Abraham had three wives according to scripture although Sarah had died by the time that Abraham married Keturah:
3 Then Sar´ai, A´bram's wife, took Ha´gar, her Egyptian
maidservant, at the end of ten years of A´bram's dwelling in the land of Ca´naan, and gave her to A´bram
her husband as his wife. (Genesis 16)
1 Furthermore, Abraham again took a wife, and her name
2 In time she bore him Zim´ran and Jok´shan and Me´dan
and Mid´i•an and Ish´bak and Shu´ah. (Genesis 25)
Jehovah stayed silent on Abraham's
polygamous family but continued to bless him and his heirs so we can only believe that God condoned such family arrangements.
However, it is also made clear that the two later marriages certainly caused strains to appear in the family relationships:
4 Accordingly he had relations with Ha´gar, and she became pregnant.
When she became aware that she was pregnant, then her mistress began to be despised in her eyes.
At this Sar´ai said to A´bram: "The violence done me be upon you. I myself gave my maidservant over to your
bosom, and she became aware that she was pregnant, and I began to be despised in her eyes. May Jehovah judge between me and
6 So A´bram said to Sar´ai: "Look! Your maidservant is at your disposal.
Do to her what is good in your eyes." Then Sar´ai began to humiliate her so that she ran away from her. (Genesis
5 Later on Abraham gave everything he had to Isaac,
to the sons of the concubines that Abraham had Abraham gave gifts. Then he sent them away from Isaac his son, while he was
still alive, eastward, to the land of the East. (Genesis 25)
So Hagar's ability to bear a child to Abram
while Sarai was still barren clearly caused significant tension between Abraham's first two wives. Also one understanding
from Genesis 25 might indicate that Abraham recognised that there might be prospective tensions caused between Isaac and his
other sons from Hagar and Keturah. So from these bible accounts of just one very important bible family, it would appear that,
whilst God condoned Abraham's polygamous family, it was made clear through His Word that this was perhaps not the best
approach to having a family. This did not, however, prevent God from blessing both Isaac and Ishmael and both were given their
names by Jehovah God:
8 And he said, Hagar, Sarai's maid, whence
camest thou? and whither wilt thou go? And she said, I flee from the face of my mistress Sarai.
9 And Jehovah's angel went on to say
to her: "Return to your mistress and humble yourself under her hand."
10 Then Jehovah's
angel said to her: "I shall greatly multiply your seed, so that it will not be numbered for multitude."
11 Further Jehovah's angel added to her: "Here you are pregnant, and you shall give birth to a son
and must call his name Ish´ma•el; for Jehovah has heard your affliction. (Genesis 16)
18 After that Abraham said to the [true]
God: "O that Ish´ma•el might live before you!"
19 To this God said: "Sarah
your wife is indeed bearing you a son, and you must call his name Isaac. And I will establish my covenant with him for a covenant
to time indefinite to his seed after him.
20 But as regards Ish´ma•el I have heard
you. Look! I will bless him and will make him fruitful and will multiply him very, very much. He will certainly produce twelve
chieftains, and I will make him become a great nation.
21 However, my covenant I shall establish
with Isaac, whom Sarah will bear to you at this appointed time next year." (Genesis 17)
This sounds like a clear approval for polygamy from God albeit with the aforementioned
health warning regarding the relationships and rivalry between wives and offspring. If we examine the above two scriptures
a little more deeply we can find much more meaning in them. In Genesis 16, Jehovah is advising Hagar on how she should conduct
herself with respect to Sarai. Furthermore, in Genesis 17, Jehovah is very specific with Abraham that He is giving the more
senior blessing to Isaac over Ishmael. So in these cases God is having to act as marriage counsellor to one of Abram's
wives and is also having to be very clear about the specific heirlooms that each of Abram's first two sons will enjoy.
Clearly polygamy presents problems that monogamy would not in that God had to intervene to help Abram ‘manage' his
polygamous family. Knowing how difficult it is to manage one feisty wife and three individualistic daughters I can only imagine
the difficulty of multiplying that by a factor of three or more!
Perhaps there is a bigger lesson here for all of us. We are all God's children but God has and will bless us
all in different ways. We are not aware of the reasons for which we each receive our individual lot in life but it is up to
each of us to determine how we will conduct ourselves with those around us in the circumstances in which we find ourselves.
Keturah is described as ‘Abraham's
32 Now the sons of Keturah, Abraham's concubine: she bare Zimran, and Jokshan, and Medan, and Midian,
and Ishbak, and Shuah. And the sons of Jokshan; Sheba, and Dedan. (1Chronicles 1)
The Chambers dictionary describes a concubine thus: ‘...(in certain
polygamous societies) a secondary wife...'. Also we already know that Hagar was Sarai's maidservant so one might expect
that Hagar also represented a ‘secondary wife'. This could explain the primary treatment from God that Sarai's
son Isaac took over his siblings and might also explain why Sarai was buried in the same place with Abram whereas the burial
place of Abram's other two wives is left untold:
10 The field which Abraham purchased of the sons of Heth: there was Abraham
buried, and Sarah his wife. (Genesis 25)
So certainly, in the case of Abraham, it appears that his wives had their formal pecking order within the family
Extending the example set by his forebear Abraham, Jacob (the
father of the twelve patriarchs of the tribes of Israel) went one better and took four wives - Leah, Rachel, Bilhah and Zilpah:
21 And Jacob said unto Laban, Give me my
wife, for my days are fulfilled, that I may go in unto her.
