Our Polygynous Fathers

*not an ‘accurate’ representation of the persons or events depicted…. 😉

A central thread that runs through the whole of Scripture that both Christendom and Judaism try to hide, minimize, or ignore is polygyny. So, to expose that thread and demonstrate how very central the subject is, let’s take a gander at it by considering various angles.

Characters:

  • Hebrews 11 names many of the following as ‘men approved by God’…
  • Abraham had at least two concubines besides Sarah. (Genesis 25:6)
  • Jacob had four wives, therefore, all who are descended from or grafted into Israel have a father who is polygynous.
  • Moses married the Zipporah and the Cushite woman. The latter incurred Miriam’s displeasure and we see God’s response…. (Numbers 12)
  • Caleb, Joshua’s righteous companion who entered the land, had …wives.
  • Gideon had 70 sons, plus. (Judges 8:30-31)
  • Elkanah, father of Samuel, had two wives.
  • David, man after God’s own heart, had eight wives and ten concubines (1 Chronicles 3:1-9).
  • Solomon, greatest king of Israel.
  • Joash was given two wives by the High Priest and ‘did what was right in the sight of the Lord…’ (2 Chronicles 24:2-3, 15-16)
  • Oh, God, by His own Word testifies to (allegorically) having two brides. (Ezekiel 23:2, 4; Jeremiah 3:8; 31:32)
  • Others…

Authors of Scripture:

  • Moses wrote the five books of Torah
  • David wrote many Psalms
  • Solomon wrote Proverbs, Song of Solomon, and Ecclesiastes
  • Others very likely…

Major Prophets:

  • Moses
  • Samuel, son of a polygynous marriage (I Samuel 1)
  • Likely, others…

Significant story lines:

  • Nation of Israel descended from Jacob’s four women
  • Yeshua, son of David, is descended from Bathsheba, David’s seventh (or, eighth) wife. (1 Chronicles 3:5 and Luke 3:31)
  • Two houses of Judah and Joseph descended from Leah and Rachel, sister wives.
  • God divorced the house of Israel but not the house of Judah and, He plans to redeem and restore them! (Jeremiah 3, Ezekiel 37 and hundreds of individual prophecies.)

In truth, I think Scripture only paints the tip of the iceberg. I honestly think many, many stories and characters involve polygyny though it is not directly mentioned in Scripture. Consider, David was the younger disliked and ruddy brother that was ignored and minimized. I would bet my farm he was the son of a second wife, but I can neither prove nor disprove…. same for Mary, mother of Yeshua. I’d bet my farm she was a second wife for Joseph, maybe even taken out of obligation…. Scripture doesn’t tell us that, but the underlying details have certain ‘marks’ that seem to point in that direction.. Ruth is another example. I can’t prove it definitively, but everything in that story indicates Boaz was a married man who had ‘maidens.’ There are many more such places that Scripture drops bread crumbs pointing to a highly polygynous storyline.

Why does this matter?

Christendom, in particular, has a very dim – if not outright condemnatory – view of polygyny, yet God does not ever speak even a single verse against it. Instead, He describes Himself as being polygynous and uses this particular family structure in multiple critical places in the formation and history of Israel as well as to produce the Messiah, son of David.

And, at the very heart of headship and patriarchy is the God ordained and instituted authority structure that images Him. By definition, the head has the authority to ‘grow/build’ his family/clan/tribe/people.

What this means is that for a healthy society and ultimately, the restoration of kol Israel, we must study and embrace God’s ways as righteous. Headship and patriarchy are key and polygyny is a necessary optional subset for every man. Period.

Author: Pete Rambo

Details in 'About' page @ natsab.wordpress.com Basically, husband of one, father of four. Pastor x 11 years, former business and military background. Micro-farmer. Messianic believer in Yeshua haMashiach!

8 thoughts on “Our Polygynous Fathers”

  1. Well said.

    I have wondered about Joseph and Mary, and looked into it. What limited evidence there is seems to favor that Joseph was more like Isaac (Rebekah) or his namesake Joseph (Asenath).

    Maybe I’ll win your farm, turn around and sell it back to you for a penny! 🙂

    Like

  2. Pete says: Christendom, in particular, has a very dim – if not outright condemnatory – view of polygyny, yet God does not ever speak even a single verse against it.

    I can give a couple verses that throw some shade on it:
    Deuteronomy 17:17 Neither shall he multiply wives to himself, that his heart turn not away: neither shall he greatly multiply to himself silver and gold.
    1 Kings 11:3 He had 700 wives, who were princesses, and 300 concubines. And his wives turned away his heart.

    I can see 700 wives and 300 exclusive sex partners keeping a man pretty preoccupied, and less able to serve the Lord wholeheartedly. Otherwise, I completely agree with what you said, however I don’t think multiple wives would be advisable in my current environment. One really good one would probably be best, if our Feminist churches and society hadn’t turned them all somewhat toxic. Having additional bad wives, wouldn’t be a very good thing. And good ones are rare like rubies, as per the Bible. And I happen to think women were probably a lot less entitled when that was written.

    Like

    1. Scripture never condemns Solomon for what I agree is clear excess. What God does take him to task for is marrying *foreign* women. That was the real problem because they brought pagan practices with them.

      As previously articulated by James Wesley Stivers in Eros Made Sacred, patriarchy is inherently polygynous. As soon as that option is removed from the man’s ‘tool bag,’ his emasculation has begun.

      We must honestly consider that God’s ways are higher than ours and He never had a problem with it. The pagan religions, though, did… and that’s where monogamy-ONLY is rooted.

      Like

  3. … patriarchy is inherently polygynous. As soon as that option is removed from the man’s ‘tool bag,’ his emasculation has begun.

