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Old 07-23-2009, 08:59 PM
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greenbear greenbear is offline
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Ohio
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1 Corinthians 7:24 Brethren, let every man, wherein he is called, therein abide with God.
1 Timothy 5:8 But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.

Are a man's wife and and the children she bore to him, regardless of how many he has, any less of his own house than a widowed mother or aunt? Does the ex-muslim christian man kick them all out of his house? Should he keep all his children but deprive them of their mothers?

1 Corinthians 7:5 Defraud ye not one the other, except it be with consent for a time, that ye may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again, that Satan tempt you not for your incontinency

Should he keep them all in his household and continue to feed and clothe them but not go in unto them? Is there one he can still go in unto? Which one, the first or the last wife? What do you do with this verse?

1 Timothy 3:2 A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach;
1 Timothy 3:12 Let the deacons be the husbands of one wife, ruling their children and their own houses well.

The obvious meaning of Paul's words "husband of one wife" is that men with more than one wife were excluded from taking these offices. Some say Paul is referring to divorced men. The following Commentaries recognize that polygamy was practiced by Jews or by both Jews and gentiles during Paul's time.. .

Gaebelein's Annoted Bible
"He must be the husband of one wife." This has been explained as excluding all who had been married twice. This is incorrect. It may refer to those who were as pagans married to more than one woman, for polygamy was practiced among the heathen in that day, as it is still. Converted to Christianity these pagans were in an unhappy condition, and on account of it could not exercise oversight in a local church.

John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
The husband of one wife; which is not to be understood in a mystical and allegorical sense of his being the pastor of one church, since the apostle afterwards speaks of his house and children, that are to be ruled and kept in good order by him, in distinction from the church of God; but in a literal sense of his conjugal estate; though this rule does not make it necessary that he should have a wife; or that he should not marry, or not have married a second wife, after the death of the first; only if he marries or is married, that he should have but one wife at a time; so that this rule excludes all such persons from being elders, or pastors, or overseers of churches, that were "polygamists"; who had more wives than one at a time, or had divorced their wives, and not for adultery, and had married others. Now polygamy and divorces had very much obtained among the Jews; nor could the believing Jews be easily and at once brought off of them. And though they were not lawful nor to be allowed of in any; yet they were especially unbecoming and scandalous in officers of churches. So the high priest among the Jews, even when polygamy was in use, might not marry, or have two wives, at once; if he did, he could not minister in his office until he divorced one of them1. For it is written, Le 21:13, "he shall take a wife", אחת ולא שתים, "one, and not two"2. And the same that is said of the high priest, is said of all other priests; see Eze 44:22, likewise the Egyptian priests might not marry more wives than one, though others might have as many as they pleased3: and so the Flamines among the Romans4.

Matthew Poole's Commentary on the Holy Bible
The husband of one wife; none who at the same time hath more wives than one, as many of the Jews had; nor was polygamy only common amongst the Jews, but amongst the other Eastern nations; but this was contrary to the institution of marriage. Some interpret this of successive marriage, as if it were a scandalous thing for a minister to marry a second time; but for this they have no pretence from holy writ, or reason, or the practice and custom of nations. Many persons lose their first wives so soon after marriage, that, were not second marriages lawful, all the ends of marriage must be frustrate as to them. The apostle commanding ministers to be the husbands but of one wife, doth not oblige them to marry, if God hath given them the gift of continency, but it establisheth the lawfulness of their marrying, against the doctrine of devils in this particular, which the Church of Rome teacheth.

John Wesley's Notes on the Bible
Verse 2. Therefore - That he may be capable of it. A bishop - Or pastor of a congregation. Must be blameless - Without fault or just suspicion. The husband of one wife - This neither means that a bishop must be married, nor that he may not marry a second wife; which it is just as lawful for him to do as to marry a first, and may in some cases be his bounden duty. But whereas polygamy and divorce on slight occasions were common both among the Jews and heathens, it teaches us that ministers, of all others, ought to stand clear of those sins. Vigilant, prudent - Lively and zealous, yet calm and wise. Of good behaviour - Naturally flowing from that vigilance and prudence.

