Know Islam

Know Islam, Know Paradise

WAS POLYGYNY OR POLYGAMY APPROVED BY YAHWEH?!!!

May 21, 2017 Uncategorized 0

Holy Polygamy

Men of the Bible with Multiple Wives
When you think of polygamy, what do you think of? The Mormons? Islam or Muhammad? Maybe you think of Big Love or the Yearning for Zion Ranch?

If you are a Christian, though, I want to give you something else to think of when the subject of polygamy comes up. You see, a Christian’s mind shouldn’t instinctively be drawn to the world, other faiths, or entertainment.

Instead, the Christian’s thoughts should gravitate to the Scriptures, to those men throughout the history of Judeo-christianity who lived out their lives with multiple wives, some with two or three, others with wives numbering in the hundreds.

I want to introduce you to these men.

For simplicity, I’ll present this list alphabetically. Also, I will from now on be referring to these men with the more specific term polygynist. Polygyny is the practice of one man having multiple wives; it is a type of polygamy.

Abdon

And after him Abdon the son of Hillel, a Pirathonite, judged Israel. 14And he had forty sons and thirty nephews, that rode on threescore and ten ass colts: and he judged Israel eight years.

Judges 12:13–14, King James Version

Alphabetically, we start our list with a man, Abdon, who isn’t explicitly said to be a polygynist. However, due to the large number of children he is said to have had, it is possible that multiple wives bore these children to him. If that is a correct assumption, then it is also worth noting that no negative remarks regarding Abdon’s relationships are made.

Abijah

But Abijah waxed mighty, and married fourteen wives, and begat twenty and two sons, and sixteen daughters.

2 Chronicles 13:21, King James Version

You should read the rest of chapter thirteen to get the full picture of Abijah; when you do, you’ll come away with the distinct impression that God was on his side.

You’ll find out that while Abijah was ruling over the kingdom of Judah, Jeroboam and the kingdom of Israel rose up against them. Jeroboam and his men stood under the careful, watchful protection of their golden calves and idols; Abijah and his men rose up under the watch, care, and protection of the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

And what happened? “…God smote Jeroboam and all Israel before Abijah and Judah” (v. 15).

Despite all that we’re told about Abijah, it is telling that we’re never given a hint of disapproval regarding his having multiple wives.

Abram / Abraham

Now Sarai Abram’s wife bare him no children: and she had an handmaid, an Egyptian, whose name was Hagar. 2And Sarai said unto Abram, Behold now, the Lord hath restrained me from bearing: I pray thee, go in unto my maid; it may be that I may obtain children by her. And Abram hearkened to the voice of Sarai. 3And Sarai Abram’s wife took Hagar her maid the Egyptian, after Abram had dwelt ten years in the land of Canaan, and gave her to her husband Abram to be his wife.

Genesis 16:1–3, King James Version
Then again Abraham took a wife, and her name was Keturah.

Genesis 25:1, King James Version
The ESV Study Bible says of Genesis 16:3, “While the OT records occasions when particular individuals have more than one wife, such instances are almost always fraught with complications and difficulty. The taking of multiple wives is never encouraged in the Bible and usually arises out of peculiar circumstances.”

I wonder if the authors of that note have paid much attention to marriage in general: even monogamy is “almost always fraught with complications and difficulty.” That’s just the nature of human relationships!

Did any of those polygamist unions found in the Scriptures end in divorce? What about today’s monogamous marriages? I’m willing to bet that monogamous societies have a much higher rate of divorce than do polygynous ones. Why that would be, I cannot say for certain.

In any event, Abraham had at least three wives — two of which for certain were concurrent. An additional curiosity of this family was that Abraham’s taking of a second wife the idea of Sarai, his first wife.

That is a curiosity because it shows a great lack of self-centeredness on the part of Sarai; she knew the promise that Abraham would have children despite his age, and feeling as though the promise could not be fulfilled in her, she arranged for her own servant to be Abraham’s second wife, so that the promise could be fulfilled through her.

The study Bible notes that polygamy is never encouraged; notice here, though, that the angel of the Lord intervenes to mend the relationship between Hagar and Sarai but in no way expresses any sort of disapproval at the polygynous unions between Abraham and the two women (vv. 9–12)!

Ahab

And Ben-hadad the king of Syria gathered all his host together: and there were thirty and two kings with him, and horses, and chariots: and he went up and besieged Samaria, and warred against it. 2And he sent messengers to Ahab king of Israel into the city, and said unto him, Thus saith Ben-hadad, 3Thy silver and thy gold is mine; thy wives also and thy children, even the goodliest, are mine.

1 Kings 20:1–3, King James Version
We aren’t given details regarding these marriages, just that they exist: Ahab, king of Israel, had multiple wives, and a disapproving word from the prophets or God himself cannot be found.

Ahasuerus

Also Vashti the queen made a feast for the women in the royal house which belonged to king Ahasuerus.

