Just a few thoughts on polygamy

I was meditating on a blog I saw not too long ago by a man who claims to be Christian but has some very unusual ideas.  He claims that man is by nature polygamous, that it is in man’s hard-wiring to desire more than one woman.  Now, I believe God did allow polygamy but that it was not his ideal.

God’s ideal is for one man and one woman.  The Patriarchs are a good example.  Abraham was monogamous, with two serial marriages and the relationship with Hagar which his wife requested in order to bear a child through the handmaid.  Isaac was monogamous.   Jacob would’ve been monogamous, but marriages and relationships seemed to be thrust upon him.  He only wanted Rachel.    Of all the relationships mentioned in the Old Testament, there are very, very few that are polygamous.   Elkanah in 1 Samuel is one example, and there was problems–the one wife provoked the other one.  We do not know why David had more than one wife.  He started out with Michal and she ended up being given (unlawfully) to another man.   He then married Abigail, and later Ahinoam, lastly Bathsheba.  We also know he had 10 concubines who kept his house.   Solomon was extremely polygamous and it caused him to stray from God.

But whether or not God allows polygamy, does man want more than one wife?  I don’t think so, and I will tell you why.  If man was by nature polygamous or polygynist as some say, wouldn’t there be more men with polygamous marriages?  Men have been in control of laws throughout the centuries, yet we see very few societies permissive of polygamy.  Even in pagan societies, polygamy has not been prevalent, so it is not just Christianity or Judaism that keeps men limited in their marriages.  In fact, if you look at this from a purely anthropological standpoint, polyandry (more than one husband) is common as well among primitive societies.

I cannot see that man has been overwhelmingly polygamous, with the exception of kings in ancient times who had harems.   God’s ideal was not polygamy; indeed the Law of Moses told men not to multiply wives, and there are very few examples in the Bible of men actually taking more than one wife.   So the idea that man by nature desires more than one wife is limited to a few men who aren’t satisfied with one.

 

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