Polygyny

There’s been many discussions on this over the years. I think it’s an interesting topic, but have never really officially written on it before. Most topics have never really handled the situation(s) in context of the totality of Scripture. I’m going to go through most of them.

God and Jesus

Matthew 19:3 Some Pharisees came to [b]Jesus, testing Him and asking, “Is it lawful for a man to [c]divorce his wife for any reason at all?” 4 And He answered and said, “Have you not read that He who created them from the beginning made them male and female, 5 and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? 6 So they are no longer two, but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate.” 7 They *said to Him, “Why then did Moses command to give her a certificate of divorce and send her away?” 8 He *said to them, “Because of your hardness of heart Moses permitted you to [d]divorce your wives; but from the beginning it has not been this way. 9 And I say to you, whoever [e]divorces his wife, except for [f]immorality, and marries another woman [g]commits adultery[h].”

Jesus when commenting on divorce brings up the topic from Genesis 2 from the beginning: “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? 6 So they are no longer two, but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate.”

The question was not about polynyny, but I think we can easily and reasonably infer that God intended and created marriage for one man and one woman (and no divorce).

Kinsman Redeemer

Deuteronomy 25:5 “When brothers live together and one of them dies and has no son, the wife of the deceased shall not be married outside the family to a strange man. Her husband’s brother shall go in to her and take her to himself as wife and perform the duty of a husband’s brother to her. 6 It shall be that the firstborn whom she bears shall [e]assume the name of his dead brother, so that his name will not be blotted out from Israel. 7 But if the man does not desire to take his brother’s wife, then his brother’s wife shall go up to the gate to the elders and say, ‘My husband’s brother refuses to establish a name for his brother in Israel; he is not willing to perform the duty of a husband’s brother to me.’ 8 Then the elders of his city shall summon him and speak to him. And if he persists and says, ‘I do not desire to take her,’ 9 then his brother’s wife shall come to him in the sight of the elders, and pull his sandal off his foot and spit in his face; and she shall [f]declare, ‘Thus it is done to the man who does not build up his brother’s house.’ 10 In Israel his name shall be called, ‘The house of him whose sandal is removed.’

This is only one of kinsman redeemer laws. The most prominent example where this was followed in the OT was Ruth. The most prominent example where this was not followed is probably Onan, Judah, and Tamar (although this was before the Law was given). Polygyny in this case is permitted in order to ‘redeem’ the line of the deceased.

I’m not going to reference the rest of the kinsman redeemer verses here (see the link above), but the overall context is that polygyny is permitted in order to ‘redeem’ the line of the deceased. The husband who had to take his brother’s wife also had obligations such as to redeem his property (if it was sold to another), raise the child, avenge the kin if he was unjustly killed, and so on.

It’s more about filial responsibility than being able to take another wife. In other words, benevolence to your relatives (e.g. love your neighbor).

H1350 — gâ’al — gaw-al’

A primitive root, to redeem (according to the Oriental law of kinship), that is, to be the next of kin (and as such to buy back a relative’s property, marry his widow, etc.): –    X in any wise, X at all, avenger, deliver, (do, perform the part of near, next) kinsfolk (-man), purchase, ransom, redeem (-er), revenger. Total KJV occurrences: 104

It’s interesting that “redeemer” literally means “next of kin.” When Jesus is referred to redeem us, it is in the context of the second Adam due to the nature of the first Adam’s sin.

War

Deuteronomy 21:10 “When you go out to battle against your enemies, and the Lord your God delivers them into your hands and you take them away captive, 11 and see among the captives a beautiful woman, and have a desire for her and would take her as a wife for yourself, 12 then you shall bring her home to your house, and she shall shave her head and [g]trim her nails. 13 She shall also [h]remove the clothes of her captivity and shall remain in your house, and mourn her father and mother a full month; and after that you may go in to her and be her husband and she shall be your wife. 14 It shall be, if you are not pleased with her, then you shall let her go [i]wherever she wishes; but you shall certainly not sell her for money, you shall not [j]mistreat her, because you have humbled her.

The circumstances around allowed polygyny make it beneficial for both the husband and the wife in this circumstance. The husband receives another wife who is also able to help with the household. The wife is either a widow or unprotected virgin in a time of war.

The Wisdom of the Lord in this case is a full month of seeing a woman at her most unattractive: with shaven hair, trimmed nails, and mourning. (Insert dumb Marilyn Monroe quote: “But if you can’t handle me at my worst, then you sure as hell don’t deserve me at my best.”). I suspect that most men after seeing this would not want to marry the woman, and the Law specifically explains that if he doesn’t want her after that she is to be freed and not mistreated.

Hillary Clinton’s quote has been dissected many times because it ignores the literal deaths of many thousands or even millions of men like in the case of World War 2. But there is some ‘truth’ to it as well.

The experience that you have gone through is in many ways comparable to what happens with domestic violence. Women have always been the primary victims of war. Women lose their husbands, their fathers, their sons in combat. Women often have to flee from the only homes they have ever known. Women are often the refugees from conflict and sometimes, more frequently in today’s warfare, victims. Women are often left with the responsibility, alone, of raising the children. Women are again the victims in crime and domestic violence as well. Throughout our hemisphere we have an epidemic of violence against women, even though there is no longer any organized warfare that puts women in the direct line of combat. But domestic violence is now recognized as being the most pervasive human rights violation in the world. Here in El Salvador, according to the statistics gathered by your government, 1 in 6 women have been sexually assaulted and the number of domestic abuse complaints at just one agency topped 10,000 last year. Between 25 and 50 percent of women throughout Latin America have reportedly been victims of domestic violence.

Women who do not have the protection of men — either fathers, or husbands, or potentially brothers — are at high risk of being exploited by slavery, rape, or other atrocities during war time. In these cases, polygyny benefits both parties.

Relating war to domestic violence is quite dumb though.

Regulations against mistreatment

Deuteronomy 21:15 “If a man has two wives, the one loved and the other [k]unloved, and both the loved and the [l]unloved have borne him sons, if the firstborn son belongs to the [m]unloved, 16 then it shall be in the day he [n]wills what he has to his sons, he cannot make the son of the loved the firstborn before the son of the [o]unloved, who is the firstborn. 17 But he shall acknowledge the firstborn, the son of the [p]unloved, by giving him a double portion of all that [q]he has, for he is the beginning of his strength; to him belongs the right of the firstborn.

We can see that this is the case of Jacob, Leah, and Rachel prior to the Law being give. The Lord blesses Leah with many sons because she was unloved. The general concept that is underscored here is that favoritism is bad. This concept is also promoted in the NT — Rom 2, Eph 6, Col 3, James 2.

Exodus 21:10 If he takes to himself another woman, he may not reduce her [j]food, her clothing, or her conjugal rights. 11 If he will not do these three things for her, then she shall go out for nothing, without payment of money.

This is the regulation of provision that is also referenced by Paul in 1 Timothy 5:8But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.”

David and the Law

2 Samuel 12:7 Nathan then said to David, “You are the man! Thus says the Lord God of Israel, ‘It is I who anointed you king over Israel and it is I who delivered you from the hand of Saul. 8 I also gave you your master’s house and your master’s wives into your [e]care, and I gave you the house of Israel and Judah; and if that had been too little, I would have added to you many more things like these! 9 Why have you despised the word of the Lord by doing evil in His sight? You have struck down Uriah the Hittite with the sword, have taken his wife to be your wife, and have killed him with the sword of the sons of Ammon.

10 Now therefore, the sword shall never depart from your house, because you have despised Me and have taken the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be your wife.’ 11 Thus says the Lord, ‘Behold, I will raise up evil against you from your own household; I will even take your wives before your eyes and give them to your companion, and he will lie with your wives in [f]broad daylight. 12 Indeed you did it secretly, but I will do this thing before all Israel, and [g]under the sun.’”

This passage is interesting because it has been used to defend polygyny, but the text doesn’t say that. The text specifically states that David was given his master’s house and his master’s wives for his care. Who was the master? The master is obviously Saul, the former king of Israel. David did not actually marry any of Saul’s wives, and we know that he takes care a large portion of his household including Mephibosheth, son of Jonathan. Inheriting the ‘house’ of the old king was seen as the legitimate right to kingship.

On the other hand, we know that both David and Solomon had many wives for themselves. Those that we know of are: Michal, Abigail, Bathsheba, Ahinoam, Maacah, Haggith, Abital, and Eglah and potentially more 2 Samuel 5:13 “And David took more concubines and wives from Jerusalem, after he came from Hebron, and more sons and daughters were born to David.” We know that Solomon took 300 wives and 1000 concubines.

Deuteronomy 17:14 “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,’ 15 you shall surely set a king over you whom the Lord your God chooses, one from among your [l]countrymen you shall set as king over yourselves; you may not put a foreigner over yourselves who is not your [m]countryman. 16 Moreover, he shall not multiply horses for himself, nor shall he cause the people to return to Egypt to multiply horses, since the Lord has said to you, ‘You shall never again return that way.’ 17 He shall not multiply wives for himself, [n]or else his heart will turn away; nor shall he greatly increase silver and gold for himself.

H7235 — râbâh — raw-baw’

A primitive root; to increase (in whatever respect): – [bring in] abundance (X -antly), + archer [by mistake for H7232], be in authority, bring up, X continue, enlarge, excel, exceeding (-ly), be full of, (be, make) great (-er, -ly), X -ness), grow up, heap, increase, be long, (be, give, have, make, use) many (a time), (any, be, give, give the, have) more (in number), (ask, be, be so, gather, over, take, yield) much (greater, more), (make to) multiply, nourish, plenty (-eous), X process [of time], sore, store, thoroughly, very. Total KJV occurrences: 224

God predicted that Israel would want a king for themselves in Deuteronomy, which comes to pass in 1 Samuel 8. God also specifically warns again multiplying horses, wives, and silver and gold lest the heart of the king turn away from God Himself. I suppose the irony is that this actually happened with both David and Solomon as well.

Obviously, multiplying wives to yourself is in the form of many wives. Only famous and powerful men, such as a king of Israel, could command and provide for many wives. The same is true throughout history. God strictly forbids this.

Conclusions

As Paul tells us, the Law is for Law Breakers.

1 Timothy 1:8 But we know that the Law is good, if one uses it lawfully, 9 realizing the fact that law is not made for a righteous person, but for those who are lawless and rebellious, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers 10 [f]and [g]immoral men [h]and homosexuals [i]and kidnappers [j]and liars [k]and perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound teaching, 11 according to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, with which I have been entrusted.

The very fact that the Law must regulate such behavior is because of selfishness opposed to the two great commandments:

Matthew 22:34 But when the Pharisees heard that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered themselves together. 35 One of them, [n]a lawyer, asked Him a question, testing Him, 36 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” 37 And He said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the great and [o]foremost commandment. 39 The second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.

There are certain circumstances where polygyny is permitted, and from these passages we can draw a few conclusions:

  1. God intended that marriage be one man and one woman. Jesus confirms this.
  2. Polygyny is a benevolence to the deceased relatives’ household in the form of a Kinsman Redeemer.
  3. Polygyny is to be beneficial to both parties in a time of war. If not, then the captive woman is to go free without any mistreatment.
  4. Any man in a polygamous relationship cannot mistreat or show favoritism to any wife, and he must provide for all of them.
  5. A king is not allowed to multiply wives as it is strictly forbidden according to the Law.

This leads to the conclusion that the totality of Scriptures infer that marriage should be between one man and one woman. Polygyny is only permitted in extremely extenuating circumstances (e.g. relative died, war) and must be beneficial to both parties (e.g. child to continue the lineage, raising the child, provision, no mistreatment, no favoritism). Famous, rich, powerful [kings] should not multiply wives as it will lead them astray from God. Also, if there are laws against it then Christians should obey the law of the land (Romans 13, 1 Tim 2, Tit 3, 1 Pet 2, Hebrews 13, etc.).

Finally, the ironic part about a topic like this is that [Christian] women often get disgruntled with they hear the word polygyny and assert that it is selfish for men. This is false. In reality, the vast majority of women wouldn’t marry a man who already has a wife unless she were reaping major benefits out of the situation anyway (e.g. fame, power, provision, etc.). This is another one of those “blame men for being selfish while women are innocent victims” instances that have become so prevalent in the Necropolis. It takes two to opt into a marriage.

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82 Responses to Polygyny

  1. Elspeth says:

    Finally, the ironic part about a topic like this is that [Christian] women often get disgruntled with they hear the word polygyny and assert that it is selfish for men. This is false. In reality, the vast majority of women wouldn’t marry a man who already has a wife unless she were reaping major benefits out of the situation anyway (e.g. fame, power, provision, etc.). This is another one of those “blame men for being selfish while women are innocent victims” instances that have become so prevalent in the Necropolis. It takes two to opt into a marriage.

    Having been up close and personal to some of this, I can tell you from what I have witnessed, not what I have heard. A LOT of the polygyny being practiced and laid hold to by right in the West is unquestionably motivated by selfishness and a desire for sexual variety.

    I didn’t make that statement in a vacuum nor did I make it apart from a very detailed and exhausted study on the issue of polygyny- led by my husband who with me has witnessed the devastation and fallout this kind of thing has caused in the name of a man’s *right* to do it.

    It never occurs to anyone that the words *right to* don’t even have a place in the Christian’s vocabulary?

  2. Elspeth says:

    Oh, and you would be totally shocked at what a woman will put up with for a man she has the hots for if there are no other prospects on the horizon. The dude doesn’t have to be rich…

  3. @Elspeth:

    What a Woman will do for a Man that she’s extremely attracted to actually disturbs most Men.

    On the topic in general, the ones that actual “pay” for a Man with Multiple Wives is the Men lower down the totem pole, but the biggest “payer” is the children. You create a de facto hierarchy among the children for their entire lives. The Bible records it going badly quite regularly. Because it would.

  4. @ Elspeth

    I wasn’t referring to only you but all of the comments across the broader blogs I’ve seen. I don’t think I’ve ever seen one woman speak positively about it, which it can be in certain circumstances.

    Obviously, none of those circumstances are present in the West (not that the West is some bastion of Christianity). Therefore, at best it’s really unwise, but in most cases simply breaking the law.

  5. Art says:

    Deep Strength –
    Thank you for addressing this difficult and very unpopular subject.

    Regarding polygyny, the key thing to always remember is this:

    “Whenever the Bible addresses the issue of polygyny, it treats it as marriage, and not as a form of adultery or sexual immorality”.

    The Law, the Prophets, the Lord Jesus Christ, and His Apostles are ALWAYS completely consistent with this assessment.

    Christians can have an honest discussion about “whether Christian men ought, or ought not to take more than one wife”, just like they can vigorously debate whether “Christian men should or should not to drink beverage alcohol”. On the other hand, Christians can not honestly say that polygyny (or alcohol use) is fundamentally sinful.

    Here are some brief points for your consideration

    1. Polygyny is never prohibited anywhere in the entire Bible. It is not prohibited in the Old Testament, and it is not prohibited in the New Testament. On the other hand, sexual immorality, such as homosexuality, adultery, incest, etc. is clearly, directly, and repeatedly prohibited.

    2. The Bible never calls polygyny sin, evil, unclean, immoral, ungodly, perverse, vile, an abomination, defiling, corrupt, etc. The Bible constantly uses that sort of language when dealing with sexual perversion in terms of adultery, incest, and homosexuality.

    3. Polygyny is never called adultery and nobody in the Bible ever treats it as adultery (not God, nor man). The Law actually defines adultery as “having sexual relations with another man’s wife, or alternately stated, a woman having sexual relations with a man other than her husband”.

    For reference to this point, please check out the following passages: (Leviticus 18:20, Leviticus 20:10, Proverbs 6:29, Proverbs 7:19, Jeremiah 29:23, Ezekiel 16:32, Deuteronomy 5:21, Exodus 20:17, 2nd Samuel 12:10, Genesis 20:3, Genesis 39:9, Numbers 5:11-31 the whole passage, Romans 7:2-3).

    4. There is no punishment listed for polygamy anywhere in the Law. On the other hand, adultery, and homosexuality were punishable by death.

    5. The New Testament calls for church discipline against people who are committing sexual immorality. The New Testament never says that a man is to be disciplined for having more than one wife.

    6. When Scripture addresses a polygamous marriage, it calls it “marriage”, and it calls the man a “husband”, and the woman a “wife”, just the same as it does with any other marriage. The Bible uses the same terminology for all marriages (be they monogamous, or polygynous). The Bible doesn’t even use the word polygamy, or polygyny. It just uses the word “marriage” for both.