22 And Laban gathered together all
the men of the place, and made a feast.
23 And it came to pass in the evening, that he took Leah
his daughter, and brought her to him; and he went in unto her. (Genesis 29)
28 And Jacob did so, and fulfilled her week: and he gave him Rachel
his daughter to wife also. (Genesis 29)
4 And she gave him Bilhah her handmaid to wife: and Jacob went in unto her. (Genesis 30)
9 When Leah saw that she had left bearing,
she took Zilpah her maid, and gave her Jacob to wife. (Genesis 30)
common with Abraham's polygamous problems there was a bad feeling between Leah and Rachel since Leah was forced upon Jacob
by his father-in-law, Laban, although he had requested the hand of Rachel not that of Leah:
30 And he went in also unto Rachel, and he
loved also Rachel more than Leah, and served with him yet seven other years. (Genesis 29)
Also there was considerable rivalry between the two in regard to their child-bearing
abilities, although God appears to have intervened again acting as both marriage and family counsellor:
31 And when the LORD saw that Leah was hated,
he opened her womb: but Rachel was barren. (Genesis 29)
Whilst Rachel clearly had pride of place in Jacob's affections, it would appear that he nonetheless appears to
have recognised Leah as his primary wife since she was his only wife that was buried with his forefathers:
31 There they buried Abraham and Sarah his wife; there they buried Isaac and Rebekah
his wife; and there I buried Leah. (Genesis 49)
So Jacob appears to have followed the path of Abraham in that his polygamy, it also coming with some practical
relationship issues, was nonetheless fully blessed by God in that the twelve tribes of Israel were distributed amongst his
The sons of Leah; Reuben, Jacob's firstborn, and Simeon, and Levi, and Judah, and Issachar, and Zebulun:
The sons of Rachel; Joseph, and Benjamin:
25 And the sons of Bilhah, Rachel's handmaid; Dan,
26 And the sons of Zilpah, Leah's handmaid; Gad, and Asher: these are the sons
of Jacob, which were born to him in Padanaram. (Genesis 35)
It would appear that even Moses, the one that God chose to lead the children of
Israel out of Egypt and who was given the law, opted for a miserly two-wife polygamous family albeit again with associated
relationship issues. Moses' two wives were Zipporah and the unnamed Ethiopian Woman:
21 And Moses was content to dwell with the
man: and he gave Moses Zipporah his daughter. (Exodus 2)
1 And Miriam and Aaron spake against Moses because of the Ethiopian woman whom
he had married: for he had married an Ethiopian woman.
2 And they said, Hath the LORD indeed spoken
only by Moses? hath he not spoken also by us? And the LORD heard it.
3 (Now the man Moses was
very meek, above all the men which were upon the face of the earth.)
4 And the LORD spake suddenly
unto Moses, and unto Aaron, and unto Miriam, Come out ye three unto the tabernacle of the congregation. And they three came
5 And the LORD came down in the pillar of the cloud, and stood in the door of the tabernacle,
and called Aaron and Miriam: and they both came forth.
6 And he said, Hear now my words: If there
be a prophet among you, I the LORD will make myself known unto him in a vision, and will speak unto him in a dream.
7 My servant Moses is not so, who is faithful in all mine house.
8 With him will
I speak mouth to mouth, even apparently, and not in dark speeches; and the similitude of the LORD shall he behold: wherefore
then were ye not afraid to speak against my servant Moses?
9 And the anger of the LORD was kindled
against them; and he departed. (Numbers 12)
I have given an extended scriptural account of Moses' marriage to his second wife, the Ethiopian woman. (NB. I should
point out that there are many commentators that consider Zipporah and the Ethiopian woman to be one and the same. Clearly
I am not of that school since I believe that Zipporah, being a Midianite, came from an Abrahamic line via Keturah and Ethiopians
came from a line extending back to Noah's son Ham.) God was at great pains to express His anger with Moses' siblings
who complained about this second marriage albeit because it was to an Ethiopian and, therefore, not a Semitic woman as was
Zipporah. This was not a mere condoning of Moses' polygamy, it was a complete expression of approval. I have to say that
thus far the ‘yes' camp really seems to have my vote at the moment. But let us continue.
Now in some contrast to his forebears, it seems that David took the polygamy approval
from God to a somewhat further level. As far as we can make out he had eight named wives and at least ten concubines:
27 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)
39 David sent and communed with Abigail,
to take her to him to wife. (1 Samuel 25)
43 David also took Ahinoam of Jezreel; and they were also both of them his wives. (1 Samuel 25)
3 And his second, Chileab, of Abigail
the wife of Nabal the Carmelite; and the third, Absalom the son of Maacah the daughter of Talmai king of Geshur;
4 And the fourth, Adonijah the son of Haggith; and the fifth, Shephatiah the son of Abital;
And the sixth, Ithream, by Eglah David's wife. These were born to David in Hebron. (2Samual 3)
24 And David comforted Bathsheba his wife...
(2 Samuel 12)
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. (2Samual 5)
16 And the king went forth, and all his household after him. And the king left ten women, which
were concubines, to keep the house. (2 Samuel 15)
So it appears that David probably had at least eight primary wives and at least ten secondary wives. It also appears
that God condoned David's extravagant polygamy although he roundly condemned David's methods in gaining wives particularly
in the case of Bathsheba who was originally wife to Uriah the Hittite:
7 Then Nathan said to David: "You yourself are the man! This is what Jehovah
the God of Israel has said, ‘I myself anointed you as king over Israel, and I myself delivered you out of the hand of
8 And I was willing to give you the house of your lord and the wives of your lord into your
bosom, and to give you the house of Israel and of Judah. And if it were not enough, I was willing to add to you things like
these as well as other things.
