Keith Hunt - Polygamy and Concubines? Restitution of All
Things


  Home Navigation & Word Search

Polygamy and Concubines?

Should we Practice it Today?

POLYGAMY and CONCUBINES?


Did God ever condone polygamy? Is it a sin to practice it? Some
have read the accounts of men of God like David, Jacob, and
others, having more than one wife or having concubines and have
concluded that God approves or sanctions polygamy. Let's search
the Scriptures and see what the Bible says on this subject

by
Keith Hunt


One of the keys to arriving at the truth of any doctrine is to
first believe the PLAIN easy-to-understand verses of the Bible on
that subject.
THEN with that clear light go to the "harder-to-be-understood"
verses (2 Peter 3:1518).

FOR KINGS AND LEADERS

Let's notice what is recorded in Deut.17:14-20. God foreknowing
that His chosen people Israel would one day want a HUMAN KING to
rule them like other nations (verse14) instructs them as to the
TYPE of king   they should have - what he should DO and NOT do
(verse 15-20). Notice verse 17 and the PLAIN instruction it
contains: "Neither shall he multiply WIVES (more than one) to
himself...."

The KING was to be the example of Godliness to the rest of the
nation. He was to READ and OBEY the words of God. He was not to
turn aside either to the right or left (verses 18-20). Why?
"....that his heart turn not away - be not lifted up above his
brethren" (verses 17,20). He was not to make the mistake that
because he was KING he could be excused from the laws that God
expected ALL the people to obey, if they could but walk in the
ideal ways that God would want people to climb up to and live as
the ideal way of life under God. One of those laws clearly was
NOT to have wiveS - plural.

God knowing the HARDNESS of His people's heart - knowing that
although He plainly had instructed them not to have PLURALITY of
wives, some would not listen, He gave further instructions to
them in Lev. 18:18. The MODERN LANGUAGE BIBLE translated this as,
"While your wife is still living do not take her sister for a
rival to expose her nakedness." The LIVING BIBLE, '"ou shall not
marry two sisters, for they will be rivals. However, if your wife
dies, then it is all right to marry her sister." The RSV
translated it as, "And you shall not take a woman as a rival wife
to her sister, uncovering her nakedness while her sister is yet
alive."

The church of the Old Testament was the nation of Israel (Acts
7:37-38). Its leaders were to be the example of holiness to the
people; so in the New Testament Church. This does not mean they
will be without sin (read cha ter seven of Romans) Then we have
this from Peter, "... I appeal to the ELDER among you: shepherd
God's flock that has been entrusted to you, not lording it over
those who are under your charge but being EXAMPLES to your flock"
(I Pet.5:1-3, Modem Language).
The leaders of the church are to show by their life how to serve
God. They are to be an example of Christianity to the members.
As for the teaching about POLYGAMY, God is VERY CLEAR as to how
the ELDERS of the Church are to set the example. Paul was
inspired to write to Timothy instructions on how the churches
should be run (I Tim.3:14-15). Notice what is said about the
PASTORS and DEACONS:
"It is a true saying that if a man wants to be a pastor he has a
good ambition. For a pastor must be a good man whose life cannot
be spoken against. He must have only ONE wife" (1 Tim. 3:1-2,
Living Bible). "...A deacon should be the husband of ONE wife
only..." (verse 12, Modem Language).
On another occasion Paul left Titus in Crete to ordain ELDERS in
the cities. Among their qualifications was to be "...the husband
of ONE wife" (Titus 1:6).
Both in the Old and New Testaments God makes it very PLAIN that
POLYGAMY was not the IDEAL way to live.

The question will no doubt be asked: "Why did Paul have to say to
Timothy and Titus that the leaders of the church must have only
ONE wife - were they not practicing POLYGAMY then?"