Mark 10:2-12 And the Pharisees came to him, and asked him, Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife? tempting him.
And he answered and said unto them, What did Moses command you? And they said, Moses suffered to write a bill of divorcement, and to put her away.
And Jesus answered and said unto them, For the hardness of your heart he wrote you this precept.
But from the beginning of the creation God made them male and female.
For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and cleave to his wife;
And they twain shall be one flesh: so then they are no more twain, but one flesh.
What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder. And in the house his disciples asked him again of the same matter.
And he saith unto them, Whosoever shall put away his wife, and marry another, committeth adultery against her.
And if a woman shall put away her husband, and be married to another, she committeth adultery.

As much as some would like him to have been, Jesus wasn't dealing with the issue of multiple wives. He was explaining to the Pharisees that a man shall cleave to his wife and they become one flesh and what God has joined together let not man put asunder. And that if the man does put away his wife and marries another he commits adultery against her. We are adding to his words to say that if a man marries another wife, but doesn't put away his existing wife, that he is committing adultery against her. We are taking away from the scriptures if we do not recognize that more than one wife was allowed among the Jews.

Here are some interesting facts about polygamy as practiced by Jews in modern times:

"The State of Israel has made polygamy illegal,[25][26] but in practice the law is not enforced, primarily so as not to interfere with Bedouin culture, where polygamy is common. Provisions were instituted to allow for existing polygamous families immigrating from countries where the practice was legal. Furthermore, former chief rabbi Ovadia Yosef[27] and Israeli columnist Greer Fay Cashman[28] have come out in favor of legalizing polygamy and the practice of pilegesh (concubine) by the Israeli government."

"Provisions were instituted to allow for existing polygamous families immigrating from countries where the practice was legal."

I believe that God has made provision for every circumstance that human beings find themselves in when they are saved without having to tear one flesh apart or abandon their children. Those who would bring up the homosexual marriage argument only show either their own ignorance of the scriptures and that they have succumbed to a humanist world view or they are disingenuous in offering up a straw man argument to attack this position. Two men or two women doesn't a marriage make.

Examples of polygamy allowed by church leaders:

Some fifteen years earlier, in a letter to the Saxon Chancellor Gregor Brück, Luther stated that he could not "forbid a person to marry several wives, for it does not contradict Scripture." ("Ego sane fateor, me non posse prohibere, si quis plures velit uxores ducere, nec repugnat sacris literis.")

"On February 14, 1650, the parliament at Nürnberg decreed that, because so many men were killed during the Thirty Years’ War, the churches for the following ten years could not admit any man under the age of 60 into a monastery. Priests and ministers not bound by any monastery were allowed to marry. Lastly, the decree stated that every man was allowed to marry up to ten women. The men were admonished to behave honorably, provide for their wives properly, and prevent animosity among them."

Polygamy was practiced by the church in the past. I don't condone the practice of believers taking multiple wives, but some people's hero Martin Luther sure did when it suited him.

In Sub-Saharan Africa, there has often been a tension between the Christian churches' insistence on monogamy and traditional polygamy. In some instances in recent times there have been moves for accommodation; in others churches have resisted such moves strongly. African Independent Churches have sometimes referred to those parts of the Old Testament which describe polygamy in defending the practice.

Today, christians in Africa practice polygamy. I would agree with this only for those men or women who became believers in that circumstance. Believers shouldn't take multiple wives when they are believers. I believe this because of 1 Tim 3:2 and 1 Tim 3:12 and Titus 1:6. I believe these verses show the pattern that the church is to follow. But sinners who are saved by grace and come into the church don't have to break up their families in order to fit the perfect type of one man married to one woman. God has made provision just like He has for a believer marrying an unbeliever. The marriages are sanctified.

This argument that Jewish men were not allowed to have multiple wives in the old testament, or that it was not condoned by God, is nothing more than either ignorance or the unwillingness to believe God's word. It is grave error to superimpose our modern western views on the word of God. Maybe people got lost in the thread. I'll list the verses from the Law of Moses again.

Exodus 21:10-11, regulations on the practice of polygamy.

If he take him another wife; her food, her raiment, and her duty of marriage, shall he not diminish. And if he do not these three unto her, then shall she go out free without money. He that smiteth a man, so that he die, shall be surely put to death.