9 Why did you despise the word of Jehovah by doing what is bad
in his eyes? U•ri´ah the Hit´tite you struck down with the sword, and his wife you took as your wife, and
him you killed by the sword of the sons of Am´mon.
10 And now a sword will not depart from
your own house to time indefinite, as a consequence of the fact that you despised me so that you took the wife of U•ri´ah
the Hit´tite to become your wife.' 11 This is what Jehovah has said, ‘Here I am raising
up against you calamity out of your own house; and I will take your wives under your own eyes and give them to your fellowman,
and he will certainly lie down with your wives under the eyes of this sun. (2 Samuel 12)
It should be noted that God's condoning of David's polygamy occurred some
time after the Law had been given to the Israelites, so this was God's approval that polygamy did not contravene His Laws
as given to Moses.
Solomon et al
of all time has to be David's son Solomon who, we are told, had seven hundred wives and three hundred concubines:
3 And he had seven hundred wives, princesses,
and three hundred concubines: and his wives turned away his heart.
4 For it came to pass, when
Solomon was old, that his wives turned away his heart after other gods: and his heart was not perfect with the LORD his God,
as was the heart of David his father. (1Kings 11)
Clearly Solomon multiplied the number of his wives beyond all reason which was prohibited and prophesied that a king would
Neither shall he multiply wives to himself, that his heart turn not away: neither shall he greatly multiply to himself silver
and gold. (Deuteronomy 17)
passage in 1Kings 11:3-4 below says that Solomon's heart was not perfect whereas his father David's heart was "perfect
with the Lord". If David's heart was in such a condition as judged by God then his marrying at least eighteen wives
and concubines was clearly adjudged to be acceptable to the Lord. Expanding on the 1Kings 11 passage we can see that one thousand
wives was clearly considered to be an excess which helped turn Solomon's originally wise heart away from God:
1 And King Sol´o•mon himself loved
many foreign wives along with the daughter of Phar´aoh, Mo´ab•ite, Am´mon•ite, E´dom•ite,
Si•do´ni•an [and] Hit´tite women,
2 from the nations of whom Jehovah had
said to the sons of Israel: "YOU must not go in among them, and they themselves should not come in among YOU; truly they
will incline YOUR heart to follow their gods." It was to them that Sol´o•mon clung to love [them].
3 And he came to have seven hundred wives, princesses, and three hundred concubines; and his wives gradually
inclined his heart.
4 And it came about in the time of Sol´o•mon's growing old
that his wives themselves had inclined his heart to follow other gods; and his heart did not prove to be complete with Jehovah
his God like the heart of David his father.
5 And Sol´o•mon began going after Ash´to•reth
the goddess of the Si•do´ni•ans and after Mil´com the disgusting thing of the Am´mon•ites.
6 And Sol´o•mon began to do what was bad in the eyes of Jehovah, and he did not follow
Jehovah fully like David his father. (1Kings 11)
feeling the need to look into any more specific examples of polygamy in the Old Testament scriptures at this juncture, it
is worth just commenting on the list of all the polygamists identified by the Bible. It includes holy and unholy men for which
there appears to be an occurrence of polygamy described in scripture either directly or by implication and with no evident
condemnation from Jehovah God. This list is forty strong thereby demonstrating that polygamy was almost certainly normal in
the society of the day: Abdon, Abijah, Abraham, Ahab, Ahasuerus, Ashur, Belshazzar, Benhadad, Caleb, David, Eliphaz, Elkanah,
Esau, Ezra, Gideon, Heman, Hosea, Ibzan, Issachar, Jacob, Jair, Jehoiachin, Jehoram, Jerahmeel, Joash, Lamech, Machir, Manasseh,
Mered, Moses, Nahor, Rehoboam, Saul, Shaharaim, Shimei, Simeon, Solomon, Terah, Zedekiah, Ziba.
law explicitly protects the first (and previous) concubine(s):
10 If he take him another wife; her food, her raiment, and her duty of
marriage, shall he not diminish. (Exodus 21)
The passage of Deuteronomy 21:15-17 is a specific instruction in the Law Itself to any man with "two wives".
If polygamy was a sin, then it would not be possible for a "man to have two wives" in the Law. Furthermore it defines
the rules of engagement for sharing the heirloom between the offspring of two wives thereby overtly legalising such an arrangement:
a man have two wives, one beloved, and another hated, and they have born him children, [both] the beloved and the hated; and
[if] the firstborn son be hers that was hated:
16 Then it shall be, when he maketh his sons to
inherit [that] which he hath, [that] he may not make the son of the beloved firstborn before the son of the hated, [which
is indeed] the firstborn:
17 But he shall acknowledge the son of the hated [for] the firstborn,
by giving him a double portion of all that he hath: for he [is] the beginning of his strength; the right of the firstborn
[is] his. (Deuteronomy 21)
On a second point
of the law , some people apparently confuse the meaning of verse 18 below and assert that it is "proof" of some
prohibition of polygamy:
17 Thou shalt not uncover the nakedness of a woman and her daughter, neither shalt thou take her son's
daughter, or her daughter's daughter, to uncover her nakedness; for they are her near kinswomen: it is wickedness.
