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.
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.
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.
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.
While I have long understood that one reason God created marriage was to image His relationship with His people (Eph. 5:22-33), to a much lesser degree, I understood that a purpose for marriage is sanctification. It was not, however, until the last couple years of understanding Biblical marriage, that I began to understand how very significant the aspect of sanctification is.
Sanctification, by definition, is the process of ‘making holy.’ Holy means ‘set apart’ or ‘consecrate,’ so ‘sanctification’ means ‘the process of setting apart, or making holy.’ See the following snip from an online dictionary:
When people put forth arguments against the polygyny laws of the Old Testament, one of them is that if there are laws on the books that make polygyny illegal, then even if it’s legal in the Old Testament, it’s not legal in the present day, and the secular law is the controlling authority and should be obeyed.
In fact, even as a married man, I couldn’t commit adultery with a single lady. It is physically and spiritually impossible!!
I’ve been happily married more than 28 years and wouldn’t trade any of it. It hasn’t always been easy, but life with Kelly has been good. I love her. Always have, but then I’m a sucker for ‘broken wings.’
Only in recent years have I realized or recognized that aspect of my personality, but I can see the seeds of that character trait going way back. Kelly is the first person I really recall with whom I exercised this ministry. We began dating before the parachuting accident that took both of her hands, though we weren’t serious. Truth be told, at that point, she was seeing someone else and I was sort of playing the field… but, she sure could fill out a pair of Army fatigues.
We prayed for weeks that the weather would be kind to us as outdoor weddings in June are subject to thunderstorms in the South. The day dawned picture perfect and the ceremony went off without a hitch under the oaks on the lawn of Lebanon Presbyterian Church in Winnsboro, SC. Our family was happy. We were married.
Or, were we?
Five months earlier, I was to go to the US Army Ranger School, and had a beautiful girl living with me that I planned to keep. So days before my departure, on a Wednesday, I spoke to her over lunch and we planned to see the Justice of the Peace on Friday after work to ‘get married.’ Two days later we had a piece of paper that said we were ‘married.’
Recently a friend of mine (Zec) sent me and several other men a video and asked for feedback before it went public. It was absolutely stunning.
Men, this fits with the focus we have had over the last few months in our Restoring Kol Israel series. It’s a bold message with a lot of challenging truth packed into it that all men, especially fathers, need to hear. Here are a couple of the responses from that conversation:
Beyond incredible. You have packed so many concepts into a short video. I’ve listened to 2 hour sermons that haven’t had 1/4 the content.
Wow Zec. Awesome. Rivetting, gold…What I just saw is the fruit of a hard won education and the heart of a warrior for the Kingdom. You are a man I want my boys around, one I am glad to call a brother and fellow sojourner. Have always had Hugh respect for you, but it grew this morning! The world may not receive it well, but men who do will be better men.
I do not normally reblog entire articles, but usually provide a link. I am making an exception for this article because it encapsulates so well the reason why we must recapture the proper roles of men and women in marriage as God designed. The Torah pursuant community is so serious about learning and walking in God’s ways, but retain a huge blind spot regarding what the Bible actually says about marriage, men and women.
We will be held accountable for truth in this area because it is foundational to the Restoration of Kol Israel. Calendars, liturgy and minute details about the Torah throughout Scripture are meaningless if we get the roles of men and women and family structure wrong. Simply, Torah cannot be walked rightly if headship and patriarchy are not right at the very foundation.
“BGR, (my wife and I refer to you as Bigger Guy, phonetically pronounced), Just a word of encouragement, we decided over a year ago to switch the dynamic of our marriage to a more Biblical approach. Your blog has inspired a lot of the changes that we have implemented. We were “happily married partners” for many years. Since the change, our marriage has grown and flourished like never before.
Two or three evenings ago, my eldest son read some information to me regarding the growing global fertility crisis. He is working on his Masters level degree as a Nurse Practitioner and is immersed in all things health related, so his interest being peaked by a report on fertility rates crashing was no surprise.
We had an excellent discussion about the relationship between the fertility rate and the rate at which women embrace the God-ordained role of bearing children and caring for the home instead of pursuing education and careers. I further explained that reversing this and walking according to Scripture in the whole area of patriarchy, family structure and marriage is imperative for the restoration of kol Israel. (Did I mention this blog has a whole series on the subject?)