    True, but, our godless Feminist society begins emasculating all men from earliest child hood, and continues until they die. The option to take another wife, is just one of many tools that has been stolen from men. Nor will restoring that single tool fix all the rampant emasculation of men. Much like Dynamite was created by Alfred Nobel as a peaceful tool to reduce work, but remains of limited use because it is so destructive. So also polygyny might help in some instances, but if you look at the primitive areas of Africa, where it is practiced, the results are usually quite destabilizing, and not what you’d be hoping for in a societal model.
    You give King David, a man after God’s own heart, as an example, but to me his family is a cautionary tale. If such a godly leader could not control that type of family, but had children raping and killing each other and even declaring war on him, is that going to work any better for us less godly folks, whose society won’t support the arrangement? I think we should focus on getting some of a man’s more judicious tools back first. And an obvious first step necessary to effect a peaceful change back towards patriarchy, is repealing the 19th amendment, and taking the leadership of our government back. Otherwise women, who are natural defilers, will continue to legislate their reprobate morals, until society as we know it is completely destroyed and then violence and force will eventually be used to subject us all to some new tyranny. If we don’t at least try to begin to politically repress women now, they will most certainly continue to ignorantly destroy all that intelligent men in the past worked to build for everyone.

    Like

    1. Sharkly,

      Thank you for your response. He are some considerations.

      if you look at the primitive areas of Africa, where it is practiced, the results are usually quite destabilizing

      Actually, the western historical narrative is incorrect. It was western Christian missionaries demanding that polygynous men cast out additional wives in order to convert to Christianity that destabilized Africa and created the problem of orphans, poverty, prostitution, etc. I highly recommend reading Lauren Heiligenthal’s Evaluating Western Christianity’s Interpretation of Biblical Polygamy wherein one topic she covers is the destabilization and destruction of Africa because of the forcible destruction of nuclear families who were exercising, even if imperfectly, a God ordained form of marriage. Women always out number men and Scripturally, they are to be covered and under the authority of a man, therefore, simple math dictates that unnaturally forcing a 1:1 ratio in marriage will automatically leave a percentage in singleness to do exactly what you claim: who are natural defilers, will continue to legislate their reprobate morals, until society as we know it is completely destroyed and then violence and force will eventually be used to subject us all to some new tyranny.

      You give King David, a man after God’s own heart, as an example, but to me his family is a cautionary tale. If such a godly leader could not control that type of family, but had children raping and killing each other and even declaring war on him, is that going to work any better for us less godly folks,

      Your logical leap, using the sin of the children to indict the father’s form of marriage can be used to indict monogamy. Cain killed Abel, Ham raped his mother (or sodomized his father, depending on how you understand that passage), and Esau is still fighting with Jacob. That’s just in the first half of Genesis. Further, you know quite well that in our current monogamy-only culture, we still have incest, rape, abuse, etc… How’s that monogamy working out for ya?

      The problem is not the form of marriage, the problem is sin. God blesses marriage and through the prophet Nathan told David He would have given him more wives had he only asked. 2 Sam. 8:12.

      Rebuilding society and bringing the kingdom in subjection to the King will not be a political endeavor (re: repealing 19th). It will be living our His instructions that way He designed society, man/woman being the most basic building block, to function. Patriarchy is the key element, and of necessity, polygyny is a subset.

      Like

      1. Pete,
        My parents were missionaries in Africa for 8 years in the 60’s. Neither they nor the other missionaries they worked with were wanting polygynous Chiefs to divorce their multiple wives. They believed:
        1 Corinthians 7:20 Each one should remain in the condition in which he was called. They actually used that exact verse to explain why they left the polygynous families undisturbed. While there certainly may have been a few missionaries who did try to encourage divorce, I suspect they were few, and not enough to be fully responsible for tribal Africa’s rampant immorality and rivalrous family dynamics. There are certain issues that are going to be inherent due to rival wives, non-biological moms, favoritism, getting far less individual attention, and direction from their father, and Etc. Your “discrediting” my example of tribal Africa, still doesn’t explain why the bigamists in rural Utah also get the exact same troubling results.

        I agree that any type of family arrangement can be plagued by sin.
        Sodomizing your father or raping your mom are both capital offenses, and I believe Ham would have been killed, if that is what he had actually done.(IMHO) Ham’s brothers covered their father’s nakedness. It seems literal.

        2 Sam. 8:12, seems to be a typo, as it has little to do with what you were mentioning.

        Building a kingdom, is by definition a political endeavor. And men taking back the reigns of power, is a necessary prerequisite of a patriarchal society. I think we agree on this stuff, Pete, I just don’t think Polygyny is as important as many other priorities, regarding bringing families and the church, and then society back into alignment with the Bible. Women have been elevated and men have been debased, inverting God’s holy order. First we have to re-elevate men into the image and glory of God,(1 Corinthians 11:7) and get women to become shamefaced(1 Timothy 2:9) and submissive, if we are to make much progress. Early steps towards this would entail stuff like getting women to wear a symbol of their earthly subjection when they pray, exactly as God asks the to in 1 Corinthians 11. If rebellious women won’t even give token submission to God and man, we really are not even at step one, with them. They need to repent, and accept the Father’s commands, and the Lordship of Jesus Christ, and be saved, before we can ask them to submit to their God-ordained husbands, as explained in 1 Corinthians 11:3.

        Like

      2. God didn’t build kingdom Israel politically. He did it with tribal men… some of whom, not all, were polygynous. The point is, patriarchy, by definition, demands authority structure most noteably present in polygyny. The mere presence of the option immediately changes the dynamic between man and woman.

        I do appreciate your parent’s service, and i especially appreciate that they did not break up families. I, too grew up as an MK/third culture kid.. that said, investigate what really happened in other agencies and parts of Africa! It’s a travestry for which we’ll have to give account.

        Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s