A common misconception regarding polygyny is that a man cannot love more than one woman. This common objection has caused me to spend a good bit of time puzzling over how this is supposed to work and why God allows what seems an inequity. Recently, a solid answer has come into view.
In my early research and conversations regarding polygyny, I often heard the illustration that a man or woman can have a child that they love so much that they think they could never love another the same way. Then, a second child comes along and they love that one just as much and somehow their heart is not divided between the two, but the love is multiplied. And, it happens again with a third and so forth.
It makes sense, but, how?
Originally, I thought the hearts of men and women function a bit differently. However, recent studies in a related area suddenly explained it as I realized that the hearts of men and women are the same. What I was not accounting for was a key factor: God’s created order.
Recall, 1 Corinthians 11:3 is our clear and concise guiding verse that reveals:
God <- Messiah <- man <- woman
Culturally, we are ingrained with an idea of equality between men and women and an assumption that mutual love and respect are due. Such is not the case according to Scripture. I will address this momentarily.
Here’s a chart that we can use for illustration in our discussion.
Barring a sinful case of favoritism, we culturally assume that a woman with two or more children can love and treat fairly more than one child, yet somehow assume a man cannot do the same for more than one woman. We believe a man can love multiple children in fullness and fairness, yet believe that he cannot do the same for more than one woman.
The error committed by both culture and the monogamy only mindset is that the relationship between man and woman is based in equality, however, God’s created order says otherwise.
Notice in our illustration that Messiah loves, provides for, and protects multiple covenant relationships with men. Men, likewise, have the ability to love protect and provide for more than one covenantal relationship.
Interestingly, in the illustration, everyone has only one master! All can have one or more subordinates. And, therein is the solution!!
A woman who is expecting her head to love her exclusively as she loves her head/husband exclusively, is violating the headship model and order. The relationship between man and woman, even in a monogamous relationship is not parallel or mirrored.
We, as humans, are hardwired to understand that we cannot have two masters! Therefore, a woman’s understanding of her love for her husband does not take into account her innate understanding that he is her master and therefore must be singular. She cannot, therefore, comprehend that while she can only love one master, he can have and love more than one woman in the same way she can have and love more than one child.
No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.Matthew 6:24
Yeshua is saying a man cannot serve God and an idol, however, the principle of serving two masters holds!
Simply, man is created to respect and serve Messiah, while he is also created to be fruitful and multiply!! In the created order and in his hard-wiring, he is fully equipped to serve One and love more than one.
Woman, in like manner, is created to respect and serve her husband while tending to and caring for a bevvy of children. In her hard-wiring, she can only serve one master, but love many children.
Now, returning to the second illustration.
In the world, man and woman are generally regarded as co-equals, not demonstrated in the illustration above. But, the assumption is that ‘love’ is due in both directions. In truth, Scripture commands respect from woman to her husband while the man is commanded to LOVE the woman. Ephesians 5:23-33 most clearly points this difference in calling/role out while parallelling the image of Messiah and the Qahal/ Assembly..
Man and woman are a parallel picture of Messiah and the Assembly. Respect/reverence flows up, love flows down.
22 Wives, subject yourselves to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is the head of the church, He Himself being the Savior of the body. 24 But as the church is subject to Christ, so also the wives ought to be to their husbands in everything.
25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her,…33 Nevertheless, as for you individually, each husband is to love his own wife the same as himself, and the wife must see to it that she reverences her husband.Ephesians 5, select
A final thought, regarding a man loving his wives equally… Besides the fact that at no point is perfect equality or fairness ever commanded, each woman’s wants and needs can and do vary in a relationship. There is an ebb and flow.
Following is an insightful quote that addresses the necessary maturing of a man’s heart as he leads and guides his family.
Most men believe in plural marriage that they can love all wives the same or more than one; in theory that’s the goal but the heart needs time to be matured and trained to see that a man needs all his wives and not feel guilty about the ebb and flows of a heart. Like monogamy I believe a man can divide his heart in love but its not an instant thing or the second I’m called to plural marriage thing. If the heart is tender and led by the Ruach it does happen but don’t be disappointed if its not instant.Moshe Koniuchowsky
I think what I wrote above helps to understand how the individual relationships with each woman will ebb and flow, but the man, if he is walking as Messiah, he will seek to treat each woman as the unique and special creation that she is with specific and unique needs and wants that she has. He must do so in balance, according to the time and resources Yah has given him, but he cannot be constrained by a possessive expectation that he ‘belongs to’ one or another woman. They have no claim over him. Only Messiah!