The answer is: Paul's ministry was mainly to the GENTILES, and
the gentile people before conversion were used to a life style
that was very sexually promiscuous - including fornication,
adultery, whoredoms, perversions - and many gentile nations
practiced POLYGAMY, as also some Jews because they could see it
was done under the Old Covenant. Paul had to lay down in very
clear terms what was expected of the Elders of the church, as
they would be EXAMPLES for the rest of the membership to follow.
POLYGAMY was definitely FORBIDDEN, under the New Covenant, yet it
may have taken some time for such a practice to have dissolved
from the Church members as a whole. The LEADERS had to set the
example of the way God intended it to be from the beginning.

IN THE BEGINNING

God created MAN and WOMAN (Gen.1:27). God is the author of
MARRIAGE! He saw that it was not good that man should be alone
and desired to make him an help (Gen.2:18). Notice,    it was an
HELP - singular - not HELPS, that God made for man. It was ONE of
Adam's ribs, not TWO or more, that God took to make him a woman -
not WOMEN (verses 21-22).
God said that a man shall leave his parents and cleave unto his
WIFE - singular, not plural (same verses).
Reading through the first few chapters of Genesis it should be
obvious to us that

God's purpose in marriage was to be from the beginning - ONE man
and ONE wife joined together as ONE flesh for life, with no
divorce, except under certain circumstances, if those
circumstances arose (but that is another subject for another
time), that was God's intent is clearly upheld by Jesus in the
New Testament.

The Pharisees, understanding that under Moses divorce was
"suffered," came to Jesus to try and "trip him up" (Mat.19:3).
Jesus takes them back to the BEGINNING, male and female, two
singles becoming one flesh.
Notice that the question is in regards to DIVORCE between ONE man
and ONE woman; POLYGAMY is not even mentioned. Surely if there
had been a question in the minds of the religious sects of Jesus'
day as to whether polygamy was the ideal of God's ideal way of
life, the question would have been put forth to Christ either by
the religious leaders or by His disciples sometime within those
three and a half years of His ministry. But the question of
POLYGAMY never rises, is never a question put forth to Jesus by
anyone. At least it is not recorded for us that it was ever a
question put to Him.
Jesus' answer to the Pharisees regarding divorce is answered in
the SINGULAR - wife (verse 9).

On another occasion the Sadducees tried to catch Him out with one
of their pitches as they got Him to hit it (Matt.22:23-28).
Notice again in this passage "A WIFE" (singular) is used. Now if
POLYGAMY was ever God's ideal then a man need not worry about
having NO ISSUE (children) from that wife because he could have
MANY wives to reproduce from; or he could divorce her and try
another one or two or more wives at the same time.
The ORIGINAL INTENT of God - ONE wife for life; was the reason
why this law in Deut.25:5-10 was instituted. If POLYGAMY was
sanctioned by God and a man had a dozen wives but still no
children, and he died, would his brother have to marry ALL his
wives? If not, which one did he have to marry? Who would decide?
There are no laws in Moses' writings to answer that dilemma. No,
it was not needed under the system of ONE wife at one time, which
was the ideal of God.
The passage in Deut.25 concerning the duty to a brother's wife
uses the singular wife not the plural wiveS.

THE NEW TESTAMENT AGAIN

Taking a CONCORDANCE (such as STRONG'S) of the Bible we can
locate every passage in the New Testament to do with MARRIAGE -
WIFE - HUSBAND, or seeking a wife.
Paul uses the SINGULAR husband and man in his discourse of Rom.
7:1-3. The basic law, the ideal law of God in regards marriage
was one man and one woman, two singles becoming ONE, not one
single man and plural women becoming one.
Again, in Paul's instructions about marriage in I Cor.7, we note
only the singular use of wife, husband (i.e. verses 2,3,4,10,27).
Commenting on the right that a minister of God can be married,
Paul says in I Cor.9:5 that he and others did have the right to
have a WIFE. Again he uses wife, singular not wives.
We cannot find ANY passage in the New Testament where more than
ONE wife or husband at one time is CONDONED, SANCTIONED or
RECOMMENDED.

