February 21, 2024

Multiple Wives – Not God’s Design

This entry is part 1 of 6 in the series Biblical Role of the Sexes

One of the things that continues to hit me over and over again as I’m doing my reading through the Bible this year is the roles of men and women in the Bible compared to them now. I want to take a look at a few of the differences over the next few posts. As I’ve already discussed previously head coverings, clothing, hair length and Biblical Standards, I won’t rewrite my thoughts there– unless I have to.

The first, and probably most striking thing, about male/female relations in Bible times was the number of wives Biblical characters had and how the Bible is relatively silent in criticizing that fact. In fact, in one place in II Samuel, the Lord even says that he gave David many wives (in regards to his taking Bathsheba and sending her husband to his death).

At first glance, this could argue that God permitted or even encouraged multiple marriages. I mean, Jacob had twelve children by four different women who became the tribes of Israel (more or less!). However, we can quickly see both the OT and NT that God planned for the family to be a male and female. It existed this way until a man named Lamech in Genesis decided that he was important enough to take two wives.

The point here is this: Just because God chooses to use something that happened, or report it, does not mean that it was what God planned or what is best. Too often, we as Christians think that because a person gets saved or something happens where God gets the glory, that somehow justified the way the ends were made. However, the ends do not justify the means, and we must be careful to examine our practices and motives. Just because people come to Christ does not mean that God is happy with the method– or even that the given method is the best.

In this case, multiple wives caused the demise of Solomon and his walk with God, caused humiliation for David and loss of his son because of his sin with Bathsheba, caused infighting among the wives of Jacob, each of them trying to have more kids or more special kids for their husband and caused friction among the children where they almost killed Joseph because he was favored, etc. The fruits are not as obvious because they take place later, but the fruits are there.

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5 thoughts on “Multiple Wives – Not God’s Design

  1. Good post on the fruits MIn. We can never outrun them, can we? As you say, many people superficially look at the text/story and conclude that God must be duplicitous, when He certainly is not! Going against His design for our roles as men/women- and our roles as Christians, only invites the consequences of sin into our lives.

  2. Very good post. In a discussion I had with someone about women, I said the very thing about Deborah who seems to be a poster child for women in leadership and authority in the church. Never mind that the text never says that she was moved by the spirit of God or raised up by Him. The fact that God uses anything (even the wrath of men will praise Him) seems to indicate to some that the activity automatically has His stamp of approval, even when we read elsewhere in the Scriptures that such thing is not to be done.

  3. Thanks for that point, Leigh Ann. I’ve been meaning to go back and study out Deborah. In many of these cases, people like to take a look at a given event in Biblical history and say that a historical action means that God directed the thing– or (like you said) that a positive outcome necessitates that God was the one behind it. When in reality it’s God using our frail means for His glory.

  4. Good point. I’ve often heard this but not often put quite as clearly as you did. Not every story in the Bible is a good one for emulation. That’s why I’m glad those stories are there, to learn from the mistakes of those before us.

  5. Unfortunately, that’s where a lot of people get their idea that there are many ways to interpret the Bible and the whole “God promotes mass murder,” etc. They don’t take into account the context or the results.

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