    7. The children of adulterous unions (bastards KJV) were declared to be ceremonially unclean, and were cut off from the spiritual life of Israel (Deuteronomy 23:2). Not only were they considered unclean, but all of their descendants were as well. The children of polygynous marriages on the other hand were regarded as legitimate children. Remember that half of Jacob’s sons (and the resulting seven tribes of Israel) were born of Jacob’s second wife Rachel, and the concubines Bilhah and Zilpah. They include Joseph (Ephraim and Manasseh) and Benjamin from Rachel, Dan and Naphtali from Bilhah, and Gad and Asher from Zilpah. These men were not bastards. They were rightful heirs and patriarchs. Even the Lord Jesus Christ is descended from a polygamous union via his ancestor Solomon. If Solomon was a bastard, then Christ Himself would have been ceremonially unclean, and could not be Savior of the world.

    8. No one in the Bible is ever rebuked for having more than one wife. To the contrary, many polygamous men are commended as being righteous and godly men who walked by faith, and pleased God. Yet, when a man took another man’s wife, he was clearly rebuked and threatened by God. Look at David. He had something like 15 wives, and God was pleased with him. He took another man’s wife, and God says that David “despised the word of the Lord, to do what is evil in his sight” (2nd Sam 12:9) and also said that “you have despised me and have taken the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be your wife”. (2nd Sam 12:10).

    Also consider God’s assessment of David in 1st Kings 15:5 “David did what was right in the eyes of the Lord and did not turn aside from anything that he commanded him all the days of his life, except in the matter of Uriah the Hittite”.

    This verse would be nonsense if David’s polygyny violated the one flesh union that God established in Genesis 2. Clearly it did not. On the other hand, David’s adultery (with Bathsheba wife of Uriah) clearly did, and the text tells us as much.

    9. Many righteous men of old had more than one wife. They did not believe that doing so contradicted God’s definition of marriage. They did not see it as a violation of Genesis 2. They never repented of having more than one wife, yet they did generally repent after committing real sins. These men include the patriarchs Abraham, and Jacob, Moses the Lawgiver, The Judges Gideon, Jair, Ibzan, and Abdon. They also include men like Elkanah the father of Samuel, and numerous kings including David, Solomon, Joash (with the clear approval of the godly priest Jehoida) and Josiah.

    10. Abigail is clearly presented as a wise and godly woman, and she happily enters into a clearly polygamous marriage with David (David already being married to Michal and Ahinoam).

    11. Many evil/ungodly/sinful men had more than one wife, and while they are rebuked for their actual sins, they are never rebuked for their polygyny. These include Esau, king Ahab, king Jeroboam, king Rehoboam, and kings Joash and Solomon.

    There is far more to be said about this subject. I have written a paper on the subject and would be happy to send it to you for your consideration. In fact, I will be discussing my paper with the pastors/elders of my Southern Baptist Church this evening. I fully expect them to deny the clear teaching of Scripture on the issue, and to ask me to leave the church. I have already been slandered and cast out of one church for telling the truth about this issue, and am ready for the same thing to happen again.

    God is God, and His Word is the Real Authority. We will all give an answer to Him for our faithfulness in handling His instructions.

  6. Art says:

    Elspeth –

    I have not been around polygyny. I have however been around a society where only monogamy is permitted, and I have seen firsthand the absolute devastation this causes.

    Men are ruled over by their wives, since wives have the power to cut off sex if their husband’s don’t do what they want, and there is nothing the husband can do about it.

    I have been personally interested in polygyny not because of some sort of perverse “desire for sexual variety”, but rather just for a basic desire for SEXUAL INTIMACY PERIOD. Constant sexual denial by a wife drives a man crazy. I doubt that I would have ever considered polygyny if my wife and I had even halfway decent sex once a week or so. After a man endures a decade or so where he only gets “duty sex” about once a month, he starts to seriously consider what the Bible has to say about polygamy. That is if he is a man who fears God, and trembles at God’s word. Otherwise he just kicks his wife to the curb, goes to prostitutes, gets a mistress, or just masturbates to porn all the time.

    To my shame, I’ve spent a lot of time in the last category of frequently masturbating to porn. It is a shitty way to live, and I’m tired of it. I’ve quit porn use, quit masturbating, and have started earnestly pursuing my wife. I’ve also decided to quit being a wimpy nice guy beta man all the time. I’m actively working on trying to become a better man (including being more sexually attractive to my wife). Hopefully she will eventually respond. But at the end of the day, I’m not willing to keep living like this.

    We have a society where nearly half of all marriages end in divorce. Men, women, and children all suffer from this. Families are torn apart. The majority of men in churches today regularly view pornography.

    Demanding monogamy from men (when the Bible does not) is a major contributing factor to all of this.

  7. @ Art

    Thanks for the comment providing more insight on the Scriptures.

    Theologically, it probably falls within the realm of a believer’s freedom (1 Cor 8, 1 Cor 10). It’s certainly not a sin (unless it is outlawed), but it is often wrongly construed as such. Even then, you’re prohibited from leadership in the Church if that’s the case (1 Tim 3), and it’s good not to “give the appearance” of evil (1 Thess 5).

    1 Cor 10:23 All things are lawful, but not all things are profitable. All things are lawful, but not all things edify. 24 Let no one seek his own good, but that of his [i]neighbor.

    Profitable, edification, and good of the neighbor — 99.99% of polymgamous marriages wouldn’t fall under that.

    All of that plus the problematic areas (no mistreatment, no favoritism, etc.) surrounding it makes it definitely unwise at best, which is why I would never recommend it to a believer or engage in such practice myself.

  8. Elspeth says:

    Couple of thoughts DS (Thanks for the indulgence as this will be long), and then I am done:
    II wasn’t referring to only you but all of the comments across the broader blogs I’ve seen. I don’t think I’ve ever seen one woman speak positively about it, which it can be in certain circumstances.

    I don’t doubt that there is truth in what you say but Looking Glass said it best. The Bible doesn’t give us any (NOT ONE) instance of a well functioning polygynous family, even among those men who walked closest with Him. I think that this says a great deal; certainly as much as the absence of a blanket prohibition offers.

    Secondly, my objection to the portion of your post I highlighted was in response to the idea that a woman’s objection to polygyny is based on the ideals on the Necropolis (I actually like that coinage by CC as an aside). I felt the same level of outrage when witnessing a church body rally around a wife who committed cuckoldry because the husband didn’t live up to whatever standard the wife supposedly needed in order to have been faithful.

    The Necopolis can be just as guilty of making a victim of women as it can making a victim of men because at its root it the notion of twisting Scripture to met the needs of some person or group at the expense of ultimate Truth. The fact that this happens “in favor of” women most often doesn’t negate the reality that it sometimes happens in reverse.

    Again this is certainly anecdotal, but most men who have reached the age where they have the provisioning ability to even consider a second wife married the first under a different set of conditions. In other words, they stood at the altar and vowed to “keep thee only unto her”. They later discover that they can have a second wife and be in line with The Book, find a woman willing to have him under those conditions, and spring it on wife number 1. The passage from 2 Timothy 3:6 comes to mind here. I’ll tell you how it works.

    Men in a fellowship which is decided NOT under the influence of the so-called feminine imperative discover that they can “legally” enjoy the blessings of having more than one wife. The number of virgin adult women who would agree or whose fathers would agree to such an arrangement are virtually nonexistent, as you pointed out. No one is giving their pristine 20-year-old daughter (she’s rare enough as it is!) into life as a second tier wife to a 35-year-old man with a wife and 4 kids unless the circumstances are dire.

    However, the fields are white with women who have never known the gospel. the Truth, or redemption! They witness to those women and convert them, since any sexual sins they may have committed in sinful ignorance are now covered by the blood of Christ. They can start anew in Him and can be made a second wife.

    A man with the confidence, charisma and cojones to spring this on the wife of his youth is probably able to spot a soft target from a mile away and with some stroking get her to be so in love with him, his righteousness, and his willingness to commit to her that she’ll agree to be a second wife. It’s not that much of a leap when you consider how many women consent to be a secret lover to a married man.

    That is how it usually plays out. Now, if a man married his first wife with her full knowledge that he was holding open this option to himself in accordance with Scripture, then she opened the door to what comes down the road after the luster wears off. But the two or three times I have seen this play out it was much closer to the scenario above. Funny how we pick and choose what parts of The Bible we can give ourselves grace for in ignorance while excusing.

    What does the law say about vows and the seriousness of them? Ah yes:

    If a man makes a vow to the LORD, or takes an oath to bind himself with a binding obligation, he shall not violate his word; he shall do according to all that proceeds out of his mouth.

    Then “keep myself only unto her” means the same thing at 40 as it did when you uttered it at 25.

    Most of these arrangements do not include attempts at legalizing second marriages because they know it is against the law.

  9. Art says:

    Deep Strength –

    I also wanted to point out a couple of errors in your post.

    You suggest that Deut. 17 prohibited kings from having more than one wife. Look carefully at the text. The text uses the EXACT SAME terminology regarding wives that it does with horses.

    “he shall not multiply horses for himself” and “he shall not multiply wives for himself”

    Yet somehow, you and many others interpret it as “he shall not multiply horses for himself” and “he may only have one wife”.

    Bull crap! We have to be consistent. If “shall not multiply” actually means “may only have one”, then it is true of horses as well as wives. Nobody seriously believes that God was concerned about a king having two, three, or four horses. On the contrary, God doesn’t want the king to horde up a ton of horses, and then place his trust in the power of his own army. Likewise, God was not concerned about a king having a couple wives. God didn’t want the alpha king to horde up all the good women, and God also didn’t want the king to enter into a bunch of marriages as strategic alliances with the surrounding nations. God wanted the king to fear Him, and to trust and hope in Him!

    Solomon clearly violated the text of Deuteronomy 17, in it’s entirety. He accumulated excessive quantities of gold and silver. He accumulated a clearly excessive number of wives. He accumulated a clearly excessive number of horses and also got them from Egypt (also prohibited).

    He is rebuked for all that, but is never rebuked for taking more than one wife in general. He is primarily rebuked for allowing his idolatrous wives to turn his heart away from the Lord, and also for marrying Canaanite women (from the nations that the Lord had specifically prohibited the Israelites to intermarry with).

    David on the other hand had a lot of horses, a lot of gold and silver, and a lot of wives, yet the Bible never says he violated Deuteronomy 17. On the contrary, the Bible specifically says that David did not violate Deut. 17. “David did what was right in the eyes of the Lord and did not turn aside from anything that he commanded him all the days of his life, except in the matter of Uriah the Hittite” (1st Kings 15:5).

    You are also mistaken regarding 2nd Sam. 12. That is actually one of the passages that most clearly demonstrates the general lawfulness of polygyny.

    David actually did marry some of Saul’s widows, it is God Himself who gave them to him, and He did so as a blessing, and not a curse. Furthermore, God said that He would have been glad to give David more wives if David thought he needed them. God here clearly approved of David’s polygamy, and it did not violated Deut.17.

    Here is the passage again.

    2 Samuel 12:8 “I also gave you your master’s house and your master’s wives into your [e]care, and I gave you the house of Israel and Judah; and if that had been too little, I would have added to you many more things like these!”

    The words translated here as “your care” are literally “your bosom” in Hebrew (the text note in your translation tells you this).

    When these Hebrew words are used of a man and a woman in the Old Testament, it always refers to a sexual/marital union. Look up to verse three of this same chapter. There, it discusses Uriah and Bathsheba (in the parable of the men with a lamb). The exact same Hebrew is used there “in his bosom”. Bathsheba lay in Uriah’s arms. She really was his wife. Uriah was not just responsible for caring for Bathsheba. She belonged to Uriah.

    Saul’s widows became David’s wives in the EXACT same sense that Bathsheba was Uriah’s wife. They really did become David’s wives. God intentionally used the EXACT same words for both situations. It is part of the rebuke that Nathan delivers.

    God in essence says something like this: “I gave you the wives of your master, and then you despised Me by stealing the one wife of your faithful servant Uriah. I am extremely angry with you because of this treacherous behavior”.

    I think you were quoting from the NASB (which is usually one of the best and most accurate translations). They really screwed up here however (and John MacArthur is totally wrong with his commentary on the passage – even though Johnny Mac is usually pretty good).

    Everybody else translates this phrase in a way that makes it clear that this really is marriage.

    KJV “into thy bosom”
    HCSB “into your arms”
    NIV “into your arms”
    ESV “into your arms”
    ASV “into thy bosom”

    Sorry Bro, but David really did marry at least some of Saul’s widows (obviously not Ahinoam the mother of Michal as that violates Leviticus laws on incest). They were probably Saul’s concubines.

    The contrast is 2nd Sam. 12 is totally clear.
    David marries several wives – God is cool with that, is pleased with David, and continually blesses David. On the other hand, when David steals another man’s wife, God becomes extremely angry with David. God says that the child born of this union will die. God also raise up evil against David from David’s own family. The sword will never departs from David for the rest of his life.

    The troubles with Amnon, Tamar, and Absalom all come about immediately after, and as a direct result of David’s adultery. They are God’s judgment against David for the sin of adultery. They had nothing to do with David’s polygyny.

  10. Ame says:

    curious … is there any marriage example in the Bible that is beautiful from beginning till ‘death do us part?’ i have not ever thought of this before, so am sincerely curious.

  11. Robin Munn says:

    Elspeth –

    Thank you for bringing up the matter of vows. I hadn’t considered that one before, but it’s an absolutely correct argument. When I married my wife, we used the traditional vows, which means that I vowed to “forsak[e] all others as long as we both shall live”. I’m very happy in my marriage, so this whole question is a very distant hypothetical in my mind. But if I were, hypothetically, considering taking another wife — I would be an oathbreaker if I did so.

  12. Robin Munn says:

    Art –

    Are you the person who comments (or used to comment) on Dalrock’s blog under the name Artisanal Toad? Your arguments are sounding very similar from what he used to say.

  13. @ Art

    1. I specifically said the Scripture forbids multiplying wives. I did not say the Scripture forbids polygyny.

    Arguable in the case of David. Definitely in the case of Solomon.

    2. As for the part on Saul’s house. Okay. I don’t think it matters either way in the interpretation — both ways don’t condemn polygyny. Neither really affirms polygyny as good either.

    3. And yes, NASB is usually good. But it does get a few things wrong I have noticed when looking at Hebrew and Greek. I didn’t look at it for this specific passage.

  14. Art says:

    Elspeth –
    You mentioned that the Bible does not contain any stories of “a well functioning polygynous family”

    That is not true. King David seems to have had “a well functioning polygynous family” until the time he despised the Law of God by stealing another man’s wife. David’s horrible family problems ALL happened after the adultery, and were the direct God sent consequences of the adultery. Amnon, Tamar, Absolom, etc. all happened in chapter 13 and following. That all happened right after God said that He would raise up evil out of David’s own family.

    Also, I have to comment that the Bible does not seem to contain many stories of “a well functioning monogamous family” either. It seems like everybody in the Bible is pretty screwed up.

    Adam and Eve were monogamists, yet their firstborn murdered his brother. Isaac had one wife, but had a seriously screwed up family (parental favoritism and sibling rivalry to the extreme). Lot had only one wife, but had sex with his daughters. Judah had one wife, and had sex with his widowed daughter in law. Eli seems to have only had one wife, yet his sons grew up to be wicked men.

    Also, regarding the vows men made to their wives. These vows were all made because the Church has lied to us about the definition of marriage for hundreds of years. At the time of our marriages, we thought that this was the Biblical definition of marriage. Later on, after careful study, we realize that the Church has lied to us. That isn’t the way the Bible defines marriage.

    Is a vow built on a lie still binding?

    What if two unbelieving gay men legally married, and made such vows to each other? Then, later on, one of the men becomes a Christian and realizes that homosexuality is prohibited by God. Is he morally bound by his vow of gay marriage?

    Of course not. He is actually bound by God’s Law, which prohibits gay marriage. Of course the men are still bound by civil law, but that can be unwound by civil divorce.

    God’s Law cannot be unwound.

    I think polygyny is one of the most terrifying concepts in the world for women. One of the main reason for this is that it helps uphold the patriarchal nature of marriage that God established at creation.

    The fact that a man can even theoretically take more than one wife clearly demonstrates that “the husband is the head of the wife”.