18 Neither shalt thou take a wife to her sister, to vex her, to uncover her nakedness, beside the
other in her life time. (Leviticus 18)
of course, it proves the very opposite! Verse 18 merely prohibits a man from marrying two sisters while both of them are alive.
Moreover, the phrase, "beside the other", in that verse, rather emphatically makes it clear that this is speaking
in terms of the man being married to them at the same time. The fact that this verse is even instructed actually PROVES that polygamy is otherwise a valid marriage possibility!
After all, if polygamy was really a sin, it would be completely irrelevant and unnecessary to specify a prohibition against
marrying sisters anyway! That is, if it was truthfully a sin for a man to marry more than one wife anyway, then OBVIOUSLY
he would not be able to marry two sisters beside each other in their lifetime!
It is additionally important to also note something about the previous verse and its relevance to this verse 18.
Namely, the previous verse 17 prohibits a man from uncovering the nakedness of a mother and her daughter and/or grand-daughter.
That is also, by such implied instruction, clearly also meaning that it is a prohibition from marrying both mother and her
daughter and/or grand-daughter. That makes another proof that polygamy is Biblical by the fact of it even being instructed.
The law also makes provision that a brother-in-law
should marry his deceased brother's widow in the event of his brother dying childless:
5 If brethren dwell together,
and one of them die, and have no child, the wife of the dead shall not marry without unto a stranger: her husband's brother
shall go in unto her, and take her to him to wife, and perform the duty of an husband's brother unto her. (Deuteronomy
There is no stipulation that the
brother-in-law needs to be unmarried. Indeed if all his brothers are married then this commandment would not be capable of
being obeyed if polygamy were outlawed!
Jehovah God describes himself in several scriptures as having two wives albeit of a symbolic nature. Surely God could not
present this model of His earthly family and condemn mankind's polygamy; would this not be the height of hypocrisy? It
has to be said, however, that God also had problems with His ‘wives' although I do not think it is the polygamous
nature of the family so much as the imperfection in each of the wives that caused God's displeasure:
1 And the word of Jehovah proceeded to come
to me, saying:
2 "Son of man, two women, the daughters of one mother, there happened to be.
3 And they began to prostitute themselves in Egypt. In their youth they committed prostitution.
There their breasts were squeezed, and there they pressed the bosoms of their virginity.
their names were O•ho´lah the older one and O•hol´i•bah her sister, and they came to be mine and
began to give birth to sons and daughters. And as for their names, O•ho´lah is Sa•mar´i•a, and
O•hol´i•bah is Jerusalem. (Ezekiel 23)
8 And I saw, when for all the causes whereby backsliding Israel committed adultery
I had put her away, and given her a bill of divorce; yet her treacherous sister Judah feared not, but went and played the
9 And it came to pass through the lightness of her whoredom, that she defiled the
land, and committed adultery with stones and with stocks.
10 And yet for all this her treacherous
sister Judah hath not turned unto me with her whole heart, but feignedly, saith the LORD.
the LORD said unto me, The backsliding Israel hath justified herself more than treacherous Judah.
Go and proclaim these words toward the north, and say, Return, thou backsliding Israel, saith the LORD; and I will not cause
mine anger to fall upon you: for I am merciful, saith the LORD, and I will not keep anger for ever.
Only acknowledge thine iniquity, that thou hast transgressed against the LORD thy God, and hast scattered thy ways to the
strangers under every green tree, and ye have not obeyed my voice, saith the LORD.
14 Turn, O
backsliding children, saith the LORD; for I am married unto you: and I will take you one of a city, and two of a family, and
I will bring you to Zion: (Jeremiah 3)
I would have to admit however that, although symbolic,
these marriages do nonetheless appear to break God's commandment in the Law that we reviewed in the previous section.
In both these examples the marriages are to sisters! Perhaps I have not yet teased out the full meaning to these
Parable and a Prophecy
Let us look at the
parable in Matthew 25:
1 Then the kingdom of the heavens will become like ten virgins that took their lamps and went out to meet
2 Five of them were foolish, and five were discreet.
For the foolish took their lamps but took no oil with them,
4 whereas the discreet took oil in
their receptacles with their lamps.
5 While the bridegroom was delaying, they all nodded and went
6 Right in the middle of the night there arose a cry, ‘Here is the bridegroom!
Be on YOUR way out to meet him.'
7 Then all those virgins rose and put their lamps in order.
8 The foolish said to the discreet, ‘Give us some of YOUR oil, because our lamps are about
to go out.'
9 The discreet answered with the words, ‘Perhaps there may not be quite
enough for us and YOU. Be on YOUR way, instead, to those who sell it and buy for yourselves.'
While they were going off to buy, the bridegroom arrived, and the virgins that were ready went in with him to the marriage
feast; and the door was shut.
11 Afterwards the rest of the virgins also came, saying, ‘Sir,
sir, open to us!'
