Archive for the ‘Bigamy’ Category

I am working through 1 Samuel for a Bible Study Series, and of course early on in the narrative I encountered the issue of polygamy.  (Elkanah: “I’ve got two wives.  Isn’t that bigamy!”  It’s a joke, a pun of sorts!)  I needed a resource to which I could direct the teachers to help them prepare for that discussion and I was a bit frustrated in the effort.  So I put together some thoughts, knowing that the issue is a bit sensitive.  I have posted the essay here so that it can be accessed by those teachers, but I would appreciate any (gentle) response from the broader blogosphere.  I framed my discussion of the issue in four affirmations and some lesser observations.  The four affirmations are as follows.


1.  Polygamy does not fall under the interdict of the seventh commandment.


2.  The reason polygamy is not adultery is that polygamy assumes that the demands of the marriage relationship, as defined and displayed in Scripture, will obtain entirely in all aspects of the relationship. (Here begins a discussion of levirate marriage in the OT.)


3.  Under certain circumstances, polygamy is the least wicked and destructive of a number of unhappy “evils” available, and – though never morally desirable – it is in these cases morally acceptable.


4.  In its essence, polygamy is morally inferior (i.e., it dilutes the force of the leave/cleave principle) and socially destructive.  It is therefore to be regarded as morally legitimate only when practiced under divinely defined circumstances.


Click here for the entire essay

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