The Bible And Polygamy


There are a number of examples of polygamous marriages among the Prophets recorded in the Torah.

According to Father Eugene Hillman:

“Nowhere in the New Testament is there any explicit commandment that marriage should be monogamous or any explicit commandment forbidding polygamy.” [Polygamy Reconsidered, p.140]

Below are examples of polygamous marriages in the Bible:

Prophet Abraham had two wives:

“So after Abram had dwelt ten years in the land of Canaan, Sarai, Abram’s wife, took Hagar the Egyptian, her maid, and gave her to Abram her husband as a wife.” [Genesis 16:13]

Prophet David is likewise said to have been polygamous:

“And David dwelt with Achish at Gat, he and his men, every man with his household, and David with his two wives, Ahin’o-am of Jezreel, and Abigail of Carmel, Nabal’s widow.” [1st Samuel 27:3 ]

Solomon is said to have had:

“… seven hundred wives, princesses, and three hundred concubines.” [1st Kings 11:3]

Solomon’s son, Rehobo’am, also had a number of wives:

“Rehobo’am loved Ma’acah the daughter of Absalom above all his wives and concubines (he took eighteen wives and sixty concubines, and had twenty eight sons and sixty daughters).” [2nd Chronicles 11:21]

The only restriction on polygamy was the ban on taking a wife’s sister as a rival wife. In the bible we read:

“And you shall not take a woman as a rival wife to her sister, uncovering her nakedness while her sister is yet alive.” [Leviticus 18:18]

Islaam limited polygamy to a maximum of four wives at one time and stipulated the maintenance of justice as a basic condition for polygamy. Allaah says:

Marry women of  your choice, two, three or four. But if you fear that you will not be able to deal justly, then [marry only] one…” [4:3]

[Taken from “The True Message Of Jesus” by Bilal Philips]

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