David Cloud on Polygamy

If having your traditions challenged offends you, you may wish to skip this post. If, however, you are open to an honest and biblically-based discussion on a controversial topic, you are encouraged to continue.

I posted recently about my part in the polygyny debate, and I’m glad to have finally said all that I did. I don’t know that I have a great deal of literature on the subject to look into — the internet has been an invaluable resource thus far. (You can talk about the unreliability of the internet for research if you’d like, but the brilliant thing about using it for theological research is that no matter who is doing the teaching, the standard of truth is always the same: Holy Writ. And that’s something any web page can be lined up against easily enough.)

But I did find mention of the subject in David Cloud‘s Way of Life Encyclopedia of the Bible & Christianity (4th edition). Looking at the arguments, it doesn’t seem as though they hold much water, and I want to share with you all why I think that; if I get something wrong, please correct me. Further, if you have arguments which are more sound than Cloud’s, please share them with me.

Cloud begins with a bold statement (emphasis mine):

Though certain O.T. believers practiced polygamy (Ge. 25:6; 35:22; Ju. 8:31; 2 Sa. 5:13; 1 Ki. 11:3; 2 Ch. 11:21), it has always been condemned by God.

That’s a sweeping statement, one which you would expect to find ample evidence of, given the “always” qualifier. Let’s look through Cloud’s list and see how his premise holds up under scrutiny:

(1) God ordained one-woman, one-man marriage in the beginning (Ge. 2:20-24).

God certainly did ordain marriage in the beginning, but He did not specify that man would cleave necessarily unto only one wife after leaving his parents. That the original marriage had a 1:1 ratio seems circumstantial at best, much like the fact that God’s originally ordained married couple went around naked all over the place.

(2) Polygamy originated with the son of rebellious Cain (Ge. 4:16-19).

If you buy this argument, I should hope that you are consistent in your practice. Maintaining Cloud’s second point would require you to forsake the usage of any technology, medicine, entertainment, food, institution, and so on which originated with the son of a sinner.

I hope you like living in a cave, licking moss to survive.

Take a peak at Genesis 4:16-19 with me. Truly, it deserves a look-see:

Then Cain went out from the presence of the Lord, and settled in the land of Nod, east of Eden. 17And Cain had relations with his wife and she conceived, and gave birth to Enoch; and he built a city, and called the name of the city Enoch, after4 the name of his son. 18Now to Enoch was born Irad; and Irad became the father of Mehujael; and Mehujael became the father of Methushael; and Methushael became the father of Lamech. 19And Lamech took to himself two wives: the name of the one was Adah, and the name of the other, Zillah. NASB

That’s pretty straightforward, no? Did you notice, though, that nowhere do we find God condemning Lamech for the practice? If first-mentions in the Bible are important, then the first mention of polygyny within the Scriptures not only goes unpunished, but God never — not even in the slightest — gives a negative word about it.

Actually, I would just about be prepared to go so far as to say that God blessed Lamech’s relationship with both his wives. Just look at the legacy they have left:

In verse 20 we learn of Lamech & Adah’s son Jabal, who “was the father of those who dwell in tents and have livestock” (NASB). Certainly we know that Abel was the first to keep livestock, yet Jabal pioneered the field. He invented tents — mobile dwellings whereby the shepherd may tend to his livestock wherever they may need to go. This art endured through the time of the patriarchs and is still in use today by some.

In verse 21 we learn of Jabal’s brother Jubal, who “was the father of all those who play the lyre and pipe” (NASB). Here we have the Scripture’s first mention of music, invented by someone who was part of the supposed ungodly line of Cain. Not only do we have the first mention of music, but we have the invention of both stringed & woodwind instruments — inventions which would go on to be given an important place in the worship of God (see Psalm 150, for example).

Finally in verse 22 we hear of Lamech & Zillah’s son Tubal-cain who was “the forger of all implements of bronze and iron” (NASB). And so we have the beginnings of metal-based technology, and it has its origins in the son of a polygynous father!

What a legacy that family made for itself! We would be hard pressed to find a family that has left such a long-lasting positive affect on the world. And through all of it, never once do we hear anything negative from God or Moses (or anyone else for that matter) concerning the marriage of Lamech to two women. Never once do we hear of disharmony between Lamech and his wives or between their children.

Okay, so polygyny originated with the son of rebellious Cain. So what? Monogamy originated with the world’s first sinners!

If God wanted to condemn Lamech, He would have; since He did not, we should not lest we be guilty of wresting the words of Scripture to suit our beliefs.

(3) Concerning David and other O.T. saints who had plural wives: (a) It resulted in much heartache and trouble (Ge. 16:1-6; 1 Sa. 1:2-8; 1 Ki. 11:1-8).

Let’s take this one sub-point at a time. Cloud makes the assertion that David and other Old Testament saints were caused heartache and trouble because of their taking multiple wives. I’ll not tarry long on each of these — and you are more than encouraged to look each of the verses up yourself — but here is hopefully a little more insight into the cited passages:

  • Genesis 16:1-6 — Abraham is not condemned for having multiple wives — if he is, I’m not seeing it. Abraham was enticed by his wife Sarai to take Hagar as a wife so that she may bare Abraham a child. Sarai did not believe she was capable of having kids, and wanted Abraham to have the promised child — her cause, at least, was noble. She believed that God’s promise in Abraham would be fulfilled, even if she had to see it be done via Hagar. Whatever problems arose were not due to Abraham’s polygyny (which was merely circumstantial), but rather stemmed from a lack of faith that God’s promise would be fulfilled.
  • 1 Samuel 1:2-8 — Elkanah had two wives, but they could not get along. The sin here is not polygyny — it’s a failure to love one another. I’m not entirely sure what the relationship between two wives of one man would be — would it be sisterly? Whatever the case, there should at least be a familial love shared between the women. A house divided against itself cannot stand; that is the sin of this passage. “Well, doesn’t that prove that polygynous relationships are unhealthy because it gives occasions for the wives to not get along?” If you want to take that route, I hope you are consistent and apply it to monogamous relationships as well — does the skyrocketed divorce rate suggest that something is inherently screwed up with monogamy as well?
  • 1 Kings 11:1-8 — Solomon marries a great many women — and has more still as concubines. These women led to his worshiping other gods. Was the sin polygyny? Not according to the Bible! Solomon was guilty of taking foreign wives — a violation of what the Lord had commanded. Israelites were to marry Israelites. Don’t insert into the text that polygyny was the sin; God has already spelled out what the sin was for us.