Besides that, the EXAMPLES of God-fearing MEN and WOMEN of the
NEW TESTAMENT show that MONOGAMY not POLYGAMY, was practiced;
that is, examples such as Joseph and Mary, Zechariah and
Elizabeth, Priscilla and Aquila and others.

From the teaching and examples of the New Testament we find a
definite SILENCE on the subject of the ideal way of life for the
man of God being polygamy. Just the opposite is the case. All
teaching and examples in the New Testament show God's original
intent, that man was to have one wife at a time.
Although we do find men of God and men not of God in the Old
Testament, having more than one wife at a time, by the time of
Jesus and what we call the New Testament age had arrived,
polygamy had clearly come to be seen for what it was, or should
we say, for what it was NOT. It had clearly come to be seen as
NOT God's ideal for a man to have more than one wife at a time.  
Some secular writings will reveal to us this truth.

WHAT OTHER SOURCES SAY

THE TRUTH OF GOD is not derived from secular works,
encyclopedias, etc. Nevertheless, the searcher for truth will be
willing to research into ALL available material on the subject
he/she is studying. So for your CONSIDERATION we shall quote from
TWO secular works.

From the JEWISH ENCYCOLPEDIA, article "Marriage" - pages
1026,1028.

"In the Jewish teaching, marriage is the ideal human state and is
considered a basic institution established by God at the time of
creation.....
IN THE BIBLE. The purposes of marriage in the Bible are
companionship and procreation: 'It is not good that the man
should be alone; I will make him a help meet for him. Therefore
shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave
unto his wife, and they shall be one flesh' (Gen.2:18,24); and
'Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth...' (Gen.
1:28). The Biblical conception of marriage is essentially
monogamous (Gen. 2:24). Although in Biblical times polygamy was
common among the upper classes (Judges 8:30; 2 Sam.5:13;
I Kings 11:1-8), the many references to marriage in the 'wisdom
literature' seem to take it for granted that a man had only one
wife (Ps 128; Prov. 12:4; 18:22; 19:14; 31:10-31; Ecclus. 25:1;
26). The prophets using marriage as a metaphor for God's
attachment to Israel (Isa.61:10; 62:5; Ezek.16; Hos.2:21-22, also
Song of Songs, if interpreted metaphorically) clearly have
monogamous marriage in mind, since God did not enter into such a
special relationship with any other people......
Polygamy, while theoretically still possible, was discouraged,
and was almost unknown among talmudic rabbis."

One SECOND quotation is from the PICTORIAL BIBLE DICTIONARY, 1963
Edition, pages 512-13.

"The total unity of persons in marriage, comprehended in the
expression 'one flesh,' demands monogamy ..... One cannot relate
in this way to more than one person at a time. It is monogamous,
as is the relationship of Christ to His one bride - the church
..... Monogamy is represented in the prophets as symbolic of the
union of God with Israel (Hos.2:19; Jer.3:14; 31:32; Isa.54:5).
In the New Testament the bridegroom is God in Christ Matt 9:15),
with the bride the spiritual Israel elect out of every nation (2
Cor.11:2; Eph.5:23-32; Rev.19:7).... Monogamy is consistent with
Christ's Golden Rule, for under polygamy other men were robbed
and wives degraded. Polygamy is represented in the prophets as
having its counterpart in idolatry. It made its first appearance
in the lawless line of the Cainites (Gen.4:23).... The
backslidings and calamities in the reigns of David and Solomon
are attributed to the polygamy practiced (2 Sam.5:13; I Kings
11:1-3; Deut 17:17)...

WHAT ABOUT CONCUBINES?

We read quite a lot about people in the Old Testament as not only
having more than one wife but as also having "concubines." To
many this is an enigma, the word "concubine" just means nothing
to them, and simply from guess work they think it means some kind
of a hired or live in woman very close to being a bought
prostitute. Actually nothing could be further from the truth. For
the truth on this matter I shall quote in length from THE
THEOLOGICAL WORD BOOK OF THE OLD TESTAMENT, Vol.2, page 724.

