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What Does The Bible Say About Polygamy? Multiple Marriage Partners

Polygamy is the practice of taking multiple spouses when you are already married to one. No doubt you have to be someone of financial means in order to have multiple husbands or wives. Does the Bible teach on polygamy?

Generally societal norms around the globe place the husband as the hunter (or bread winner) and the wife as the protector of the home (although Proverbs 31 also shows the economic power and value of an entrepreneurial wife). History has men in the dominant role, although they don’t always deserve it. Therefore, when we talk about polygamy it usually means one man with multiple wives. We see many men in the Old Testament of the Bible with multiple wives. In fact, in an extreme example King Solomon was known for having 700 wives and 300 concubines (1 Kings 11:3). In the end, polygamy took him out of God’s plan for his life. His father David had at least 8 wives (Michal, Abigail, Ahinoam, Maaca, Haggith, Abital, Eglah, Bathsheba) and an unknown number of concubines. There are many other examples of men with polygamous lives in the Bible. Does this mean that the Bible teaches that polygamy, having multiple wives is acceptable. The simple answer is ‘no’.

Society of the times accepted polygamy however, that does not mean it is acceptable for God’s people. If you want to know God’s plan and design for us (before Christ or after the resurrection) always look to how He set things up before. Reading from Genesis 2:4 we see that the garden was made for two people. One man and one woman. It was Adam and Eve who are the father and mother of absolutely all of us that exist on the early today. Note that God did give Adam a helpmate, a friend and companion (Genesis 4:22). God did not give multiple women. God’s plan for marriage is that it is to be between one man and one woman. Not one man and multiple women, or one woman and multiple men. In fact, with sexual intimacy (sex) between a husband and wife we are designed for one spouse. When people fornicate by having with multiple people that they are not married to, the chances of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) rockets. Why? The answer is because God has designed sexual intercourse to be just between one man and one woman.

We see polygamy in the Bible, but that does not mean it is God’s plan. In fact, whenever you get out of God’s will with relationships, “that never ends well”. David had many wives, and jealousy between their sons created unnecessary pain in the family. In the story of Absalom, he killed his half brother Amon for raping their half sister Tamar (2 Kings 13:29). There is jealousy with Sarah after Abraham and her servant/employee Hagar conceive Ishmael together. Many modern day polygamists cannot have their wives in one place due to the unnatural tension this brings into the relationship. Polygamy is man’s carnal attempt to please sexual desires that will always get people into trouble.

Just because something is mentioned in the Bible, does not mean it was God’s will or His way. The Old Testament shows us what things are like without God. We see rape, incest, cannibalism, child sacrifice, murder, and all sorts of other evils. We see the savagery of unbelievers as well as the mistakes of those who love God. Some repent and turn back to God where others have gone completely astray and away from God. God wants us to be transformed by the renewing of our minds (Romans 12:2, Col 3:10, Phil 4:8, 2 Cor 4:16-18, Eph 4:22-24, Col 3:2-3, Romans 7:25) after salvation by the uncompromised Word of God (the Bible).

Want to know more about marriage and dating? Search on ‘marriage’ on FaithPro.org. Also check out 12 Keys To Building A Marriage That Lasts here.

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