The answer begins by seeing that God always points His creation back to the primacy and perfection of the original design. Proud member Likewise, women should submit to their husbands like the saved should submit to the will of God. The question of what that institution should look like is one that has been on the forefront of people’s minds. What does the Bible say about a contentious or quarrelsome woman? Article Images Copyright © 2021 Getty Images unless otherwise indicated. She maintains a faith and lifestyle blog graceandgrowing.com, where she muses about the Lord, life, culture, and ministry. It often leads people astray and caused dissension within households where multiple wives are present. Witte Jr., John. While today in most western cultures, it is commonly accepted that marriage is a partnership, through the centuries many have established polygamous marriages, commonly where one man has more than one wife, though some have one woman with multiple husbands. In the lives of the men in the Bible, polygamy is not overtly condemned, but is not glorified either. We'll send you an email with steps on how to reset your password. The Bible does not mention her name. He is the first man to take more than one wife. The record of Solomon’s wives are in 1 King 11. Because some cultures and societies do sometimes engage in polygamy, God does set boundaries, rules, and guidelines which were meant to protect the wives. God views marriage as a sacred covenant, which should only be contracted between two people. The Bible does not specifically speak to the situation of wife spanking and some believe because this is the case then wife spanking is forbidden. What are the references to polygamy in the Bible? On an interesting note, after the return from exile, there is no documented evidence of Israelites taking multiple wives amongst leaders or common people. His inappropriate desire led to the destruction of his family, as it gave his son Absalom the fuel he needed to start planning his own coup. The role of Lamech in the text is to show “a progressive hardening in sin” (Waltke, Genesis, page 100). Does Happiness Depend on Marriage? For the record, Solomon had 700 wives and 300 concubines. of These men are supposed to be pillars of society, models for their communities, and setting the example for those around them. We'll send you an email with steps on how to reset your password. She disobeyed a command of God. There is no polygamous relationship in the Old Testament that is free of contention. The Dead Sea Scrolls and the New Testament. Proud member Further, through the ministry of Jesus, we see God "reset the clock" so to speak to the original goodness of monogamous marital union -- pointing forward to a new society and a new way. It did not properly represent the relationship between Christ and his bride the church (Ephesians 5:25-27). Again, what repentance and baptism does for the person outside the church, repentance and prayer does … “Let deacons each be the husband of one wife, managing their children and their own households well” (1 Timothy 3:12). One of the more traditional lines in a wedding ceremony includes, “Marriage is an institution ordained by God,” for the procreation of children, the happiness of the individuals involved, and to act as the foundation for a healthy society. Should we pay taxes? I have given you your master's house and your master's wives into your bosom ... and I gave you the house of Israel and Judah, and as if this wasn't enough, I would have given you even more." In the Old Testament, several important and influential men have multiple wives and concubines. In biblical times it was common to find the custom of having more than one wife or husband at the same time. By Genesis 4, you have Cain's son Lamech taking two wives. The Mosaic Law likewise accommodated the practice of marrying more than one wife, including captured prisoners from foreign conquests (Deuteronomy 21:1-17). The right of the firstborn is his” (Deuteronomy 21:15-17). How does one respond to this situation? "Polygamy: an enduring problem". We invented polygamy, along with other social evils. Moses had two wives as well. Jesus will reign in Heaven forever, over the church from Jerusalem, where the church will live forever. This idolatry eventually led to the nation turning its back on God, which eventually led to the exile to Babylon. When was silver worth more than gold? David's son, Solomon, however, went overboard, flouting a stipulation in Deuteronomy 17:16-17 that kings not accumulate "too many" wives. Abraham and his descendants were also shepherds, who were away for half the year taking sheep places to eat and drink. What does the Bible say about polygamy? “Then came one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls full of the seven last plagues and spoke to me, saying, ‘Come, I will show you the Bride, the wife of the Lamb.’ And he carried me away in the Spirit to a great, high mountain, and showed me the holy city Jerusalem coming down out of heaven from God, having the glory of God, its radiance like a most rare jewel, like a jasper, clear as crystal” (Revelation 21:9-11). His poem is not sweet, but about murder and revenge: “Adah and Zillah, hear my voice; you wives of Lamech, listen to what I say: I have killed a man for wounding me, a young man for striking me. The Meaning of Marriage Facing the Complexities of Commitment with the Wisdom of God. God allowed both women to bear sons, giving them protection and joy, but the relationship was never right. Angered, Jacob worked another seven years to marry Rachel. The Bible does record, for example, that “Lamech took two wives” (Genesis 4:19). Kings, deacons, and overseers - another word for bishop or pastor - are obligated to only have one wife. What Does the Bible Say about Polygamy? They even gave their husband handmaids as concubines in attempts to undermine one another and maintain status. Where does the Bible say its okay for heterosexual couples to get married in a church building with a denominationally affiliated pastor officiating? Copyright © 2021, Bible Study Tools. There is also the importance of monogamous relationships as a symbol for faithfulness to God. Moving forward, there is contention between the women, since Jacob loved Rachel more. What are the references to polygamy in the Bible? Although monogamy was clearly God's intent - Genesis 2:22-24, the picture blurs pretty quickly after Adam and Eve's Genesis 3 and expulsion from the Garden. The truth is that the story of polygamy in the Old Testament is, well, a problem. By contrast, the next husband to recite a poem is a descendent of Cain named Lamech - the first bigamist. It created a social network of protection. Money. Genesis 3:4-5 and Quran Surah Araf 7:20 show that Bible says that it was Serpent who whispered and conspired against Adam & Eve while Quran say it was Devil/Satan. Are couples who live together married? Even in the Old Testament, some of the patriarchs and leaders had multiple wives. 2020 12 Oct One of the more traditional lines in a wedding ceremony includes, “Marriage is an institution ordained by God,” for the procreation of children, the happiness of the individuals involved, and to act as the foundation for a healthy society. This poem is about love, about completion, and God’s divine will. Daughters were not as valuable to the family in ancient times, since they were unable to work in the fields. What did she do? “Therefore an overseer must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, sober-minded, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not a drunkard, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money” (1 Timothy 3:2). Learn how the God-assigned roles in marriage can help a husband and a wife succeed and be happy. God’s expectation is monogamy. While David was successful in keeping his throne, his family was broken. Famously, he committed adultery with another man’s wife, Bathsheba, and when she fell pregnant he murdered her husband and took her as his final wife. One consequence of this position is that the burden of proof neccesarily falls on those who say that the Bible DOES forbid premarital sex (in either in an explicit direct declaration or in an implicit principle). But the Bible is not thereby endorsing polygamy, but indeed is casting doubt on polygamy. Bethany Verrett. California - Do Not Sell My Personal Information. Solomon: The man with the most wives in the Bible was Solomon, the wise thinker who contributed three books to the Old Testament. The picture gets even dicier when one considers the practice of the kings of Israel. Adam recites a poem in response to meeting Eve, “This shall be bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man” (Genesis 2:23). Brooke, George. Polygamy creates tension, inappropriate situations, and pain. This left women at home, with few options for independence, and few men in the area. It also made provisions for continuing the family line by marrying a brother's wife if he died without producing heirs (Deuteronomy 25:5-12). Men should love their wives to the same extent that Jesus loved the world, willing to lay down His life. For example, a man marrying multiple women could give the women protection. He always allowed the man to suffer the repercussions of the decision. Polygamy (called plural marriage by Mormons in the 19th century or the Principle by modern fundamentalist practitioners of polygamy) was practiced by leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) for more than half of the 19th century, and practiced publicly from 1852 to 1890 by between 20 and 30 percent of Latter-day Saint families. But we must be careful when we come to the Bible and it does not address a specific case of behavior with either a positive example or a command. God wanted the leaders in the community to only have one wife. And the stories keep coming: Gideon, one of Israel's champions, had many wives; Elkanah, a presumably godly man and the father of Samuel, had two wives. Through these foreign brides, many idols were introduced to Israel, such as the Asherah pole dedicated to a Canaanite goddess. Jesus showed a world that had distorted the meaning of marriage back to the beauty of "the man being joined to his wife, and two will become one flesh." If one wealthy man had more than one wife who could also vet the character of his employees, that man gave protection to the women he married, and to other women in their families, who could possibly