".. 'pilegesh' concubine. .... The Hebrew equivalent of the Greek
'pallakis' and the Latin 'pellex.' A concubine was a true wife,
though of secondary rank. This is indicated, for example, by the
references to a concubine's 'husband' (Jud.9:13), the
'father-in-law' (Jud.19:4), 'son-in-law' (Jud.19:5). Thus, the
concubine was not a kept mistress, and did not cohabit with a man
unless married to him. The institution itself is an offshoot of
polygamy.
A number of men in the OT had concubines, either one, or many (as
a sign of wealth and status symbols). Not that many of those who
have concubines are kings (and cf. Est.2:14, Songs 6:8,
Dan.5:3,23).
There are two famous concubines mentioned in the OT. They are (1)
Rizpah, the concubine of Saul, whose moving display of maternal
love so moved David that he had her children buried in the family
sepulchre (2 Sam.3:7 and 21:8-14); (2) the concubine of an
unnamed Levite of Gibeah whose rape and murder brought about the
death of 25,000 members of the tribe of Benjamin, and the ban
against members of the other tribes intermarrying with them
(Jud.19,20, one-third of the use of pilegesh in the OT are in
these two chapters).
To lie with a king's concubine was tantamount to usurpation of
the throne. This explains why Adner soon fell out with the house
of Saul because he sought in marriage Rizpah, Saul's concubine (2
Sam.3:7). Marrying a king's widow could easily suggest designs on
the throne (cf.2 Sam.16:21-22 and similarly the idea in 1 Kings
2:21-24)."

I think it is of helpful insight to also quote from THE NEW
UNGER'S BIBLE DICTIONARY under the article "concubine."

"CONCUBINE (Heb.'pilegesh,' derivation uncertain). A secondary or
inferior wife....
Hebrew. Concubinage came early into general practice, for we read
(Gen.22:24) of Bethuel, the father of Rebekah, having not only
his wife Milcah, but also a concubine, Reumah, who bore him four
children .... Jacob taking first two wives and then two
concubines. Nor was the practice wholly discontinued among the
Israelites, for we see the following men had concubines, namely,
Eliphaz (Gen.36:12) David (5:13), Solomon (1 Kings 11:3),
Rehoboam (2 Chron.11:21), Abijah. Indeed, in process of time
concubmage appears to have degenerated into a regular custom
among the Jews, and the institutions of Moses were directed to
prevent excess and abuse by wholesome laws and regulations
(Ex.21:7-9, Deut.21:10-14).
The unfaithfulness of a concubine was considered criminal (2
Sam.3:7-8) and was punished with scourging (Lev.19:20)....
Sometimes, to avoid debauchery, a female slave would be given to
the son, was then considered as one of the children of the house,
and retained her rights as concubine even after the marriage of
the son (Ex.21:9-10)...."

Ah, yes indeed, quite a different society in part back in those
Old Testament days, with God allowing men to have more than one
wife and to have concubines, or secondary wives. This alone
causes us some mental problems as to trying to define a
"secondary wife" coming from our western cultures that do not
allow the practice of polygamy, more than one wife at a time, let
alone allowing for "secondary wives" whatever that means to us. I
must admit it is hard to figure that one, as we are born into a
culture that gives us no practical ideal as to what a "secondary
wife" would be or what it would mean in daily functional living.
Would it be that a concubine was something like a glorified
servant of the house, yet was married to the man of the house and
hence also had sexual relations with him from time to time? Well,
whatever the specific functional differences between those called
wives and those called concubines, the bottom line is that all
were thought of as legally married to the man and were all his
wives, but some were of a kind of first rank wife and the others
second rank wife.

As I say, somewhat strange and hard to figure coming from a
culture where such practices are not allowed. Our minds have a
hard time understanding a culture where wives (plural) and
concubines also plural) would be the practice of many. But such
was the practice and functional living for many for thousands of
years as related to us in the Old Testament. As we have seen, it
was not God's ideal, from the beginning it was God's intent that
marriage would be one man and one woman at a time.