It’s amazing what one discovers when dealing with the biblical texts. Moving on…

(b) God had forbidden kings to multiply wives (De. 17:14,17). David, Solomon, and other kings who had multiple wives were living contrary to God’s word.

Before I even touch what Cloud has said here, I want to ask you, are you a king of Israel? No? Then this does not apply to you. Now, if you do happen to be a king of Israel, let’s see what the Lord has spoken concerning your marital rights:

“When you enter the land which the Lord your God gives you, and you possess it and live in it, and you say, ‘I will set a king over me like all the nations who are around me,’ … Neither shall he multiply wives for himself, lest his heart turn away; nor shall he greatly increase silver and gold for himself.” Deuteronomy 17:14, 17, NASB

John Gill in his commentary notes that it was a common notion that a Jewish king could have as many as eighteen wives, but no more.

Whatever the case may be, we do see here that a king was not to take unto himself many wives — nor great wealth or even horses (verse 16).

If you really want to apply this to non-royal Jews — or to Christendom — you must be consistent and make use of every biblical law concerning Jewish kings. Cloud commits a non sequituur error; it does not follow that because Jewish kings were told to abstain from having many wives, so must we.

(c) Most men of God even in the O.T. had only one wife. This is true for Adam (Ge. 2-4), Noah (Ge. 6:18), Isaac (Ge. 25:20-23), Joseph (Ge. 41:45), Moses (Ex. 2:21), Boaz (Ru. 4), Job (Job 1), Isaiah (Is. 8:3), and Hosea (Ho. 3:1-3).

If I may be so bold… So what? Most men of God mentioned in the Scriptures lived in Israel; must I? None of the men of God mentioned in the Scriptures ever had a pizza; must I then abstain?

Monogamy is a perfectly valid form of marriage, and so we would expect it to be exampled for us in the Scriptures.

Oh, and it seems as though Moses too was a polygynist. Perhaps his inclusion in Cloud’s list was a typographical error?

(4) There is no N.T. example of a godly Christian having more than one wife.

Again, so? There is no New Testament example of a great many things we do everyday. Don’t take this link as a sweeping recommendation for all that is said on the site, but according to some, polygyny is commanded by God within the pages of the New Testament. Interesting, no?

However, no mention of Christian polygynists within the New Testament is not reason enough to condemn the practice. (Indeed, were it to be condemned, God would have needed to actually condemn it for us; where there is no Law, there is no sin.)

Further, there is no New Testament example of a missionary authoring a Bible encyclopedia, sending out email newsletters, and maintaining “apostasy databases,” but guess how Mr. Cloud spends his time!

(5) Those who have more than one wife today are forbidden to hold church leadership positions (1 Ti. 3:2, 12; Tit. 1:6).

Titus 1:6 tells us that an elder must be “the husband of one wife, having children who believe” (NASB).

First Timothy 3:2 says likewise says that an “overseer, then, must be above reproach, the husband of one wife” (NASB).

Okay, so church leadership may only have one wife. As with the passage above about the kings of Israel, if you are not what the passage is talking about, then the passage does not apply to you. It’s that simple.

Now, I have heard that Christian men should only have one wife because we can never know whether or not God will call us to the position of church elder. However, if that’s the case, then any Christian man should get married to one woman as soon as possible and start having children. Do you see that in the passage?

An elder must be married, must have children, and they themselves must be believers. If those qualifications are not meant met, then there is no truly biblical eldership. That is, after all, what the passage states — no more, no less.

Yet Paul encourages believers to remain single so that they may pursue the things of the Lord. Based on that fact, it seems pointless to claim that we should keep ourselves in a position wherein we may enter the ministry of elder at a moment’s notice. One can hardly get married, have children, and ensure that they are become Christians that quickly!

I have also heard it said that because elders are supposed to be examples to us, we should then follow their example by having only one wife.

In a sense, that is valid, but it is by no means authoritative because it is an assumption imposed upon the texts. If God had said, “husband of one wife, as an example to believing men,” that would make things a little different. The concept of elders being the quintessential or typical Christian is not to be found within the pastoral epistles themselves. We must be careful not to add unto the Scriptures.

This shows that God is against polygamy. Those who practiced this were disobeying God, even though some were godly men. David is a key example. He multiplied wives to himself in spite of God’s command against this, but his lust also brought him into terrible grief.

Thus David Cloud concludes the “Polygamy” article of his encyclopedia, prior to offering even one substantial argument against the practice which he believes “God is against.”

It’s easy to point to special cases — kings should not multiply wives, elders should be the husband of one wife — yet to search the Scriptures for a commandments against common men having multiple wives, you would come up empty.

David seems to be a favorite example of Cloud’s, and he concludes by stating David had multiple wives “in spite of God’s command against this.”

Would it surprise you then to learn that at least some of David’s wives were given to him by God Himself? We learn that through Nathan the prophet, and you can check out the passage yourself at 2 Samuel 12:8. At the very least we can conclude from that simple passage two things:

  1. The law against kings multiplying wives unto themselves did not forbid a plurality of wives — just as the previous verse in that passage did not forbid a plurality of horses. Rather, as the King James Version states, it was forbidden for a king to have “many” wives; yes, that is subjective, but from David’s example, we know that he had yet to cross that boundary of having many wives as God gave him multiple!
  2. That polygyny is not a sin. I’ve come this far in this discussion, and that is the conclusion I must settle on lest I become guilty of rejecting the Scriptures. If God does not tempt man to sin (James 1:13), and God gave wives to David, then it must be concluded that David was not being led into a sinful situation.

If all of the above offends you, I encourage you to ask yourself why it does. Is my understanding of the Scriptures in these matters wrong? If so, don’t get offended; rather, correct me in all gentleness and patience as the Scriptures encourage you to do. All I ask is what has been asked by me — and demanded of me by my belief in sola Scriptura: Remain open to what the Word of God says. The Scriptures don’t just trump traditions; they smash traditions, replacing them with wisdom that is of God.

May we continue to seek that wisdom!

34 thoughts on “David Cloud on Polygamy

  1. Rick Beckman says:
    Student of the sciences, the religions, the science fictions, and the fantasies… But mostly I’m just trying to find my groove in this big, crazy world.

    Mark: Welcome to RickBeckman.org. :) And thanks for your comments!

    Regarding your second point, about David, I don’t know whether or not David actually married them. That doesn’t change the fact that God gave them or that He offered to give even more if the initial blessings weren’t enough for David. We do know from 2 Samuel 3 that David had multiple wives — for which he is never condemned.

    Regarding your first point, it still seems like a stretch to believe that because Adam & Eve were 1:1, so must we all be. After all, if that were by any means an ideal, Paul wouldn’t have said he’d rather us remain single to pursue the things of the Lord. Likewise, Yahweh could have laid the matter to rest on any number of occasions by simply pointing out that as Adam only had Eve, so man should only have one wife. Yet in the numerous examples of biblical polygyny, not one such admonition is given. In fact, the only time that I am aware of in which the relationship & union between Adam & Eve is invoked in teaching is when Jesus is settling the matter of divorce. He points out that the union between man & woman is a union which no man should put asunder; He does not point out that the union is also exclusive (i.e., man can only have one wife which he may be one with).

    And regarding your third point, if sexual purity was meant, Paul could have simply required that an elder be not sexually impure, as he did in such as 1 Corinthians 6:9. Indeed, that the “one wife” requirement is given at all makes for a strong argument that it was a practice at the time for men to have more than one wife — either through polygyny or the unlawful use of divorce. Whatever the case may be, the “one wife” requirement is never given to “lay” Christians, but only of elders & deacons.

  2. Mark says:

    God certainly did ordain marriage in the beginning, but He did not specify that man would cleave necessarily unto only one wife after leaving his parents. That the original marriage had a 1:1 ratio seems circumstantial at best, much like the fact that God’s originally ordained married couple went around naked all over the place.

    The 1:1 ratio and one flesh speaks of a completness both sexual and in union (a whole). A child born in that union is the perfect result, ‘one flesh’ perhaps? I really don’t think circumstantial chance happens in the text, at lest not to convey a truth. :)

    We learn that through Nathan the prophet, and you can check out the passage yourself at 2 Samuel 12:8

    God had simply given David everything that was Saul’s. Are you sure David even married any of them?

    First Timothy 3:2 says likewise says that an “overseer, then, must be above reproach, the husband of one wife” (NASB).

    I don’t think this verse as anything to do with his martial status, but about his sexual purity. Not to mention it does once again confirm one man one woman.

    God bless!

  3. Mark says:

    Hi Rick, Thanks for the welcome and your thoughts. :)

    If more than one wife is ok with God, how would man maintain his sexual purity? This would be the most prone area for men to fail, no?

    Yet in the numerous examples of biblical polygyny, not one such admonition is given.

    Could this also be reasoned about ‘slavery’?

    Secondly, was polgamy even common in Roman society? I would say no. In fact a polygamist could not even have been a member of the church, much less a leader.

    I think it is a stretch not to see the several texts as man and woman as anything but exclusive. (Gen 2:24, Mt 19:5,6, Mk 10:6-9, and Paul Eph 5:31)

    I would not put the maritial status in Timothy as the subject, it is clearly sexual purity, IMHO. To breach this is to be no longer above reproach.

    Remember Paul himself was a single man.

    Whatever the case may be, the “one wife” requirement is never given to “lay” Christians, but only of elders & deacons.

    So the leadership of the church only leads, encourages, and teaches the laity towards a lesser example of holiness?

    :)

  4. Rick Beckman says:
    Student of the sciences, the religions, the science fictions, and the fantasies… But mostly I’m just trying to find my groove in this big, crazy world.

    Welcome back. I’m going to preface this post quickly with this: If I come off as believing I’m absolutely right and everyone else is absolutely wrong if they disagree with me, I apologize. I tend to write assertively — a trait I know doubt have picked up from my dad — and it’s been known to rub people the wrong way because they think I’m being a jerk. And due to the controversial nature of the subject matter, I wanted to make that clear. :P

    Moving on…

    If more than one wife is ok with God, how would man maintain his sexual purity? This would be the most prone area for men to fail, no?

    I’m not for sure what you mean here. Why would having multiple wives create more of a problem for man? Wouldn’t he be more likely that a man would have his sexual desire filled within the legitimate bonds of marriage if he had two wives?

    By no means is that to say that sex is a valid reason to go out and take multiple wives. However, even Paul stated that it is better for a man to marry than to burn with lust. That may or may not legitimize the fulfilling of the sexual desire as a reason to marry; if it does, then it’s valid for polygynous situations as well, provided that the conditions can be met (i.e., the Law of God states that if a man takes another wife, he is to not diminish the care provided to the first or previous wives).

    However, like I said, I’m not for sure what you meant, so if I guessed wrongly at your implication, please clarify. :)

    Could this also be reasoned about ’slavery’?

    Slavery is not condemned within the Scriptures. It is presented as a legitimate institution which is guided by the Law of God and the principles of the Word of God. While it is true that in Christ there is no bondman or freeman, it is also true that there is no male or female. That equality in Christ does no more to negate slavery than it does to negate differences in gender.

    The Book of Philemon all but legitimizes the practice of slavery — including appealing to the master for situations concerning the slave (verse 14). That epistle of all places we would expect to find a condemnation of the practice if it is indeed to be condemned or forbidden, but Paul sanctions its continued practice in the case of Philemon & Onesimus.

    Secondly, was polgamy even common in Roman society? I would say no. In fact a polygamist could not even have been a member of the church, much less a leader.

    In Roman society, I don’t know; in American society, it isn’t really common either — neither is lifelong monogamy, for that matter. However, culture does not define doctrine.

    If I may make an observation — church history buffs, please correct me: Polygyny was practiced by the Jews, was practiced by early Christians (who were Jews), but was eventually put out of practice as the Church attracted Romans & Greeks who disapproved of the practice.

    I think it is a stretch not to see the several texts as man and woman as anything but exclusive. (Gen 2:24, Mt 19:5,6, Mk 10:6-9, and Paul Eph 5:31)

    I don’t dispute that a man is to leave his parents, cleaving to his wife as they become one.

    However, 2 Corinthians 11:2 is revealing. We know that Paul was part of the bride of Christ, but in this verse Paul states that he espoused others as chaste virgins to Christ. So while Paul is a member of the Bride of Christ, he espouses others to Christ as well. And Christ becomes one with all of them. The 1:1 relationship goes much farther than “Christ:Church.” It is more like this: Christ:Christian1, Christ:Christian2, Christ:Christian3.

    Bringing the symbolism of that from Christ back to the realm of ordinary men, we have this: Husband:Household — husband:wife1, husband:wife2, husband:wife3…

    Each relationship fits what Christ, Paul, and Moses have said about marriage and Adam & Eve. In every instance, two become one, and exclusivity isn’t required for it to be valid.

    I would not put the maritial status in Timothy as the subject, it is clearly sexual purity, IMHO. To breach this is to be no longer above reproach.

    If sexual purity was the issue, Paul very likely would have encouraged them not to marry, especially given the context of church leadership (1 Corinthians 7:32).

    I have checked a variety of commentaries, and all agree that “husband of one wife” refers to the number of wives and not simply to sexual immorality. After all, a married man could fornicate with an unmarried woman, yet he still is “the husband of one wife.” He would no doubt be in a state of sin, but that specific qualification isn’t the point of sin.

    Remember Paul himself was a single man.

    Or a widower; I’m not sure if we can know for certain.

    So the leadership of the church only leads, encourages, and teaches the laity towards a lesser example of holiness?

    That implies that polygyny is less holy. If that is the case, it is sinful and none should be practicing it.

    However, if it is a valid form of marriage, then it is no more or less holy than monogamy — unless one happens to be in church leadership.

    Keep in mind that deacons & elders are told they *must* be the husband of one wife; does that then imply that single men are living in lesser holiness?

    Being the husband of one wife allows the elders & deacons two things:

    1) It proves their ability to lead the flock if they are able to keep their household in order.
    2) It prevents them from being overly concerned with the things of this world (1 Corinthians 7:33).

  5. Mark says:

    Rick,
    I am going to take a stab, your a young man eh?

    As thought out as your stances are, which I commend you, there are two ares which you over simplify and sort of ignore. The historocity of the text, and the historiography context in which the writer writes.

    Tha fact the writers of any biblical text do not fit what you think their intentions should have been, for instance you say “If sexual purity was the issue, Paul very likely would have encouraged them not to marry, especially given the context of church leadership”, should not preclude the intended message. This point would secondly also be applied to your modern day understanding of the term slavery perhaps.

    Why would having multiple wives create more of a problem for man? Wouldn’t he be more likely that a man would have his sexual desire filled within the legitimate bonds of marriage if he had two wives?

    Rick, with no disrespect intended, this question elevates your current lack of understanding of man’s very nature, sexually especially. You will notice, you offer a very selfish reason why it would be ligitimate, as most unholy reasoning usually leads us, myself being guilty at times as well.
    Secondly, in general, sexual purity as been a constant threat to the body of Christ, the church. It will be the easiest to justifiy in our mind, and before God. One does not need look far in the modern church today, to see such sins held up before God has holy. That is something I fear you never do. Just as Paul understood.

    Keep in mind that deacons & elders are told they *must* be the husband of one wife; does that then imply that single men are living in lesser holiness?

    No, don’t be silly. :) Single men should remain pure until marriage of one woman. Please don’t so easly dismiss the fact that sexual purity remains the issue at hand. It plagued the church in Paul day and ours. Church leadership needs to be beyond reproach for many reasons. The laity have no less standards to live by based on that at all. The difference lies in the Authority one has been given. I hope you can see that.

    This conversation has been enjoyable. Thank you Rick for your thoughts. I pray we both grow in God’s grace and wisdom, never to compromise His wisdom for ours.

    Your take on 2 Corinthinas 11:2 starts off ok, then you go so far off the road, your gps is has no signal. :) Paul is quite simply imploring them to remain in sexual purity. As their spiritual father he portrays the Corintinans like a daughter. His passionate deire they remain pure in that purity of both body and mind until Christ, see Rev 19:7.

  6. Rick Beckman says:
    Student of the sciences, the religions, the science fictions, and the fantasies… But mostly I’m just trying to find my groove in this big, crazy world.

    Mark: Yes, I’m 24 — saved for six years, married for 23 months. So, sure, I’m a young man.

    Based on the information in the above post of mine, I came to the conclusion I did near the end of it. However, by no means do I consider the matter closed. There’s much I see on “Christian Polygyny” sites that I find to be simply vacuous. Out of a desire for truth, my foray into the subject is exploratory and has resulted in growth in understanding of the Scriptures and the cultures portrayed therein.

    So I’m glad to be able to discuss the issue with you. :)

    Also, I’m not sure what you’re getting at here:

    Rick, with no disrespect intended, this question elevates your current lack of understanding of man’s very nature, sexually especially. You will notice, you offer a very selfish reason why it would be ligitimate, as most unholy reasoning usually leads us, myself being guilty at times as well.

    I’m still uncertain why I man would be more likely to commit sexual sin if he had many wives. There seems to be quite a few sexual sins committed by monogamous men as well, and they likely account for a not-so-insignificant portion of the divorces that blacken our world.

    I don’t see how the opinion I offered is any more selfish than what Paul said in 1 Corinthians 7:9, saying that it is better to marry than to burn for those who lack self-control.

  7. Mark says:

    Rick,

    I’m still uncertain why I man would be more likely to commit sexual sin if he had many wives.

    First, take into consideration the state of man’s heart, his flesh, and his worldly desires. No man, even if married to one woman, will not lust. Nor will he be not be guilty of unholy sexual desires, ever! A mere thought is considered adultry, murder, etc.. before the holy standard of God. Need verse? Matthew comes to mind..:)

    I don’t see how the opinion I offered is any more selfish than what Paul said in 1 Corinthians 7:9, saying that it is better to marry than to burn for those who lack self-control.