marry men in his employ. Is Marriage Just a Social Union? The truth is that the story of polygamy in the Old Testament is, well, a problem. God’s Plan for Marriage: Dealing with Old Testament Polygamy, California - Do Not Sell My Personal Information. The Western Case for Monogamy Over Polygamy. Marriage should represent this eternal love through commitment to one person. Keller, Timothy and Kathy. Like his father David, Solomon took wives for political expediency and personal pleasure. In biblical times it was common to find the custom of having more than one wife or husband at the same time. His first wife was his predecessor’s daughter, another a woman who saved his life after she was widowed. New York: Penguin Books, 2011. He does not have multiple brides, he is one bride. These tensions are documented in Genesis 29 and Genesis 30. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2015. “If he takes another wife to himself, he shall not diminish her food, her clothing, or her marital rights” (Exodus 21:10). In 1 Samuel, Hannah was the barren wife in a polygamous marriage, and the other wife was cruel to her for this barrenness. If Cain's revenge is sevenfold, then Lamech's is seventy-sevenfold” (Genesis 4:23-24). Ultimately, he had 700 wives and 300 concubines. Salem Media Group. How can you build strong relationships? While polygamy may not have been God’s plan, He did use these sinful relationships for His good. So, polygamy was permitted by God in the Old Testament but it was not his design. And if you read the stories about the characters referenced above, you'll quickly find that polygamy was an unmitigated sociological disaster that created heartbreak and sowed familial discord. Moving forward, many men deemed righteous also take multiple wives. Ministry: International Journal for Pastors God blessed Hannah with a son who went on to be a powerful prophet. But it does tell us that she had two daughters and that she and her family made a home in the city of Sodom.—Genesis 19:1, 15. For political and personal reasons, he took eight wives and multiple concubines. Salem Media Group. When considering the blessing of marriage, it is important to remember one of the most poignant pictures of it in the Bible, “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh” (Ephesians 5:31). However, this decision has consequences which increase in magnitude over the centuries. If a man has multiple wives and becomes a Christian, what is he supposed to do? Through the Bible, God uses women to symbolize what the appropriate love between Himself and His people should be. Instead of looking to many gods, people should look only to the one true God, just as a husband should look only at one woman, his wife, and she only at her husband. God does not then change the commandment or say it’s now OK to kill, Hudson says. “If a man has two wives, the one loved and the other unloved, and both the loved and the unloved have borne him children, and if the firstborn son belongs to the unloved, then on the day when he assigns his possessions as an inheritance to his sons, he may not treat the son of the loved as the firstborn in preference to the son of the unloved, who is the firstborn, but he shall acknowledge the firstborn, the son of the unloved, by giving him a double portion of all that he has, for he is the firstfruits of his strength. Beyond the practical issues of creating tensions, dissension, jealousy, and confusion, polygamy pollutes and confuses the symbolism of what marriage represents. Article Images Copyright © 2021 Getty Images unless otherwise indicated. Why did God allow polygamy in the Bible? Copyright © 2021, Bible Study Tools. There are verses in which the Bible expressly forbids from taking multiple wives: “When you come to the land that the Lord your God is giving you, and you possess it and dwell in it and then say, ‘I will set a king over me, like all the nations that are around me,’...And he shall not acquire many wives for himself, lest his heart turn away, nor shall he acquire for himself excessive silver and gold” (Deuteronomy 17:14, 17). Please enter your email address associated with your Salem All-Pass account, then click Continue. Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2005. ... polygamy is not mentioned in Genesis 1 or 2 but God definitely blessed polygamists later on. ~ Excerpt from God’s Plan for Marriage: Dealing with Old Testament Polygamy by Gregory Alan Thornbury. The more marriages the Bible shows, and the more it is discussed, the more the problems of polygamy come to light. God had determined to destroy Sodom and the neighboring cities because of their gross sexual immorality. All rights reserved. Genesis 3:6 and Surah Araf 7:22 show that as per Bible it was woman who disobeyed God and also made Man to ate from the Tree while as per Quran they both erred. What was the true issue between Adonijah and Solomon over Abishag? Please enter your email address associated with your Salem All-Pass account, then click Continue. Problems of polygamy in the Bible shows, and Christ as the Asherah pole dedicated to Canaanite. Named Lamech - the first bigamist wife succeed and be happy ( Genesis 4:19 ) and dictated. 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