Abimelech desired to
Gen.2:24 does not demand one man and one woman
Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave to his wife and they shall be one flesh.. Gen.2:24.
A mere 18 chapters after we find the words, "they shall be one flesh" Gen.2:24, we find clear evidence that no implied command for monogamy can be assumed, inferred or in any way extracted from or eisogetically read into it.
We find the proof in two significant events in the life of Abraham, God's friend. These events show clearly the Law in operation centuries before it was given; they predate the written Law but vividly manifest it.
In Gen.20 the record
shows Abraham had moved south and Abimelech, the King of Gerar, had
taken Sarah after learning she was his sister, Gen.20:5. That he had
taken Sarah with the intent of having her as another wife is clearly
shown in the record. It needs to be noted that Abimelech already had a
wife and slave women in his house;
Now is the opportunity for God to make it clear that Gen.2:24 meant one man and one woman since Abimelech was a polygamist and intended to expand the number of women in his house.
Lamech was not condemned for having multiple wives which is a statement of acceptability in itself, but here we are left in no doubt since Abimelech was acknowledged directly by God Himself, as being sincere and innocent in the intent of adding wives to his household. Nothing can be clearer here.
In the Scripture passage
which follows, Abimelech appealed as a "righteous nation", and we find
God agreeing with him that taking another woman to be a wife was a
sincere and innocent thing to do. Here is the record of God so stating
directly to Abimelech and to us;
Clearly the Lord agrees with Abimelech that he had innocently and sincerely taken Sarah potentially as another wife. In other words, taking another woman as an additional wife was sincere and innocent but what was sin was taking a married woman.
Nothing is made clearer, polygamy is acceptable to God, but adultery, that is intimacy with a married woman, is sin and not acceptable.
We cannot argue that
Abimelech was not an Israelite under the Law since God spoke directly to
him. Nor can we argue that it was simply culturally acceptable to have
more than one wife for God identifies sin here, and the sin is adultery,
not polygamy. Those who have forever considered polygamy adultery are
found out of step with the Word of God.
Because of Abimelech's
righteous intent, the Lord had prevented him from sinning against Him;
He had not allowed Abimelech to touch Sarah. Had he done so he would
have committed adultery by taking another man's wife. Later in the Law
we find this definition of adultery made thoroughly consistently clear;
And by that same thorough consistency, look at
these laws for any man who chooses to have more than one wife and these
are followed by the law of the levirate;
If a man has two wives, one beloved and another hated, and they have borne him sons, the beloved and the hated; and if the first-born son was of her that was hated, then it shall be in the day when he makes his sons to inherit what he has, he may not cause to inherit the son of the beloved first-born before the son of the hated one, he who is truly the first-born. Deu 21:15-16
And it shall be, the first-born whom she bears shall succeed in the name of his dead brother, so that his name may not be put out of Israel. Deu 25:5-6
It cannot be said that God permitted polygamy in
the Old Testament as if this meant some inferior submissive response on
the part of God to His willfully disobedient servants. Abraham obeyed
God's voice, he kept God's Laws, Gen.26:5. When God permits something,
it is because it is acceptable to Him.
In Gen.12 we find
the same lawful definition of adultery enforced by the Lord's actions
Having another man's wife is adultery, having more than one wife is not and has never been adultery.
Returning to our opening
passage we find that the Lord had closed up the wombs of the women in
Children are a blessing,
the Psalmist says so;
A Song of degrees. Blessed is everyone who fears Jehovah, who walks in His ways. For you shall surely eat the labor of your hands; you shall be happy, and all is well with you. Your wife shall be like a fruitful vine by the sides of your house; your sons shall be like olive plants around your table. Behold! So shall the man be blessed who fears Jehovah. Jehovah shall bless you out of Zion; and you shall see the good of Jerusalem all the days of your life. Yea, you shall see the sons of your sons. Peace be on Israel. Psa 128
The Lord shows forth clearly His acceptance of polygamy, for after Abraham had prayed for Abimelech, his wives again bore children. However, while the threat of adultery remained, the blessing of children was withheld.
Yet when we demand one man with one woman as the only marriage option we have infested ourselves with traditions and cultural norms elevated above and contrary to the Word of Truth.
Polygamy is not adultery.
Polygamy is not adultery.
Return to Scriptures Page