Why did God let people marry more than one spouse in the Bible?

Why did God sanction the practice of polygamy and bigamy in the Old Testament?

Polygamy is a controversial topic since most modern people consider it unethical, however the Bible makes no such statement. In Genesis 4:19, we learn that Lamech “married two wives,” the earliest occurrence of biblical polygamy or bigamy. Several well-known figures from the Old Testament practiced polygamy. Multiple marriages were common for historical figures including Abraham, Jacob, David, and Solomon. According to 1 Kings 11:3, Solomon had 700 wives and 300 concubines (basically spouses of a lesser level). What are we to make of the Old Testament’s polygamous practices? Three inquiries necessitate solutions: The first question to ask is why God condoned polygamy in the Old Testament. Two) What is God’s current opinion on polygamy? #3) What caused the shift?

(1) If God was so holy, why did He permit polygamy in the Old Testament?

The Bible is silent on the subject of why God sanctioned several marriages. We can rule out a number of possibilities as we try to fathom God’s silence, but there is still one major consideration. Because of the norms of patriarchal countries, single women seldom have the means to support themselves. Many women did not have access to education or professional development. Fathers, brothers, and spouses were responsible for providing for and safeguarding their wives and daughters. Women who were unable to start families were particularly vulnerable to sexual exploitation and servitude.

Thus, it appears that God sanctioned polygamy to ensure the safety and security of those women who were unable to find a spouse any other way. Traditionally, a guy would marry more than one woman and be responsible for providing for and protecting his growing family. The alternative to being raised in a polygamous family was either prostitution, enslavement, or famine, all of which were much worse. God commanded his people to “be prolific and expand in number; multiply on the earth,” and polygamy made that possible by making it possible to have children quickly (Genesis 9:7). As a result of men’s ability to impregnate numerous women at once, the human population is expanding at a considerably quicker rate than it would be if every guy only had one kid each year.

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(2) What is God’s current opinion on polygamy?

While the Bible does allow for polygamy, it portrays monogamy as the model that most closely follows God’s desire for marriage. According to the Bible, God intended for each man to marry only one woman. The verse “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife [not wives], and they will become one flesh [not fleshes]” (KJV) states that this is why a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife (Genesis 2:24). It’s important to notice that Genesis 2:24 focuses on what marriage is rather than how many individuals are involved. God forbids kings from having many wives in Deuteronomy 17:14-20. (or horses or gold). Even while this statement cannot be taken as an order for the kings to remain monogamous, it might be construed as a warning against having more than one wife. This is evident in Solomon’s life (1 Kings 11:3-4).

Among the requirements for church leadership in the New Testament, “the husband of one woman” is mentioned in 1 Timothy 3:1, 12, and Titus 1:6. As to what this criterion actually entails, there is significant disagreement. The literal translation of the term is “a woman’s man.” Whether or whether the expression is meant to specifically allude to polygamy, there is no way that a polygamist can be viewed as a “one-woman guy.” While these traits are especially important for those in positions of spiritual leadership, all Christians should strive to embody them. Shouldn’t every Christian be “beyond reproach” (1 Timothy 3:2-4)? That is, “not given to drinking,” “not violent but kind,” “not quarrelsome,” “not a lover of money,” and “able to instruct.” If these requirements are holy for elders and deacons (as stated in 1 Peter 1:16), then they must be holy for everyone.

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The husband and wife’s relationship is discussed in Ephesians 5:22–33. When a husband is mentioned (in the singular), his wife is usually implied (singular). Because the husband is the leader of his wife (in the singular)… And he who loves his wife (in the singular) loves himself. Because of this, a guy will usually move away from his family and live with his wife instead. Also, “each of you is to love his wife (plural) as he loves himself, and the wife (plural) is to respect her husband (singular).” Even though Paul uses the plural “husbands” and “wives” in a similar context in Colossians 3:18-19, it is obvious that he is writing to all the married couples among the Colossian Christians and not implying that a single man might have more than one wife. Ephesians 5:22–33, in contrast, is talking about a married couple. If polygamy were legal, the analogy between Christ and the church (His body) and the husband and wife would break down completely.

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(3) What caused the shift?

Instead of God forbidding something that He has previously sanctioned, He is bringing marriage back in line with His original design. God never intended for there to be more than one spouse, even as far back as with Adam and Eve. Polygamy is a solution to an apparent problem that God has permitted, but it is not the best solution. There is no longer any justification for polygamy in the majority of contemporary civilizations. The single “advantage” of polygamy, having several wives, is nullified in modern societies when women can provide for and defend themselves. Moreover, the practice of polygamy is illegal in the vast majority of contemporary nations. We are commanded to submit to governmental authorities in Romans 13:1–7. If the law is in conflict with God’s precepts, then it is permissible to disobey the law (Acts 5:29). A law against polygamy should be respected since God tolerates rather than mandates the practice.

Is it possible that there are still certain modern-day situations where polygamy might be acceptable? The idea that there is no other way out seems inconceivable, yet it’s plausible. It is our firm view that polygamy does not glorify God and is not His purpose for marriage due to the “one flesh” component of marriage, the necessity for oneness and harmony in marriage, and the absence of any true need for polygamy.

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