Are the Jehovah's Witnesses rewriting Jehovah's Law regarding Polygamy?

by I_love_Jeff 13 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • I_love_Jeff

    Watchtower: 9/15/1956 page 572

    "Although for a time God permitted the Israelites to practice polygamy, yet this was not God’s purpose for them, nor did he command them to adopt this practice."


    Same article goes on to say:

    "God’s law pronounces relations with a polygamist fornication, not a marriage."

    Where in the Bible does it state that God was against polygamy?

    God's law?????

    I do not see any verses in their Watchtower Library 2012 backing up this claim.

    "In old age Jacob admitted that his life—including his domestic affairs—had been distressing. (Genesis 47:9) Doubtless, life had been distressing for Leah and Rachel as well. Their experiences highlight the sad consequences of polygamy and illustrate why Jehovah established that a man should have one wife. (Matthew 19:4-8; 1 Timothy 3:2, 12) Jealousy results when the romantic or sexual interests of a husband or a wife are not limited to one person—his or her spouse. That is one reason why God prohibits fornication and adultery.—1 Corinthians 6:18; Hebrews 13:4."

    The verses given here DO NOT EVEN COME CLOSE TO Jehovah stressing one man one woman marraige.

    Watchtower 10/1/2007, page 11

  • sarahsmile

    Your right none of those scripture referred to having more than one spouse wrong. Not even close,but that is how the WT writes their articles. They show a scripture on fornication(single) with a husband then jump to polygamy as wrong! Whereas the scripture had nothing to do with multiple wives but an act out side the marriage bed, such as a husband having an afair with a none married person caught in the act of fornication.

    And that not the only subject they messed up!

    But Jesus did speak about how it was in the beginning a man leaves his parents a clings to his " wife" not wives. Goes on to explain about ztiff neck people. But the WT never brought that point out so it is jumping subject around. They do not expect you to question anything!

    Deacons or elder with one wife compared to others who had multiple wives! :-)

    I even think that Jesus spoke and fed crowds who had multiple wives. Five thousand men were fed but how many wives and their children. In those days they had big families.

    Well anyhow I am not for polygamy but I wondered about that issue. If a man had five wives and committed fornication then five wives would have grounds for divorcement. Apparently it would not go well with his "wives." Scripture only has wife and not wives.

    Still your point is reasonable.

  • sarahsmile

    17 “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, nor his male servant, nor his female servant, nor his ox, nor his donkey, nor anything that is your neighbor’s.”

    It does not say covet your neighbors wives.

  • JWdaughter

    There is no place in the Bible that forbids marriage to any number of people. In fact, the part translated that elders etc should be th husband of "one" wife could be translated as husbands of "A" wife-and as the verses go on to describe that a man needs to show that he can manage his own household, this makes sense (the word translated as one is often,in other scriptures translated as "a"or "first".)

    However, I would say that polygamy is not something that most would or could accept in our day, and no one should be thinking there is some extra special righteousness in following this practice.

  • snare&racket

    He gave Sarah as a gift of loyalty to Abraham..... how is that not, god condoning polygamy?

    Thankfully it is all nonsense. Read the bible story book again.....yuck.

  • JWdaughter

    Sarah, each wife is a individual. I don't think that OT verse does much to further your take on this, but the arguements against polygamy in the NT are pretty much refutable if someone wants to bother. I sure don't think such a practice should be promoted, but so long as everyone is consenting and adult, I'm not going to fight against those seeking that right. Iwould rather have it regulated toadults than have it hidden and forced on minors against their will or using their youth and naivete.

  • blondie

    Polygamy was not officially sanctioned by the WTS until 1947.

    *** jv chap. 13 p. 176 Recognized by Our Conduct ***

    Even though customs affecting marriage and family life differ from one land to another, Jehovah’s Witnesses recognize that the standards set out in the Bible apply everywhere. 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, The Watchtower 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.

    *** yb73 pp. 166-167 Ghana ***

    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 The Watchtower 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.


    The WTS does mention "wife" in the same sentence as "polygamy" indicating these women had spousal status.

    *** it-2 p. 343 Marriage ***

    Even Jacob, who was tricked into polygamy by his father-in-law, was blessed by having 12 sons and some daughters from his two wives and their handmaidens who became concubines to Jacob.—Ge 29:23-29; 46:7-25.

    *** it-2 p. 1235 Zillah ***

    One of the two wives of Lamech, the first polygamist of Bible record. She was the mother of Tubal-cain and of his sister Naamah. Lamech composed a poem for his wives Adah and Zillah.—Ge 4:19-24.

    *** w95 7/15 p. 12 par. 10 The Dignified Role of Women Among God’s Early Servants ***

    Although Jehovah allowed polygamy and it served to increase Israel’s population, he showed consideration for women by regulating the practice so that wives and their children would be protected. (Exodus 21:10, 11; Deuteronomy 21:15-17)

  • I_love_Jeff

    God put a number of obligations of the husband towards the additional wives which would discourage polygamy. In view of the problems it causes, it is no wonder that polygamy was unknown among the Jews after the Babylonian exile, and monogamy was the rule even among the Greeks and Romans by New Testament times. Discouraged NOT banned.

  • sir82

    Curiously, the list of qualifications for an "overseer" found in 1 Timothy 3 lists "husband of one wife" (NWT).

    If "more than one wife" = "fornication", why explicitly list "one wife" here?

    The implication seems to be that some in the 1st century had multiple wives.

  • BU2B

    Sir82 has nailed it. If only having one wife was a requirement for a christian, then logically it would not be included in the "special" requirements for appointed men.

    It is unscriptural for the WT to ban polygamy and force the JW men in Africa to abandon their secondary wives. They should have just went with the laws and customs of the land.

    If they truly wanted to follow the scriptures in the pattern of the 1st century and not going beyond what is written, then they would only prohibit those with multiple wives from being MS or Elders.

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