    Patriarchy is the real issue, and polygyny is really a small part of this bigger issue.

  15. @ Ame

    curious … is there any marriage example in the Bible that is beautiful from beginning till ‘death do us part?’ i have not ever thought of this before, so am sincerely curious.

    Doubtful.

    Some marriages the couple got married and then we don’t know how it went. Boaz and Ruth are one of those.

    Job got the literal shaft. Adam and Eve didn’t go too well. Noah had bad stuff happen to him via his sons (maybe his marriage went well?). Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob all had issues, if not just with the wife (Rebekah) meddling in birthright affairs. David and Solomon didn’t go that well either. Hosea… yeah.

    It’s speculated Jesus’ earthly father Joseph died early given how much his mother, brothers, and other family sought him out.

    TL;DR. Marriage is hard.

  16. Ame says:

    that list of six marriages is interesting in that only two are monogamous.

  17. Elspeth says:

    Yes, I thought so too but note the level of stress and tension the couples endured was often directly related to the polygamy.

  18. Ame says:

    DS – it is interesting, is it not, that God gave us such overriding, powerful desires to marry and have children … both of which are intensely hard and fraught with so much pain and difficulty.

  19. Art says:

    I also wanted to throw in the issue that God uses polygamous language when describing His relationship with Israel and Judah in the Old Testament. There, God depicts Himself as being like a man married to two unfaithful sisters.

    Ezekiel 23:4-5 “Oholah was the name of the elder and Oholibah the name of her sister. They became mine, and they bore sons and daughters. As for their names, Oholah is Samaria, and Oholibah is Jerusalem. Oholah played the whore while she was mine, and she lusted after her lovers the Assyrians, warriors ”

    If God Himself gives us the image of Him being like a man married to two women at the same time, then polygyny obviously does not violate the one flesh union established in Genesis 2.

    I do agree that polygyny tends to cause problems, and generally isn’t advisable, still I think the Bible clearly portrays it as morally superior to:
    1. Adultery
    2. Divorce
    3. A sexless marriage
    4. Porn and masturbation

    The Bible says that it is better to marry than to burn with passion. If a man’s wife continues to unrepentantly engage in sexual denial, then he may be forced to choose polygyny or divorce.

  20. Robin Munn says:

    Art mentions 1 Kings 15:5, where it says that “David did what was right in the eyes of the Lord and did not turn aside from anything that he commanded him all the days of his life, except in the matter of Uriah the Hittite.” But I can think of at least one other time when David broke the Lord’s command, that 1 Kings 15:5 doesn’t mention, and that’s when he took the census (2 Samuel 24, 1 Chronicles 21). Interestingly, 1 Chronicles says that Satan incited David to take the census, while 2 Samuel 24 says that God incited David. I see a lot of people interpret that as being similar to what we see in the book of Job, where Satan asked God for permission to torture Job and God allowed it. But even if you argue that God commanded David to take the census, it seems that David didn’t obey Exodus 30:12 in the way that he did it: “When you take the census of the people of Israel, then each shall give a ransom for his life to the Lord when you number them, that there be no plague among them when you number them.” And David acknowledged that it was his sin, not the people’s sin, in 1 Chronicles 21:17 / 2 Samuel 24:17.

    So there’s at least one other major sin in David’s life, besides his adultery with Bathsheba and murder of her husband, where he disobeyed God. Yet 1 Kings 15:5 doesn’t mention it. So either the Bible is contradicting itself (2 Samuel 24 says it was disobedience, and 1 Kings 15 says it wasn’t), or else 1 Kings 15 is summarizing: it lists Uriah the Hittite because that’s the most well-known sin, but there were other sins that were included by implication.

    Which in turn means that we can’t necessarily conclude from 1 Kings 15:5 that David’s polygyny was not a violation of Deuteronomy 17. Maybe it was, maybe it wasn’t — but knowing that 1 Kings 15:5 elided at least one of David’s sins, we can’t say that it didn’t elide a second one.

    I think that Art is probably correct here about Deuteronomy 17: the fact that it’s the same Hebrew word for multiplying horses and for multiplying wives does seem to imply that the king wasn’t supposed to “multiply” wives as (say) Solomon did, but wasn’t necessarily forbidden from marrying more than one as long as it was a reasonable number. The Hebrew of Deut. 17 does indeed use the exact same word for both. But it looks like we can’t conclude that from 1 Kings 15:5.

  21. Ame says:

    Elspeth –

    yes. but i do not think it was directly related to the polygyny … i believe it was because the husbands chose a favorite.

    – – – – – – –

    “We can see that this is the case of Jacob, Leah, and Rachel prior to the Law being give. The Lord blesses Leah with many sons because she was unloved. The general concept that is underscored here is that favoritism is bad. This concept is also promoted in the NT — Rom 2, Eph 6, Col 3, James 2.

    Exodus 21:10 If he takes to himself another woman, he may not reduce her [j]food, her clothing, or her conjugal rights. 11 If he will not do these three things for her, then she shall go out for nothing, without payment of money.”

    – – – – – – –

    anytime a person with authority picks a favorite in the family, there are problems … in marriage, or in parenting – Rebekah and Isaac (parents) each choosing a favorite (son) in Jacob and Esau.

    so i would link this more to, “The general concept that is underscored here is that favoritism is bad.” and i would think it would take an incredible kind of man to be able to manage a home with more than one wife and not show favoritism. that would definitely narrow down the men who could potentially manage a polygynous marriage.

  22. @ Robin Munn

    In the case of listing Uriah the Hittite, it is probably the same reason why Uriah the Hittite is listed in the Genealogy of Jesus in Matthew 1:

    Uriah was the only righteous person in that whole scenario adultery scenario.

    Being a righteous person comes with a lot of trouble, but it gains notoriety with God.

  23. Art says:

    Robin –
    Nope. That wasn’t me. I’ve never posted here, or on Dalrock’s site before.

    I actually just found Deep Strength and Dalrock a couple days ago. I am VERY GLAD to have found them. I’ve spent the last couple days devouring everything I can from these sites.

    They have been EXTREMELY helpful to me already! Thank you very much Deep Strength!

    I’ve been influenced a lot by the CBMW folks (like Piper, Chandler, Driscoll, Keller, Mohler, etc.). At the same time, I could clearly tell that they were off track on certain issues, and that they and the churches I’ve been a part of are fairly hostile to men (Conservative Evangelical churches of the Calvinist leaning)

    I’ve been reading some “red pill” sites for a while (like Roosh, ROK, Rollo, Heartistre, etc.) They are good at pointing out certain things, but are really lacking from a Christian standpoint.

    Happy to be here. And thanks to you guys for tolerating me and my longwinded comments.

  24. Art says:

    I also wanted to mention to everyone that if you are interested in studying what the Bible teaches about polygyny, I would suggest checking out the following books. I found them very helpful.

    Thelyphthora or “A Treatise on Female Ruin Volumes 1-3: In Its Causes, Effects, Consequences, Prevention, & Remedy; Considered On The Basis Of Divine Law”

    This was written by the 18th century English pastor and theologian Martin Madan. Rev. Madan was a close friend of John and Charles Wesley, and was one of the early leaders of the Methodist movement (though he was a Calvinist, like myself and George Whitfield). This book can be read for free on Google books as a scanned pdf. Personally, I found the first two volumes to be extremely helpful. The third one was ok, but less helpful.

    I’d also strongly recommend the book “Man and Woman in Biblical Law” volumes 1 and 2 (but mainly one) by Tom Shipley. This is a newer book, and is very helpful. The book really isn’t about polygamy. It is about patriarchy, as patriarchy is the real issue.

  25. @ Ame

    DS – it is interesting, is it not, that God gave us such overriding, powerful desires to marry and have children … both of which are intensely hard and fraught with so much pain and difficulty.

    Not really.

    I think it’s a natural consequence of eating of the fruit of the knowledge of good and evil. Knowledge of good and evil gives us a choice: good or evil.

    Unfortunately, as humans we like to choose evil a lot… and with that comes pain and suffering.

  26. Elspeth says:

    Well yeah, Ame. Of course he had a favorite? Does this shock or surprise anyone? In the case of Elkanah and Hannah, we get the impression that if Hannah would have had children sooner, Peninah wouldn’t have been necessary.

    Same thing with Leah and Rachel. Jacob never wanted Leah, and always wanted Rachel. It is foolish to think that a husband with several wives isn’t going to have a favorite. More source of stress!

    I did want to address one thing you said earlier:

    Marriage and sex are not necessarily wrought with pain and difficulty. That has not been my experience, even remotely, which still shocks us even to this day given some of the *stuff* we started out with.

    There is a way to be happily married from day one until death, but it offends our human sensibilities.

    Not sure I why I said I was done when the subject is one that I feel so strongly about. And like I said, I feel strongly because from where we sit, it has not been something we have discussed in theory and pontificating. Trust me. Even when the wife has offered her consent, (and we have seen that too), it is a hornet’s nest. Period, point blank.

  27. Robin Munn says:

    I have to comment that the Bible does not seem to contain many stories of “a well functioning monogamous family” either. It seems like everybody in the Bible is pretty screwed up.

    While it’s true that the Bible doesn’t seem to spend much time on the well-functioning people, there are some people who had good marriages. Ezekiel seems to have had a pretty good marriage: when God told him in Ezekiel 24:16 that his wife was about to die, He said “I am about to take the delight of your eyes away from you at one stroke”. That sounds to me like they had a pretty good marriage. Joseph and Mary were also pretty well functioning, from what we see of them. Job and his wife also seem to have had a pretty good family. She did have that one moment of utter idiocy, but the fact that they had ten children before the disaster, and another ten children afterwards, seems to suggest that their relationship was pretty good when she wasn’t giving in to despair.

    Now, none of these are explicitly stated to have been monogamous marriages, but then no other wife is ever mentioned either, and in all three cases the text wouldn’t make as much sense if the marriage was polygamous. (E.g., Ezekiel’s lack of mourning wouldn’t have been as notable if it wasn’t a deeply loving marriage, and short of being obligated to marry a brother’s widow or something like that, most men in deeply loving marriages don’t really want to marry a second wife.)

    This is all a bit of a side point, of course.

  28. Ame says:

    DS – that is *exactly* what i try to tell people when they start talking about divorce … that it only looks good from *this* side b/c they have yet to eat that fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. but once eaten, once they have that knowledge, once they have dumped it onto their kids, they can never un-know it. and it is a terrible, horrible, ugly, nasty, everything else bad you can think of, knowledge to have to live with. this is what i so wish i could give to people … a look from this pov. and it does not matter who is at fault, if it’s ‘biblical’ or warranted … the evil comes with it.

    and … from this side, for those of us who have eaten that fruit, we should not be shocked at the evil that comes with it. yet, there is much grace and mercy and healing from Holy God if we choose to accept it.

  29. Elspeth says:

    The fruit of the spirit keeps popping into my head as I think about this: love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.

    Whether in the OT where you see the numerous examples of polygyny, or in the 21st century where we have witnessed it (only 3 up close instances but…), in every family where it has been introduced -including where wife #1 went along with it- the fruit of the spirit seemed to not only be absent, but seemed to mysteriously dry up from families which beforehand seemed happy and functioning units.

    Where the spirit of the Lord is there is liberty- and fruit. Our Messiah said you judge a tree by its fruit.

  30. Ame says:

    Art – you really should check out Artisanal Toad’s site:
    https://artisanaltoadshall.wordpress.com/

  31. Ame says:

    Elspeth – i hear you. but to be honest, it happens all the time in monogamous marriages, too. i sincerely do not think polygyny can be blamed for that.

    personally, i cannot imagine ever being in a polygynous marriage … but i also cannot deny what the bible says, either. thankfully it does not require either a polygynous or a monagamous structure.

  32. @ Ame

    Eh. Artisanal is fringe in terms of theological interpretation in quite a few areas. For example,

    Sex with a virgin = marriage.

    I don’t see how you can come to that conclusion given the totality of Scripture. “Only sex” does not a marriage make. Things like marriage certificates are human inventions as are ‘ceremonies’ and ‘celebrations.’ However, there *is* some type of commitment offered that both parties have to accept.

    For instance, Jesus and the Church, as the example of the marriage relationship. Each Christian must acknowledge and accept the gift of God through the sacrifice of Jesus our Lord, AND must commit our life to Him and obey His commands.

  33. Robin Munn says:

    Ame, Art –

    When I used to read Dalrock’s comments (I don’t anymore because I don’t have time for the sheer number of commenters and parallel discussions), I distinctly remember Artisanal Toad espousing some very bizarre Scriptural interpretations. Specifically, I’ve seen him argue that if a virgin woman has sex with a man, she has married him in the eyes of God. As far as I can tell, he bases this idea on the fact that covenants were always sealed with blood in the Old Testament, and therefore that the blood of a woman’s hymen being broken by first intercourse sealed the covenant that sex implies: marriage. In order to reach this conclusion, he does a really bizarre reading of Genesis 2:24, basically ignoring the fact that leaving and cleaving are listed before the one-flesh union.

    So while I don’t actually know if he also endorses this bizarre reading on his blog, I’d be surprised if he didn’t. And because of that, and what I’ve seen him argue in Dalrock’s comments, I’d hesitate to recommend his blog to people.

  34. Art says:

    Elspeth –
    It isn’t really important, but Hannah was almost certainly Elkanah’s 2nd wife and Peninah the 1st.
    Samuel mentions Hannah first, because (1) she is his mother (2) the story in the 1st couple chapters of the book is about her (3) she is the godly wife. The fact that she is mentioned first doesn’t mean that she was Elkanah’s 1st wife.

    Some commentators have actually said that Hannah’s barrenness was God’s judgment against her for her polygamous marriage (same thing said about Rachel)

    Look at what happens when the family goes to make sacrifice. Elkanah gives portions of the meat to each member of the family. First, he gives Peninah her portion (which would make sense if she was the first wife). Then he gives a portion to each of her children (which would make sense if they entered his family next). Then finally, he gives a double portion to Hannah (feeding her last since she entered the family last). He loves her in spite of the fact that she is barren, and he gives her a double portion.

    Joseph does something similar when he feeds his brother in Genesis 43. He seats them by their ages, from oldest to youngest, and feeds them all, but gives a larger portion to his beloved younger brother Benjamin.

    We also have to think about the time factor involved. Jewish tradition taught that after ten years of marriage with a barren wife, it was reasonable for a man to take a second wife in order to bear children. Let’s say that Elkanah married Hannah at age 15, and then waited 10 years before he married Peninah. Now Hannah is 25.

    Then, Peninah has a bunch of children. Verse 4 tells us that she had multiple sons and multiple daughters “all her sons and daughters”. That is a bare minimum of 4, but probably more like 6. For the sake of argument lets just say there were 5 children, and that they were each spaced about 2 years apart. That adds at least another 10 years. Now Hannah is 35.

    But wait, these weren’t little baby children. They were older children, capable of walking many miles to the place where the Passover was held. That means the youngest one was probably at least 5 or so. Now Hannah is at least 40. But then this whole process goes on year after year. Now Hannah is around 45 maybe?

    Finally, Hannah starts having children. First, she has Samuel, and weans him. This takes several more years. Now she is 48? Then Hannah goes on to have four more children (since chapter 2 verse 21 says Hannah had 5 children. That all takes time too. Hannah must be popping out babies in her late 50’s-early 60’s.

    Not only that, but Hannah was married to Elkanah for 30-40 years before she cries out to God regarding her barrenness.

    That’s not likely. The Bible indicates the miracle is that the barren woman (Hannah) bears children, and not that the barren and OLD woman (like Sarah) bears children.

    Here is what I think happened (total speculation on my part). Elkanah was a decent man. He married Peninah, and they had kids. Peninah declined into a nagging woman, who sexually neglects Elkanah. Neglected and dejected Elkanah meets a nice young woman (Hannah) and the two fall in love and marry. Hannah is barren, and Peninah is pissed off at Elkanah for taking a second wife. She takes it out on Hannah. She torments her continually, so she can feel better about herself. Hannah cries out to God for mercy. God was gracious towards Hannah.

  35. Elspeth says:

    i hear you. but to be honest, it happens all the time in monogamous marriages, too. i sincerely do not think polygyny can be blamed for that.

    No- you don’t hear me. If a man and his wife and family are getting on relatively well, then he sees another woman he is attracted to and decides to add her as a wife and everything goes to hell in a hand basket, the polygyny is the elephant in the room.