12 In answer he said, ‘I tell YOU the truth, I do not know YOU.'
This is a symbolic parable and does not relate
to a literal, physical marriage to literal, physical women. Whilst it was a parable relating to the fifty percent of
humanity that will enter the Kingdom, even so, Jesus would never have described Himself this way in a parable as the bridegroom
to five (or ten!) virgins if polygamy was a sin. Now
let us look at the prophecy in Isaiah 4:
1 And in that day seven women shall take hold of one man, saying, We will eat our own
bread, and wear our own apparel: only let us be called by thy name, to take away our reproach. (Isaiah 4)
That "seven women" would seek to be called by the name of "one man"
is clear evidence of polygamy being allowed in the Bible, even in a prophecy such as this passage. Most bible commentators, probably correctly, believe that this prophecy is an image
about arrogant churches rather than literally about arrogant women wanting to marry a polygamist. The "seven women"
are understood as being seven churches who only want to be CALLED by the name of Christ, to be His brides. They want to feed
themselves their own bread, instead of being fed on the bread of Christ. They want to clothe themselves in their own apparel,
instead of being clothed in the righteousness of Christ.
Even as the Isaiah 4:1 prophecy is indeed so perceived by most commentators as such a negative prophecy regarding
the churches, it does still, nevertheless, demonstrate a key point about the topic of polygamy. That this prophecy would detail
the idea of seven women who WANT to marry the one polygamist (in the context of churches unto Christ), that fact
itself, that a prophecy of God would use polygamy in such an example, is further proof again that polygamy really is Biblical.
That such a prophecy on christian churches should appear in the Old Testamant is also a wonderful statement about the oneness
of the biblical texts both Hebrew and Greek. Hmmm....I wonder if the Church of the Latter Day Saints is one of the seven??
Divorce, Adultery and One
The Law allowed divorce in
the case where the husband has found ‘some uncleanness' in his wife:
1 When a man hath taken a wife, and married her, and it come to pass that she
find no favour in his eyes, because he hath found some uncleanness in her: then let him write her a bill of divorcement, and
give it in her hand, and send her out of his house. (Deuteronomy 24)
The meaning of the wife's uncleanness seems a little unclear but the gospels help put us on the more specific
item of her fornication. In the Old and New Testament scriptures here I think fornication can only mean some form of lewd
behaviour presumably up to and including a full-on adulterous relationship:
31 It hath been said, Whosoever shall put away his wife, let him give her a
writing of divorcement:
32 But I say unto you, That whosoever shall put away his wife, saving
for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery: and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced committeth adultery.
There are also parallel accounts
in the other gospels. The above scripture is interesting in that it effectively outlaws divorce except in the case of a woman
having fornication with another man outside of the marriage. Excepting in that special case God clearly does not approve of
divorce since it is deemed that the divorcing husband is making his ex-wife a target for adultery. This is demonstrated in
Matthew 19 where Jesus is telling the Pharisees that divorce was not allowed prior to the Law:
3 The Pharisees also came unto him, tempting
him, and saying unto him, Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife for every cause?
4 And he
answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female,
5 And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain
shall be one flesh?
6 Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath
joined together, let not man put asunder.
7 They say unto him, Why did Moses then command to give
a writing of divorcement, and to put her away?
8 He saith unto them, Moses because of the hardness
of your hearts suffered you to put away your wives: but from the beginning it was not so. (Matthew 19)
No such strictures on remarrying appear to be placed on the divorcing husband
so one could certainly draw the conclusion that he could legitimately marry again and again.....or could he? The following
verses from Matthew 19 and those from Mark and Luke appear to tell a different tale:
9 And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife, except [it be] for
fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery.
10 His disciples say unto him, If the case of the man be so with [his] wife, it is not good to
marry. (Matthew 19)
11 And he saith unto them, Whosoever shall put away his wife, and marry another, committeth adultery against
her. (Mark 10)
18 Whosoever putteth away his wife, and marrieth another, committeth adultery: and whosoever marrieth her
that is put away from her husband committeth adultery. (Luke 16)
The above three gospel passages at face value appear to change the message. They indicate that a divorce
will also cause the husband to have committed adultery if he marries another woman having divorced a wife other than for reasons
of fornication. Now if polygamy is allowed under the law, which we established previously is the case, then how can a man
commit adultery by marrying another, presumably perfectly eligible, spouse? The only conclusion that we can come to is that
if a divorced husband wishes to marry again then the next wife presumably takes the place of the wife he has divorced. If
that divorce was not legitimate under the law then any subsequent marriage is adulterous in that the replaced wife is still
married to her original husband under the law.
