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Multiple wives in the OT vs. monogmy now???

Discussion in 'The Ancient Way - Eastern Orthodox' started by Markie Boy, Jul 13, 2019 at 9:55 PM.

  1. Markie Boy

    Markie Boy Looking East, Moving Slow Supporter

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    So - multiple wives were quite common in the Old Testament - why was that OK?

    And when and where did this change?
     
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  2. devin553344

    devin553344 Enlighten our lives dear Lord

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    I personally don't think it was ever OK, and perhaps it was just overlooked. In the new testament they give mention of moral standards for Bishops: 1 Timothy 3:2-12

    "2 A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach;"
     
  3. gzt

    gzt The age of the Earth is 4.54 ± 0.07 billion years

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    That's a pretty interesting question, as it's one of the early distinctions between Christianity and Judaism, which never really completely outlawed it. The Scripture doesn't directly indicate it (though people do exegete certain New Testament passages as suggesting it), but, regardless, it's definitely one of those "everyone, everywhere always taught it" things among Christians.
     
  4. devin553344

    devin553344 Enlighten our lives dear Lord

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    There is a good article here: Biblical Perspectives on Polygamy and Polyamory

    It makes it clear that Polygamy was never planned by God from the beginning with Adam and Eve and usually was portrayed in a negative light in the OT and often had bad results.
     
  5. Sabertooth

    Sabertooth Repartee Animal: Quipping the Saints! Supporter

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    That isn't entirely true. Even if you take away concubinage, there was the [kinsman-redeemer?], who could already be married. (It isn't clear to me if marital relations were expected to continue after an heir was produced, though.)

    “If brothers dwell together, and one of them dies and has no son, the widow of the dead man shall not be married to a stranger outside the family; her husband’s brother shall go in to her, take her as his wife, and perform the duty of a husband’s brother to her. And it shall be that the firstborn son which she bears will succeed to the name of his dead brother, that his name may not be blotted out of Israel." Deuteronomy 25:5-6 NKJV
     
  6. devin553344

    devin553344 Enlighten our lives dear Lord

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    Thanks Sabertooth I wasn't aware of that instance.
     
  7. Sabertooth

    Sabertooth Repartee Animal: Quipping the Saints! Supporter

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    Notably, the land/inheritance laws do not have a Gentile analog.
     
  8. AvgJoe

    AvgJoe Member since 2005 Supporter

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    Question: "Why did God allow polygamy / bigamy in the Bible?"

    Answer:
    The question of polygamy is an interesting one in that most people today view polygamy as immoral while the Bible nowhere explicitly condemns it. The first instance of polygamy/bigamy in the Bible was that of Lamech in Genesis 4:19: “Lamech married two women.” Several prominent men in the Old Testament were polygamists. Abraham, Jacob, David, Solomon, and others all had multiple wives. Solomon had 700 wives and 300 concubines (essentially wives of a lower status), according to 1 Kings 11:3. What are we to do with these instances of polygamy in the Old Testament? There are three questions that need to be answered: 1) Why did God allow polygamy in the Old Testament? 2) How does God view polygamy today? 3) Why did it change?

    To continue reading~~~> www.gotquestions.org/polygamy.html
     
  9. topher694

    topher694 Go Turtle!

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    So I'm not EO, but I don't think it was ever considered ok in the Bible. The Bible just reports that it happens it doesn't endorse it happening. This happens with a lot of things in the Bible. Whenever you see multiple wives it really doesn't end well for those involved.

    Likewise Jesus did address it. But, like so many thing with Him, He did not address it by condemning the wrong behavior, but instead by endorsing the correct behavior. He defined marriage between one man and one woman... same as Genesis.
     
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  10. ralliann

    ralliann christian

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    I think this is because the church financially supports this office. The Church should not be burdened with supporting more than one wife, and the resulting offspring. ?The more wealth a man possessed the larger his household would be.
     
  11. ralliann

    ralliann christian

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    I think this is because the church financially supports this office. The Church should not be burdened with supporting more than one wife, and the resulting offspring. ?The more wealth a man possessed the larger his household would be.
    Polygamy which is based upon the ability of a man to support a wife or wives and children ends up like genealogical socialism. The wealth of a man is distributed in a society to his offspring.
     