This is challenging territory, but it is important to grasp so that we can orient our lives according to the ways of Messiah and the Torah that will rule the Kingdom of kol Israel.
A simple acceptance of Biblical (and righteous) polygyny would solve this problem with a lot less drama…
Polygyny builds a nation…. and, is a threat to Greco-Romanism.
We’ve had a real heat wave here in Indiana this summer. Due to retirement last fall, I’ve seen more sun and experienced the heat first hand while enjoying a lush garden and just being outdoors in general. But with the heat and lack of precipitation, watering has become a regular thing and it just takes as long as it takes. I really don’t mind that particular task, as I find it very therapeutic and it gives me an “excuse” for contemplation, prayer and praise.
It was one such morning last week that I began to think back to when I first found this little “farmette”consisting of an older farmhouse, four acres, and a beautiful hip roof barn wrapped in red metal. It had been a search of about 7 months before I found a property that met all my criteria and that I could actually afford. I was elated and thankful to the Father that everything had finally fallen into place for ME to own this little homestead. But little did I know my new adventure was pointing me towards a major spiritual paradigm shift.
I’ve had a lot of help developing this property in the last 4 years. I have two grown sons who have contributed to barn cleanout, fencing, gardening, drywall repair, etc. But the biggest contributor to the project has been my spiritual friend/brother/soulmate that I now call husband. When we first began brainstorming and envisioning projects, I must admit that I thought it was such a blessing to have someone with a similar passion willing to help me with MY goals and dreams. We had discovered that we worked very well together, and I was more than happy to defer to his experience in the areas of gardening and farming…for the most part. This is where some challenges began to crop up, bringing about that paradigm shift I mentioned earlier.
My old mind set, as an independent working woman, was to take full responsibility for “my” decisions and investment. I did give Yah thanks for answering prayers for a little place in the country that I could share with my family, but years of being single due to divorce had turned me into a “take charge” kinda gal. After all, momma had always told me, “You can do this!” But in the midst of the process, I was also learning deeper scriptural truths about headship, patriarchy, and submissiveness. In my times of introspection, study and prayer, I began to see how my attitude may have contributed to the failure of my first marriage. I also became more sensitive and knowledgeable about men in general, and began to seek change in how I related to my current husband.
I recently read an article by a blogger that, at first reading really set me back. It was titled “Does His Happiness Matter More Than Mine?” My first reaction was “of course not!” But the Spirit began to work in me, revealing the truth contained in the words of the article. If I truly believed that obedience to Messiah is manifested by my reverence and obedience to my husband, then I seriously had to re-think that response. After all, I am HIS help meet, not the other way around! Now granted, he is a wonderful man that helps me in so many ways, but that is because he takes husbandry seriously. So rather than focusing on my plans and goals, I’m asking the Father to teach me to focus on his. I am beginning to see that my legacy should not be about my personal accomplishments, but how I respected and served him in obedience to Messiah. It should be how I loved and taught my children and grandchildren, and how I served others in addition to my family. I am also beginning to understand that although my name may be on the mortgage, I need to diligently water and care for OUR garden and listen to his direction in the management of this household in general. I really believe to do so is pleasing to Yeshua and builds up the name and reputation of the Godly man that He has placed over me.
When the Reverend Martin Madan wrote the first volume of his seminal work, Thelypthora, he took the time to consider the case of Boaz and the kinsman who was nearer to Ruth than he was. This is recorded in Ruth chapter four. He offers a succinct and common-sense analysis of why the kinsman refused. Let’s read Ruth 4:1-12 (NASB).