Esther 1:9, King James Version
Ahasuerus’ situation, like Abdon‘s, is a bit speculative. Were all the women wives of Ahasuerus? Or were they handmaidens of the king? Or concubines?

In any event, we know that Ahasuerus was married to Vashti, and that later, she would lose her royal position to Esther (ch. 2). Were both women concurrent wives of Ahasuerus?

Whatever the situation, at the very least we can be certain that no disapproving words regarding polygynous marriages are spoken by God or his prophets in this situation.

Ashur

And Ashur the father of Tekoa had two wives, Helah and Naarah.

1 Chronicles 4:5, King James Version
Appearing in a much longer list of the descendants of Judah, we are told simply that Ashur had two wives. No disapproval. No stated need for repentance.

Belshazzar

Belshazzar, while he tasted the wine, commanded to bring the golden and silver vessels which his father Nebuchadnezzar had taken out of the temple which was in Jerusalem; that the king, and his princes, his wives, and his concubines, might drink therein.

Daniel 5:2, King James Version
I admit that Belshazzar isn’t the best possible example, but he is a “biblical polygynist” nonetheless.

We are told of his drunkenness, of his idolatry — things which elsewhere are revealed to be against the Law of God.

That Belshazzar had multiple wives, though? That was a common practice among many cultures, just as it is today, and there is no sign that the practice of polygyny violated the law of God, nor is it within the context of this passage that his having multiple wives was in any way problematic to God.

Ben-hadad

We can infer that when Ben-hadad would take Ahab‘s wives, he would take them to be his own wives.

Caleb

And Caleb the son of Hezron begat children of Azubah his wife, and of Jerioth: her sons are these; Jesher, and Shobab, and Ardon. 19And when Azubah was dad, Caleb took unto him Ephrath, which bare him Hur.

1 Chronicles 2:18–19, King James Version
And Ephah, Caleb’s concubine, bare Haran, and Moza, and Gazez: and Haran begat Gazez.

1 Chronicles 2:46, King James Version
Maachah, Caleb’s concubine, bare Sheber, and Tirhanah.

1 Chronicles 2:48, King James Version
Caleb had at least two concurrent wives plus some concubines, and there is no sign that this wasn’t a normal, expected family structure.

The study Bible notes mentioned above said that polygyny was never encouraged; how is portraying something as perfectly normal not at least implied encouragement?

David

Wherefore David arose and went, he and his men, and slew of the Philistines two hundred men; and David brought their foreskins and they gave them in full tale to the king, that he might be the king’s son in law. And Saul gave him Michal his daughter to wife.

1 Samuel 18:27, King James Version
And when David heard that Nabal was dead, he said, Blessed be the Lord, that hath pleaded the cause of my reproach from the hand of Nabal, and hath kept his servant from evil: for the Lord hath returned the wickedness of Nabal upon his own head. And David sent and communed with Abigail, to take her to him to wife.

1 Samuel 25:39, King James Version
David also took Ahinoam of Jezreel; and they were also both of them his wives.

1 Samuel 25:42, King James Version
And the sixth, Ithream, by Eglah David’s wife. These were born to David in Hebron.

2 Samuel 3:5, King James Version
And David took him more concubines and wives out of Jerusalem, after he was come from Hebron: and there were yet sons and daughters born to David.

2 Samuel 5:13, King James Version
And Nathan said to David, Thou art the man. Thus saith the Lord God of Israel, I anointed thee king over Israel, and I delivered thee out of the hand of Saul; 8And I gave thee thy master’s house, and thy master’s wives into thy bosom, and gave thee the house of Israel and of Judah; and if that had been too little, I would moreover have given unto thee such and such things.

2 Samuel 12:7–8, King James Version
And David comforted Bathsheba his wife, and went in unto her, and lay with her: and she bare a son, and he called his name Solomon: and the Lord loved him.

2 Samuel 12:24, King James Version
David is the most significant man on this list thus far; not only was he the king of Israel, he is also the penman behind hundreds of chapters of Scripture.

And he was a man after God’s own heart (Acts 13:22).

Make no mistake that there was sin in David’s life. He committed adultery and murdered to get away with it. He was as human as the rest of us, yet he was highly favored by the lord.

And he was a polygynist.

It’s easy enough to attribute David’s problems to some sort of insatiable lust, but the Scriptures do not point us in that direction.

On the contrary, 2 Samuel 12:7–8 (quoted above) and the surrounding context show that David rebelled against the lord despite having multiple wives. The Scriptures go so far as to say that God himself gave David multiple wives and that, if they were not enough, he would give David even more!

According to the Bible, does God sin? Can iniquity be found in the him? Does God change?

Keep in mind that the ESV Study Bible said that the Scriptures never encouraged polygyny. What does it have to say about God giving multiple wives to David? “There is no other record of David marrying Saul’s wives, but he was certainly in a position to do so.”

Basically, they avoid the issue. When confronted with undeniable, incontrovertible evidence that polygyny is an acceptable practice, rather than admit such, the editors of the study Bible sidestep the issue. I hope you won’t make the same mistake when coming to your own understanding of what the Bible says regarding marriage.