    “let” them marry is more of a command than a “if” indication as I study that text. In other words, no one can live ‘happy’ and serve our Lord if his life is dominated by unfullfilled sexual desires or other passions. This point was especially important and applicable to those Paul was speaking to in the Corinthian society, no?

    I am so glad you remain open, and more importantly, you use the scripture to confirm your conclusions. You are indeed blessed.

    :)

  8. Mark says:

    btw
    Mark: Yes, I’m 24 — saved for six years,

    Were you not saved before you were even born, or a mere thought in your daddy’s eye?
    wink

    :)

  9. Rick Beckman says:
    Student of the sciences, the religions, the science fictions, and the fantasies… But mostly I’m just trying to find my groove in this big, crazy world.

    And technically, am I still not being saved? ;)

    I fully agree that lust after another man’s wife is the same as committing adultery with her. Likewise, lusting after an unmarried woman might as well be fornication.

    And I agree such temptation exists even in monogamous marriages.

    I don’t see why it would be worse if the man were multiply-married, though.

  10. Mark says:

    I don’t see why it would be worse if the man were multiply-married, though.

    It would not be ‘worse’.

    And technically, am I still not being saved?

    Me too :)

  11. Mark says:

    Rick, let me throw this out here.

    You have four wives, you have solved your day care problem, you are wealthy, and you have the physical capacity to “make love” four times a week for instance. When you get the desire for another wife, or the desire for just one new wife, where are you in terms of God’s holy standard? Unless you actually think you won’t have these new desires? In which I would be forced to call you a **** ;(

    Now throw in the mix, three of your wives don’t really care for you. Your breath stinks and you show ‘favorites’ with the other wives. You also are the spiritual leader of your home I hope, and as such, you must talk to God to solve these problems. All the while, your children are watching your every move and word, not to mention the unhappy women are as well.

    Perhaps, you will say God spoke to you last night on the mountain, and instruct your wives to their new godly responsiblities?

    Welcome to the world of Muhammad, the ‘phrophet’. Founder of the most anti-christ world view we know today. Why? because he tweeked it, and millions loved it and still love it. It’s holy and ok with god, even though it is pure flesh and zero truth.

    Think about it. God bless Rick!

  12. Rick Beckman says:
    Student of the sciences, the religions, the science fictions, and the fantasies… But mostly I’m just trying to find my groove in this big, crazy world.

    You have four wives, you have solved your day care problem, you are wealthy, and you have the physical capacity to “make love” four times a week for instance. When you get the desire for another wife, or the desire for just one new wife, where are you in terms of God’s holy standard? Unless you actually think you won’t have these new desires? In which I would be forced to call you a **** ;(

    You are assuming that it would be a sin for a man to desire a woman to be his wife if he already has wives. The act of adultery throughout the Scriptures refers to the taking of another man’s wife. And fornication is extramarital sex. There’s no named sin associated with the courting and dating of an unmarried woman if you have a wife already and if polygyny itself is not a sin.

    Lust is far from the only motivation to have multiple wives; perhaps having multiple wives fulfills God’s will for you & your offspring? (I cite the origin of the twelve tribes of Israel.)

    Now throw in the mix, three of your wives don’t really care for you. Your breath stinks and you show ‘favorites’ with the other wives. You also are the spiritual leader of your home I hope, and as such, you must talk to God to solve these problems. All the while, your children are watching your every move and word, not to mention the unhappy women are as well.

    If three wives don’t care for you, that is their sin; I would expect the husband to still love them as Christ loves the Church. Likewise, if the husband is showing favorites, that is his sin. The Law of God specifically states that if multiple wives are taken, the love & marital duty shown the first or previous wives must not be diminished.

    I propose that you are using worst case scenarios to argue against the concept as a whole.

    I also propose that far worse situations have taken place within monogamous marriages by virtue of the fact more people have practiced it and thus more people have gotten creative with screwing it up.

    Perhaps, you will say God spoke to you last night on the mountain, and instruct your wives to their new godly responsiblities?

    Welcome to the world of Muhammad, the ‘phrophet’. Founder of the most anti-christ world view we know today. Why? because he tweeked it, and millions loved it and still love it. It’s holy and ok with god, even though it is pure flesh and zero truth.

    You have just lumped the marriages of Abraham, David, and a few dozen other men of the Scriptures into the same lump as Muhammad. Are you really comfortable with that?

    Citing the abuses of polygyny to argue against the practice as presented is Scripture is fallacious at best. After all, how far would someone get with you if they argued against the Christianity of the Bible by pointing out things like the Crusades, Salem Witch Trials, or Bush’s War on Evildoers?

  13. Rick Beckman says:
    Student of the sciences, the religions, the science fictions, and the fantasies… But mostly I’m just trying to find my groove in this big, crazy world.

    1. I never claimed to be Israel. However, sin is the transgression of the Law; I believe it can be shown that not only does polygyny not transgress the Law, it is indeed sanctioned by it. The Law has always been a reflection of the holiness of God.

    2. The verses you cited were not written about multiple spouses; Adam & Eve’s 1:1 correlation is used against divorce, not against multiple wives. Again note that note one biblical polygynist is judged for that “sin.”

    3. If your wives do not care for you, yes that is a sin; wives are told to love their husbands. That is biblical. Why do you say I am making stuff up? Likewise, I’m not ignoring any passages on divorce because divorce is not the issue here.

    4. The verse you cited does not say anything about taking another wife; it does say that a man shall leave his parents and cleave to his wife. If it is impossible for a man to cleave to more than one wife, then we would expect those men who do it to be judged accordingly in the Scriptures (which they are not). Likewise, we would expect such a practice to be outlawed rather than sanctioned in God’s Law.

    However lest we go around in circles (as fun as it is to get dizzy and stare up at the clouds afterward), I want to interject an invitation real quick to the Fellowship Hall — the message board I run. A member of the board, Hugh McBryde, is far more an expert in the subject of biblical marriage — whether related to the subjects of polygyny, divorce, or whatever — and you can find him at BlogSpot if you want to discuss it with him from a “monogamy-only” standpoint. I stepped out of the debate a while back after finding out that my monogamy-only arguments were fallacious, but I would like to see if someone, anyone could get anywhere with Hugh, at the very least to bring biblical truths to the surface of the minds of everyone involved.