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2019 at 12:06 AM
  12. rusmeister

    rusmeister A Russified American Orthodox Chestertonian

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    Kudos to Topher for recognizing which sub-forum he’s responding in!

    It was never “OK”, and an approach which fails to distinguish between approval and toleration is going to miss the point. A lot of things are tolerated which are not actually OK (approved). Christ pointed that out over the question of divorce. Divorce is NOT “OK”. It was tolerated under Mosaic law because of the hardness of our hearts. But it was not always so. The intent from the beginning was monogamy. Everything else is sin, falling away. Even when it was tolerated, it didn’t end well in the stories passed down to us. Abraham SHOULDN’T have taken Hagar to his tent; he should have had more faith in God, and evil was born of his lack of faith. Adam and Eve SHOULDN’T have partaken of the fruit in the garden, and NO one “should” get divorced or accrue multiple wives. Ever. At any time in history.

    The Christian ideal calls us to live as we SHOULD, and does not approve of even what it may tolerate. And as we SHOULD is hard. But that’s what we’re called to. We’re not supposed to be looking to see if something is “OK”, if we can get a free pass, a “Get Out of Jail Free” card. And the ancient Jews weren’t actually supposed to be doing that either. They were supposed to be seeking to live by the Word of God. And they didn’t, not as they should have. Not Abraham (and thus he needed his faith to count for righteousness), not Solomon, who managed to completely fall away in consequence of his uncontrolled appetites and political ambitions, none of the Biblical polygamists is approved in their polygamy.

    The Christian should understand that marriage is an icon of Christ and His Church, among other things, and that that relationship must be kept exclusive, holy, and faithful. That removes everything that violates that from the list of what we should be OK with, and that includes both polygamy and divorce. That doesn’t mean that we should condemn others for their past sins, any more than we want to be condemned for ours, but only that we should live ourselves, and encourage those Christian brothers and sisters who do think we ought to obey and take up our crosses, and love our enemies, to uphold and carry them from now on, whatever we may have done in the past, be it fornication, adultery, polygamy or divorce, precisely because they are not, and never were “OK”.
     
  13. ralliann

    ralliann christian

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    It was commanded that a man marry his brothers widow if he died childless from her. And the firstborn was to reckoned by law to his brother. There are no stipulations that this command be followed only if the brother is unmarried?
     
  14. Sabertooth

    Sabertooth Repartee Animal: Quipping the Saints! Supporter

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    But that was in order to maintain tribal land legacies. Gentiles have no such land/legacy promises.
     
  15. ralliann

    ralliann christian

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    Where in scripture do you ever find it said of them they lacked faith? It only says they were faithful and believed God. As for appetites and ulterior motives.... I am a married woman, it does me no benefit to argue for polygamy. Other than it may have spared me from having been divorced the first time around.
     
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2019 at 12:37 AM
  16. topher694

    topher694 Go Turtle!

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    I'll go with Jesus on this one

    Edit: I don't want the above to appear rude. I just mean Jesus would have known the scripture you referenced and it would seem He interpreted it one man one woman. Again I don't know EO methods on stuff like this, but that's how I see it.
     
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2019 at 12:40 AM
  17. ralliann

    ralliann christian

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    Land legacies? What has that to do with it being a sin or not? Abraham took hagar as a concubine wife, his son by her did not have a land legacy. That was through Isaac.
     
  18. ralliann

    ralliann christian

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    Not taken that way.
    But...what do you mean go with Jesus on this one?
     
  19. topher694

    topher694 Go Turtle!

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    As I said in the edit. Jesus clearly knew the scriptures, in fact he was the embodiment of them, He would have known the one you mentioned, yet He said marriage was between 1 man and 1 woman. In other word Jesus would have never contradicted a true interpretation of scripture.
     
  20. Sabertooth

    Sabertooth Repartee Animal: Quipping the Saints! Supporter

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    I agree that levirate marriage was not a sin. (I brought it to the fore earlier in this thread.) But the purpose for it no longer exists; namely, to keep the deceased brother's name tied to a particular piece of property.
     
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