    Of course bad marriages happen in the context of monogamy. I never said it didn’t. But if marriage is difficult enough to navigate with two people, and Jesus Himself made the point of noting that God created one man for one woman (leaving aside for now the first marriage God instituted), then why make it more difficult? Why give the enemy more to play around with?

    This is what happens when people resort to worshiping the Book instead of the Creator, the Law itself instead of the Law Giver. You get a total disregard for the overarching and totality of Scripture and what it teaches regarding the way we are to relate to one another in every area and in all relationships and how these things interact with one another.

    For example, one thing I do know a bit about it the way things go when a man has children with more than one living woman. I know about it from my own marriage. Although my husband had the kind of frame that made the level of stress minimal, he is rare from what I have seen. Patriarchy (as much as it can be a *thing* apart from community cohesiveness) has always been alive and well here.

    Dwell with your wife according to knowledge. Do not exasperate our children. Lead your household well. All commands which almost immediately suffer in the context of polygyny. Funny how in every area of life Christians of all stripes,( whether feminist, complementarian, traditional, or patriarchal), want to strive for the ideal. But when it comes to relationships of male and female sexuality, we always look for the legal loopholes required for what we want to be true to be true.

    God created Adam and told him to populate the earth. He gave him one woman. One. What Robin Munn said is true. A lot of the crowing about polygyny’s legitimacy is really a revelation of how many marriages are unfulfilling, and that is a sad thing.

    For the record, my position is NOT that polygyny is adulterous or sinful. If a woman marries a man with this understanding from day one, and he decides to take a second wife, her objections or refusal to play ball are a violation of her vows.

    @ Art:

    Monogamous heterosexual marriage is not a violation of God’s standards in the same way that homosexual relations are. So the man did not marry under the influence of a lie if he didn’t know about polygyny. He made his vows “in ignorance” and yes, he has to keep them. Just like Jephthah had to keep his horrible vow made in ignorance in Judges 11.

  36. The major problem here is the assumptions you started with.

    First, you didn’t take a hard look at Genesis 2:24. There are two points made WRT Genesis 2:24 that are not stated in the text, but what was not stated was just as important as what was stated. The first is the one Christ pointed to when He said “Moses permitted you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it has not been this way.

    The fact is, Genesis 2:24 was the grant of authority to the man to initiate marriage and it contained no authority to end a marriage. That was important enough for Christ to call it out, so equally of importance would be the fact that Genesis 2:24 contained no restrictions on the number of wives a man might have.

    Marriage is to be honored by all. That was a command. You seem to be working hard to disparage marriages you don’t approve of. Polygyny and monogamy are not mentioned in the Bible, there is only marriage. To say that polygyny was merely permitted is to say that marriage was merely permitted. Taking more than one wife was regulated in the Law with some special rules. The levirate marriage commanded polygyny if the brother already had a wife (Deuteronomy 25:5-10). God took credit for giving David multiple wives within the context of the good things He had done for David (1st Samuel 12:8) and God claimed to have two wives (Jeremiah 32:32-33).

    Let’s move this to a less emotional area though. Farming. Take any of these arguments about polygyny and insert the word “farming” in place of “polygyny” and you’ll get an idea of just how ridiculous the arguments are. Do you want to be a farmer? God provided His regulations on that and it’s your choice. OH!!! But LOOK at all the horrible examples of farmers! Drunkenness, curses, incest and bastards! It really is pretty silly. Almost as silly as the argument that it wasn’t mentioned as something done in the early church so it should not be done now. Because neither was farming.

    As to Elspeth’s claim about polygyny being about sexual variety… so what? Am I going to say that it’s not enjoyable? That would be ridiculous. The point is that men get married to have sex because they want sex from the most attractive woman they can get. And normal, healthy men want lots of sex! So the idea that there is something wrong with a man wanting lots of sex and sexual variety is an attempt to shame men for a perfectly normal desire that can be legitimately satisfied within the bounds of marriage.

    The number of virgin adult women who would agree or whose fathers would agree to such an arrangement are virtually nonexistent,

    This statement assumes that only virgin adult women or women whose father would agree are eligible to marry, which is completely false. Perhaps we forgot about 1st Corinthians 7:39 and Numbers 30:9. There is also another class of women who are eligible to marry, not virgins and not under the authority of their fathers. They are the women whose father annulled their marriage. There are potentially millions of these.

    A virgin woman is married when she has sex with a man eligible to marry her and her consent is not required. That’s Genesis 2:24. We know this because the Hebrew word “dabaq” was translated into Greek as the word “kollao” when Jesus quoted Genesis 2:24 in Matthew 19:5. Then, the Apostle Paul used the word “kollao” in 1st Corinthians 6:16 within the context of Genesis 2:24 (quoting half the verse) talking about becoming one body with a prostitute.

    Interestingly, the Hebrew word “dabaq” basically means commitment when used elsewhere and the Greek word “kollao” means faithfulness and loyalty when used to describe human interactions. Yet, when used in Genesis 2:24, the word means sex. Which means that sex is the way the man makes his commitment to the marriage. Which is probably why it’s called the act of marriage.

    But, this leaves us with an interesting choice with regard to 1st Corinthians 6:16. Either the Apostle Paul was warning men not to get married to prostitutes and sexually promiscuous women, or the Apostle Paul was forbidding men from having sex with prostitutes. Which then really kind of hangs things on the definition of the word “porne” and in every other instance in the Bible, when used of a physical person the word means a prostitute. Not a temple prostitute, a money-for-sex prostitute. Men do not go to prostitutes to get faithfulness and loyalty because that isn’t what prostitutes sell- they sell sex. Men to not go to prostitutes to marry them, they pay prostitutes so they can have sex with no strings attached.

    And… little known tidbit, nothing in the Law prohibited a man from having sex with a prostitute. Taking part in idolatry by having sex with a temple prostitute was forbidden and sex with a married prostitute was adultery. Otherwise, there is no prohibition anywhere in the Law on using a prostitute for sex. And, the prohibition on using prostitutes in 1st Corinthians 6:15-16 only applies to Christian men, otherwise it would be a violation of Deuteronomy 4:2 and 12:32.

    So, the eligible virgin is married when she gives her virginity to a man. Period. Which is why Deuteronomy 22:28-29 clearly states that the virgin not betrothed could be raped into marriage against her will and over her objections. Just like a father could sell his daughter to be another man’s concubine (Exodus 21:7-10) and the woman taken in battle were married against their will with no ceremony (Deuteronomy 21:10-14). In all three of these cases the women were married and their consent was not required.

    However, Exodus 22:16-17 is the example of Numbers 30:5 in action. The man seduced the woman and with the act of sex they were married. No ceremony mentioned or required, the sex is what does it. However, the Father has the authority to review her agreements and because she was seduced, she agreed to have sex which married her. Her father has the authority to annul that, which has the effect of annulling the marriage. Numbers 22:16 is where he didn’t annul the marriage, verse 17 is where he did. And you have to love the way the translators added the words “to be” into verse 16 to make it seem like there was something else that had to be done in order for them to be married.

    So, look around the landscape and see all the so-called “single” women who are not virgins. They are married and don’t know it. Their father has (in accordance with Numbers 30:5) the authority to annul that marriage. There is no time limit because the passage says “in the day he hears of it.” If the woman’s father was not around, assuming the man who married her when he deflowered her was not a Christian, he can give her a certificate of divorce for adultery because it’s pretty much guaranteed that she was with other men. The point is there are a whole lot of eligible women if one takes the time to educate them. Shopworn, but eligible.

    I should also point out that the father only has the authority to annul his daughters vows and agreements with binding consequences when she is in her youth living in his house. So, if she was in her youth living in his house when it happened (50% of all women have lost their virginity by age 17.1) then in the day he hears of her marriage he can annul it. And, only the virgin can be married with the act of sex without her consent. A non-virgin must agree to marry the man before the sex makes her married (Numbers 30:9; 1st Corinthians 7:39).

    This is most disturbing because it means that any man who “married” a woman who was not a virgin held a ceremony with another man’s wife and started having sex with her. Which is adultery. Except for that small number who married after her original husband was dead. And, since even in highly religious groups only about 20% of the women are still virgins when they officially marry, that means if you look around your average church at least 80% of the couples are living together in adultery.

    The reason this has happened is because the early church (and we’re really talking about Augustine and Jerome) hated sex and all things sexual. They threw out the Biblical standards and God’s plan, replacing it with a blend of pagan beliefs, Stoic philosophy and Roman law. Later, they forbid polygyny for political reasons along with requiring a church ceremony and the consent of the bride. That was to stop the nobility from marrying their daughters to the men they wanted them to marry. Which they had every right to do, according to Scripture. But, if you tell a lie long enough people will find ways to believe it, so all the good churchians believe there must be a ceremony and sex doesn’t make you married. Even though Scripture says different.

    Likewise, the majority of women who think they’re divorced were actually never married to the man they had a wedding ceremony with. Because they were already married to another man. Which means that unless the husband is dead,, she’s still married. And it’s so huge and so fantastic that most Christians refuse to actually read for comprehension.

    The issue of polygyny cannot be looked at in isolation, it must be looked at in context alongside the issues of marriage, divorce and adultery. And, all the doctrines currently taught are nothing more than a defense of the status quo, not based on what the Bible actually says.

  37. @Robin

    Continued use of the word “bizarre” does not affect the meaning of the Hebrew word “dabaq” or the Greek word “kollao” in terms of what Genesis 2:24 actually means.

    The man leaving his father and mother is a change in status and authority, he’s starting his own family that isn’t under the authority of his father and mother, but under his authority. To say this is a requirement for the man to physically leave his parents house in order to be married is ridiculous.

    The “cleave” is the Hebrew word dabaq and in this verse it means sex. It also means commitment and the man commits to the woman in marriage by having sex with her. Which means that every time a married couple has sex, the man repeats his commitment to the marriage.

    The “become one flesh” was explained by Christ in Matthew 19:4-6. The action of the man was to cleave (have sex, which was his commitment to the marriage and in doing so take her virginity, an irrevocable act). The action of God was to make the two one flesh. Which is described as being the same as becoming one body with Christ, which Paul described as a great mystery (Ephesians 5:29-32).

    In light of Matthew 19:4-6, 1st Corinthians 6:16 and Ephesians 5:29-32, Genesis 2:24 would better be stated as:

    “For this reason a man shall go out from under his father and his mother, he shall have sexual intercourse with his wife and the Lord shall join the two as one flesh.”

    Robin, perhaps you can answer the very “bizarre” question of when, pray tell, the Lord makes the two one flesh? Does it happen when the man has sex with his…. WIFE? Which is what the text calls her. Or does it happen some time later?

    NB: This is not to claim that individuals cannot make agreements (Numbers 30:2) and be bound by them. If they agree there must be a ceremony, there must be a ceremony. In fact, the ONLY example of “premarital sex” possible is if a betrothed couple had sex prior to the wedding ceremony. Because she wasn’t eligible until the betrothal period was up, they weren’t married and because they had agreed to it, there had to be a ceremony.

    However, absent some agreement to the contrary, when the man has sex with the eligible virgin he marries her.

  38. thedeti says:

    @ Elspeth:

    “Oh, and you would be totally shocked at what a woman will put up with for a man she has the hots for if there are no other prospects on the horizon. The dude doesn’t have to be rich…”

    Really, E? Are you REALLY saying this to men in the manosphere? Have you forgotten the last, oh, five or so years of discussions around here?

    I’ve seen up close and personal what women will put up with for men they’re extremely sexually attracted to. I’ve read the stories. No, I would not be shocked. Not. At. All.

  39. Art says:

    Elspeth –
    The institution of marriage is defined by the Creator, and His Moral Law, established at creation, and written down for us in Scripture. It is not defined by the words that the bride and groom say to each other at the time of the wedding. They can promise each other whatever they want, but at the end of the day, they are bound by God’s Law. His definition of marriage is the only definition that matters.

    Regarding a rash vow taken in ignorance, a man errs by taking such an unbiblical vow, but it does not seem that he is morally required to keep it.

    (Leviticus 5:4-6) “or if anyone utters with his lips a rash oath to do evil or to do good, any sort of rash oath that people swear, and it is hidden from him, when he comes to know it, and he realizes his guilt in any of these; when he realizes his guilt in any of these and confesses the sin he has committed, he shall bring to the Lord as his compensation for the sin that he has committed,…”

    The Church lies to men about the Biblical definition of marriage (that only monogamy is marriage). Believing that lie, men foolishly and rashly vow to never take another woman.

    That is a rash, foolish, and improper oath. There is sin where it is broken. Still, Leviticus 5 seems to indicate that the man is not bound by the oath. He realizes his sin of making it. He repents of his foolish oath. God forgives his sin (based on Christ’s atonement).

    Then, the man follows God’s Law regarding marriage. He loves his wife. He leads her. He cares and provides for her. He even lays down his life for her.

    Still, according to the Law of God, the man is free to take an additional wife.

    Also, the teachers who lied to the man bear guilt for pushing him to make an improper oath.

  40. donalgraeme says:

    Funny, all this trying to figure out whether Christians can have more than one spouse, and not a person thought to look at what early Christians actually practiced or believed….

  41. Donal

    Given that the early Christians were primary examples of the worst Christian churches ever, why do you imply they would be an example? God’s Word settles the issue on more than one spouse but what on earth does the early church have to do with that? Have you read the book of Galatians recently? How about the Epistles of Christ?

  42. Ame says:

    “@ Ame

    Eh. Artisanal is fringe in terms of theological interpretation. For example,

    Sex with a virgin = marriage.

    I don’t see how you can come to that conclusion given the totality of Scripture. “Only sex” does not a marriage make. Things like marriage certificates are human inventions as are ‘ceremonies’ and ‘celebrations.’ However, there *is* some type of commitment offered that both parties have to accept.

    For instance, Jesus and the Church, as the example of the marriage relationship. Each Christian must acknowledge and accept the gift of God through the sacrifice of Jesus our Lord, AND must commit our life to Him and obey His commands.”
    – – – – – – – – – –

    DS – lol! yes, AT is definitely on the fringe of theology in our culture. however, i actually do have something to add to ‘sex with a virgin = marriage’ from experience.

    the first time i heard this concept was probably about nine or ten years ago in a different world than this group or the manosphere. the technicalities of when marriage begins were being debated among biblical scholars much more knowledgeable than i, and it was boiled down to: marriage begins at consummation. it was the first i’d heard of that. at that time i was newly divorced from a 20 year marriage to a man who was serially unfaithful and abusive and who walked away and ended the marriage. he was also the man to whom i gave my virginity. fast forward to 2014 … i had remarried five years earlier, blended a family with my 2 girls and his son … and although i had moved on from the death of the marriage, we were continually dealing with some really bad stuff he was doing to our girls when he suddenly died due to unmanaged health issues. it was tragic. despite all he’d done, my girls were now left without their daddy … and they had to embark on a journey of grieving and working through not only his death but all the things he did.

    what i was unprepared for was what began around the beginning of the second year after he died. i spiraled down into a very, very dark place, and the hardest part about being there was that i couldn’t understand why i was there. the marriage had died a slow, painful death. i spent a couple+ years in biblical therapy. i had grieved the marriage. i had moved on and was very happily remarried. why was his death so painful for me and so difficult to grieve? over a year later, as i began to come out of this, the teaching of sex consummating and creating a marriage … because God does something inexplicable and spiritual in joining us together with sex … came back to the forefront, and it all made sense to me. i had grieved the death of our marriage, but now i was grieving the death of something spiritual that God did when we first had sex all those many years ago.

    recently i had this discussion with a friend and his wife. he has been in ministerial and leadership positions in the church for years and is theologically knowledgeable and sound. i asked him why this isn’t taught … that there is a covenant made when sex occurs with a virgin that is spiritual … and that man cannot break that covenant spiritually, only death can break it. and he acknowledged that it would turn the church inside out because what do we do with all those women who gave their virginity away to whomever before they met the man they legally married? or all the women whose virginity a man took?

    i admit i do not have all the answers … mostly i just have my personal experience which verifies what the scriptures tell us.

    but … what if we taught that the bible says marriage begins with sex – that to whom a girl gives her virginity she is married. then … when the church teaches kids not to have sex until married, it makes sense because sex with a virgin creates a spiritual union … then it makes sense for fathers and brothers to protect daughters and sisters and to carefully help her select the man with whom this spiritual union will take place.

    (i tried to make this brief, but it’s not … so if it’s too long or not something you want on your blog, please feel free to delete.)