  14. Mark says:

    1. I am not Israel, neither are you.

    2. I have cited scripture pertaining to man and woman as husband and wife. It should be clear that sexual purity can ONLY be found within that model.

    3. If one of my wives does not care for me, that is not a sin. You keep making up stuff as you go along. I die to my wife, as Christ died for me. Is that really a new concept to you? You would have to deny our nature (sin) to accept anything else IMHO. Plus you would have to ignore scripture. You would also have to ignore the most difficult passages on divorce and their specific realtionships of One mand and One woman.

    4. Desireing another woman, while married, is sin.

    The scripture is very clear, “Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife; and they shall be one flesh”

    After all, how far would someone get with you if they argued against the Christianity of the Bible by pointing out things like the Crusades, Salem Witch Trials, or Bush’s War on Evildoers?

    Not very far, as I am fully prepared and have done so many times. I am not commenting here with you Rick to show you any advanced level of logic or sophistry skills I may have or lack. If you seek to Master those things, go for it. I seek truths.

  15. Mark says:

    Do you think David’s polygamy and poor parenting produced tragic results in his family life?

    How do you reconcile in Deuteronomy 22 the differences in punishement between being single and married?

    I believe God knew, if man left to his own devices would destroy marriage, one of those devices is polygamy (man made desire of the flesh – never God ordained)

    Thanks for the invite, but no thanks. Thanks for the spit bubble blowing look in the sky with crossed eyed disbelief conversation. ;)

  16. Rick Beckman says:
    Student of the sciences, the religions, the science fictions, and the fantasies… But mostly I’m just trying to find my groove in this big, crazy world.

    Do you think David’s polygamy and poor parenting produced tragic results in his family life?

    Did the polygyny itself cause the problems or was it something else?

    Negative examples do not make the concept itself negative. The very first instance of polygyny we have in the Scriptures comes across as quite positive. The only thing negative we are told about the family is that the father went on to murder someone. Of his marriages to two wives and his children with them, there are no marks against them.

    You also assume that polygyny is always entered into because of the flesh; if that’s true, you must also concede that every marriage is entered into for that reason. If not, what are valid reasons to marry? Why are they not applicable in a polygynous situation?

    Also, nice description of the conversation. :P Your part in it has been appreciated!

  17. Rick Beckman says:
    Student of the sciences, the religions, the science fictions, and the fantasies… But mostly I’m just trying to find my groove in this big, crazy world.

    What does Kool-Aid have to do with anything?

    One is perfectly able to have children in a polygynous situation; look at the foundation of the Jewish nation, for instance. (Or Lamech’s children, who came from a polygynous situation that was God never spoke an ill word against.)

    Also, your #2 seems to be an assumption imposed upon the text. What actual verses do you have that state in no uncertain terms that the average Joe Christian can have no more than one wife if he is to live a holy life?

    Along with that, then, it would have to be explained why polygyny was practiced so often by not just the Jews but those who predated the Jews (i.e., Abraham, Lamech) without invoking God’s wrath. In light of Deuteronomy 17:17, it must be asked why God took the time to tell king’s not to multiply wives but then didn’t bother to ever tell Joe Jew not to. Ditto the references to church leadership being required to keep but one wife; if they could be told not to in explicit terms, why never tell Joe Christian?

  18. Mark says:

    The very first instance of polygyny we have in the Scriptures comes across as quite positive.

    Really? Kool aid anyone?

    If not, (1)what are valid reasons to marry? (2)Why are they not applicable in a polygynous situation?

    Glad you asked.
    1. Children and a Holy / Godly model of commitment.

    2. Because man is never satisfied with just “one”, unless He turns to God and dies to his flesh and lives for Him.

  19. Mark says:

    The same reason God never explicitly told people not to fly planes into buildings.

    Also, your #2 seems to be an assumption imposed upon the text.

    ok, the gloves are off. What ‘assumption’ about the text am I making Rick? The assumption men are sin filled? want sex? want sex with other women other than their wives? are you actually serious?

    What actual verses do you have that state in no uncertain terms that the average Joe Christian can have no more than one wife if he is to live a holy life

    The same verses boy, that say flying planes into buildings is a sin. Get your head out of your holy ass and do us all a favor, eh? You have been blessed with a brain, use it.

    You want points for being a logical man, sophist, and a great debater, you win, and yet you draw closer to no truth. sadly.

    take care Rick :) IMHO you offer nothing in terms of God’s will, nothing, nothing at all. just my opinion..

  20. Rick Beckman says:
    Student of the sciences, the religions, the science fictions, and the fantasies… But mostly I’m just trying to find my groove in this big, crazy world.

    ok, the gloves are off. What ‘assumption’ about the text am I making Rick? The assumption men are sin filled? want sex? want sex with other women other than their wives? are you actually serious?

    Yeah, I’m serious. Please show me from the Scriptures (you asked for verses over on Justin’s blog; I hope you don’t mind returning the favor here) where it is explained that Lamech, Moses, and other polygynists took multiple wives due to sin or sex.

    You’ll note in the holy Law of God that there is a perfectly legitimate reason for a man to take another wife:

    “If brothers dwell together, and one of them dies and has no son, the wife of the dead man shall not be married outside the family to a stranger. Her husband’s brother shall go in to her and take her as his wife and perform the duty of a husband’s brother to her.” Deuteronomy 25:5, ESV

    That’s known as the law of levirate marriage, and it states that if brothers live together and one of them dies, the widow would be wed to the living brother. No exceptions are given. Whether the surviving brother is married or not is irrelevant; the Law requires that he go in to the widow and take her as his wife.

    If the living brother was already married and thus refused to marry the widow, it would actually be a sin not to form a polygynous family. If there’s a loophole in the Law of Yahweh, I haven’t found it yet.

    Last, even the Father Himself is prophetically presented as having two wives (Samaria & Jerusalem) in Ezekiel 23; how does that jive with His holiness if having multiple wives is as sinful as you claim it is?

    (Also note from Deuteronomy 25:5 that sometimes marriages really do happen where sex isn’t the motivating factor, which you seem unwilling to accept; sometimes, Yahweh simply wants you to get married, no questions asked.)

