Biblical poligamy question

by LtCmd.Lore 2 Replies latest jw friends

  • LtCmd.Lore

    Hey I was just wondering when it was officialy said in the bible that men could only have one wife? I don't remember ever acctualy reading that statement. I thought of this since king David had multiple wives, and this was after god gave the laws to Israel in Leviticus.

    And more importantly, unless god changed his mind later on, he should have included this in the mosaic law shouldn't he?

    Just a curious...

  • blondie

    Here are the WTS weasel words about polygamy. Did you know that polygamy was not forbidden/made a DF offense until 1947?




    Jehovah has not changed his view of polygamy. (Psalm 19:7; Malachi 3:6) It was not part of his arrangement for humans from the beginning, and it is not now. When he created Eve as a wife for Adam, Jehovah stated that the divine standard was one wife for one husband. "That is why a man will leave his father and his mother and he must stick to his wife and they must become one flesh."—Genesis 2:24.

    When Jesus Christ was on the earth, he restated this position in answer to those who asked about divorce and remarriage. He said: "Did you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and his mother and will stick to his wife, and the two will be one flesh’? So that they are no longer two, but one flesh." Jesus added: "Whoever divorces his wife, except on the ground of fornication, and marries another commits adultery." (Matthew 19:4-6, 9) From this it is obvious that taking one or more additional wives is also adultery.

    Then why was polygamy allowed in ancient times? Keep in mind that Jehovah did not originate the practice. The first one mentioned in the Bible as having more than one wife was Lamech, a descendant of Cain. (Genesis 4:19-24) When Jehovah brought the Flood of Noah’s day, Noah and his three sons each had only one wife. All polygamists were destroyed in the Flood.

    Centuries later when Jehovah chose the Israelites as his people, polygamy already existed among them, although it apparently was far more common to have just one wife. God did not require families to break up where there was more than one wife. Instead, he strictly regulated the practice.—Exodus 21:10, 11; Deuteronomy 21:15-17.

    That this toleration of polygamy was only temporary can be seen not only by what Jesus stated regarding Jehovah’s original standard for marriage but also by what the apostle Paul wrote under the inspiration of God’s holy spirit. He said: "Let each man have his own wife and each woman have her own husband." (1 Corinthians 7:2) Paul also was inspired to write that any man appointed as an overseer or a ministerial servant in the Christian congregation must be "a husband of one wife."—1 Timothy 3:2, 12; Titus 1:6.

    Thus, Jehovah’s toleration of polygamy came to an end with the formation of the Christian congregation some 2,000 years ago. At that time, the standard for marriage returned to what it was at the beginning of God’s creation of man and woman: one husband, one wife. It is the standard today among God’s people throughout the entire world.—Mark 10:11, 12; 1 Corinthians 6:9, 10.



    As their work got under way in Africa in this 20th century, the Witnesses taught there, as they do everywhere, that Christian marriage allows for just one marriage mate. (Matt. 19:4, 5; 1 Cor. 7:2; 1 Tim. 3:2) Yet, there were hundreds who accepted the Bible’s exposure of idolatry and gladly embraced what Jehovah’s Witnesses taught concerning the Kingdom of God but who got baptized without abandoning polygamy. To correct this situation, TheWatchtower of January 15, 1947, emphasized that Christianity makes no allowance for polygamy, regardless of local custom. A letter sent to the congregations notified any who professed to be Jehovah’s Witnesses but who were polygamists that six months was being allowed for them to bring their marital affairs into harmony with the Bible standard. This was reinforced by a discourse given by Brother Knorr during a visit to Africa that same year.



    I married Olabisi Fashugba in February 1941 and knew enough not to take any additional wives. But until 1947 when the missionaries came, polygamy was common in the congregations. Polygamous brothers were told that they had married more than one wife in ignorance. So if they had two or three or four or five wives, they could keep them, but they should not take any more. That was the policy we had.





    An important point discussed at this convention was the Christian standard of monogamous marriage. Prior to 1947 a number of the brothers (not the majority by any means) were living in polygamy. The standard of Christian morality as laid down at Galatians 5:19-21 and elsewhere in the Bible was respected and they endeavored to adhere to it. However, polygamy was not clearly associated with adultery. This was largely due to the fact that in African society polygamy is just as honorable as monogamy.

    Finally, the January 15, 1947, issue of TheWatchtower appeared with an excellent article on marriage. The magazine plainly stated that "plurality of wives" is not for Christians.

    Friday, April 4, 1947, at the assembly in Accra, Brother W. R. Brown gave a ninety-minute talk on marriage, based on the material in the January 15 Watchtower. Immediately that became the talking point of the assembly. For the first time polygamists were refused baptism and those already baptized in that condition were told to clean up in order to be acceptable in Jehovah’s organization.

    Accepting the Christian standard of marriage meant great changes and adjustments in the lives of the polygamous ones. Nevertheless, the willingness was there, along with the desire to please God. In harmony with Jehovah’s mercy the Society dealt very patiently and kindly with them. Under normal circumstances they were given six months to straighten out their affairs. The majority of them showed appreciation for this, as is evident in the following comment of the then branch overseer:

    "It was very encouraging when everything was straightened out, to find that the number of persons who refused to adjust their lives according to the Christian way could be counted on one hand. So now as Jehovah prospered the brothers in making new disciples, these were coming into Jehovah’s organization with a clear understanding of all the Scriptural requirements."

  • LtCmd.Lore

    Thank you Blondie.

    That's just what I needed.

    And by the way I love your 'comments you won't hear' topics, I read them every Saturday before our family Read and Repeat Session Study.

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