and by the way just in case you ladies were getting worried it would appear that you are also allowed to divorce your husbands presumably
with the same strictures and only on the same basis of fornication:
12 And if a woman shall put away her husband, and be married to another, she
committeth adultery. (Mark 10)
It is also
noteworthy that the concept of one flesh is covered in the above accounts. Many commentators mistake this for indicating that
a single combination of one man and one woman is meant here. This is not the case. The sole purpose of marriage is to procreate
and raise children in a family environment. Each conception represents two people becoming one flesh in their offspring through
the combining of their two sets of DNA into a new, single and unique DNA for each of their kids. Therefore a husband of two
wives can become one flesh with each of his wives. The concept of one flesh appears several times in both the Old and New
Testaments and has been used by most commentators to demonstrate that monogamy is the order of the day:
24 Therefore shall a man leave his
father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh. (Genesis 2)
This is also referenced in Matthew 19:5-6, Mark 10:8, 1Corinthians 6:16, Ephesians
5:31. A man is "one flesh" with EACH woman with whom he copulates, whether in marriage (wife) or in fornication
(harlot). When a married man, who is therefore already "one flesh" with his wife, copulates with another woman,
that does not then negate his being "one flesh" with the wife. This is evident by the fact that 1Corinthians 6:16
reveals that a man can be "one flesh" even with a harlot:
16 What? know ye not that he which is joined to an harlot is one body? for
two, saith he, shall be one flesh. (1Corinthians 6)
As even a married man, therefore, can become "one flesh" with a harlot, that proves that a married man
can indeed be "one flesh" with more than one woman, without negating his being "one flesh" with his wife.
As that is so even with a married man with an harlot, it is thus just as equally true regarding a man being "one flesh"
with more than one wife. For further proof, the very next verse provides the context of the plural-to-one aspect:
17 But he that is joined unto the Lord is
one spirit. (1Corinthians 6)
Christian is joined as "one spirit" with the Lord, that then demonstrates the context of the plural-to-one aspect.
Namely, as EACH Christian is joined as "one spirit" with the Lord, so too may EACH woman be joined as "one
flesh" with one man. For the official position
of the Lords' Witnesses on the small matters of marriage and divorce please check out the True Bible Code web-page  Certificate of Divorce .
Paul's first letter to
Timothy makes the following prophesy for ‘the latter times':
1 Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart
from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils;
2 Speaking lies in hypocrisy;
having their conscience seared with a hot iron;
3 Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain
from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth. (1Timothy 4)
Paul contended that the "Spirit speaketh
expressly" and prophesied of the latter time of "forbidding to marry". So inspired scripture itself foretold
of today's churches, "speaking lies in hypocrisy", would forbid the marriages of Abraham, Jacob/Israel, Moses,
and David. So it appears that my earlier contention, that the Mormon Church is a false church for denying the doctrine of
Joseph Smith, was spot on as now we know it is explicitly confirmed in scripture. However the Mormon Church should not feel
alone in this hypocrisy. Pretty much every other church and synagogue today denies the right of its congregation to practice
polygamy despite this being expressly allowed in scripture given all the arguments in its favour that I have found thus far.
Certainly it is understandable that churches today need to abide by the law of the land in which they reside. Nonetheless
their doctrine must support the practise of polygamy (for their congregations but not their priesthood) since they should
not be in denial of the requirements of the scriptures. The Fourth True Christian Church of the Lords' Witnesses, probably
alone among today's Christian churches, maintains this position.
A Father's Wife
Paul, in his first letter to the Corinthian congregation, comments
that more than one son within the congregation had been reported to have fornicated with his "father's wife":
is reported commonly that there is fornication among you, and such fornication as is not so much as named among the Gentiles,
that one should have his father's wife. (1Corinthians 5)
This does NOT refer to the man's mother. Indeed, the term, "father's wife", is a very specific
term. Leviticus 18:8 refers to "father's wife" as specifically separate from "mother" in the previous
verse of Leviticus 18:7. Note that the "nakedness" of a "mother" is referred to as her own "nakedness"
while the "nakedness" of a "father's wife" is referred to as the FATHER's "nakedness":
7 The nakedness of thy father, or the nakedness
of thy mother, shalt thou not uncover: she is thy mother; thou shalt not uncover her nakedness.
The nakedness of thy father's wife shalt thou not uncover: it is thy father's nakedness. (Leviticus 18)
A similar differentiation is observed in Deuteronomy 27:
20 Cursed be he that lieth with his
father's wife; because he uncovereth his father's skirt. And all the people shall say, Amen. (Deuteronomy 27)
Two verses later the differentiation between the daughter of the father and the
daughter of the mother is drawn thereby confirming that the father may have more than one wife with daughters being conceived
from each of the father's wives:
22 Cursed be he that lieth with his sister, the daughter of his father, or the daughter
of his mother. And all the people shall say, Amen. (Deuteronomy 27)
Theoretically this situation could also exist where a monogamous husband had
children with a first wife who died following which he remarried and had further children. However, what the fornicator
had done as per 1Corinthians 5:1 was the same sin as that of Jacob/Israel's firstborn son. Reuben had committed the identical
sin with Jacob/Israel's concubine, Bilhah:
22 And it came to pass, when Israel dwelt in that land, that Reuben went and lay with
Bilhah his father's concubine: and Israel heard it. Now the sons of Jacob were twelve:
sons of Leah; Reuben, Jacob's firstborn, and Simeon, and Levi, and Judah, and Issachar, and Zebulun: (Genesis 35)
Since Reuben was Leah's son his act was of "uncovering
his father's nakedness" by fornicating with his "father's wife", Bilhah, for which offence Reuben lost
his birthright as firstborn. 1Chronicles 5:1 reveals that this was because Reuben had "defiled his father's bed":
Now the sons of Reuben the firstborn of Israel, (for he was the firstborn; but, forasmuch as he defiled his father's bed,
his birthright was given unto the sons of Joseph the son of Israel: and the genealogy is not to be reckoned after the birthright.