  21. Mark says:

    One is perfectly able to have children in a polygynous situation;

    Wow, you must have had sex ed 101!

    look at the foundation of the Jewish nation, for instance.

    Yes, lets take a look see shall we? I see promise and reward. I see do this and I will do that. I see worldly blessing, not spiritual blessings. Humm?

    Along with that, then, it would have to be explained why polygyny was practiced so often by not just the Jews but those who predated the Jews

    Really? The jews practiced polygamy???? Do tell! I look forward to spoon feeding your arrogant, ignorant jewish history knowledge… I don’t know, some truth maybe?

    :)

  22. Mark says:

    Yeah, I’m serious. Please show me from the Scriptures (you asked for verses over on Justin’s blog; I hope you don’t mind returning the favor here) where it is explained that Lamech, Moses, and other polygynists took multiple wives due to sin or sex.?

    The burden is on you Rick, not me at this point. I said polygamy is MAN MADE. You make things up as you go along, for the **** time. Pull out a piece of paper and write this down. Because man is never satisfied with just “one”, unless He turns to God and dies to his flesh and lives for Him. God has used imperfect men many times. Never once does God’s holy standard change. Got that?

    You’ll note in the holy Law of God that there is a perfectly legitimate reason for a man to take another wife:

    You will also notice to whom this law (Deuteronomy 25:5) was given? You and I? no! Unless you still think stoning to death those who commit adultry is still holy before God?

    You’ll note in the holy Law of God that there is a perfectly legitimate reason for a man to take another wife:

    Rick, you will notice one day that you are not jacob (Israel, nation or people) no?

    Last, even the Father Himself is prophetically presented as having two wives (Samaria & Jerusalem) in Ezekiel 23; how does that jive with His holiness if having multiple wives is as sinful as you claim it is?

    Presuppositions are at play here Rick. Like I said, you throw out Ezekiel 23 ?? what verse (out of 49) would you be talking about to back up you idiotic claim? I pray you are not refering to our Father as God having two human ‘wives’ as we know it! Israel is refered to what, and how many times?

    (Also note from Deuteronomy 25:5 that sometimes marriages really do happen where sex isn’t the motivating factor, which you seem unwilling to accept; sometimes, Yahweh simply wants you to get married, no questions asked.)

    Once again, are you a Levite? Nevertheless, it is about taking care of the widow inorder to provide an heir among brothers and their wife (widow). Nothing mandatory at all. Where does it say the brother who does is married? the one who desires to keep the estate – heir? Never! btw, Lev 18:16, 20-21 makes what you imply adultery.

    If there’s a loophole in the Law of Yahweh, I haven’t found it yet.

    That’s because you keep going back to God’s coventant laws that where never even given to you. Do those laws reveal His Holiness and His nature? Yes! You willfully ignore Christ on the cross and the new body of Christ (all nations, all people), and new responsiblities to the new contract.

    Why? I have no idea, other than making your flesh feel justified vs your spirit being renewed with the truth perhaps.

    :)

  23. Rick Beckman says:
    Student of the sciences, the religions, the science fictions, and the fantasies… But mostly I’m just trying to find my groove in this big, crazy world.

    No shame on you required. I intend to continue enjoying this conversation. :P

    Regarding the Ezekiel 23 reference; my bad! Make that 23:4.

    Regarding Deuteronomy 25:5, yes, I realize that it doesn’t necessarily apply to us; the point I intended to make is simply why would God’s Law make an occasion for sin?

    My thoughts follow like this: If it was okay for a married man to marry his brother’s widow, then it must be concluded at least in that circumstance that polygyny was not a sin to God for His people. Upon what basis, then, is polygyny a sin for all Gentiles or Christians? It seems reasonable that whatever the reason, it cannot be one which would cause a Jewish man to be sinning for obeying Deuteronomy 25:5.

    Further, you ask, “Where does it say the brother who does is married?” Good question. It doesn’t. But it also doesn’t state that the brother must be unmarried, nor does it grant an exception for brothers who area already married. One commentary I checked (and I forget which now, dang it) stated that it can be assumed the brother was unmarred because he was dwelling with his brother, sister-in-law, and their family. However, that seems just as presumptuous as anything I’ve said; the burden of proof in that would be showing that two married couples never dwelt together and that if they did, they were someone in violation of another Law which would disallow the co-dwelling to be applied to Deut. 25:5.

    *inhales*

    I hope that makes sense, whether you agree or not. I’m hurriedly trying to finish this before heading back to work!

    The reason I do keep looking at the Covenant of Moses is because I do not believe all the Old Covenants are useless — I still believe the Noahic Covenant is the basis for being allowed to eat meat and for capital punishment; I still believe the Abrahamic Covenant because by faith I am of Abraham’s seed and a partaker of the blessing promised to Abraham; I believe in the Davidic Covenant as Christ is the fulfillment thereof; and I believe in the Mosaic Covenant because it was such an explicit revelation of God, which Christ fulfilled. Hebrews tells us a great deal that is better about the New Covenant — and praise God, I can freely eat pork — but there is still a great deal to learn about how God expected His chosen people to live. I’d imagine it isn’t a great deal different than how He wants His “other” chosen people (us) to live.

    At the very least, I submit that if something can be shown to be permissible under the Law, then for it to be considered forbidden at other times, something very clear & explicit must be found in the Scriptures to make the claim. I may be expecting too much, especially since I’ve very little if anything to gain from polygyny being acceptable, I’m just not comfortable at this junction to state that monogamy-only is the biblical rule for all marriages at all times when the possibility exists that it was legitimate for quite a few Jewish families.

    Have a great day.

  24. Mark says:

    If it was okay for a married man to marry his brother’s widow, then it must be concluded at least in that circumstance that polygyny was not a sin to God for His people.

    One , you assume (check that I read what you wite further down) the brother is already married and two the spirit of the law was to protect the widow’s heir. I need not tell you a single woman in Jewish society had two choices, starve to death or prostitute.

    something very clear & explicit must be found in the Scriptures to make the claim.

    Actually I see that clarity. Jesus Christ Himself confirmed one man one woman. At this point it is just your take on that. I find from creation, the law, and the new covetant nothing but one man one woman horizontal relationships just has we hold the vertical relationship with our Lord. When we are in Heaven, both will be prefected.

