Bible Polygyny

God did not ban polygamy, the church banned it about the same time they prohibited the priests from having a wife or wives.

We have been deceived by unsound doctrine, polygyny is not wickedness


Therefore, an elder must be blameless,
the husband of one wife, stable, sensible, respectable,
a lover of strangers, and teachable. 1Ti 3:2. ISV


Both Old and New Testaments agree that polygyny is a sanctioned marriage option.

There is a very well known instance when God actually commanded polygyny:
Deut 25:5-6 If brothers live together, and one of them dies and has no child, the wife of the dead shall not marry outside to a stranger. Her husband's brother shall go in to her and take her as a wife for himself, and perform the duty of a husband's brother to her. 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.

This injunction is the basis of the book of Ruth and most Christians think poor old Boaz was elderly and single and how fortunate for him that Ruth came along, the only woman in all his years who was interested in him.

As a “mighty man of wealth”; one who honored God, and of mature age, Boaz was more than likely married years before Ruth came to his fields. Orthodox Jews take very seriously the injunction to be fruitful and multiply and Boaz had the means to support a number of wives.

Israeli men were often married very young as suggested by Malachi 2:14-15 wherein the Lord rebukes those who were dealing treacherously with the wife of their youth; which passage can not be twisted to mean some sort of condemnation of polygyny.

Boaz followed God’s "good, pleasing and perfect" will in that he purchased back the inheritance, took Ruth as “his brother’s wife” and raised up seed to Naomi. By marrying Ruth, Boaz was fulfilling his God given obligations to his dead brother, Boaz was not marrying "for love" or to raise up his own "house".

This was not a Hollywood marriage of choice; there was a kinsman closer to Naomi and Ruth and he was given the first option of buying back the inheritance and marrying Ruth, see Ruth 3:12-13, 4:4. Notice how Boaz called the elders of his city? (Deut.25:8 & Ruth 4:2).

The kinsman nearer than Boaz decided against redeeming the inheritance and marrying Ruth and had to endure the public shame of having his shoe loosed (Ruth 4:7-8) according to this passage:
Deu 25:7 And if the man does not want to take his brother's wife, then let his brother's wife go up to the gate to the elders and say, My husband's brother refuses to raise up a name in Israel to his brother. He will not perform my levirate.
Deu 25:8 Then the elders of his city shall call him and speak to him. And if he stands and says, I do not desire to take her,
Deu 25:9 then his brother's wife shall come to him in the presence of his elders, and take off his shoe from his foot, and spit in his face, and shall answer and say, So shall it be done to that man who will not build up his brother's house.
Deu 25:10 And his name shall be called in Israel, The house of him who has his shoe taken off.

Readers might remember an Iraqi reporter throwing his shoes at USA President G.W.Bush during a media interview. The shoe an emblem of shame down through the centuries in the east. The man who refused to marry Ruth bore shame but of course today, any believer in the Lord who even mentions polygyny in a positive light needs to dodge the leather. Love can be very pharisaic in some circles.

Boaz did not have to be single to marry his brother's wife, neither was it necessary for the man closer in line to be single.

The child of Ruth and Boaz was not Boaz's heir, but Naomi's. If the only child Boaz had was Ruth's then Boaz had no heir of his own. Ruth 4:14-16.

In the book of Ruth, which features the kinsman redeemer, polygyny is the underlying basis of restoration. Christians abhor polygamy through ignorance promoted through ignorant teaching, yet God establishes it in this wonderful picture of redemption.

We find another story of polygyny in the book of Genesis 38. This one did not have a happy ending. Onan refused to raise up seed to his dead brother; to obey God in this divinely ordained practice and was punished. Gen.38:8-10. Why would God punish Onan if polygyny was only His permissive will and Onan was a "God preferred" monogamist?

We need to note that Onan was struck dead by God for not marrying his brother's wife long before The Law was given. Levirate polygyny was embedded in Hammurabbi's Law (

Did God give such laws to Hammurabi or had God instituted levirate polygyny in the lives of the Patriarchs. It doesn't matter really, God acted swiftly against a  man who refused to observe this form of polygyny. This action of our God flies in the face of all who ignore Scripture and try their best to argue against polygyny.

Judah, the son of Israel, the father of Onan, raised up seed to his dead son Er, (Onan's elder brother) by (unwittingly) impregnating his own daughter in law. Ultimately Judah declared his daughter in law, Tamar, more righteous then he was in the matter.

Whether we like it or not, Christ came through Judah and one of the twin boys Tamar bore (read all of Gen.38).

Boaz was a type, a picture of Christ the kinsman redeemer and Boaz married Ruth polygynously. If polygyny was such a wickedness as modern prudish churchianity cries, then our Lord's genealogy is thick with wickedness that was blessed by God.

If polygyny is such an abhorrence then it is only so in the minds of those Christians who, contrary to the Word of God, continue to label polygyny as wickedness.

There is something wrong and it isn't God's Word, its the error in the churches. Polygyny is not sin.













Genesis 20 (&12)
Polygamy is acceptable
adultery is evil


Genesis 2:24
the two one flesh


Exodus 21
laws about


Deut. 21
wives taken in war


2 Samuel 12
King David
& what is adultery


Ezekiel 23
God's two wives


1Timothy 3
marriage for deacons
does not
condemn polygyny


Matthew 19
used against divorce,
not polygyny

1Corinthians 7
Abused and chopped
by tradition

More Scriptures are examined in the Objections page




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