555 Difficult Bible Questions Answered

371. Why Was Polygamy Allowed to the Patriarchs and Why Is It Wrong Now?




Jesus, in speaking of certain provisions of the Mosaic law on the marriage question, said: "From the beginning it was not so." Matt 19:8. He referred to the original creation of one man and one woman as fixing the moral law that a man should have but one wife. The fact that Abraham and the other patriarchs had more than one wife does not make polygamy right any more than the fact that they owned skives makes slavery right The Bible is a truthful record of the lives of the people of whom it tells. They did many things that were wrong; God dealt gently and patiently with his people, leading them by a long process of teaching and development toward the full understanding of his perfect will. There was no particular time at which polygamy became wrong, but it was the teaching of Jesus, more than any other influence, that showed mankind that it is wrong. In the New Testament the love of husband and wife is presented as the highest form of love; it is inconceivable that any outsider, or third person, can enter into this sacred fellowship. Polygamy means injustice to women ; the plural wives are outsiders, deprived, from the Christian point of view, of real wifehood