POLYGAMY AND THE MEN OF GOD

ABRAHAM

Under this section we need only concern ourselves with those
individuals and their lives who are put forth by God in His word
as His followers. The individuals who practiced polygamy and are
stated as being evil or without God can be easily dismissed as
being rebellious and openly defiant against the laws of God. This
is not.possible with those who were the children of God in the
OT.
ABRAHAM is thought of as a POLYGAMIST. We see in chapter 16:1 of
Genesis that Abraham had A WIFE (singular) - SARAI, and she had a
HANDMAID - Hagar. Because Sarai was barren, SHE thought up a way
to help fulfil God's promises to Abraham. She would give him her
MAID to reproduce a child. Now in this Abraham, like Adam,
harkened to his wife (verse 2). Even Abraham's faith wavered at
this point in his life.
Verse three says SARAI - NOT GOD - gave the handmaid Hagar to be
a wife to Abraham. This verse nowhere says God approved or
condoned this action.. TO BE A WIFE, but how? Why, only in the
sense of reproduction in this instance. Notice the next verse:
"And he went in unto Hagar, and she conceived......." Afterwards,
when Sarai saw the END RESULT she realized she had DONE WRONG in
suggesting such a scheme (verse 5).
Did Abraham recognize Hagar as his wife? A wife like Saria? No!
Not verse six: "But Abram said unto Sarai, Behold thy MAID......"
Hagar was still only a maid of Sarai's to him - NOT a wife. Sarai
was hard on her - and Hagar went away. The angel of the Lord
found her (verse 7). Notice how he addresses her, not as
Abraham's WIFE but as Sarai's MAID.. He tells her to return to
her MISTRESS and SUBMIT to her.
This all happened when Abraham was 86 (verse 16). The real
conversion and covenant relationship with God took place in
Abraham' s 99th year of his life chap. 17:1-14, 22-27). God would
establish His promises to Abraham THROUGH arai and a son who
would be born to her. Sarai is called by GOD Abraham's WIFE
(verse 15,19). As we read through chapters 18-23 we see repeated
again and again that SARAH is called Abraham's wife; but never is
Hagar referred to as his wife.
If some still want to argue the point, we notice that a year
later, when Abraham was a hundred years old, ISAAC was born to
him (chap.21:5). At this point, Hagar and her son were SENT AWAY
- God said it should be so (verses 9-13). Hagar is called both by
Sarah and GOD Abraham's BONDWOMAN - not his wife (verses 10,
12,13).
Sarah died at the age of 127 (chap.23:1-2). We can find nothing
that suggests that Abraham had any other woman but SARAH as his
wife for all those years, yet he did have sexual relations to
produce a son, with Hagar, as we have seen.
After the death of Sarah, Abraham did remarry. He "took a wife" -
her name was KETURAH (chap.25:1). It is also recorded that
Abraham had "concubines" (verse 5). So indeed even the man of
faith, the father of the faithful as the NT calls him, did not
practice monogamy all of his life.

JACOB

No one should or can deny the plain fact that Jacob DID HAVE more
than one wife - he had TWO wives, women that were wiveS in every
sense of the word. The Scriptures make this plain in such
passages as Gen.29:15-30, 31:1-5,22,26,41-51.
Jacob not only had TWO wives who produced children to him, but
the handmaids of his wives he also had sexual relations with and
they begot children (Gen.30:1-3). Now, did God CONDONE that
action of Jacob? Was it any less an error and sin than Abraham t 
ing to fulfil the promise of God "his way" - trying to work it
out according to the flesh
It has been argued, with some justification I believe, that Jacob
was not DEEPLY converted to God until some years later. The
account of his personal relationship with God and the subsequent
events are recorded in Genesis chapter 35.

