Bible Polygyny

And David took more concubines and wives out of Jerusalem, ... And there were still more sons and  daughters born to David. 2Sa 5:13


When God sent Nathan the prophet to King David he was told that he had “despised the Word of Jehovah”.

2Sa 12:7  And Nathan said to David, You are the man! So says Jehovah, the God of Israel, I anointed you king over Israel, and I delivered you out of the hand of Saul.
2Sa 12:8  And I gave you your master's house and your master's wives into your bosom, and gave you the house of Israel and of Judah. And if that was too little, I would have given to you such and such things besides.
2Sa 12:9  Why have you despised the Word of Jehovah, to do evil in His sight? You have stricken Uriah the Hittite with the sword, and have taken his wife to be your wife, and have killed him with the sword of the sons of Ammon.

At no time had God declared it a sin to take another wife which David had already done before this incident with Bathsheba (1Sam.25:42-43). If Polygyny was a despising of the Word of the Lord then Nathan would have arrived on David's door long before this.

Some monogamy only believers in desperation to ignore this plain statement that God gave David his master's wives argue that Saul's wives were widows and God gave them to David for care and provision. Widows did live among the people and were to be considered but often they were returned to their father's house as in Gen.38 et al. And if we pursue this  idea then when God said to David "if that was too little, I would have given you such and such things besides" are we to assume that more widows would be given David? No, the phrase into thy bosom first occurs in the matter of Sarah and Hagar who Sarah gave to Abraham "into thy bosom" for the cause of child bearing Gen.16. The context is that David took someone else's wife, not someone else's widow.

The three things David despised which the Law condemned very clearly were as follows, “you shall not covet” (Ex.20:17), "you shall not commit adultery" (Ex.10:14), and “you shall not kill” (Ex.20:13.

Please note, adultery is not taking another wife of your own, but someone else's wife.

David despised the Word of Jehovah by coveting and taking another man's wife and killing him into the bargain (2Sam.12:9). David was obliged to read the Law all the days of his life so he knew where he stood before God. (Deut.17:14-20).

Two statements by God are totally ignored by tradition. First God says to David that He gave David his master’s wives unto his bosom (2Sam.12:8). This is way beyond God permitting David to have more wives. Secondly, God says if David wanted for anything, including more wives, all he had to do was ask, further evidence that polygyny was approved by God.

God forgave but punished David, and Bathsheba became another wife after which David did not commit adultery with her because they became "one flesh" in marriage.

More on King David's wives

The King not to multiply wives

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