Is Polygamy allowed in the Old Testament?

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Is Polygamy allowed in the Old Testament?

Post  spiritfilled on Thu 14 May 2009, 9:26 pm

Many people say that God allowed Polygamy in the Old Testament whereas, the truth is that He never did. People give examples of Abraham, David and others. This is not fair to add something that is not there in the Bible.

Abraham and Sarah
Abraham had a son from Hagar but she was not his wife. Although Abraham married tice but it was after Sarah's death that he married again. Sarah's death is recorded in Genesis 23:1-2. It was after that (Gen. 25), that Abraham married Keturah. This, of course, was a perfectly legal marriage. There was no polygamy -- no divorce.

Isaac and Rebekah
"And Isaac entreated the Eternal for his wife, because she was barren: and the Eternal was entreated of him, and Rebekah his wife conceived," (Gen. 25:21).
Polygamy not allowed
David had several wives. But after his tremendous sin of taking Bathsheba and having her husband murdered, David repented, in real heart-rending repentance. And he never repeated the sin. Very few seem to realize what actually happened.

See II Samuel 12:9-12. "Now therefore," said God (verse 10), "the sword shall never depart from thine house; because thou hast despised ME, and hast taken the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be thy wife." Notice, David despised GOD -- not merely the commandment of God, as in verse 9, but also the very Person of God! He did it by taking this woman as his wife. Therefore the sword was never to depart from his HOUSE.

The HOUSE OF DAVID, at that time consisted solely of these plural WIVES, and his children. This was a tremendous, super SIN. God was meting out tremendous super punishment. Now notice the next verse:

"Thus saith the Eternal, Behold, I will raise up evil against thee out of thine own house. . . ." His own house included his wives and children. What evil? God has just said the sword will now come upon his house -- his family. God continues: ". . . and I will take thy wives before thine eyes, and give them unto thy neighbor, and he shall lie with thy wives in the sight of this sun."

Notice -- this was to be done in the sight of THIS sun in broad daylight. God continues: "For thou didst it secretly: but I will do this thing before all Israel, and before the sun. The Septuagint Version translates it "this sun" here, as in the preceding verse. This was done publicly by Davids own son Absalom, II Samuel 16:21-22.

David repented. "And David said unto Nathan, I have sinned against the Eternal" (I Samuel 12:13). You will read of David's private prayer of repentance to God in the 51st Psalm -- the prayer of a really broken and contrite heart. It was real repentance. David turned from polygamy.

The next words in this text in II Samuel 12 are: "And Nathan said unto David, The Eternal also hath put away thy sin; thou shalt not die." However, the son to be born of this adultery was to die.

Do you see what God did? He meted out to David a tremendous punishment -- God took all his wives, leaving Bathsheba only. With David's first and only legitimate wife, Michal, probably dead (see II Sam. 6:23), God also had cleared the way for Bathsheba to become the legal wife of David. Apparently this was done, that she might be the mother of Solomon, through whom God was to keep His unconditional, dynastic, promise to David -- a forefather of Jesus Christ -- and a prophet used in writing the Bible.

After this David was away from Jerusalem. But, returning, there were ten concubines (his former harem). Here is what David did with them:

"And David came to his house at Jerusalem; and the king took the ten women his concubines, whom he had left to keep the house, and put them in ward, and fed them, but went not in unto them. So they were shut up unto the day of their death, living in widowhood" (II Sam. 20:3).

Just as David kept the ten concubines "in widowhood" -- that is, he had no relations with them, for they had been defiled by his son Absalom.

David had truly repented. He practiced polygamy NO MORE! When David was becoming old, he went "fully after the Eternal" (I Kings 11:6). He was "a man after God's own heart," because his heart was right. He did repent. He had been a warrior. In his younger life he went after many women. He had sown his "wild oats." BUT HE REPENTED!

His heart turned to GOD. His life's race ENDED in victory -- he "went fully after the Eternal." It is not the one who starts out with the biggest burst of speed, but the one who finishes first at the END of the race who wins it.

His son, Solomon, started out righteously, unselfishly, relying on God. But, "when Solomon was old," he had seven hundred wives and three hundred concubines -- it must have been a record harem. And his wives turned away his heart from God, and to their idols.

It was SIN! Regarding it, God's Word says: "Solomon did evil in the sight of the Eternal" (I Kings 11:6).

There was polygamy in ancient Israel. But it was SIN! God condemned it -- He never condoned or sanctioned it. They reaped what they sowed.

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Re: Is Polygamy allowed in the Old Testament?

Post  LivingWaters on Thu 14 May 2009, 9:35 pm

I agree that people are misled and God never allowed polygamy in the Old Testament. The Bible is very clear on marriage
"Each man should have his own wife (singular word), and each woman her own husband (singular word). [I Corinthians 7:2]
All those who disobey God in this regard must read this verse of the Bible"In a similar way, Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding towns gave themselves up to sexual immorality and perversion. They serve as an example of those who suffer the punishment of eternal fire". [Jude 7]
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Re: Is Polygamy allowed in the Old Testament?

Post  derprinz on Thu 04 Jun 2009, 12:40 am

Exodus 21:10, a man can marry an infinite amount of women without any limits to how many he can marry.
Deuteronomy 21:15 "If a man has two wives, and he loves one but not the other,
and both bear him sons...."

The Old Testament as we clearly see above does
indeed allow polygamy without a shadow of a doubt !!.

Jesus said: "Do not think that I have come to abolish the
Law (the Old Testament) or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill
them. I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest
letter, not the least stroke or a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law (the Old
Testament) until everything is accomplished.

let me tell u something


Male Population

Female Population












“What makes this state of affairs possible, of course,
is a supply of willing women. Most are single, both because of the
numbers of unmarried women (there are 34 million in the United States
today) and because single women generally have more free time and
energy than do their
married counterparts. Consider these statistics: One out of every five
today has no potential mate because there are simply not enough single
men to
go around
here is a universal biological constraint in male and
female reproduction. A woman’s reproductive capacity declines after her 20s
and ends with menopause, but even a man in his 70s retains the ability to
father children.[8] Polygamy is
a solution for a man who desires more children, especially in traditional,
agrarian societies. This may seem irrelevant in the Western context where childbearing
is increasingly becoming independent of marriage. Polygamy is also an
alternative for a man who desires to satisfy his natural sexual relations within
the bounds of marriage, but whose wife may be averse to them due to age or
sickness. Moreover, Islam prohibits sexual relations during a woman’s monthly
cycles. Therefore, the prolonged menstrual period of the woman which prevents
the husband from having sex with her, or a man whose sexual urge is not
satisfied by one wife, may marry another. Islam permits such men to realize
their desire within a legal framework, making them responsible for their
sexuality, so he does not have to resort to cohabitation or prostitution.

Institutional polygamy controls the spread of sexually
transmitted diseases like Herpes and AIDS. Such venereal diseases spread in
promiscuous societies where extra-marital affairs and prostitution are
widespread. This may be due to a husband’s bringing back the diseases he is
infected with in an extramarital affair when he returns back to his ‘monogamous’
relationship with his wife.

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Re: Is Polygamy allowed in the Old Testament?

Post  Waqar Daniel on Thu 04 Jun 2009, 9:10 pm

Let me ask you two questions.

  • What Social Law Jews were following before God revealed Ten Commandments and other laws?
  • Give a verse where God approves polygamy saying it is permitted to Israelites that they can marry more than once?


Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the LORD Jesus Christ. (Philemon 1:3)

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