I have always had a problem with the Old Testament text that is highlighted here. God teaches that marriage is one man and one woman. Polygamy, the marrying of more than one wife, is not good. But in the Old Testament, men of faith, that God uses and continues to bless, have multiple wives. In this passage, not only does Jacob have multiple wives, but he even has children with the servants of his wives. I’m not always sure what to make of this. God is clear that biblical marriage is with one wife, but the examples like this are confusing. God never says that polygamy is acceptable, but he also does not speak out against it in these puzzling texts.
Many bible commentators have justified the polygamy because they state that it was necessary for growing the community fast. Some say it was a way of honoring the women because without a husband, they would not be cared for, receive no inheritance and never have children. I guess both of these options are true, but I still don’t like these texts as it leaves so much room for error. Many bible cults today use these texts to promote polygamy in their doctrine. Even though I don’t always “get” these texts, I trust in God’s plan of biblical marriage of one man and one woman…that’s all I could handle anyway!
This blog was originally written by Pastor Doug Bartel of Hillcrest Church, starting in Spring 2009. Keep that in mind if you read anything that doesn't quite add up to the time of year.
Come journey with us as we read through the Bible in a year. It is our desire to hear what God wants from us and to know his promises as well as warnings. Each day we will read a text and together we will share what we are learning and encourage one another to finish the goal!