Indeed, the reference
to "father's wife" in 1Corinthians 5:1 reveals that polygamy was indicated as not uncommon in the New Testament
and I cannot see where Paul outlaws this practice in his letter to the Corinthian congregation. So the practise of polygamy
is not commented upon whereas Paul deprecates the practise of fornication within a polygamous family.
Adam and Eve
of the most commonly attempted arguments against biblical polygamy makes the assertion that polygamy is supposedly not the
"original plan of God for marriage". This assertion is no doubt based upon the fact that Adam's ‘marriage'
to Eve was monogamous as far as we know - or was it?? In Genesis we read:
20 And Adam called his wife's name Eve; because she was the mother of all
living. (Genesis 3)
So Genesis is saying
that all of humanity was to come from Eve's loins. Eve is the only non-Adamic woman created by God for the only (ironically)
non-Adamic man Adam. They started having kids after they sinned when both became Adamic thereby giving birth to Adamic children.
The first three were named and effectively gave birth to all the biblical heroes that we read of in the scriptures:
1 And Adam knew Eve his wife;
and she conceived, and bare Cain, and said, I have gotten a man from the LORD.
2 And she again
bare his brother Abel. And Abel was a keeper of sheep, but Cain was a tiller of the ground. (Genesis 4)
25 And Adam knew his wife again; and she bare a son,
and called his name Seth: For God, said she, hath appointed me another seed instead of Abel, whom Cain slew. (Genesis 4)
These three, however, were not the
end of Adam's fathering:
4 And the days of Adam after he had begotten Seth were eight hundred years: and he begat sons and daughters:
It is very interesting that
these other unnamed children were not explicitly identified as Adam ‘knowing his wife'. So was Eve the mother of
these children or not? From the ‘Ambiguity Principle' of the bible code, we know that where such a question is left unanswered then the answer will take each meaning in different
threads. So we can assume that Eve probably only gave birth to some but not all of these unnamed ones.
So who else could Adam have had children with? Could it have been some pre-Adamic
women (True Bible Code Introduction  Pre-adamic man)? Well Adam might have ‘married' one or more of these ones, but they could not have given him children so I think
we must discount this possibility. The only other possibility would be some of his own daughters. Now whilst this sounds like
anathema to us today and indeed comes up against God's laws on incest, the law was not in place at this time:
6 None of you shall approach to any that is near of kin to him, to uncover [their]
nakedness: I [am] the LORD. (Leviticus 18)
Also the genetic problem today would not have been the case at
the start of Adamic man. The genes of the early generations of Adamic man would have been near perfect, apart from the aging
aspect, so the genetic weakness of mankind would not have featured in God's thinking at that time. If this were the case
and Adam did indeed father further children with his daughters, then Genesis 3:20 still holds since Eve would have had to
have been the mother of those daughters.
once again the bible code has helped us to understand a scriptural truth that would not have been possible without it. Adam
and Eve were in effect in a polygamous family with Adam having children with his daughters as well as with Eve, his primary
wife. This is not a comfortable tale for me to be writing today but it is fully supported by the scriptures of the times with
the knowledge of the True Bible Code.
Law of the Land
A common argument, often used in trying to assert that polygamy must somehow be a sin, is what is known as the
"law of the land" argument. Examples of this are to be found in the following scriptures which essentially tell
Christians to pay proper tribute and respect to the ordinances in the countries which they inhabit in this system of things:
1 Let every soul be subject unto the higher
powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.
therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation.
3 For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of
the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same:
4 For he is the minister
of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the
minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil.
5 Wherefore ye must needs
be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake.
6 For for this cause pay ye tribute
also: for they are God's ministers, attending continually upon this very thing.
7 Render therefore
to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honour to whom honour. (Romans
Put them in mind to be subject to principalities and powers, to obey magistrates, to be ready to every good work, (Titus 3)
Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord's sake: whether it be to the king, as supreme;
Or unto governors, as unto them that are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers, and for the praise of them that do well.
In quoting the above scriptures,
this attempted argument asserts that, because polygamy is perceptibly against the "law of the land", and because
these passages instruct christians to follow the "laws of the land", this itself makes polygamy a sin.
Before addressing this argument directly, it is important to first address the
details by which no "law of the land" is actually being broken. In a legal technical sense, polygamy itself is not
usually specifically against the law. Rather, the legal term, "bigamy", is the outlawed act of a person having government-recognized
existing marriages (i.e., government-recognized by "marriage license") with more than one living spouse at the same
time. As such, as long as polygamist families do not obtain government-recognition (e.g., seeking a marriage-license), there
is no breaking of any law.
marriage is defined by God who alone has the authority. It is not defined by any government. In the Bible, there is not one
single example of any marriage becoming "legitimate" because of definition or decree by government. The truth is,
if marriage is defined by governments, then that would say that none of the men in the Bible were actually married.
The main churches have mistakenly acquiesced (even capitulated) their trust in
God's authority (as sole definer of marriage), in their wrongly thinking that government has such authority to define
marriage. It is, in fact, arguable as to whether any church actually has any right to sanctify a marriage at all.
