November 25, 2014

June 13, 2012


Polygamy in the Bible - A Sordid Tale

A great post at the Briefing by my good friend (and imminent replacement!) Lionel Windsor:

Off the top of my head, here are some of the stories about polygamy in the Bible:

  • The first polygamist, Lamech, calls a family conference so he can boast about his inordinate vengeful violence. He’s clearly not a nice man (Gen 4:19-24).
  • Jacob has two wives and two concubines, a situation which creates family heartbreak, envy and, ultimately, attempted murder (Gen 29-37).
  • Gideon has many wives and many sons (Judges 8:30). This results in civil war and wholesale slaughter in Israel (Judges 9).
  • David has a seemingly insatiable appetite for women. He has many wives (2 Sam 5:13), and in the end steals another man’s wife and murders him (2 Sam 11-12). The resulting, big family was not a happy one: they ended up committing incestuous rape (2 Sam 13) and rebellion which almost destroyed David’s kingdom (2 Sam 14ff).
  • Solomon had 700 wives and 300 concubines. They led his heart away from the Lord, and led to the break-up of his kingdom (1 Kings 11:3-4).

The stories tell the story all by themselves, don’t they? Polygamy, according to the Bible, is a disaster.

Furthermore, there are other pretty clear indications in the Bible that polygamy is wrong. The Bible begins with an explicit affirmation that marriage is between one man and one woman (Gen 1-2), an affirmation which is later confirmed by Jesus himself (Matt 19:4-6). There are, furthermore, laws limiting some of the worst effects of polygamy (Deut 21:15-17). And then, in the New Testament, Paul’s command to Timothy that church leaders must be, alongside exemplars of other moral virtues, “the husband of one wife” (1 Tim 3:212; cf. 1 Tim 5:9) implies that polygamy is not a desirable thing.

...

Sure, the Bible accepts that polygamy (like divorce) is one of the realities of a sinful world, and seeks to regulate it to some extent. But that all needs to be understood within the bigger picture of the Bible’s story: God’s salvation of a sinful humanity through the death and resurrection of his Son Jesus. Within this story, polygamy isn’t an example to be emulated. Rather, it’s an example of the many bad things Jesus rescues us from.

Go read it all.


Share this story:


Recent Related Posts

Comments

Facebook comments are closed.

4 comments

Hi David, any news on where you and the family will be heading next?

[1] Posted by MichaelA on 6-14-2012 at 03:38 AM · [top]

Thanks for posting this, excellent resource!

[2] Posted by Capt. Father Warren on 6-14-2012 at 07:28 AM · [top]

Consider Solomon - a royal wedding on average about every three weeks and towards the end of his life, every day (EVERY DAY) on average two wives telloing him he forgot their anniversary. ( I apologize for the chauvanism.)

[3] Posted by Don+ on 6-14-2012 at 05:21 PM · [top]

hi Michael.
Lots of conversations. Nothing firm yet. I don’t anything will come together until August/September.

[4] Posted by David Ould on 6-14-2012 at 07:13 PM · [top]

Registered members are welcome to leave comments. Log in here, or register here.

Comment Policy: We pride ourselves on having some of the most open, honest debate anywhere. However, we do have a few rules that we enforce strictly. They are: No over-the-top profanity, no racial or ethnic slurs, and no threats real or implied of physical violence. Please see this post for more explanation, and the posts here, here, and here for advice on becoming a valued commenter as opposed to an ex-commenter. Although we rarely do so, we reserve the right to remove or edit comments, as well as suspend users' accounts, solely at the discretion of site administrators. Since we try to err on the side of open debate, you may sometimes see comments which you believe strain the boundaries of our rules. Comments are the opinions of visitors, and do not necessarily reflect the opinion of Stand Firm site administrators or Gri5th Media, LLC.