God tells Jacob to go back to BETHEL and live there (verse 1). It
is obvious that this revelation in the mind of Jacob caused him
to take a stand for God that he may not have had before. He told
HIS HOUSEHOLD to put away FALSE worship of false gods (verses
2-4). God then APPEARED to him - talked to him face to face
(verses 9,13). At this time God OFFICIALLY changes Jacob's name
to ISRAEL (one that prevails with God) and gives him the PROMISES
made to Abraham and Isaac (verses 10-12).
After this monumental event in Jacob's life - very shortly after,
maybe only hours, Rachel DIED in giving birth to Benjamin. She
died on the way to EPHRATH (verse 19). EPHRATH was only "a little
piece of ground" (margin reading) from BETHEL (verse 16). Jacob
was only left with LEAH as his WIFE from that point on. It would
seem he never practiced POLYGAMY again. At least nothing is ever
stated that he practiced polygamy again.

KING DAVID

Perhaps one of the greatest pracctceces of POLYGAMY was the man
of whom it is written that he was a man after God's own heart
(Acts 13:22). How can we reconcile this with what we have already
concluded about how God looks on POLYGAMY?
We must first remember that although David knew God from a young
boy, his life was not always as close to his God as would have
been desirable. He was much like Jacob in that respect. David's
DEEP personal repentance and conversion came later in life -
after his ADULTEROUS affair with BATHSHEBA and subsequent killing
of Uriah, her husband. For those SINS David was punished very
severely (2 Sam.12:715). His repentance is recorded for us in Ps.
51.
Now, David did walk with God from a youth, but at times in his
life he wondered away and fell into major sins, which were
punished in no uncertain way by the Lord. God is no respecter of
persons, and that is made very clear in the life of David. Yet
God never specifically punished David for having more than one
wife at a time. God ALLOWED David to live and practice polygamy
during parts of his life time.
Some of the punishment to come to David for his sin against Uriah
and sin with Bathsheba was to involve his wives going to other
men. In 2 Sam.12:11 Nathan the prophet tells David his wives
would be given to his neighbour in sexual relations. This was
fulfilled as recorded in 2 Sam. 16:21-22. These same wives David
later did PUT AWAY and had no more relations with them, see
chapter 20:3.
In passing this verse also shows that concubines "put away" were
termed as "widows."
It was apparently some years after his repentance over the
BATHSHEBA affair that David put POLYGAMY out of his life. David
had a right heart or attitude, as God records, but he also had
some weaknesses that he did not overcome immediately, just as
other men of God did not. And under the Old Testament God did
allow polygamy, and for what reason we shall see later. It was
allowed, though it was never God's ideal and was never His
original intent for marriage from the beginning.

SOLOMON

Here was a man who started out on the right path - asking God for
WISDOM and a discernment between good and evil. God also added
great WEALTH (I Kings 3:6-13). God used Solomon to write the
books of PROVERBS and ECCLESIASTES.

Solomon multiplied wiveS and concubines to himself as no other
man has probably done - 700 wives, and 300 concubines!
He took what God allowed and ran with it, ran the marathon race
with it, a number of marathon races I would say. You talk about
"liberty" - seeing God was allowing some, and taking as much as
you possibly could. Solomon was the greatest example in that
liberty taking, as far as God allowing the practice of polygamy.
Solomon not only took liberty to the ultimate on this account,
but he stepped over the line and did what God specifically
commanded not to be done. Solomon took wives from other
religions, pagan, false religions, women who were practicing
their false religions and who were never about to give it up to
serve the ways of the true God of Israel.
The many wives of Solomon turned away his heart after other gods.
He did NOT DO as his father David had done. He did EVIL in God's
sight (1 Kings 11:4-6).

SOLOMON'S salvation stands in question!

POLYGAMY ALLOWED FOR WHAT REASON?


Another scripture that troubles some is found in 2 Sam 12:8. God
through Nathan tells David He gave him his masters WIVES.
Now would not that prove God sanctions POLYGAMY?
We shall answer that by asking another question: Did God SANCTION
DIVORCE under the Old Covenant?

