of Jonathan and Jarchi; (See Gill on Leviticus 21:7);
[or] an harlot;
a common prostitute:
those shall he not take
any or either of them, to be his wife; which are forbid in order to maintain the dignity of his office, and a reverence of it: there seems to be a gradation in these instances, he might not marry a widow, which was forbidden no other man; and if not such an one, much less a divorced woman, still less a profane person, and least of all an harlot;
but he shall take a virgin of his own people to wife;
which phrase, "of his own people", did not limit him to his own tribe, and to the fraternity of priests in it, as if he was to marry only in it, or the daughter of a priest; for the priests and Levites being scattered in the several tribes, and having no inheritances in them, were not restrained from marrying into other tribes, as the rest of the tribes were; and so an high priest sometimes married into another tribe, though he took care not to debase himself, by marrying into a mean family: so Jehoiada, the high priest, married Jehoshabeath, the daughter of King Jehoram, ( 2 Chronicles 22:11 ) ; but by this law he was forbid to marry a virgin of another nation, even though a proselytess and one that was made free, as Gersom observes; a captive virgin, and one that was become a Jewess, as Aben Ezra says, he was not allowed to marry.
F21 Misn. Yebamot, c. 6. sect. 4.