Continue reading “Martin Madan Explains Ruth 4:6”
Now Boaz went up to the gate and sat down there, and behold, the close relative of whom Boaz spoke was passing by, so he said, “Turn aside, friend, sit down here.” And he turned aside and sat down. 2 He took ten men of the elders of the city and said, “Sit down here.” So they sat down. 3 Then he said to the closest relative, “Naomi, who has come back from the land of Moab, has to sell the piece of land which belonged to our brother Elimelech. 4 So I thought to inform you, saying, ‘Buy it before those who are sitting here, and before the elders of my people. If you will redeem it, redeem it; but if not, tell me that I may know; for there is no one but you to redeem it, and I am after you.’” And he said, “I will redeem it.” 5 Then Boaz said, “On the day you buy the field from the hand of Naomi, you must also acquire Ruth the Moabitess, the widow of the deceased, in order to raise up the name of the deceased on his inheritance.” 6 The closest relative said, “I cannot redeem it for myself, because I would jeopardize my own inheritance. Redeem it for yourself; you may have my right of redemption, for I cannot redeem it.” 7 Now this was the custom in former times in Israel concerning the redemption and the exchange of land to confirm any matter: a man removed his sandal and gave it to another; and this was the manner of attestation in Israel. 8 So the closest relative said to Boaz, “Buy it for yourself.” And he removed his sandal. 9 Then Boaz said to the elders and all the people, “You are witnesses today that I have bought from the hand of Naomi all that belonged to Elimelech and all that belonged to Chilion and Mahlon. 10 Moreover, I have acquired Ruth the Moabitess, the widow of Mahlon, to be my wife in order to raise up the name of the deceased on his inheritance, so that the name of the deceased will not be cut off from his brothers or from the court of his birth place; you are witnesses today.” 11 All the people who were in the court, and the elders, said, “We are witnesses. May the Lord make the woman who is coming into your home like Rachel and Leah, both of whom built the house of Israel; and may you achieve wealth in Ephrathah and become famous in Bethlehem. 12 Moreover, may your house be like the house of Perez whom Tamar bore to Judah, through the offspring which the Lord will give you by this young woman.”Ruth 4:1-12 NASB
A common objection thrown up by those who argue against Biblical polygyny is the fact that in Biblical polygynous families, we see a lot of family difficulties and sometimes, outright pain. Setting aside the equally common rebuttal that in monogamous families, we see the same kind of pain, there’s something about the difficulties that polygynous families experience that naysayers are not considering, and quite possibly that’s due to a monogamy-only translator bias, as well as the all-too-human reflexive avoidance of pain.
Before we go into the weeds with the Greek-to-English translations, I want to note that a recent story broke about when a Tanzanian miner became an overnight millionaire when he sold two of the largest chunks of Tanzanite ever found in that African country. The BBC article that reported the find also mentioned that the miner had 4 wives and 30 children. The Fox News article that reported the same story linked to the same BBC article mentioned the 30 children but was silent on the 4 wives. This is an excellent current example of how discomfort with polygyny will lead to suppression of relevant facts.
Continue reading “The “Thlibo” Path of Polygyny Marriage as a Positive”
Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.Matthew 7:13-14 KJV
From the colonial period to the second decade of the twenty-first century in the United States of America, marriage has been the subject of legislation and court decisions. Specifically, the question that I am exploring herein is how statutes and court decisions define or permit “who can marry whom?” The following is not intended to be a detailed overview of more than four centuries of history. Undoubtedly, there exist monographs and books written on this topic and the interested reader can search them out. I did a search through DuckDuckGo on “history American marriage laws”, which returned several hits. The first sites, including Wikipedia, contained some information about the changes in American law since the colonial period and several things jumped out at me and that’s what I want to discuss. The reader is warned that this might be “getting into the weeds” somewhat, but the overall trend addressing “who can marry whom?” is what I’m interested in sharing with you.Continue reading “Marriage Laws – A Brief Survey of Changes in Modern America”
In the opening article in my new “Marriage Laws” series, I made the proposition that Yeshua clearly said that some things belong to YHVH only, and that marriage is one of those things that YHVH has reserved to Himself, and not given to Caesar (the government) to legislate. In forthcoming articles, I will explore how “Caesar” in America and other societies in the past has arrogated to himself the power to regulate marriage. In this second article, I am going to answer the question of what YHVH has said about marriage. It turns out that He has said a great deal, and nowhere has He said that Israel’s rulers have any legal jurisdiction on this topic. If they don’t, how much less jurisdiction do the nations have?
We will begin at the beginning during Creation Week in which we are going to analyze what He said and did through the aftermath of the Fall. Later, we will discuss what He put into the Sinai Covenant and the related statutes and judgments in Leviticus and Deuteronomy.Continue reading “Marriage Laws – What YHVH Has Said”
April 7th , 2020 Tuesday
To My Dear Sister Wife,
I decided to start writing down my journey from where I am right now in my life, to mine and Matthew’s end goal. The finish line if you will, where we find you. It is when God brings you to us. This process is not an overnight occurrence. This journal will be day by day, month by month journey. If God only has us on this journey to open our eyes to what His word says, to dig deeper into His word, to show others, God, through our life, then these letters will only be a journal for me. From where I started to where I am in the future. I pray maybe, I can also help shine a light for someone else and be of encouragement.
Click here to see all entries in Jessie’s Journal.