Jesus' reply was, "Moses because of the HARDNESS of your hearts
suffered you to put away your wives, but that from the BEGINNING
it was NOT so" (Matthew 19:8).

Most of Israel under Moses did not have the Spirit even "with"
them, some did (Num.11), and Moses wished it could have been all.
But it was not so. They did not have a heart that would fear and
keep the commandments of the Lord (Deut.5:29). So most in Israel
were camal and hence the desires of the flesh prevailed. Even
those that did have the Spirit with them, did not have it as a
"begettal" deeply united with the mind, for it is written that
Jesus was the "first begotten" of the Father. He was the first of
the first fruits of humans to actually have the Spirit as a
"begettal." Those before who had the Spirit, had it as working
with then but not as a begettal "in" and united with the spirit
of the mind.
God allowed for this in certain areas of life, and one was in the
laws of divorce and remarriage. Under Moses it was allowed by God
that divorce could be for just about anything. It was relatively
easy to divorce in ancient Israel. So when Christ was bringing in
a tightening up of that law the Pharisees asked him why Moses
then allowed for it on a wide scale. Jesus told them why. God
allowed the loose divorce law because of the "hardness of the
heart" but as He went on to say "from the beginning it was not
so." God's original intent was not at all what He later allowed
under Moses.
So it was also with POLYGAMY. Even among some of God's people, it
was

TOLERATED - ALLOWED - SUFFERED for a while by God. He allowed the
practice of polygamy and concubinage because of the weakness and
hardness of the human heart. Gad permitted that practice. He
sanctioned it in the sense of allowing it. It was never God's
ideal for marriage but He did allow it, and in allowing the
practice it was then NOT sin. In that sense, God could say to
David He gave him his master's wives.

The Lord tolerated polygamy and concubinage, when it was done,
but as it was not His ideal or "from the beginning" intent he
gave enough teaching, and examples in His word to show His ideal
intent for marriage that He hoped people would see it and stay
away from the practice of polygamy. As we have seen from Jewish
historical writings, by the first century A.D. the practice of
polygamy was hard to find in Israel, even among the rabbis.
Under the Old Covenant God knew that the people's hearts would be
HARD - generally not receptive to His laws. He knew that some
would have and WANT more than one wife. He would tolerate and
allow POLYGAMY as He did DIVORCE on a somewhat loose basis, but
ALLOWING is not the same as APPROVING OF, or saying it was a law
given with His full blessing, and that it was an ideal way of
having marriages.

But because of the hardness of people's hearts polygamy was
allowed, and as God was going to allow it, then it was right and
proper that He therefore set down laws to govern the man with
more than one wife (Ex.21:10, Deut.21:15-17 etc.).

Under the New Testament those loose laws of divorce for just
about any reason and the allowing of the practice of polygamy,
were put aside by Christ and taken back to "but it was not so
from the beginning." Polygamy as we have already seen is not
taught or allowed under the New Covenant age. It may have taken a
generation before polygamy was finally put to one side (the Jews
had in the vast main already put it to one side, but possibly
some Gentile nations had not). Our western nations came to see
many years ago that the practice of polygamy in marriages is not
in the overall workings of peoples and nations a good thing at
all. Hence it is outlawed in the laws of the nations of the
western world.

Polygamy as well as having concubines was once allowed by the
Eternal God because of the hardness of the heart. That age of
such an allowance came to an end when Jesus Christ came preaching
the Gospel of the Kingdom of God and the New Covenant, when He
came to MAGNIFY the law and to make it honorable.

When Jesus came to restore many laws to the intent as they were
from the beginning, then the allowance of polygamy and the laws
governing it under Moses, came to an end.

                             .................

Written first in 1981. Re-written and revised in February 2000

All articles and studies by Keith Hunt may be copied, published,
e-mailed, and distributed as led by the Spirit. Mr.Hunt trusts
nothing will be changed without his consent.


 
  Home Top of Page


Other Articles of Interest:
  ... ... ...

 
Navigation List:
 

 
Word Search:

PicoSearch
  Help