Eliphaz

And the sons of Eliphaz were Teman, Omar, Zepho, and Gatam, and Kenaz. 12And Timna was concubine to Eliphaz Esau’s son; and she bare to Eliphaz Amalek: these were the sons of Adah Esau’s wife.

Genesis 36:11–12, King James Version
We are only told the name of one of Eliphaz’s wives, but what we are not told is that God disapproved of his family structure. We should not read into the Scriptures disapproval where none in fact exists.

Elkanah

Now there was a certain man of Ramathaim-zophim, of mount Ephraim, and his name was Elkanah, the son of Jeroham, the son of Elihu, the son of Tohu, the son of Zuph, an Ephrathite: 2And he had two wives; the name of the one was Hannah, and the name of the other Peninnah: and Peninnah had children, but Hannah had no children.

1 Samuel 1:1–2, King James Version
The ESV Study Bible actually makes sense in its handling of this passage, so I’ll defer to it: “Probably Hannah was Elkanah’s first wife, since she is named first. Presumably he married Peninnah because Hannah was barren; lack of an heir was a major problem in the ancient Near East, as in many other societies. Taking a second wife was one way to try to solve the problem (Gen. 16:2), as was levirate marriage. Elkanah’s pedigree suggests that it would be important to him to have an heir to continue the family and also that he was prosperous enough to afford a second marriage.”

If marriage was the only legitimate avenue of fulfilling the command to procreate, then how much more does polygyny allow this command to be fulfilled? We saw this sort of thing earlier in the case of Abraham; so that Abraham may have a child, his wife Sarai encouraged him to take Hagar to be his second wife.

Seems to me that polygyny is in fact an encouraged alternative to remaining childless. Curious, no?

Esau

And Esau was forty years old when he took to wife Judith the daughter of Beeri the Hittite, and Bashemath the daughter of Elon the Hittite:

Genesis 26:34, King James Version
Multiple wives with no disapproval. Are you noticing a pattern yet?

I wonder if the authors of that note have paid much attention to marriage in general: even monogamy is “almost always fraught with complications and difficulty.” That’s just the nature of human relationships!

Did any of those polygamist unions found in the Scriptures end in divorce? What about today’s monogamous marriages? I’m willing to bet that monogamous societies have a much higher rate of divorce than do polygynous ones. Why that would be, I cannot say for certain.

In any event, Abraham had at least three wives — two of which for certain were concurrent. An additional curiosity of this family was that Abraham’s taking of a second wife the idea of Sarai, his first wife.

That is a curiosity because it shows a great lack of self-centeredness on the part of Sarai; she knew the promise that Abraham would have children despite his age, and feeling as though the promise could not be fulfilled in her, she arranged for her own servant to be Abraham’s second wife, so that the promise could be fulfilled through her.

The study Bible notes that polygamy is never encouraged; notice here, though, that the angel of the Lord intervenes to mend the relationship between Hagar and Sarai but in no way expresses any sort of disapproval at the polygynous unions between Abraham and the two women (vv. 9–12)!

Ezra

And the sons of Ezra were, Jether, and Mered, and Epher, and Jalon: and she bare Miriam, and Shammai, and Ishbah the father of Eshtemoa. 18And his wife Jehudijah bare Jered the father of Gedor, and Heber the father of Socho, and Jekuthiel the father of Zanoah. And these are the sons of Bithiah the daughter of Pharaoh, which Mered took.

1 Chronicles 4:17–18, King James Version

Verse 17 lists the sons of Ezrah with one wife; verse 18 details his family with his wife Jehudijah (or as some translations render it, his Judahite wife).

There are family details aplenty but not a word of divine disapproval.

Gideon

And Gideon had threescore and ten sons of his body begotten: for he had many wives.

Judges 8:30, King James Version
This passage doesn’t mince any words: Gideon had many wives. Plain. Simple. Unpunished.

Polygamy is Biblical

What comes to your mind when you think of polygyny? If this post was successful, you’ll now think of any of a number of men from the Bible. Perhaps most significantly, you should think of David, who not only was a man after God’s own heart, but was also a man to whom God gave multiple wives with the promise of more if desired.

I fully recognize that polygyny is a foreign concept to many people today, but in the midst of a society in which I see Christians using the Bible to browbeat homosexuals or anyone else who is “alt” or “other” in their sexuality, when we view the having of multiple spouses as bigamy, a crime with real punishments, it is all the more important to understand that the Bible which so many people point to in favor of their moral high grounds isn’t at all what the multitudes assume it is.

Yeah, the Bible (extremely unfortunately) condemns homosexuality. Yes, it uses (extremely unfortunate) misogynistic language.

But it also freely allows the having of multiple wives. (Unless you’re a Christian, in which case the only reason given for you to marry is if you can’t keep your pants on, but that’s another topic for another time.)

1,146 total views, 0 views today

Enter your email address:

Delivered by KnowIslam.com.ng

Comments

comments



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *