Does God approve of bigamy?

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In the beginning God held up monogamy (not bigamy or polygamy) before the world as the form of marriage ordained by God. He said, “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh” (Genesis 2:24).

Christ used this very passage in His strong condemnation of divorce (Matt. 19:5). He said, “whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery; and whoever marries her who is divorced commits adultery” (v. 9).

In Deuteronomy 17:14-20, God said that it was His will that even the kings were not supposed to multiply wives (or horses or gold) “I will set a king over me like all the nations that are around me,” “you shall surely set a king over you whom the LORD your God chooses; one from among your brethren you shall set as king over you; you may not set a foreigner over you, who is not your brother. But he shall not multiply horses for himself, nor cause the people to return to Egypt to multiply horses, for the LORD has said to you, ‘You shall not return that way again.’ “Neither shall he multiply wives for himself, lest his heart turn away; nor shall he greatly multiply silver and gold for himself.”

But the kings of Israel didn’t heed God’s Word. David transgressed this command (2 Sam. 5:13), but Solomon much more so (1 Kings 11:3). Many marital alliances entered into by the latter were apparently motivated by political interests (1 Kings 11:1, 3).

When, Solomon practiced bigamy, he sinned and backslid: “For it came to pass, when Solomon was old, that his wives turned away his heart after other gods: and his heart was not perfect with the LORD his God, as was the heart of David his father.” (1 Kings 11:4). Thankfully, he repented of his sins later in his life.

God never condoned bigamy. Like divorce, it was tolerated but never with God’s approval. Jesus told the Jews, “Because of your hardness of heart, Moses permitted you to divorce your wives; but from the beginning it has not been this way“ (Matthew 19:3-8). Scripture has always commanded monogamy (Ps. 128:3; Prov. 5:18; 18:22; 19:14; 31:10-29; Eccl. 9:9).

In His service,
BibleAsk Team

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