Cohabitation is no longer against the law of the land of most countries in the
modern era. If any government simply views a relationship as being that of cohabitating (which is not illegal), then even
though Bible-believers and God know that the same relationship is indeed that of marriage before God, as defined by God alone,
the truth remains: no "law of the land" is being broken. It is a common saying that marriages are made in heaven;
unfortunately I suspect that most people do not fully realise what this really means!
Although we have worked
out, through the bible code, that Adam had to have been in a polygamous relationship with Eve and one or more of his daughters,
the first man in the bible to be explicitly described as a polygamist was Lamech:
19 And Lamech took unto him two wives: the name of the one was Adah, and the
name of the other Zillah. (Genesis 4)
is a descendent of the cursed Cain and the first described to practice polygamy. Anti-polygamy commentators make a connection
with the fact that Lamech was also a self-confessed murderer thereby linking polygamy and murder as both sinful:
23 And Lamech said unto his wives,
Adah and Zillah, Hear my voice; ye wives of Lamech, hearken unto my speech: for I have slain a man to my wounding, and a young
man to my hurt. (Genesis 4)
was clearly a sin as per Jehovah's curse on Cain:
8 And Cain talked with Abel his brother: and it came to pass, when they
were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother, and slew him.
9 And the LORD said
unto Cain, Where is Abel thy brother? And he said, I know not: Am I my brother's keeper?
And he said, What hast thou done? the voice of thy brother's blood crieth unto me from the ground.
And now art thou cursed from the earth, which hath opened her mouth to receive thy brother's blood from thy hand; (Genesis
There appears to be no such additional curse on Lamech for his polygamy, only a clear indication from Lamech
as to his crime of murder. There is no clear case here at all for God's outlawing, or even His disapproval of, polygamy.
At the time of the Flood, Noah took his one wife into the ark
together with his three sons who each took in one wife:
13 In the selfsame day entered Noah, and Shem, and Ham, and Japheth, the sons
of Noah, and Noah's wife, and the three wives of his sons with them, into the ark; (Genesis 7)
God had previously called Noah's family righteous and pure:
1 And the LORD said unto Noah, Come thou
and all thy house into the ark; for thee have I seen righteous before me in this generation. (Genesis 7)
The argument runs that if polygamy were ordained of God, it would have made
sense that Noah and his sons would have taken additional wives with them to repopulate the earth faster from the cataclysm.
Whilst there is some merit in this argument, there is still no clear statement here that polygamy was condemned by Jehovah
and our God is not known for being unclear where sin is concerned!
Paul dictated that officers of the Christian church should be monogamous. This was not to follow the law but was
advised as we have previously surmised. Nowhere in Paul's epistles is this restriction placed upon the congregation. Indeed
why mention that the church leaders need to be monogamous if polygamy were not allowed under the law?
6 If any be blameless, the husband of one
wife, having faithful children not accused of riot or unruly.
7 For a bishop must be blameless,
as the steward of God; not selfwilled, not soon angry, not given to wine, no striker, not given to filthy lucre; (Titus 1)
is a true saying, If a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work.
2 A bishop
then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach; (1Timothy
Let the deacons be the husbands of one wife, ruling their children and their own houses well. (1Timothy 3)
Paul advised the congregation at Corinth not to get married but that a member
of the congregation should get married if the need was there. Some commentators use the wording at verse 2 below around the
word ‘own' to indicate a monogamous marriage; however I think this is stretching the meaning of the Greek. I think
the point here is that each should have his or her own spouse(s) not someone else's ‘to avoid fornication':
concerning the things whereof ye wrote unto me: It is good for a man not to touch a woman.
to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband. (1Corinthians 7)
Presumably it was Paul's recommendation that caused the Roman Catholic
church to demand that it's priests remained celibate (but not so that they would molest children in their congregations
instead of getting a wife!!!). As Paul states this is his advice not God's command:
6 But I speak this by permission, and not
of commandment. (1Corinthians 7)
Upon the Death of a Spouse
are several scriptures releasing a widow to enable her to marry again legitimately:
39 The wife is bound by the law as long as her husband liveth; but if her husband
be dead, she is at liberty to be married to whom she will; only in the Lord. (1Corinthians 7)
I can find no such scripture releasing the husband of a dead wife to enable
him to marry again. Why? Well if polygamy is allowed then this would be a superfluous legislation since the man is free to
marry again regardless of whether his wife has died or not. So once again we have evidence that polygamy is considered acceptable
by the Holy Scriptures.
Probably one of the best arguments in favour of monogamy is the description of Jesus' own prospective marriage:
7 Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the
Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready. (Revelation 19)
However, although much is made of Jesus'
monogamist ceremony we should not lose sight of at least three points. Firstly His one wife is actually made up of 144,000
individual angelic souls:
1 And I looked, and, lo, a Lamb stood on
the mount Sion, and with him an hundred forty and four thousand, having his Father's name written in their foreheads.
Secondly while Christ's marriage to a single (albeit corporate) wife may be seen as
a tacit preference for a monogamous family arrangement it still does not, of itself, outlaw polygamy for earthling man.
Thirdly no marriages occur in heaven anyway for the purposes of angelic procreation. Christ's marriage is
actually symbolising the administration for the future rule of law in heaven and earth in God's Kingdom. It does not represent
the individual child rearing relationships between male and female angels in the Kingdom:
30 For in the resurrection they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God
in heaven. (Matthew 22)