Does the Bible teach about polygamy? Yes! God reveals to us His position on polygamy.
What is polygamy?
Polygamy is the practice of having more than one husband or wife at once.
What the Bible teaches about polygamy
God created Adam and one woman for Him. And they joined themselves becoming one flesh thus man and his wife.
Gen 2:21-22: And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof. And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man.
Gen 2:23-25: And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man. Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh. And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.
There are several things we see from the above verses.
1. One Adam rib formed one woman
God took one rib from Adam to create one woman for Him. A woman is taken out of Adam and from every one Adam, a woman is made.
Every male human being is missing one rib which God uses to create a woman for him. See the meaning of man and woman.
God does not take many ribs but only one from each male human being (Adam) to create one woman for every man and He does not create many women for one man but one woman for one Adam.
2. Two become one flesh
Marriage in the eyes of God is constituted when two become one flesh. Not three, four, five or multiples but when only two people become one flesh. See how two become one flesh.
The first person to have sexual intercourse with becomes your husband or wife in the eyes of God because you have become one flesh and any other person you have sexual intercourse with after the first person is committing adultery.
Jesus confirms that it is one man who joins himself to one woman to constitute a marriage.
Mark 10:6-8 But from the beginning of the creation, God ‘made them male and female.’ For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife and the two shall become one flesh; so then they are no longer two, but one flesh.
See that it is said that, ‘a man leaves his father and mother and be joined to his wife’. ‘His wife’ (singularity) not ‘his wives’.
3. ‘man leaves his father and mother’
‘…a man leaves his father and mother’ (singularity) not ‘fathers and mothers’
Marriage from the start, from creation, was between one man and one woman. This is how God constituted a marriage and how marriage should be as seen from Adam and Eve.
Adam had one wife, Eve, and Eve had one husband Adam. This is the way it should be; one man for one woman.
Human beings hardened their hearts and sin entered that polygamy occurred.
Lamech is a descendent of Cain (the cursed) and the first to practice polygamy. The first time polygamy is found in the Bible is in a rebellious society; a society thriving in sin.
Lamech, a murderer, took for himself two wives.
Gen 4:23: And Lamech said unto his wives, Adah and Zillah, Hear my voice; you wives of Lamech, hearken unto my speech: for I have slain a man to my wounding and a young man to my hurt.
In the Old Testament we see saints going against God; practicing polygamy. Examples are Abraham, Jacob and Solomon.
God is a loving father and His grace is sufficient. No matter how many times we sin, He still loves and calls us His children. Reason Abraham, Jacob and Solomon are His even though they sinned.
From the beginning God never condoned polygamy just like divorce. See what the Bible teaches about divorce. Polygamy is a result of people hardening their hearts.
1 Cor 7:2: Nevertheless, to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband.
‘Every man has his own wife’ not wives and ‘every woman has her own husband’ not husbands.
Consequence of Polygamy
1. Polygamy turns man’s heart away from God.
Deut. 17:14-17 I will set a king over me like all the nations that are around me, you shall surely set a king over you whom the LORD your God chooses; one from among your brethren you shall set as king over you; you may not set a foreigner over you, who is not your brother. But he shall not multiply horses for himself, nor cause the people to return to Egypt to multiply horses, for the LORD has said to you, ‘You shall not return that way again. Neither shall he multiply wives for himself, lest his heart turn away; nor shall he greatly multiply silver and gold for himself.
Many wives/husbands will turn your heart away from God.
When Solomon was old, his heart was turned by his wives to other gods and his heart was not perfect with God.
I Kings 11:4 For it came to pass, when Solomon was old, that his wives turned away his heart after other gods: and his heart was not perfect with the LORD his God, as was the heart of David his father.
Reason a man to be appointed a leader of God’s flock has to be a man of one wife and vise-versa.
1 Tim 3:2: A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife. See Titus 1:6.
2. Polygamy creates problems in a family
Abraham begot Isaac and Ishmael from his two wives and this was the start of family problems. Ishmael could not live in the same household with Isaac and Abraham had to send him and his mother (Hagar) away.
Because of Abraham’s polygamy, He created a problem for the entire generation of humanity; a problem we are facing even today. Ishmael is always fighting Isaac (needs wisdom). See Abraham two wives allegory.
Due to polygamous state of Jacob, his house got into problems. Rachel started envying Leah. See when you marry the wrong person.
Ask yourself why Jacob said to be buried next to his first wife, Leah, not next to his second wife. Why could all his wives be buried next to him?
God reveals to us how a marriage should be. Jesus Christ (bridegroom) will marry His bride (the church) in the marriage ceremony of the Lamb. His bride is only the church, not many brides, and his church is only one (needs wisdom).
Jesus Christ is God and God hates polygamy.
Just because the Bible records polygamy it does not mean that God approves or condones it. The Bible does not allow polygamy and polygamy is a sin.