Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Is monogamy Biblical?

It isn't.  In Old Testament times, it was perfectly normal for a man to have both concubines and several wives.  But that was no invitation to licence.  There were strict rules about how multiple wives were to be treated.  All wives had extensive rights. As it says in Exodus 21:10:  "If he takes another wife to himself, he shall not diminish her food, her clothing, or her marital rights."

It is only in the NT that we see a move towards monogamy and there is is not any sort of commandment.  It is advice.  As Paul says in 1 Cor. 7 "But because of the temptation to sexual immorality, each man should have his own wife and each woman her own husband."

This made made clearer in 1 Timothy 3:  "Therefore an overseer must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, sober-minded, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach".  So it was only the officers of the church to whom the advice applied and the reason for the advice was that it made the officer look good, not that it was right or wrong.

It may be argued that in Matthew 19 Jesus commanded monogamy.  There are two objections to that.  The first is that Jesus was very clearly on that occasion aiming only to confound the Pharisees and the second is that Jesus was actually forbidding divorce, not forbidding second marriages:  "What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate." -- JR

Posted by John J. Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.).

1 comment:

Doom said...

I have been suggesting just such for a while now. I've read the bible several times, NT six or seven, OT probably three times now, several different versions, and it never hit me. But, thinking on things, I realized there was no biblical references. None that were legitimate.

Now, what to do about that. My church, even the pre-Vatican II part of it, won't allow it. They base it on tradition. Though really it is a state thing, if it didn't start as that. Something about polygamy being an eventual huge social problem, much as with slavery. Women will flock to some men. Those with the means, first, and those who can draw them in, even turn the wives into the means these days, by working them out. Strong men. Weak men would be left without a chance. And men don't die like flies, as they used to, just daily living, hard work, and poor medical killed many.

Yeah... I see problems, both ways. But I definitely don't have a problem with polygamists. Multiple husbands for one wife doesn't work, but that isn't exactly all that popular anyway.

Dunno. Not sure I would want more than one wife. Then again, it might, if done just right, really work out quite well. No woman would be too hard pressed with housework, or sex, and a man, with two or three wives would never, or rarely, feel the need to 'spill his seed on the ground'. And, I would guess, if women didn't try to live too modern of lives, and went back to relative basics, the cost wouldn't be nearly what it might seem.

Noise and chaos in the home, especially at certain times, on the other hand, would be massive. Three wives, even with six children each? But think if they had children as they could? Thirty six kids, from three wives, without too much hassle. Probably what brought about the word "oy", the former, oy vey the latter?


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