  43. OKRickety says:

    DS,

    Looking carefully at the “War” section and the Deut. 21:10-14 passage, I am puzzled by your statement that “The husband receives another wife who is also able to help with the household.” You seem to be assuming the man going to war is already married, but I don’t see the evidence. I realize it does not exclude that possibility, but it does not explicitly mention an existing wife, either.

    I recognize that the text immediately following (Deut. 21:15-17) does discuss the treatment of wives when polygyny is involved, but I don’t see that this is necessarily related to the previous section. This chapter is not a story that is connected, but a series of passages of commands specific to certain scenarios.

    How do you conclude with such apparent certainty that this passage involves polygyny?

    Digressing: Although Art’s arguments bear similarities to Artisanal Toad’s, it was easy to know they were different people as Toad is much more voluminous in his comments on topics like these. 😀

  44. @ OKRickety

    You seem to be assuming the man going to war is already married, but I don’t see the evidence. I realize it does not exclude that possibility, but it does not explicitly mention an existing wife, either.

    Deut 24:5 — a man is exempt from going to war if he just married.

    All other single and married men are required to go to war, if needed by the nation. Since the passage is not specific, it seems to infer that both married or single men could take a wife.

    Good point though. It could refer to single or married men.

  45. Toad’s ability to produce a volume of text always amazes me.

    As to the topic in general, I’ll pull out a more classic explanation. Shooting yourself in the foot isn’t a Sin. It’s terribly stupid, but a Sin it isn’t. And, in some rare & strange context, it might be the best option available for certain dire situations. This, however, doesn’t make it Good, either.

    But there are many actions that aren’t Sins that will simply “get in the way” of the Spirit. They will grind down your Faith and cause you no end to headaches. Which is why one should avoid such actions unless directed by the Lord for specific purposes. (The Lord sent Isaiah around naked and barefoot for 3 years. [Isaiah 20] This doesn’t mean it’s a good thing for us to do that.)

  46. Cassie says:

    Something that never seems to get mentioned in these discussions should be blazingly obvious:

    Just because the bible says that “so-and-so did such-and-such” doesn’t necessarily mean that we’re supposed to do it too. Sometimes it does, but sometimes things are told so that we can learn what NOT to do. We’ve got to read these things in their proper context. Just because some of the biblical figures had more then one wife doesn’t mean it’s wise for everyone else to do the same thing. Some of those men were murderers also. Does that mean we should follow their example and murder someone? Of course not! Well, just because some of the people in the old testament took part in polygamy isn’t enough justification for others to do that now. The problems far outweigh the supposed benefits, making it a very foolish thing to do, especially today.

  47. Ame says:

    Cassie –
    “The problems far outweigh the supposed benefits, making it a very foolish thing to do, especially today.”

    sadly, this is true for most men in regards to Monogamous marriage today.

  48. shredifier says:

    Art

    This is perhaps the BEST rebuttal and best defence of polygamy that I’ve ever seen

  49. Ame:

    Which is why men marrying another wife is just asking for trouble or wants a shorter life. Which is why dramas about palace intrigues and squabbles among a king or emperor’s concubines are widely popular among female viewers.

  50. * Which is why men marrying another wife are just asking for trouble or want a shorter life.

  51. shredifier says:

    Art

    My fingers are too big and it hit “send” before I finished my sentence lol
    Yeah what I was saying…..yours is the best statement on polygamy that I’ve ever seen,especially those who try to play it down and accuse God of making concessions because of man’s weakness….to that I say absolute garbage, not only did ALL the patriarchs have multiple wives and had God himself approve of them but that it records God himself as being instrumental as the causative factor! See 2nd Samuel 12:8 where it records that it was GOD who gave David his many WIVE’S, notice the plural here……notice that God himself calls Sauls CONCUBINE a wife, proving a concubine had the same legal statist as a wife
    I get do sick and tired of those who try to play down how prevalent polygamy was in the Old testament. …it’s almost like they feel it impugn’s God’s moral character by tolerating men who had multiple wives……you are also correct that it wasn’t for a select few or the domain of Kings, any man could take himself more than 1 wife and still be morally pure
    We just need to get over ourselves and recognize that polygamy was NEVER a sin and was actually the normative thing to do and NOT ONCE does it break the one flesh union of man and wife and to be quite honest that is what truly scares the “moralists” amongst us, the fact that a man can be joined to many women as wives and have NO SIN charged to their account

  52. Ame says:

    chokingonredpills –
    “Which is why dramas about palace intrigues and squabbles among a king or emperor’s concubines are widely popular among female viewers.”

    – – – – –

    i do love The King and I … but, while i do not want to be part of a polygynous marriage, i do agree:

    “Polygyny is only permitted in extremely extenuating circumstances (e.g. relative died, war) and must be beneficial to both parties (e.g. child to continue the lineage, raising the child, provision, no mistreatment, no favoritism).”

    and for some men in this culture, i think they see themselves in ‘extremely extenuating circumstances,’

    – – – – – – –

    “* Which is why men marrying another wife are just asking for trouble or want a shorter life.”

    while i think this is probably true for most men (and women) … i do believe there are some men who can truly handle this and manage it well. my brother certainly could. and i know others who can.

  53. Robin Munn says:

    Artisanal Toad –

    You say that in this verse “dabaq”, cleave, means to have sex, but if that were the case, then the “they will become one flesh” part of the verse would be redundant.

    The word “dabaq” is used throughout the Bible in several contexts: to be physically stuck together (Job 29:10, “and their tongue stuck to the roof of their mouth” in the ESV), to hold on to someone and/or refuse to be parted (Ruth 1:14, “And Orpah kissed her mother-in-law, but Ruth clung to her” in the ESV), and to hold fast to one’s commitment (2 Samuel 20:2, “But the men of Judah followed their king steadfastly” in the ESV). See http://biblehub.com/hebrew/davekah_1692.htm for more.

    Clearly, the word does not have to mean sex. When it’s used in a non-physical context, though, it always implies a strong, unshakeable bond or commitment. And if that’s the way to read the verse, then it would be: “A man shall leave his father and mother, be joined to his wife in an unbreakable commitment, and the two shall become one flesh.” Which makes perfect sense: a man steps out from under his parents’ authority, binds himself to his wife with a promise, and then they seal that promise by being joined physically. And that’s why sex outside of marriage is such a sin, because it’s fraud. It’s acting as if the contract has been made, without having made the contract. Which is, essentially, theft. And when in the Mosaic law, a man has sex with a virgin young woman without making that commitment, what’s the penalty? Since he took the benefit part of the contract, he must make restitution by taking on the obligations part of the contract, by marrying her. (Except if her father forbids the union because he could see that marrying his daughter to this man would harm her.)

    Now, let’s look at what it would mean if your reading of dabaq is correct: “A man shall leave his father and mother, and be joined (have sex) with his wife, and the two will become one flesh (have sex).” That’s redundant. Reading the joining as the all-important commitment makes more sense.

    Finally, there’s one more argument. When Mary had a visit from the angel, she was betrothed to Joseph, but they had not yet slept together. However, they were legally bound to each other even though they hadn’t yet had sex: when Joseph learned that Mary was pregnant (and he knew that it wasn’t his doing), he would have had to get a divorce in order to leave her. They had made a binding commitment to each other already, even though they had not yet become one flesh.

    Your desire to read “dabaq” as meaning sex in Genesis 2:24 is blinding you to the obvious, clear meaning of the verse. What’s funny is that you then turn around and accuse everyone else of reading their own desires into the text.

  54. @Robin

    You personify the idea that one can read a Churchian the Bible but cannot make them think.

    The New Testament completely explains Genesis 2:24. As you have indicated, the word dabaq means different things in different places in the Old Testament Hebrew, but in 1st Corinthians 6:16 the Apostle Paul told us what “dabaq” specifically means in Genesis 2:24. It means sex. Yes, it means different things elsewhere, but when it comes to beginning a marriage, it means sex. It’s so obvious that you didn’t even address the argument.

    In Matthew 19:4-8 Christ made a couple of points about Genesis 2:24 that are also important to our understanding. The first is that initiating a marriage is a case of man does some, God does some. Man’s part is the sex, God’s part is joining the two together. The second point is that what Genesis 2:24 didn’t say was just as important as what it did say. The authority to initiate marriage did not contain the authority to end the marriage, neither did it have any restrictions on how many marriages a man might initiate.

    In Ephesians 5:29-32, the Apostle Paul explains that the “becoming one flesh” in marriage is a spiritual joining. It’s on par, in the same way and just as much of a great mystery as becoming one body with Christ. In other words, it does not mean sex and cannot mean sex because sex is physical and becoming one flesh is a spiritual joining. Unless you want to claim that we are somehow having sex with Christ to become part of the body of Christ…

    Put all of these together and it’s clear that the man physically joins to his wife when he has sex with her and God then spiritually joins the two together as one flesh.

    Since we have no disagreement with the first element, the man leaving out from under the authority of his father and mother, that leaves our disagreement on the other two elements.

    1. Shall cleave.
    2. Shall become one flesh.

    You are trying as hard as you can to ignore the text and read into it things that are not there. The text clearly states that the man shall join himself to his wife. Following that we see the statement that the two shall become one flesh. From the New Testament we see that the joining is sex and the becoming one flesh is a spiritual joining that God accomplishes. It raises the question of why you fight to maintain a lie propagated over a thousand years ago by people who claim that sex, even within marriage is inherently evil and sinful.

    The litchpin of your argument falls onto the consent of the virgin. Which does not exist as a requirement in Scripture. According to Deuteronomy 22:28-29, the eligible virgin can be raped into marriage against her will. And what if her father decides she *will* marry a certain man and delivers her to him. He takes her virginity and she is his wife. They are married even though she never consented. Likewise she can be sold by her father to be a concubine (wife) against her will (Exodus 21:7-10) or captured in battle and forced to become a wife against her will (Deuteronomy 21:10-14).

    On the other side of the coin, a virgin can choose to marry without her father’s permission and he has the authority to annul that marriage after the fact (Numbers 30:5). Thus, the virgin has no agency. Contrast that with the widows and divorced women (Numbers 30:9; 1st Corinthians 7:39) in which case those women must consent in order to be married. The non-virgin cannot be raped into marriage.

    I don’t think you lack the intellectual capacity to see the truth, rather, you lack the moral equilibrium to act on it. You are not willing to accept what God has said, you want to play God and define things your own way. Perhaps your conscience is seared. Perhaps you simply live in fear of what others would say.

    Yet, you go beyond ignorance into sin with your false teaching. Romans 4:15 and 5:13 explain what sin is and is not. Show me, ANYWHERE in Scripture where a man is forbidden to have sex with an eligible virgin. You can’t because no such prohibition exists. Which means what you call “premarital sex” is not a sin. Which means you are shamelessly violating Scripture with your bigoted and judgmental attitude, calling something sin that God chose not to. In fact, there is no prohibition anywhere in Scripture on a man having sex with an eligible woman. But you don’t ask yourself why. The reason is that sex is how a marriage is initiated.

    I explain this in my “voluminous” comments in order that one day you will be judged as a man having heard the truth and ignored it. I do not delude myself that you would embrace the truth, quite obviously you either cannot or will not. But in the day of judgment you will not be able to claim ignorance and one day you will be judged. My job is to make sure that it falls on you as hard as possible. If you are in Christ you will stand before the bema seat and be judged. You won’t go to hell, but you will be judged.

    Robin, there was a time when it was “radical” and “fringe” theology to suggest that the earth revolved around the sun. Or to suggest that the Pope was anything other than infallible.

    I suppose I should be cheered when folks like you describe what I’m saying in such terms, because when you do so you acknowledge I speak the truth and it cannot be refuted. Obviously, if you could refute me you would. But you can’t. The historical record also exists and it’s well established that the influential Patristic fathers of the early church consciously threw out the Biblical standards of sex and marriage in favor of pagan belief (Augustine), Stoic philosophy (Jerome) and Roman law. And who translated the Vulgate? Jerome. But that doesn’t mean anything to you because you have no clue what Jerome stood for.

    If you wanted to dream up a master-plan for Satan to destroy the effectiveness of the church, I suspect you’d be hard pressed to come up with something better than what you support. Adultery on a massive scale because the people have been lied to about how a marriage begins and the problem with “divorce” that doesn’t really exist. I’ve written about this too. For couples who were actually married with their official ceremony (the woman was a virgin for the official ceremony) the rate of divorce is less than 10%. Step it up to one previous partner (her real husband) and you get a divorce rate of almost 30%.

    However, that’s self-reported data. Since it’s a rather important issue for those women, what are the odds that 20% of them would lie? Pretty damn good. Because women consistently lie about this stuff. And if 20% of them were not virgins, then the divorce rate for real marriages is down around 5%. Everything else is a case of an adulterous union that blew up, and the more adultery the more likely the “official” union blew up. Which is obvious because as the number of adulterous partners increases, so too does the likelihood that the “official” adulterous union will fail. Because God is not mocked.

    Yet, you cannot acknowledge the problem exists, much less that solutions exist as well. This isn’t a case like in Ezra, with the men marrying foreign wives and then put them away because there was no alternative. The father can annul the original marriage, the non-Christian husband can give them a divorce for their adultery. But you would rather people stay in adultery than admit that you are wrong.

  55. shredifier says:

    Artisanal Toad

    I’ve actually despaired that the body of Christ will ever accept what you’re saying, the relentless brainwashing that the clergy and the church have propogated for over 1500 years is too ingrained in the Christian psyche for it to see the truth and change now
    A man becomes married the moment he has sexual intercourse with a woman PERIOD, no ceremony, no priest present, no pastor needed, no marriage certificate and no licence
    That’s the bottom line but you are beating your head against a brick wall my friend as the anti sexual hostility and prudishness that surrounds sex and sexuality is beyond repair now
    “Marriage” in Christian’s eyes is when you walk down an aisle and make vows in front of people or have a state official make you sign a legal document! ROTFLOL!!! 😂….Every time I hear that nonsense I simply ask them to show me 1 verse in the bible that clearly supports that idea of marriage

  56. Cane Caldo says:

    Jesus was so wise and shrewd. “From the beginning it was not so”. What was so: One man, one woman, til death do they part.

    What God allowed to be done in ancient times is not authorization for everybody henceforth. So, no, a man should not marry or have sex with his physical twin as Adam did; nor his half-sister like Abraham; nor should daughters seduce their father as Lot’s did; nor should one marry one’s other close relations as Noah’s grandchildren had.

    As for the argument that sex with a virgin = marriage: It’s simply and obviously wrong. Accompanying every instance of marriage there is the blessing of authority alongside the sex act, or does God’s Word lie when it refers to concubines as concubines instead of wives; or handservants of women instead of wives? In fact the lineage by handservants is accounted to the actual (by consent, authority, and sex) wives.

    Not to mention the lack of divorces or deaths required if all these people be married and adulterous.

    The point of the long posts arguing against the clarity of scripture is to seem scholarly, but they are just schemes.

  57. @shredifier
    A man becomes married the moment he has sexual intercourse with a woman PERIOD, no ceremony, no priest present, no pastor needed, no marriage certificate and no licence

    Change that from “woman” to “eligible virgin” and you are exactly correct. The woman who is no longer a virgin (widow, legitimately divorced woman, etc.) must consent to the marriage, otherwise the sex is just sex. It doesn’t make them married. And, there is not one single prohibition anywhere in Scripture on a man having sex with an eligible woman, regardless of his marital situation. Which drives the churchians insane.

    Think of it in terms of cars. With a new car you know what you’re getting and if you drive the brand new car off the lot, you’ve bought it. The used car, it’s understood that you would want to take it for a test drive and see how it handles and get an idea of the performance before making the decision to purchase. Bang the virgin babysitter and you have a new wife. Bang the widow down the street and it’s just fun and games until she decides she’s ready to commit to the marriage. Challenge any churchian anywhere to show you where it’s a sin in the Bible. They can’t, because the word “fornication” doesn’t mean what they think it means.

    Romans 4:15 and 5:13 spell out what sin is in general. Romans 14:23 and James 4:17 deal with the issues of violating the conscience in an area that is not a sin, per se. What you’ll find is that lots of churchians believe that if YOU do something that would violate THEIR conscience, it must be a sin. And in most cases it’s nothing but envy and covetousness.

    you are beating your head against a brick wall my friend as the anti sexual hostility and prudishness that surrounds sex and sexuality is beyond repair now

    Actually, current conditions are extremely favorable for real, Biblical marriages. On one hand I want to get the word out because one day the teachers will be held to account. Consider Luke 12:47-48. I don’t want them punished for what they’ve done in ignorance, I want them beaten with many blows for knowingly perverting the truth. On the other hand, it can be a real adventure to have a relationship like this because it becomes an “us versus them” thing in which you know that they are in the wrong. A common enemy tends to bring you closer.

    For ultimate double-plus adventures with modern churchianity, show up at a church with multiple women and make it plain that you’re thinking of a poly marriage, engaged, or married together in a poly marriage. Giant bonus points if the women were lesbians before they met you. The bigoted adulterers in the church will typically display a most unChristlike judgmental attitude and ask you to leave and not come back.

    Even more fun- collars instead of rings. “We got collars instead of wedding rings and we like it that way.”

    And when the question inevitably comes up about sleeping arrangements: “We didn’t get married to sleep alone.”

    The women are the worst, although the men have a lot of fear as well, which I understand. I have been on both sides of the aisle on this issue in terms of starting a relationship poly and being in a monogamous marriage and then having another woman wanting to join the marriage.

    All I can say is that if a man wants a poly marriage he needs to start it poly from the beginning. If he can’t round up women who are willing to do a poly marriage, he isn’t fit for a poly marriage. I am more in agreement with Elspeth on this than most might imagine, because marrying a woman under the rubric of a monogamous marriage and then later telling her the Bible says it’s OK to take another wife is nothing but a bait and switch. If she’s willing, fine, but she signed on for monogamous. Not poly. If she’s not completely on board with that and the man tries it anyway it’s going to be a disaster and he can’t blame the wife because she didn’t sign on for that.

    If the man is not a very high-value (attractive) man, it won’t work because women typically will not share a man unless he is very high-value. And men should already understand that it’s in their best interests to increase their value as much as possible. Basic stuff like having tight game, a masculine physique, a good income and hobbies like martial arts training.

    If the man is high-value, my advice is to forget about monogamy and focus on getting poly from the beginning. It’s a far more durable marital structure, reversing the incentives of monogamous marriage to favor staying in the marriage and penalizing leaving. The structure and female competition make the wives more attractive and the man more aloof and dominant, which is more attractive. Wives have much of their emotional needs met by each other and their physical needs met by their husband. And the sexual variety is nice.

    I find that lipstick lesbians are excellent marriage material if you want a poly marriage for two reasons. First they’ve already learned how to share and trust me, getting women to peacefully share a kitchen or a bathroom is a whole lot harder than getting them to share your bed. The stories I could tell about the issue of closet space… Second, they are emotionally prepared for such a relationship. And, yes, there are Christian lesbians who know good and well that nothing in the Bible says sex between women is wrong. In fact, Leviticus 18:17-18 presumes sexual contact between wives in a poly marriage, which means that such sexual contact is only wrong if it’s incest.

    Find two, get them on board and have them pick the third. Get settled in and put buns in ovens. All the wives nurse all the children. That helps all the women to bond to all the children and that eliminates problems down the road. No child will ever utter the words “you’re not my real mom” to any of them because every wife is “mom” to every child with full parental authority.

  58. Robin Munn says:

    Artisanal Toad –

    What, in your opinion, is the difference between the sins of moicheia (usually translated adultery) and porneia (usually translated fornication)? (See, for example, Matthew 15:19 or Mark 7:21-22, where Jesus lists off a whole list of sins and uses both of these words as referring to two different sins). Because a natural and logical outcome of your position is that all sexual sins are adultery. If a woman’s first sexual experience makes her married to the man she has sex with, then it logically follows that any subsequent sex that she has with someone else is adulterous. And for a man, in your view if he has sex with a virgin he has married her (so it’s licit, and therefore not fornication), and if the woman he has sex with is not a virgin then she was someone else’s wife and therefore that was adultery. But then, what is this sin called “porneia” that Jesus is referring to?

    Whereas if you go by the common belief about marriage — that it involves a pledge that is later consummated by sex — then it’s easy to explain. Moicheia, adultery, is illicit sex where one of the participants was married, and porneia, fornication, is illicit sex in general. (I originally wrote “any other illicit sex”, but then I remembered that in Ezekiel, where God describes Israel as being his wife who committed adultery by following other gods, the word “fornication” is also used. I’m having trouble remembering the reference so I can’t look up the Hebrew, but I believe it’s porneia in the Greek — please correct me if I’m misremembering this bit).

    As for your claims that I’m refusing to recognize the truth, when I encounter something that makes me go “Wait, what? That doesn’t make any sense,” and reject it — that’s not a refusal to recognize the truth. That’s a refusal to waste my time on something that is self-evidently wrong — and the idea that someone could get married without realizing it seems self-evidently wrong to me. I know that people can talk themselves into believing anything, so you no longer find that idea that to be self-evidently wrong. But to me, and to most people who encounter the idea, there’s an immediate “Wait, what? That can’t be right,” reaction. If you want to believe that this means that I’m blinding myself to the truth, I can’t stop you from holding that opinion. But I do want to defend myself against this charge, because it’s a serious accusation — just about the most serious accusation there is, in fact. You have accused me of willfully rejecting something that I know in my heart to be true. And I swear to you that this accusation is false. As God is my witness, I am not choosing to reject something that I know to be true. I am rejecting an idea that I find to be obviously incorrect, because it just doesn’t make sense.

    One other thing I should probably respond to. You said that people like Augustine and Jerome redefined marriage. But in Jewish culture, as seen by the story of Joseph and Mary, there was a binding commitment made before the marriage was consummated — and Joseph would have had to divorce Mary in order to be free to marry someone else. Did the Jewish culture of Jesus’ day misunderstand the Scriptures and how God intended marriage to work? If they did, you cannot blame Augustine or Jerome for that.

    That’s all I’m going to be able to write for now; there’s a meeting I have to attend that’s going to start soon.

  59. @Cane

    Jesus was so wise and shrewd. “From the beginning it was not so”. What was so: One man, one woman, til death do they part.

    The “til death do they part” comes from the fact that “from the beginning” the man had no authority to terminate a marriage once he started it. However just as the man had no authority to terminate a marriage, neither did he have any restrictions on how many marriages he could begin. You can’t have one without the other.

    Genesis 2:24 gave the authority to marry to the man. No-one else. With the act of putting his penis in the virgin’s vagina, the man makes his commitment to marry and in fact marries her with the physical act of consummating the marriage. Look carefully at Deuteronomy 22:28-29.

    God’s Word lie when it refers to concubines as concubines instead of wives; or handservants of women instead of wives? In fact the lineage by handservants is accounted to the actual (by consent, authority, and sex) wives.

    A concubine was a wife who did not enter the marriage as a free woman. You can see the difference in Exodus 21:7-10. If the man purchases her for himself, she’s a concubine. If he purchases her for his son or another, she is treated according to the custom of daughters.

    Bilhah and Zilpah were not Jacob’s wives until he put his penis into them. They were not free and they were the handmaidens of his wives Rachel and Leah. Those wives “gave” the handmaidens to Jacob. They were property. And he did marry them and they were in fact his wives but they did not have the same status as a wife who was a free woman. So who did the children belong to? That question is answered by asking why were they given to Jacob. What does the text actually say, Cane?

    For you to claim that the Bible requires an eligible virgin’s consent in order to marry is ludicrous because Scripture does not support it at all. Just the opposite, in fact, because the judgment of the Law given in Deuteronomy 22:28-29 states that the eligible virgin was raped into marriage. Just as ludicrous is the claim that the man needs some authority other than his own to marry a woman. The authority to marry was given only to the man in Genesis 2:24.

  60. Cane Caldo says:

    @AT

    However just as the man had no authority to terminate a marriage, neither did he have any restrictions on how many marriages he could begin.

    1. So what? Absence of evidence is not proof.
    2. So what? What was permitted before is not automagically permissible now. Formerly incest was not forbidden. Formerly God’s people could not eat pig. Before that they could not eat meat at all.

    You have submitted an empty argument.

    So who did the children belong to? […]What does the text actually say, Cane?

    The text says “Bilhah went in as a wife” to give children to Rachel, and the same for Zilpah. The text says the children were Jacob’s, Rachel’s and Leah’s. This makes sense (in their era) because the handservants went in as if they were Rachel and Leah; just as the text says.

    For you to claim that the Bible requires an eligible virgin’s consent in order to marry is ludicrous because Scripture does not support it at all. Just the opposite, in fact, because the judgment of the Law given in Deuteronomy 22:28-29 states that the eligible virgin was raped into marriage.

    You are always sucked into Jewish mysticism. Jesus said “From the beginning it was not so”. That means JEWISH LAW of marriage and divorce was NOT SO. He thus both explained so succinctly 1) what the Law was supposed to have taught them in fullness, and 2) wiped out their traditions. Your hearkening back to them is ridiculous unless you are a Jew and not a Christian. In which case hearkening back is still wrong and pathetic, but less a problem than your coming interment into Hell.

    You’re in the tradition of pharisees; sifting the scriptures but never learning. For shameful gain you scratch the itchy ears of men like Art who have been wronged by their spouses.

    If you were a true believer in the Jewish Law, you would put yourself outside the camp of the People of the Lord for these wet dreams you suffer. Like Rachel, you perch atop hidden and false idols and claim no one should search them out.

  61. @Cane
    1. So what? Absence of evidence is not proof.
    2. So what? What was permitted before is not automagically permissible now. Formerly incest was not forbidden. Formerly God’s people could not eat pig. Before that they could not eat meat at all.

    You have submitted an empty argument.

    1. If absence of evidence is no proof, then explain why Christ said that from the beginning divorce was not permitted. Genesis 2:24 is the GRANT OF AUTHORITY to the MAN to initiate marriage. It contained no authority to terminate the marriage. The proof here is that Christ pointed to the fact there was no authority to divorce, which makes that “lack” important. So either it is evidence or Christ is a liar. Which means that it’s also important evidence that there was no restriction on the number of wives a man might have. As I said, you can’t have one without the other.

    2. “What was permitted before is not automagically permissible now.” You make the claim that God has changed. Your problem is you’re ignoring a very critical point, which is that God’s Law applies to everyone for all time. The wages of sin is death and that applies to everyone, so perhaps it’s important to know what sin is. Dontchathink? And look at what we see, right there at Romans 4:15 and 5:13. Cane, it says that sin was in the world before the Law, but it wasn’t imputed as sin. Now, sin is a violation of the Law. We can only conclude that marrying close relatives and eating pig were always violations, because God does not change.

    “That means JEWISH LAW of marriage and divorce was NOT SO. He thus both explained so succinctly 1) what the Law was supposed to have taught them in fullness, and 2) wiped out their traditions. Your hearkening back to them is ridiculous unless you are a Jew and not a Christian”

    First, you failed to read the text. Jesus said “Moses permitted you to divorce your wives.”

    Jesus was not saying the law of marriage and divorce were not so. Quite to the contrary, what He was pointing to was that divorce was not part of God’s original plan. And He pointed back to Genesis 2:24 and the fact there was no authority given to divorce. However, Moses permitted it and that became part of GOD’s LAW. Not the Jewish law, Cane, God’s Law.

    Jesus very carefully recognized that even though Moses permitted divorce, it had become part of the Law and Jesus upheld that in verse 9, stating that divorce was permitted for adultery only. And I ask you, Cane, why didn’t Jesus say no divorce? There is a good reason why Jesus didn’t overturn the permission of Moses, and it’s because He could not. Because the Law states it cannot be changed (added to or subtracted from).

    Jesus said that nothing in the Law would pass away until all things were complete. You claim that I’m getting into Jewish mysticism because I cite God’s Law? All I’ve done was quote Scripture. You know, like Romans 4:15 and 5:13. Or, do those not apply to Christians? Is all Scripture no longer God-breathed and useful for teaching and correcting? Or is it that Cane refuses to be corrected?

    The consent of the eligible virgin is not required. The fact that you want to selectively throw out parts of the Bible in order to justify your position proves you know I’m right.

  62. Elspeth says:

    So basically, some guy who lives down the street may be watching our daughter, admiring her from afar for months, and just decide one day that he’ll take her, even against her will. And then she is his wife, like magic, voila!

    Since her father would probably be facing a good long prison stint I guess it’s good that the man in question would be obligated by law to take care of her.

    Oh, wait. I highly doubt such a man would give a flying fig about Mosaic law, and she gets to spend the remainder of her days alone, bound to a rapist.

    Sounds just like the way of Christ with His church.

    Idiocy.

  63. Cane Caldo says:

    @AT

    It contained no authority to terminate the marriage. The proof here is that Christ pointed to the fact there was no authority to divorce, which makes that “lack” important. So either it is evidence or Christ is a liar. Which means that it’s also important evidence that there was no restriction on the number of wives a man might have. As I said, you can’t have one without the other.

    This is sophistry, and empty.

    You make the claim that God has changed.

    That is a lie. God can change the rules we live by without him changing. Parents do this every day. In fact every authority does this every day. In America, one cannot buy alcohol until he is 21. The natural understanding of what happens on one’s birthday is that this particular person has changed, and so the rules which govern that person apply accordingly. There are new forbiddances, too. You can’t, for example, always go to a school just because you were once a student.

    According to AT’s reasoning though: Presidents, Governors, Mayors, cops, brewers, and vendors change their rules every time someone becomes 21. This is a deep confusion, and it could explain why you might project on others the suspicion that God changes.

    Your problem is you’re ignoring a very critical point, which is that God’s Law applies to everyone for all time.

    No. You’re ignoring:

    1) That we exist in but only one point in time at a time. God’s Law doesn’t change in relation to us, but we change in relation to it.

    2) The fullness of God’s Law (hang onto your socks!) isn’t contained in the Bible, but in Christ. Just as the Bible does not contain a recording of every instance of Christ’s life, neither does it contain the whole law of God. Yet we still rightfully say that the Bible is true and good for all instruction…

    Since I am near the shadow of your exegetical darkness I feel compelled to point out that when St. Paul said scripture is “good for all instruction” he didn’t mean “tips for right idol worship”, or “a complete primer on fornication”. It means “good for instruction of good thought and practice which honors God”.

    And I ask you, Cane, why didn’t Jesus say no divorce?

    He did say “No divorce”. That is the only possible conclusion if the gospels agree. The “except for adultery” clause Jesus states is an admission that fraud can be committed. Under fraud (false claim of virginity) the marriage can’t be consummated, and therefore doesn’t exist and such should be recognized; for various reasons not least of which is so they are free to marry others in truth.

    The consent of the eligible virgin is not required.

    St. Paul says it is.

    The fact that you want to selectively throw out parts of the Bible in order to justify your position proves you know I’m right.

    False. I’m rightly dividing that which belonged to the ancients; that which belonged to the Israelites, and that which belongs to Christians.

  64. Elspeth, thank you.

    I pointed to what the Bible said. You evidently didn’t like it. The question is, who created marriage? God did. He gave His standards and part of that was the judgment in Deuteronomy 22:28-29. God does not change. If you don’t like it, take it up with God.

    Or, you can pitch what God said and make up your own rules. Lots of people have done that before. You’ll probably have about as much luck as any of the rest of them.

    However, there is more here than meets the eye, so look carefully at the contrast between Exodus 22:16-17 and Deuteronomy 22:28-29. These two judgments are balancing out the limits between the law of marriage (Genesis 2:24) and the law of vows (Numbers 30). On one hand, the eligible virgin is married when she has sex. On the other hand, the father has the authority to review any and every vow and agreement with binding consequences his daughter makes and if he wants to annul any of them he can.

    Exodus 22:16-17 was the case in which the virgin not betrothed (an eligible virgin) was seduced, had sex and was married with that act. The law of vows is very clear that with marriage, the daughter passes from under the authority of the father to the authority of the husband. But, the father didn’t get the chance to approve of the decision by his daughter to get married. How does that work?

    She got seduced, which means she agreed to have sex. That agreement did not need to be stated in words and I’m not going to try to explain to a woman how that works. Because you know. So, there was an agreement her father could annul. In verse 16 he did not annul the marriage. Look carefully at the text. Notice that the words “to be” are insertions by the translators and do not appear in the original text. If we remove the word’s “to be” then the passage looks like this (NASB):

    “If a man seduces a virgin who is not engaged, and lies with her, he must pay a dowry for her his wife.”

