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Zephaniah - jasonderouchie.com

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BIG&smallQUESTIONS OF THE FAITH
Jason S.DeRouchie, PhDAssociate Professor of OT and Biblical TheologyBethlehem College & Seminarywww.derouchie-meyer.orgBethlehem Baptist Church, 2016
QUESTION
Whyin the OT didso manymen––even godly ones––marrymultiple wives, and how should we think about polygamy?
Polygamy:The practice of having more than one wife or husbandat the same time.Polygyny:Polygamy in which a man has more than one wife.Polyandry:Polygamy in which a woman has more than one husband.
Definitions
Polygamy:The practice of having more than one wife or husbandat the same time.Polygyny:Polygamy in which a man has more than one wife.Polyandry:Polygamy in which a woman has more than one husband.
Definitions
Around 20 Major Examples
Lamech:Adah and ZillahGen 4:19. “AndLamechtook two wives.”
Around 20 Major Examples
Lamech:Adah and ZillahAbraham:Sarah and Hagar, thenKeturahafter Sarah diedGen.16:1–3.Now Sarai, Abram’s wife, had borne him no children. She had a female Egyptian servant whose name was Hagar.2And Sarai said to Abram, “Behold now, the LORD has prevented me from bearing children.Goin to my servant; it may be that I shall obtain children by her.” And Abram listened to the voice of Sarai.3So, after Abram had lived ten years in the land of Canaan, Sarai, Abram’s wife, took Hagar the Egyptian, her servant, and gave her to Abram her husband as a wife.
Around 20 Major Examples
Lamech:Adah and ZillahAbraham:Sarah and Hagar, thenKeturahafter Sarah diedGen.16:1–3.Gen 25:1. And Abraham took another wife, whose name wasKeturah.
Jacob:Leah, Rachel, Bilhah,ZilpahGen 29:23.But in the evening he took his daughter Leah and brought her to Jacob, and he went in to her.Gen 29:28.Jacob did so, and completed her week. Then Laban gave him his daughter Rachel to be his wife.Gen.30:1, 3–4. When Rachel saw that she bore Jacob no children…3she said [to Jacob], “Here is my servant Bilhah; go into her, so that she may give birth on my behalf, that even I may have children through her.4So she gavehim her servant Bilhah as a wife, and Jacob went in to her.Gen 30:9.When Leah saw that she had ceased bearing children, she took her servantZilpahand gave her to Jacob as a wife.
Moses?Zipporah (and the Cush[an]ite?)Exod2:16, 21. Now the priest of Midian had seven daughters. . . .21AndMoses was content to dwell with the man, and he gave Moses his daughter Zipporah.Num12:1. Miriamand Aaron spoke against Moses because of the Cushite[orCushanite] womanwhom he had married, for he had married a Cushite woman.Hab3:7. Isaw the tents ofCushanin affliction; the curtains of the land of Midian did tremble.
David:Many wives1 Sam 18:27. And Saul gave [David] his daughterMichalfor a wife.1 Sam 25:39, 42–43. When David heard thatNabalwas dead . . . David sent and spoke toAbigailto take her as his wife. . . .42And Abigail hurried and rose and mounted a donkey, and her five young women attended her. She followed the messengers of David and became his wife.43David also tookAhinoamofJezreel, and both of them became his wives.
2 Sam 3:2–5.Andsons were born to David at Hebron: his firstborn wasAmnon, ofAhinoamofJezreel;3and his second,Chileab, ofAbigailthe widow ofNabalof Carmel; and the third, Absalom the son ofMaacahthe daughter ofTalmaiking ofGeshur;4and the fourth,Adonijahthe son ofHaggith; and the fifth,Shephatiahthe son ofAbital;5and the sixth,Ithream, ofEglah, David’s wife. These were born to David in Hebron.2 Sam 5:13.And David tookmore concubines and wivesfrom Jerusalem, after he came from Hebron, and more sons and daughters were born to David.2 Sam 12:24. And David comfortedBathshebahis wife.
Solomon:Incomprehensible!1 Kgs 11:3. Hehad700 wives, who were princesses, and300 concubines. And his wives turned away his heart.
Matthew 19:8“[Jesus] said to [the Pharisees], ‘Because of your hardness of heart Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so.”
Tolerating & Managing Polygamy
Exodus21:7–11“When a man sells his daughter as aslave, she shall not go out as the male slaves do.8If she does not please her master,who has designated her for himself, then he shall let her be redeemed. He shall have no right to sell her to a foreign people, since he has broken faith with her.9If he designates her for his son, he shall deal with her as with a daughter.10If he takes another wife to himself, he shall not diminish her food, her clothing, or her marital rights.11And if he does not do these three things for her, she shall go out for nothing, without payment of money.Being designated both wife and servant was likelydue to a man desiring to marry a woman whose status as wife would not also threaten his estate (e.g., endangering previous inheritance rights).Focus is on protecting the rights ofwomen.
