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Dictionary of Bible Themes – 5732 polygamy
5732 polygamy

5732 polygamy

The practice of having more than one wife at one time. Although not explicitly forbidden in Scripture as a general practice, it is presented as problematic and monogamy is the clearly preferred option.

Monogamy is God’s intention for marriage

Ge 2:24 See also Jer 2:2; Hos 2:19-20; Eph 5:31

Early examples of polygamy

Ge 4:19 See also Ge 26:34; Ge 28:9; Ge 29:28

Reasons for the practice of polygamy

Sealing foreign treaties 1Ki 3:1 See also 1Ki 16:31

Producing offspring Ge 16:1-3; 2Ch 13:21 A large family, and especially numerous progeny, was regarded as a sign of divine blessing. See also Ge 30:3-5,9; Jdg 8:30; 2Sa 3:1-5; 1Ch 7:4; 2Ch 11:23; 2Ch 24:2-3

Problems associated with polygamy

Being led away from God Dt 17:17 It was common for kings to cement foreign alliances by marriage. Israel’s king is warned against the practice; 1Ki 11:1-8 See also Ne 13:25-26; Mal 2:11

Conflicts within families Ge 29:30; Ge 30:1; Dt 21:15-17 See also Ge 16:4-6 Sarah and Hagar; 1Sa 1:4-7 Hannah and Peninnah; 2Ch 11:21-22; 1Ki 1:11-13 the conflict over the succession to David’s throne

Further examples of polygamy

2Sa 5:13 pp 1Ch 14:3 See also 1Sa 25:40-43; 2Sa 12:8-9; 1Ki 20:5 Ahab; 2Ki 24:15 Jehoiachin; 1Ch 4:5 Ashhur; Da 5:2 Belshazzar

Restrictions on polygamous relationships

Ge 31:50; Ex 21:10; Lev 18:18

Polygamy forbidden

1Co 7:2; 1Ti 3:2 Polygamy is expressly forbidden for church leaders.

See also

5672concubines
5680family
5702husband
5708marriage
5717monogamy
5744wife
8252faithfulness, relationships

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