    They are married. If we look at verse 17, that’s the case of the father who annuls the marriage. People like to look at this and say they were not married, but this is the case of the father going back to the daughter’s agreement to marry and annulling that. Which annulled the marriage as we see in verse 17.

    “If her father absolutely refuses to give her to him, he shall pay money equal to the dowry for virgins.”

    As Numbers 30:5 clearly states, the father had the right to annul any agreement his daughter made. But, what if she was raped? Can he annul the marriage even though she made no agreement?

    Look carefully at Deuteronomy 22:28-29:

    “If a man finds a girl who is a virgin, who is not engaged, and seizes her and lies with her and they are discovered, then the man who lay with her shall give to the girl’s father fifty shekels of silver, and she shall become his wife because he has violated her; he cannot divorce her all his days”

    Everything is predicated on their discovery. I have seen a woman violently raped and there is no mistaking it for what it is. If there were witnesses because they were discovered, then it’s clear there was no agreement for the father to annul and the law of marriage applied. Notice that the judgment says *nothing* about what happens if they were not discovered. Why is that? Because the father gets to determine the outcome.

    If you look carefully at chapter 22 of Deuteronomy, which is the only part of Scripture that discusses rape, you should notice something interesting. Rape is not a death-penalty crime. Notice that we have wives, virgins betrothed (legally wives) and virgins not betrothed. Rape of either the wife or the betrothed virgin was the crime of forced adultery. Rape of the virgin not betrothed resulted in her marriage if they were discovered. Yet, no mention of either widows or divorced women.

    I have made the point over and over, there is no prohibition in Scripture forbidding a man from having sex with an eligible woman. If she’s a virgin, they are married. But what if she isn’t? She has to consent to the marriage in order for the sex (which is his method of commitment) to make them married. With that in mind, there are several outcomes for a man who rapes a woman who is eligible to marry but not a virgin. One is if she was injured, it was an assault and the law provides for that, an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. Another is she might choose not to make any complaint about it. Still another is that she can claim she consented to the marriage and they are married.

    Does any of that mean that a group of people can’t get together and pass a law against rape? No. Are men are required to obey that law? Yes. Does that change the law of marriage? No.

    However, Elspeth, perhaps the fact that the daughter who was discovered being raped and is now married to her husband who raped her… is what we’d call incentive for parents to be very protective of their daughters.

  65. @Robin
    What, in your opinion, is the difference between the sins of moicheia (usually translated adultery) and porneia (usually translated fornication)? (See, for example, Matthew 15:19 or Mark 7:21-22, where Jesus lists off a whole list of sins and uses both of these words as referring to two different sins). Because a natural and logical outcome of your position is that all sexual sins are adultery.

    Let’s talk about sin for a moment and look at how Scripture defines what sin is.

    “for the Law brings about wrath, but where there is no law, there also is no violation.” Romans 4:15

    “for until the Law sin was in the world, but sin is not imputed when there is no law.” Romans 5:13

    Where there is no Law, there is no violation and no sin imputed. That means if you can’t show me a specific prohibition in the Law, it isn’t a sin for everyone. As a Christian something might be a sin for you if you don’t do it of faith (Romans 14:23) or your inaction might be a sin to you (James 4:17). However, just because such a violation of your conscience would be a sin to you doesn’t make it a sin to me or anyone else. And, we were forbidden to judge in these areas.

    There is also one other category, which is the set of specific commands for Christians only and this one is where the term “fornication” comes from. In 1st Corinthians 6:15-16, Christian men are forbidden to have sex with prostitutes. In 2nd Corinthians 6:14, Christians are forbidden to marry non-Christians and in 1st Corinthians 7:10-11, two married believers are forbidden to divorce for any reason. No exception for adultery. Those specific points apply only to believers and the text is very clear on that. Because they apply only to those servants in the House of Christ, they do not violate the commands of Deuteronomy 4:2 and 12:32 (forbidden to add to or subtract from the Law).

    With that in mind, it would be easier to ask what specific violations of the Law the word porneia could possibly be referring to. Any form of incest, sexual idolatry, even having sex with your wife while she’s menstruating. It could also refer to male homosexuality or bestiality. Then there’s the one from which the word “fornication” comes from, the sin of Christian men having sex with prostitutes.

    If we assume that moicheia was referring to adultery, what is adultery? We go to Exodus 20:14 for the commandment (repeated at Deut. 5:18): Thou shall not commit adultery. Then we go to the implementing statutes to find out what adultery is. Leviticus 18:20 states “You shall not have intercourse with your neighbors wife, to be defiled with her.” Leviticus 20:10 states “If there is a man who commits adultery with another man’s wife, one who commits adultery with his friend’s wife, the adulterer and the adulteress shall surely be put to death.”

    Adultery requires a married woman. If there is no married woman, there can be no adultery, because adultery is defined in the Law as sexual intercourse with another man’s wife. Which means that when Jesus said “everyone who looks on a woman to lust for her has committed adultery with her already i his heart.” Jesus could only have been referring to a married woman. Which means that looking at an eligible woman with sexual desire is not lust.

    A married woman requires an understanding of how a person is married. An eligible virgin is married when she gives her virginity to a man. I have been over that repeatedly and you can’t refute the truth. The fact that you don’t like it and it’s contrary to everything you’ve ever been taught is beside the point. Which means that the first time the girl has what you call “premarital sex” it was actually the consummation of her marriage. Marital sex, in other words. Every man after that it was not what you call “premarital sex” but rather adultery, because she was married to another man.

    I call your attention to Deuteronomy 22:23-24. The betrothed woman is referred to as a wife and the reason they are put to death is adultery. This is the same as the case previously in verses 13-21. She was betrothed as a virgin, she was found not to be a virgin on her wedding night. There was only one way that could happen: Adultery.

    “the story of Joseph and Mary, there was a binding commitment made before the marriage was consummated — and Joseph would have had to divorce Mary in order to be free to marry someone else. Did the Jewish culture of Jesus’ day misunderstand the Scriptures and how God intended marriage to work? “

    First, that binding commitment was purely voluntary (Numbers 30:2). The idea of Joseph divorcing Mary is ludicrous because making the claim the child was not his sentenced her to DEATH (see Deuteronomy chapter 22:13-21 as I just explained). It wasn’t his kid, he knew it so therefore she committed adultery and he wasn’t going to keep her after that. But he was a kind man and he didn’t want her to die either, so he sought to put her away quietly. And Joseph was perfectly free to marry as many women as he wanted so the idea he would have to divorce her for that is equally ludicrous.

    And, for the rest of the story, we have the Pharisees throwing the details of His birth in Jesus’ face when they said they were not born of “porneia.” This is the only example of what could have been “premarital sex” in the entire Bible but it turns out to actually be something else. Because by keeping Mary, Joseph was pretty much saying to the rest of the world that the kid was his. That he had violated his word and did not keep his vow with respect to the betrothal period. But there would always be those, like the pharisees, who would claim it was adultery on the part of Mary.

    Think of the position that put Joseph in. IF Joseph had sex with Mary, the sex itself would not and could not have been a sin because it violated no prohibition, rather, it was the violation of his vow. IF some other man had sex with Mary, that sex was adultery and she was subject to the death penalty. And she was pregnant, so he decided to take the middle road and put her away quietly. It took a visit from an angel to get Joseph on board with God’s plan, but Joseph did it. So, did God commit adultery? No, Mary was still a virgin.

    Robin, you cannot point to a single prohibition on a man having sex with an eligible woman, anywhere in Scripture. Therefore, unless some other prohibition is violated (such as 1st Cor. 6:15-16), it cannot possibly be a sin for a man to have sex with a woman he is eligible to marry. Unless, of course, as a Christian they did not do it of faith or if they knew the right thing for him or her to do was not have sex. Then it would be a sin, for him or her but not necessarily for anyone else.

    If the man has sex with an eligible virgin, they are married. If the man has sex with a woman who is not a virgin but eligible to marry… it depends. If she consents to marry, they are married. If she does not consent to marry, they are not married but they did not commit any sin by having sex.

    You are and have been making the claim that all sex outside the bounds of marriage is sin.

    Romans 4:15 and 5:13 explain what sin is and according to that standard you, sir, are wrong. Your teaching is false and a lie.

  66. shredifier says:

    Artisanal Toad

    Like I’ve said you’re wasting your time 😂 lol
    You are having such a hard time explaining yourself in here because most Christian’s believe there is such a thing as “pre-marital sex” because they don’t know what the Bible defines as marriage. …so any time sex is engaged in that is not proceeded FIRST by a marriage involving a legal certificate / ceremony i.e a western “marriage” then the couples involved must be committing fornication
    The amount of semantic chicanery these people use to support their unbiblical usage of the terms marriage and fornication is simply astounding to me
    Like I’ve said in other blogs in here, the term pre-marital sex is a non-sequitor because how can you have sex BEFORE marriage if sex=marriage? You can’t!
    Those who want the term fornication to mean an un married couple have sex, and in “married” I mean the current western idea of marriage NOT the biblical definition, those who want that term absolutely refuse to allow the scriptures to teach them the truth on this issue so they insert the term “sexual immorality” instead of the word fornication in Matthew 19 because they realize that Jesus just told us that 1 of the grounds of a MARRIED COUPLE to get a divorce is if 1 of the partners commits fornication……whoops!!! How can you commit the sin of pre marital sex during marriage if you’re already married? You can’t, so fornication cannot possibly mean an act of sex BEFORE marriage otherwise what Jesus said is redundant, so what these hypocrites do is change the bible and insist that the true definition is sexual immorality, LOL

    Anyway I appreciate all your awesome comments in here my friend, but until you are able to convince people what the true definition of marriage is from a biblical stand point is and NOT the current legal definition defined by a ceremony and a marriage certificate then you’re fighting a losing battle
    I do Agee with you though that some are beginning to see the truth now and throw off the shackles that have blinded them and accept what the Bible says instead of man’s traditions
    The amount of damage the Catholic church, the patristic fathers and the ecclesiastical church have done to bible believing christianity on this topic alone is incalculable

  67. @Cane

    Not one cite or quote from Scripture, but lots of Cane Caldo bluster and opinion. Yawn. I call BS.

    And I ask you, Cane, why didn’t Jesus say no divorce?

    He did say “No divorce”. That is the only possible conclusion if the gospels agree. The “except for adultery” clause Jesus states is an admission that fraud can be committed. Under fraud (false claim of virginity) the marriage can’t be consummated, and therefore doesn’t exist and such should be recognized; for various reasons not least of which is so they are free to marry others in truth.

    If Jesus said “no divorce” then He violated the Law (Deuteronomy 4:2 and 12:32) by overruling Moses and subtracting from the Law, which was a sin. That means Jesus was not fit to be the messiah, He couldn’t die for our sins, Christianity is a lie and we may as well have a party at a whorehouse.

    In the alternate, Cane is completely, egregiously wrong.

    Cane, Moses said divorce was allowed if the man found some “indecency” in his wife (Deuteronomy 24:1). Jesus confirmed that and defined exactly what that word “indecency” meant and He used the Greek word “porneia” which is generally held to mean adultery (Matthew 19:8-9). First you say Jesus said no divorce, then you claim Jesus said divorce was permitted for adultery but adultery in this case ONLY applies within the betrothal period.

    Except, none of that is what Jesus actually said, it’s the opinion of Cane Caldo. To make matters worse, you contradict yourself. Which is it Cane? Did Jesus say no divorce (Christianity is a lie) or did Jesus say divorce was permitted, but only for “porneia” but only within the betrothal period because Cane said so?
    _______________

    What Jesus actually did was confirm that divorce was part of the Law because Moses permitted it and He defined what the grounds for divorce were in the strictest terms. Later after He had ascended to Heaven and assumed His place, He made a private ruling for HIS house, commanding His married believers there was to be no divorce, no exceptions. He did that at 1st Corinthians 7:10-11. It applies only to Christians so He did not violate the Law by adding to the Law or subtracting from it.

    And notice that it’s the ONLY spot from His ascension in Acts up until His appearance with John for the book of Revelation in which the Risen and Ascendant Lord gave instruction to the church as a command from Him, personally. Following that, the Apostle Paul gave instruction concerning believers married to unbelievers (1st Corinthians 7:12-15), in which the believer was not to divorce or leave their unbelieving spouse. However, if the unbeliever left and refused to live with them they were free.

    So, for a husband under the Law (which is everyone who is not a Christian), if his wife commits adultery, he can divorce her. It doesn’t matter if she’s betrothed to him or if they’ve already consummated the marriage. For a Christian husband there is no divorce for any reason, even if his wife is an unbeliever.

    The consent of the eligible virgin is not required.

    St. Paul says it is.

    Cite. Chapter and verse.

  68. @ Shredifier

    Those who want the term fornication to mean an un married couple have sex, and in “married” I mean the current western idea of marriage NOT the biblical definition, those who want that term absolutely refuse to allow the scriptures to teach them the truth on this issue so they insert the term “sexual immorality” instead of the word fornication in Matthew 19 because they realize that Jesus just told us that 1 of the grounds of a MARRIED COUPLE to get a divorce is if 1 of the partners commits fornication……whoops!!! How can you commit the sin of pre marital sex during marriage if you’re already married? You can’t, so fornication cannot possibly mean an act of sex BEFORE marriage otherwise what Jesus said is redundant, so what these hypocrites do is change the bible and insist that the true definition is sexual immorality, LOL

    I agree that most Protestants twist this Scripture to allow divorce for adultery as the passage does not say that. Although what you’re saying doesn’t debunk any of the points made by anyone else here.

    In Matthew 19, Jesus is referring to Deuteronomy 22.

    Matthew 19:3The Pharisees also came unto him, tempting him, and saying unto him, Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife for every cause?
    […]
    9 And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery.

    Deuteronomy 22:13 “If any man takes a wife and goes in to her and then [f]turns against her, 14 and charges her with shameful deeds and [g]publicly defames her, and says, ‘I took this woman, but when I came near her, I did not find her a virgin,’ 15 then the girl’s father and her mother shall take and bring out the evidence of the girl’s virginity to the elders of the city at the gate. 16 The girl’s father shall say to the elders, ‘I gave my daughter to this man for a wife, but he [h]turned against her; 17 and behold, he has charged her with shameful deeds, saying, “I did not find your daughter a virgin.” But [i]this is the evidence of my daughter’s virginity.’ And they shall spread the garment before the elders of the city. 18 So the elders of that city shall take the man and chastise him, 19 and they shall fine him a hundred shekels of silver and give it to the girl’s father, because he [j]publicly defamed a virgin of Israel. And she shall remain his wife; he cannot [k]divorce her all his days.

    In Mosaic Law, to officially “divorce” a woman you must give her a certificate of divorce AND put her away (Deut 24:1-4). You cannot divorce a wife by putting her away except with a certificate of divorce.

    Put away = divorce to the Romans but in Jewish Law you must put away and give a certificate. Therefore, the trap is that if Jesus says Jewish law is right they can say He was breaking Roman law, and if He says Roman law is right then He is obviously breaking Jewish law and not a man of God. This is like the other lawyer traps they tried to use such as paying taxes to Caesar.

    As seen in Deuteronomy 22, Jesus refers to the only scenario a woman may be PUT AWAY (not a divorce) which is because she’s not a virgin (e.g. pre-marital sex), which rendered the marriage fraudulent. If she was a virgin as the sheets proved, then it was a marriage.

    If she was put away and the marriage is not fraudulent, then it is adultery like Jesus says if she marries another or he marries another.

  69. DS, that is preposterous.

    Deuteronomy 22:13-21 does not have divorce as an option. Either she committed adultery and is killed for it or she did not and her husband is beaten, fined and cannot ever divorce her. There is no mention of putting her away, nor is there any mention of divorce.

    Matthew 19:3-9 specifically refers to Deuteronomy 24:1-3, which is clear from the context of the original question of the Pharisees and all the way through the exchange. The Pharisees said “Why then did Moses command us ‘give her a certificate of divorce and send her away’?” That’s what you find in Deuteronomy 24:1, Not in Deuteronomy 22:13-21.

    So, when Christ answered them in Matthew 19:8-9, that was the context and He defined the grounds for divorce in the strictest terms. Moses said in Deuteronomy 24:1 that the man could divorce his wife if he found some indecency in her. What did that mean? Christ explained it.

    To claim that Deuteronomy 22:13-21 was the context for the instruction of Christ in Matthew 19:8-9 is, as I said, preposterous.

  70. @ AT

    Deuteronomy 22:13-21 does not have divorce as an option. Either she committed adultery and is killed for it or she did not and her husband is beaten, fined and cannot ever divorce her. There is no mention of putting her away, nor is there any mention of divorce.

    You just proved my point.

    Deut 22 refers to invalid marriages due to pre-marital sex (no blood on the sheets as proof).

    There is no “divorce” there because there is no “lawful marriage” because the whole thing was a sham.

    Deut 22:13 If any man take a wife, and go in unto her, and hate her, 14 And give occasions of speech against her, and bring up an evil name upon her, and say, I took this woman, and when I came to her, I found her not a maid: 15 Then shall the father of the damsel, and her mother, take and bring forth the tokens of the damsel’s virginity unto the elders of the city in the gate: 16 And the damsel’s father shall say unto the elders, I gave my daughter unto this man to wife, and he hateth her; 17 And, lo, he hath given occasions of speech against her, saying, I found not thy daughter a maid; and yet these are the tokens of my daughter’s virginity. And they shall spread the cloth before the elders of the city. 18 And the elders of that city shall take that man and chastise him; 19 And they shall amerce him in an hundred shekels of silver, and give them unto the father of the damsel, because he hath brought up an evil name upon a virgin of Israel: and she shall be his wife; he may not put her away all his days.

    In other words, a man could put his “wife” away without divorcing her because she committed fraudulent actions. This is the same thing that Joseph almost did with Mary.

    Mercy (e.g. putting her away privately a la Joseph) was better than stoning.

    It’s pretty clear that Christ was talking about Deut 22 due to the claim of “fornication” (porneia) and “putting away” (e.g. not divorce which is putting away + writ of divorce). You’re ignoring the wording of the passage to try to fit it to Deut 24.

  71. It’s pretty clear that Christ was talking about Deut 22 due to the claim of “fornication” (porneia) and “putting away” (e.g. not divorce which is putting away + writ of divorce). You’re ignoring the wording of the passage to try to fit it to Deut 24.

    No, it is NOT “pretty clear.” The original question was whether a man could divorce his wife for any reason at all. The subject was divorce, not “putting away” contrary to the Law, which was throwing her out without giving her a certificate of divorce. The divorce requires a marriage, and Christ quoted Genesis 2:24 and said “What God has therefore joined together, let no man separate.”

    Christ was not talking about a betrothed woman who had not yet become one flesh with her husband. He was talking about a married couple who had consummated their marriage. The Pharisees were on the same page, because they said “Why then did Moses command us to give her a certificate of divorce and send her away?”

    They are NOT talking about anything contrary to the Law, rather, they are talking about divorce, which was giving her a certificate of divorce and sending her away. You are trying to claim that somehow Jesus was explaining that Moses permitted sending a woman away without a certificate of divorce and that sending a wife away without a certificate of divorce for “porneia” was acceptable. So, you turn to the betrothed virgin and claim it’s about her and try to use Deuteronomy 22:13-21… which is piling one absurdity upon another.

    As I said, your assertion is preposterous. This is one of those tortured twistings of Scripture that only exist when you’re trying to make Scripture say something that it doesn’t. I’m at a loss as to what that might be, because if you’re trying to demonstrate that marriage is for life and there is to be no divorce, you don’t need to do this. Not for Christians.

    The Law applied to everyone and still does. Because sin is a violation of the Law (Romans 4:15 and 5:13) and all have sinned. If the Law no longer applied, we’d have people who were not in sin. Can’t have that…

    So, the Law still applies and that means a man under the Law may divorce his adulterous wife. However, Christians are not free, they are slaves who were bought with a price and they have a Master. He chose to make some rules for His house and one of them is for two married believers, no divorce and no exceptions. Yes, that goes above and beyond the Law, but it is not adding or subtracting to or from the Law because it’s a regulation only for Christians. Just like not having sex with prostitutes. It’s OK for men under the Law, but not for Christians.

  72. Pingback: On divorce Part 4 | Christianity and masculinity

  73. @ AT

    Jesus discusses both the Pharisees trick question AND divorce.

    Divorce: “What God has therefore jointed together let no man separate”

    Pharisees’ trick question (v3): is it lawful for a man to put away his wife for any cause?

    Jesus answers the trick question (v9): anyone who puts away their wife, except for porneia (e.g. fornication = pre-marital sex = marital fraud via Deut 22), and marries another commits adultery (v9).

    This makes obvious sense because anyone who puts away and marries another is still married to to that spouse and therefore commits adultery. Puts away != divorce. Mosaic divorce is puts away + writ of divorce (Deut 24), which the Pharisees acknowledged in their confusion thus revealing their trap. If he was talking about adultery in the ‘except clause’ he would have used moichao instead of porneia in that phrasing. Hence,

    Example of why Deut 24 is wrong: Anyone who puts away their wife, except for moichao (adultery), and marries another commits adultery (v9).

    It makes no sense worded that way, which is why it’s NOT referring to Deut 24. Any sexual immorality within the marriage would be considered adultery, and that word would be used. Thus, we know that porneia is referring to fornication or pre-marital sex, of which Deut 22 provides the example of an illegitimate marriage by sexual fraud.

    A woman can be “put away” by the man in the case of Deut 22, and Joseph and Mary give us a clear cut example of that occurring.

    Line by line textual analysis here:

    https://deepstrength.wordpress.com/2016/09/15/on-divorce-part-4/

  74. Your analysis hinges on two points. First, you are making the claim that the word apoluó used in verse 3 meant putting away without giving the woman a certificate of divorce. The context of the passage does not support this at all.

    Under this reading, you are saying the Pharisees came to Jesus and said “is it lawful to do something unlawful for any reason at all?” That is certainly a novel point of view but it makes absolutely no sense at all. The “trick question” dealt with the difference between the schools of Hillel and Shammai.

    So, you are claiming that the Pharisees really meant “putting away” and not the lawful divorcing. Then you are trying to re-define the word “wife” as used in verse 9 to mean only a betrothed woman.

    Fail.

    And all this so you can claim Jesus said no divorce?

    Double Fail.

    Deuteronomy 4:2 and 12:32 state that it is forbidden to add to or subtract from the Law.

    Deuteronomy 24:1-3 allows divorce.

    If Jesus said no divorce, then He subtracted from the Law, which was a sin. Having sinned, He could not have been the Messiah because He would not have been the perfect sacrifice. Which means Christianity is a lie.

    So, Jesus did not say “no divorce.” What Jesus did, later, was instruct His church (and only His church) that two married believers were not to divorce for any reason. Those under the Law can divorce their wives for adultery. Those in Christ may not.

  75. @ AT

    The Pharisees are trying to trap Jesus by asking if “it is lawful to put away for any cause.” They know you can’t put away without a writ of divorce — they said it themselves: put away + writ of divorce. That’s why it was a trap.

    That’s why we know Jesus answers both questions.

    His views on divorce: “What God has put together let no man separate.” (e.g. man *can* separate, but it’s not God’s ideal from the beginning. Hence, it’s a sin to under the New Covenant due to Jesus fulfilling the law)

    “But I say to you….” The valid reasons to put away: Putting away except for porneia (if it was a fraudulent marriage via Deut 22) and marrying another is adultery.

    So, Jesus did not say “no divorce.” What Jesus did, later, was instruct His church (and only His church) that two married believers were not to divorce for any reason. Those under the Law can divorce their wives for adultery. Those in Christ may not.

    The analysis of the text is wrong (Jesus stated that God’s ideal from the beginning is no divorce), but the overarching conclusion is right. So I guess you got there somehow.

  76. You are conflating the process (give her a certificate of divorce and send her away) with the cause (if he finds some indecency in her).

    This is called eisegesis, reading into the text your presumptions.

    The Pharisees asked Jesus about the grounds for divorce, not whether divorce was legitimate. “Any CAUSE at all.”

    And you are trying to claim the Pharisees were ONLY talking about unlawfully sending a wife away. Even though they specifically stated “give her a certificate of divorce and send her away.” There is NOTHING in the passage to support this reading.

    Take a look at that word “separate” that Jesus used in verse 6, responding to their use of the word “divorce.” It’s the same word used in 1st Corinthians 7:10. It does not mean divorce and it does not mean “send away.” It is an inclusive term that covers both of them and even encompasses an emotional separation or distancing that might occur within a marriage. So, even if the Pharisees were only talking about sending the wife away illegitimately, Jesus wasn’t. He was talking about *any* form of separating what God joined together.

    Your reading requires that the word wife used in verse 9 mean only a betrothed woman. Then you cite a passage (Deut. 22:13-21) that’s completely unrelated and claim that’s the context simply because it mentions divorce. But you are claiming that it means unlawfully sending her away.

    Don’t you understand the significance of the sheets? The man completed all the requirements of his agreement and consummated the marriage. If the sheets were bloody then he nailed a virgin and she is NO LONGER a virgin, she is very much his wife in name and in deed. He CANNOT put her away because that would be against the Law.

    So, why would the judgment say the man cannot send her away without a certificate of divorce when that’s already unlawful? If that were the case, all he has to do is give her a certificate of divorce and send her away. Which completely negates the entire point, that because of what he has done, he is stuck with her.

    The dichotomy represented in what Jesus said in Matthew 19:3-9 was that the original standard was no divorce because there was no authority. However, Moses permitted it and that permission was included in Law, which cannot be changed. The “trick question” was to get Jesus to take sides with either Hillel or Shammai.

    The Pharisees KNEW that the Law permitted divorce. Jesus answered their trick question by first saying “have you not read?” They were the keepers of the Law and that was a huge slap in the face that completely reframed their question. Then He gave the original standard and essentially told them there are no grounds for divorce. And now Jesus has put Himself in the position of going against Moses and the Law.

    The Pharisees predictably cited Moses. If there are no grounds for divorce, why did Moses say we could?

    Jesus responded and more or less said “well, Moses allowed it because you were a bunch of pricks, but it wasn’t that way in the beginning.”

    Now Jesus is back in line with the authority and acknowledging Moses and the Law. But he went further.

    “And to tell you the truth, (which goes back to their original question) the only grounds for divorce is adultery.” In doing so He recognized that divorce was a legitimate option under the Law, but only in cases of adultery.

    Your assertion that Jesus forbid divorce in this passage is not only completely contrary to what the text actually says, but (and I notice that you completely ignored the point) has Jesus committing sin. Yet you claim you have the correct reading of this? And my analysis is wrong?

    God does not change. Divorce for adultery is permitted by God’s Law for those under the Law. Notice that Jesus said “Moses PERMITTED you.” From the wording, it is pretty clear that Christ was not happy about that, but the Law is the Law and it cannot be changed.

    However, those in Christ are under Christ and we are to obey His rules, one of which is no divorce for two married believers. There is a class difference at work here. Christians had the original standard re-instituted as “house rules” for Christians who are in the Masters house.

    To make matters worse, you are also calling Jesus a liar. He said that not a single letter, not the slightest shading or stroke of the pen of the Law would pass away until all things are complete. Yet, in your analysis you have Jesus claiming the permission to divorce is somehow done away with.

    The history of how divorce is looked at is filled with examples like this. It started with Henry, who took the church of England out of the Catholic church and told them to find a biblical grounds for divorce and support his divorce. Thomas More refused and was executed for treason. Nobody else wanted to be a Thomas More, so they came up with the merger doctrine.

    You see, when the unbiblical doctrine of “monogamy only” is enforced, people want divorce. Especially the men, but they wanted a Biblical support for that. So, they’d point and shriek “Jesus said it! Right there!” Which meant refusing to see the difference in class between those under the Law and those in Christ.

    Your position seems to be reactionary, opposing the doctrine of divorce, but instead of acknowledging the class differences, you twist what Jesus said, redefine words and in general tear this up in order to get where you’re going.

    You are holding out a rather novel exegesis that raises serious questions and you are not responding to those points.

  77. @ AT

    So, even if the Pharisees were only talking about sending the wife away illegitimately, Jesus wasn’t. He was talking about *any* form of separating what God joined together.

    That’s the point. Jesus used the trick question to make a statement on divorce.

    Your reading requires that the word wife used in verse 9 mean only a betrothed woman. Then you cite a passage (Deut. 22:13-21) that’s completely unrelated and claim that’s the context simply because it mentions divorce. But you are claiming that it means unlawfully sending her away.

    No, it’s both betrothed and married. Deut 22 specifies a case of marriage (e.g. husband went and slept with his wife and then accuses her), although it can also be used in the case of betrothal period like Joseph and Mary when there is obvious sexual fraud (e.g. pregnancy without the man sleeping with her).

    To make matters worse, you are also calling Jesus a liar. He said that not a single letter, not the slightest shading or stroke of the pen of the Law would pass away until all things are complete. Yet, in your analysis you have Jesus claiming the permission to divorce is somehow done away with.

    This makes no sense.

    Jesus fulfills the law, and Jesus’ way is always a higher standard. The fact that Jesus affirms that God wanted “man to not separate” = “ideally man should not divorce ever” does not mean he is breaking the law. The law is not made for the righteous but lawbreakers (1 Tim 1).

    Jesus says: “Love God and love your neighbor as yourself” (Matt 22). According to your analogy, Jesus is breaking the law because he claims in John 13 and John 15: “A new command I give to you: that you love one another, as I have loved you, that you love one another.”

    You are holding out a rather novel exegesis that raises serious questions and you are not responding to those points.

    Nope. It’s pretty clear cut. This position unifies all of Scripture on divorce. The “exception clause” makes Mark and Luke at odds with Matthew.

    https://deepstrength.wordpress.com/2016/09/15/on-divorce-part-4/

    http://www.academia.edu/3622738/What_Jesus_Really_Said_Putting_Away_the_Mistranslations_about_Divorce

  78. Don Quixote says:

    Art says:
    September 14, 2016 at 3:11 pm

    I also wanted to mention to everyone that if you are interested in studying what the Bible teaches about polygyny, I would suggest checking out the following books. I found them very helpful.

    Thelyphthora or “A Treatise on Female Ruin Volumes 1-3: In Its Causes, Effects, Consequences, Prevention, & Remedy; Considered On The Basis Of Divine Law”

    This was written by the 18th century English pastor and theologian Martin Madan. Rev. Madan was a close friend of John and Charles Wesley, and was one of the early leaders of the Methodist movement (though he was a Calvinist, like myself and George Whitfield). This book can be read for free on Google books as a scanned pdf. Personally, I found the first two volumes to be extremely helpful. The third one was ok, but less helpful.

    Thanks Art for this reference, I have added all three volumes into by shopping cart on Amazon. I will ready them later this year. If you are interested in polygamy I have a page online here:
    http://oncemarried.net/twice-married-always-married.html

    It addresses polygny as an alternative to divorce apologetics.

  79. Dave says:

    @ Art: Like your first comment.

    I wish to address one thing that has created a mental dissonance in marriage and has given many women the idea they own their husband, which too many men accept: A man shall leave father and mother and join/cleave to his wife.

    In our modern context when we think of join, as in military or some organization, we think becoming a part of them; doing what is expected of us, what we are told, adapting so we may fit in to create a sense of belonging by adding ourselves to augment the group. (adding, augment H3254) We know the woman is the man’s helper instead of he her’s, meaning she is to add herself to him; much the same as a man adds himself to God’s assembly.

    The word translated as join, “a man shall join or cleave to his wife,” means other than what we assume. Strong’s H1692 does state “cling/adhere to,’ But it also says, “to pursue hard, take, catch by pursuit. (if one wants to see a word closely resembling our cultural context of ‘join’ look at H3254,)

    If one will look at Gen., 34:3-5, verse 3 says his heart clave to Dinah, where as NASB says “he was deeply attracted.” The following verse has him asking his father to ‘pursue’ a marriage arrangement.

    Gen., 19:19 Lot asks the angels not to send him to the mountain lest some evil or disaster “overtake” him and he die (disaster “overtakes” or claims him). Numbers 36:9, etc.

    Then you have the verses where common sense will tell us to cling or adhere, as to a higher authority, Dt, 10:20, 11:22, 13:4, etc.

    As a man we must ask why we would assume we are bound to/joined to a woman. God’s relationship to his people is considered a marriage, yet he isn’t joined to his people, they are joined to him by their acceptance and keeping of His ways. So is a woman to her man.

    To gloss the surface slightly more, God doesn’t belong to us, we belong to Him. We don’t tell Him what to do He tells us, thus is how we show we are joined to Him. We don’t tell Him He is joined to us and can have no others.

  80. Pingback: Hubris in Biblical Interpretation – Cracked Chains

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