Exodus21:7–11“When a man sells his daughter as a slave, she shall not go out as the male slaves do.8If she does not please her master, who has designated her forhimself, then he shall let her be redeemed. He shall have no right to sell her to a foreign people, since he has broken faith with her.9If he designates her for his son, he shall deal with her as with a daughter.10If he takes another wife to himself, he shall not diminish her food, her clothing, or her marital rights.11And if he does not do these three things for her, she shall go out for nothing, without payment of money.Sought to ensure that a second wife was not a second-class wife. Even with servant status, the husband must treat her equally as a wife (v. 10).Failure to do so was grounds for freedom from service (i.e., redemption, v. 8) and marriage (i.e., divorce).
Leviticus 18:18“Andyou shall not take a woman as a rival wife to her sister, uncovering her nakedness while her sister is still alive.”Stresses that God does not even allow a sister to be a second wife. It does not permit marriage to a second wife so long as she is not a sister.
Deuteronomy 21:15–17“If a man hastwo wives, the one loved and the other unloved, and both the loved and the unloved have borne him children, and if the firstborn son belongs to the unloved,16then on the day when he assigns his possessions as an inheritance to his sons, he may not treat the son of the loved as the firstborn in preference to the son of the unloved, who is the firstborn,17but he shall acknowledge the firstborn, the son of the unloved, by giving him a double portion of all that he has, for he is thefirstfruitsof his strength. The right of the firstborn is his.”Protects the rights of the firstborn, regardless of whether the child is the son of the preferred wife or of the wife who is not loved.This does not condone polygamy, just asDeut23:18 does not condone harlotry. It simply manages it.
2 Samuel 12:7–8“Nathansaid to David,‘Youare the man! Thus says the LORD, the God of Israel,‘Ianointed you king over Israel, and I delivered you out of the hand of Saul.8And I gave you your master’s house andyour master’s wivesinto your arms and gave you the house of Israel and of Judah. And if this were too little, I would add to you as much more.’’”This text stresses that David received uncontested possession ofeverythingthat Saul acquired during his kingdom, including hisherem. This identifies both God’s absolute bestowal of power to David and God’s curse on Saul.There is no record of David’s wives including those in Saul’sherem, but they were in his possession to do so.God would punish David as he did Saul (2 Sam 12:11).
Overview:From the beginning to 931 B.C. (division of the kingdom after Solomon), we have 15 examples:Lamech, “sons of God” in Gen 6:1–7,Nahor, Abraham, Esau, Jacob,Ibzan, Abdon, Samson,Elkahah, Saul, David, Solomon.In the divided monarchy,Rehoboam,Abijah, Ahab,Jehoram(,Joash?).These total 19 examples, with 13 of the men having absolute power under God alone.
Assessing the Data
Two main reason we have polygamy in the Bible:Political allianceBarrenness and necessity for an heirTheBible never condones polygamy of any sort, though it doestolerate and manageit.
All prescriptions focus on one man and one woman.Gen 2:21–24prescribesthe ideal for marriage as one man and one woman.“Sothe LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and while he slept took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh.22And the rib that the LORD God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man.23Then the man said, “This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.”24Thereforea manshall leave his father and his mother and hold fast tohis wife, and they shall becomeone flesh.
All prescriptions focus on one man and one woman.Gen 2:21–24prescribesthe ideal for marriage as one man and one woman.Mal 2:14assumes a marriage between one man and one woman.“TheLORD was witness between you andthe wife of your youth, to whom you have been faithless, though she is your companion and your wife by covenant.”
All prescriptions focus on one man and one woman.Gen 2:21–24prescribesthe ideal for marriage as one man and one woman.Mal 2:14assumes a marriage between one man and one woman.Deut17:17stresses that the king, the ideal Israelite, wasnotto multiply wives.“And he shallnot acquire many wivesfor himself, lest his heart turn away.”
InMatt 19:4–6, Jesus affirms God’s ideal of one man and one woman.“[Jesus] answered,‘Haveyou not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female,5and said, ‘Thereforea manshall leave his father and his mother and hold fast tohis wife, and the two shall becomeone flesh’?6So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.’”InEph5:33assumes one man and one woman.“Let each one of you lovehis wifeas himself, and let the wife see that she respectsher husband.”
1 Tim 3:2requires that church leaders, representing the ideal be “one woman men” and therefore above reproach.“An overseer must be above reproach, the husband of one wife….”
Similar to homosexuality or even egalitarian marriage, polygamy blurs marriage’s purpose of displaying Christ’s love for his singular bride, the church.Eph5:25–28“Husbands, love your wives, asChristloved thechurchand gave himself upfor her,26thathemight sanctifyher, having cleansedherby the washing of water with the word,27so thathemight presentthe churchto himselfin splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, thatshemight be holy and without blemish.28In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies.Hewho loveshis wifeloves himself.”Rev 19:7“Letus rejoice and exult and give him the glory, for the marriage ofthe Lambhas come, andhis Bridehas made herselfready.”
Celebrate marriage between one man and one woman as God designed it.Nurture this view of right order in your own marriage, in the way you parent, and in the way you talk with family, friends, and co-workers.
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Zephaniah - jasonderouchie.com