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Does the Bible Condemn Polygamy? – Part 7

The Issues Desk wishes to continue the discussion on polygamy. A great deal of people, especially Christians, argues that polygamy is wrong and unacceptable as far as the Bible is concerned. It is a dogma that has been taught for ages.

I, and I some other people, I believe, on the other hand, disagree with the teaching that polygamy is un-Christian or unbiblical. I maintain that polygamy is an acceptable, scriptural practice.  In short, there is nothing wrong in a Christian man having more than one wife, once that man is neither a bishop nor a deacon or is not interested in becoming one.

Now, let no one misconstrue my argument and conclude that I am saying that all Christians should have more than one wife. That’s not my point. First, my argument is, and has been, that the Bible does not condemn polygamy. Second, if a person wants to be a polygamist, let no pastor or Bible teacher say that the Bible forbids him to. In the same vein, if another person chooses to be a monogamist, that’s his choice.

It has been said that man, by nature, is polygamous. Adam had the same polygamous nature in him. When Adam opened his eyes from the deep sleep he was placed in, if he had seen three beautiful women standing before him, I believe he would have taken all as wives. Indeed, men are polygamous. Lamech knew it well. He had two wives – Adah and Zillah – according to Genesis 4. Abraham knew it well; he had three wives. Jacob knew it well; he had two wives. David knew it well; he had six wives. Solomon knew it well; he had 700 wives. Rehoboan, Solomon’s son, knew it, too; he had 18 wives.

Polygamy was a normal practice in Old and New Testament times. Ordinary Christians in Paul’s days practiced it. So, it confuses me that most pastors and Bible teachers contend that polygamy is unscriptural and unacceptable. When they are asked to prove their point, they quote the Old Testament Book of Genesis, explaining that God made one man and one woman, as if Lamech, Abraham, Jacob, David, Solomon, Rehoboan, and others didn’t know about it.

We are aware that many of the great men of God, according to Bible history, men whose names are among the list of men of faith as recorded in Hebrews 11, surely did some bad or wrong things for which they were reprimanded or punished in one way or another, but polygamy was not one of those bad or wrong things. If anyone can prove otherwise, I will succumb and apologize publicly.

In Part I, I not only started the discussion; I presented four arguments in favor of polygamy. I re-emphasized those arguments in Part 2. Then in Part 3, I began refuting some of the so-called strong arguments against polygamy. I continued the process in Parts 4, 5 & 6, and I wish to do the same in this current part – Part 7.

6.  Polygamy is wrong because it promotes unfaithfulness among women. This is so because, since it is impossible for a man to sexually and emotionally satisfy all of his wives, say, five, some could choose to have secret lovers.

Well, this – that dissatisfied wives could love outside – could be true, but to say that polygamy is wrong because it could cause dissatisfied women to cheat on their husbands is hilarious because women in monogamous marriages also cheat.

In fact, most of the women cheating around here, in Europe, America, and so forth are women who live in monogamous relationships. Is it not so? Are we also going to argue that monogamy is wrong because most women in monogamous marriages cheat on their husbands? If a woman wants to cheat in a relationship, she will cheat. And it does not matter whether she is in a monogamous or polygamous relationship.

The interesting part is that many of those arguing that polygamy is wrong on the basis that it encourages women to cheat are themselves monogamous people cheating all over the place. I would also argue that cheating in relationship is a natural, or tends to be a natural, tendency. So, on this cheating business, as my late maternal grandfather would say, “Don’t spoil polygamy’s name on this one.”

Beside, not because a person feels that polygamy could cause a woman to be unfaithful to her husband he should lie on the Bible, saying that the Bible condemns polygamy. It does not.

7. Polygamy is wrong because it puts too much stress on the man, as he tries to satisfy all of the women in his life, along with the children they have.

Frankly, this is one of the arguments that I would not like to waste my time on at all; however, sometimes it is good to comment on these “simple” arguments at some point so that they are not proffered further.

Really, I don’t understand why anyone would consider this a cogent argument against polygamy. What does stress have to do with the rightness or wrongness of polygamy?

If we are to argue that polygamy is wrong because it puts too much stress on a man, then many other things could be considered wrong, too. For instance, working and going to school at the same time puts too much stress on the individual. Taking care of children is stressful, too. Taking care of a home is stressful, especially considering the economically difficult situation we find ourselves in. Many jobs are also stressful. Are they wrong, too?

But even if it is true that it puts too much stress on a man, whose business is it to tell a man that he should not marry more than one woman because of that stress? As our people would say, “Da your business?” If the man wants to go through that stress, don’t disturb him. Why cry more than the bereaved? Isn’t it true that some people do well under stress?

8. Polygamy is wrong because the Bible does not support it, not even in the slightest sense. By people practicing it in the olden days does not in any way mean that God or the Bible supports it.

Here, I will not mince words. This, as our people would say, is a black lie. The Bible does support polygamy. Permit me to use a few verse to prove my case.

First, let’s look at Deuteronomy 25:5. It reads: “If brothers are living together and one of them dies without a son, his widow must not marry outside the family. Her husband’s brother shall take her and marry her and fulfill the duty of a brother-in-law to her.”

Now, pay attention, dear readers. The Bible says that if a woman’s husband dies, that dead man’s brother must marry the widow. The main point to observe is that the Bible does not present any condition. It does not say, “Only if the living brother is unmarried.” In short, it does not matter whether the man is already married or not. Once his brother dies, he must marry his dead brother’s wife. Isn’t this as simple as saying 1-2-3? If he is single, he must marry her. If he already has two wives, he must still marry her. If he has four wives, he must also still marry her. In this passage, the Bible clearly supports polygamy. Isn’t it so?

Another passage that not only indicates that the Bible supports polygamy, but also considers polygamy a normal Biblical practice is Deuteronomy 21:15-17. It says, “If a man has two wives, and he loves one but not the other, and both bear him sons but the firstborn is the son of the wife he does not love, when he wills his property to his sons, he must not give the rights of the firstborn to the son of the wife he loves in preference to his actual firstborn, the son of the wife he does not love. He must acknowledge the son of his unloved wife as the firstborn by giving him a double share of all he has. That son is the first sign of his father’s strength. The right of the firstborn belongs to him.”

Where in these verses is polygamy condemned or considered abnormal? Isn’t polygamy recognized as a normal practice in this passage? It is such a normal, acceptable practice that there are clear instructions about the duties of the man, as seen in this passage. Why would preachers and Bible teachers look at this passage and still argue that the Bible does not support polygamy, or that those practicing it did not meet the approval of God? I don’t understand.

To conclude this part, let me restate certain points. If a person decides to have one wife, it’s the person decision. If another person chooses to have more than one wife, let no individual or institution forbid that man, except where that person desires to be a bishop or a deacon. Second, the Bible does not condemn polygamy. Polygamy is an acceptable, normal, scriptural practice. Let no man lie on the Bible, saying, “The Bible condemns polygamy.” It does not.

To be continued…
Believe me, my people. We will never stop following the issues.

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