    Take care!

  25. Dwight says:

    How does sexual intercourse with more than one wife make a man sexually impure?
    I don’t believe that the bible teaches that it is fornication for a man to be with a plurality of wives.
    sincerely,
    Dwight

  26. damian neveaux says:

    can someone please tell me where i can find in the Bible two single people having sex fornication. i must have overlooked it the three time i have read the Bible. if that is the case every man in the old testament committed fornication when they took there second wife and etc.

  27. Rick Beckman says:
    Student of the sciences, the religions, the science fictions, and the fantasies… But mostly I’m just trying to find my groove in this big, crazy world.

    Having sex outside of marriage is fornication. That’s the view Paul had in 1 Corinthians 7, when he was responding to the Corinthians’ practice of having men and women avoid touching each other at all, in any way. Doing that causes desires to get pent up, though, and so Paul says that in order to avoid fornication, they should instead get married so that they may have marital sex.

    There are far more recent discussions you guys can join in on here, though. This post isn’t where the fun’s at. There’s also FriendOfPolygyny.com, which is just begging for some comments.

  28. damian says:

    WELL, I PERSONALLY FEEL AFTER STUDYING THE ISSUE OF FORNICATION. THAT CAN’T BE WHAT HE WAS SAYING, BECAUSE HE SAID TO AVOID SEXUAL IMMORALITY. THE ONLY WAY WE CAN BE CLEAR AS OF WHAT IS CONCLUDED TO BE IMMORAL IS TO LOOK AT THE LAW OF MORALITY IN LEV.18. TWO UNMARRIED PEOPLE ARE NOT DISCUSSED IN THAT LAW, OR IN DEUT. WHEN THE LAW WAS REPEATED. PLEASE CAN WE STOP ASSUMING WE KNOW AND LET GOD THAT’S ALL KNOWING TELL US. WE ARE NOT SMARTER THAN HIM TRUST ME. WHEN PAUL WAS ADDRESSING THE CHURCH OF CORINTH. HE WAS HAVING ALOT OF PROBLEMS SEPERATING THE NEW CONVERTS, FROM THE NONE BELIEVERS THAT SEVERED THE FERTILITY GODS THAT LURED YOU SEXUALLY INTO WORSHIPPING THEIR GODS. AND CORINTH WAS ON A PORT SO ALL KINDS OF PEOPLE CAME IN AND OUT AND PEOPLE WHERE STILL SLEEPING WITH THESE PEOPLE SERVING THE FERTILITY GODS. I JUST CAN’T SEE HOW FORNICATION MEANS TWO UNMARRIED OPPOSITE SEX PEOPLE HAVING SEX, BUT GOD NEVER GAVE US AN EXAMPLE OF IT. NOT TO MENTION THAT ALL THE MEN IN THE OLD TESTAMENT HAD SEX AND THEN THEY WERE MARRIED. EVEN TODAY IN SOME DIVORCE CASES THEY ASK THE COUPLE WAS THE MARRIAGE CONSUMATED. IF THEY IT ISN’T IT’S THROWN OUT. LOOK UP THE GREEK MEANINGS FOR FORNICATION THERE’S AROUND THREE DEFINITIONS FOR THE WORD ONLY ONE MEANING WILL FIT EVERY BIBLE VERSE FROM OLD TO NEW WHERE IT SPEAKS OF FORNICATION. I LOOK FORWARD TO HEARING FROM YOU ONCE YOU HAVE LOOKED UP THE MEANINGS FYI DON’T LOOK ON-SITES THAT WILL GIVE THE DEFINITION OFOF THEIR PERSONAL VIEW. I MEAN WOULDN’T IT BE A TEN COMMANDMENT ARE SOMETHING. SURPRISINGLY ACCORDING TO THE ORIGINAL GREEK DEFINITION IT IS A TEN COMMANDMENT. HAVING SEX WITH NON-BELIEVERS. MAYBE THATS WHY GOD TOLD DAVID AND SOLOMON AND OTHERS NOT TO BEJOINED WITH FOREIGN WOMEN. AND THE NEW TESTAMENT TALKS ABOUT NOT BEING EQUALLY YOKED. AND SPIRITUAL FORNICATION IS WHAT SOLOMON WAS DOING PLAYING BOTH ENDS, WORSHIPPING PAGANIST GODS AND GOD. NEW TESTAMENT IF YOU ARE LUKE WARM I WILL SPIT U OUT. SPIRITUAL ADULTERY IS WHEN YOU ARE COMPLETELY TURNED OVER TO THE OTHER PERSONS GOD. NOW IT MAKE SINCE TO ME WHY ADULTERS AND FORNICATORS CAN’T INHERIT THE KINGDOMS OF HEAVAN. EXAMPLE IF TWO SINGLE CHRISTIANS HAVE SEX AND THAT WOULD MEAN THEY BECOME ONE, HOW COULD GOD BE UPSET ABOUT BECOMING ONE WITH HIMSELF. BUT IF I AM JOINED TO A NON BELIEVER, I CAN SEE HIM BEING UPSET ABOUT BEING ONE WITH ANOTHER GOD. NOW THIS DEFINITION OF FORNICATION I DO SEE THROUGHOUT THE BIBLE. NOT THE MAN MADE VERSION WE HAVE COME UP WITH, THAT WE DON;T EVEN HAVE AN EXAMPLE OF, BUT WE ARE HELD ACCOUNTABLE.

  29. Dwight says:

    Very good points, Damian. I have heard the same: That the fornication
    that Paul was warning about was not “premarital sex” but rather pagan sex practices
    which amount to idolatry within a false religion.
    Do you have any material you could email me regarding the original greek on fornication? If so, please email it to [email protected]

    blessings brother,
    Dwight

  30. Rick Beckman says:
    Student of the sciences, the religions, the science fictions, and the fantasies… But mostly I’m just trying to find my groove in this big, crazy world.

    My fault on FriendOfPolygyny.com not working… It should be in short order. :)

  31. RAY DARASH says:

    i have 2 wives and know it is lawfull of god my ? is can i sleep with bothe of my wives at the same time . i only search the truth of the word of god can you please help with my ?. and email me Gods peace be upon you in truth and light

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