Deuteronomy 21:15–17, inheritance to go to the first-born son, even if he hates his mother and loves another wife better.

If a man have two wives, one beloved, and another hated, and they have born him children, both the beloved and the hated; and if the firstborn son be hers that was hated: Then it shall be, when he maketh his sons to inherit that which he hath, that he may not make the son of the beloved firstborn before the son of the hated, which is indeed the firstborn: But he shall acknowledge the son of the hated for the firstborn, by giving him a double portion of all that he hath: for he is the beginning of his strength; the right of the firstborn is his.

Deuteronomy 17:15-17 instructions on a king not taking too many wives.

Thou shalt in any wise set him king over thee, whom the LORD thy God shall choose: one from among thy brethren shalt thou set king over thee: thou mayest not set a stranger over thee, which is not thy brother. But he shall not multiply horses to himself, nor cause the people to return to Egypt, to the end that he should multiply horses: forasmuch as the LORD hath said unto you, Ye shall henceforth return no more that way. Neither shall he multiply wives to himself, that his heart turn not away: neither shall he greatly multiply to himself silver and gold.

God ordained the role of kinsman-redeemer in the case of a man's death and the widow has no child, her husband's brother shall take her to wife. The firstborn which she bears succeeds in the name of his brother which is dead. The brother is given an out, but there is a penalty of shame if he takes it. The passage doesn't specify that the brother is immune if he was already married. That would be a troubling ommission from God's word if a married brother was immune.

Deuteronomy 25:5-10 If brethren dwell together, and one of them die, and have no child, the wife of the dead shall not marry without unto a stranger: her husband's brother shall go in unto her, and take her to him to wife, and perform the duty of an husband's brother unto her. And it shall be, that the firstborn which she beareth shall succeed in the name of his brother which is dead, that his name be not put out of Israel. And if the man like not to take his brother's wife, then let his brother's wife go up to the gate unto the elders, and say, My husband's brother refuseth to raise up unto his brother a name in Israel, he will not perform the duty of my husband's brother. Then the elders of his city shall call him, and speak unto him: and if he stand to it, and say, I like not to take her; Then shall his brother's wife come unto him in the presence of the elders, and loose his shoe from off his foot, and spit in his face, and shall answer and say, So shall it be done unto that man that will not build up his brother's house. And his name shall be called in Israel, The house of him that hath his shoe loosed.

The Book of Ruth both her son's died. Ruth follows Naomi back to Bethlehem. Ruth meets Boaz as she gleaned in his field. Ruth tells Naomi. Naomi says to Ruth, The man is near of kin unto us, one of our next kinsmen. Boaz says to Ruth, And now it is true that I am thy near kinsman: howbeit there is a kinsman nearer than I. Tarry this night, and it shall be in the morning, that if he will perform unto thee the part of a kinsman, well; let him do the kinsman's part: but if he will not do the part of a kinsman to thee, then will I do the part of a kinsman to thee, as the LORD liveth: lie down until the morning.Ruth 3:12-13 Boaz meets with the Naomi's nearest kinsman Ruth 4:5-6 Then said Boaz, What day thou buyest the field of the hand of Naomi, thou must buy it also of Ruth the Moabitess, the wife of the dead, to raise up the name of the dead upon his inheritance. And the kinsman said, I cannot redeem it for myself, lest I mar mine own inheritance: redeem thou my right to thyself; for I cannot redeem it. You can check all of the bible commentaries, many of them on Swordsearcher interpret "lest I mar mine own inheritance" to mean the man already had a family. Considering that the Law of Moses contains regulations on having multiple wives, I believe that the man who already had a wife could be kinsman redeemer.

After the Lord slew Judah's son Er, Tamar's wife, Judah told his other son Onan to go in unto her, and marry her and raise up seed to Er. He spilled his seed on the ground rather than give his seed unto his brother. God slew Onan for doing that. Judah promised his young son Shelah to her when he grew up. Tamar ended up dressing as a harlot and was with child by her father-in-law Judah and bore his son. The point is, "brother" means the closet kinsman first. Then on down the line if he refuses. Provision was made for married men that didn't want to fill the role of a kinsman redeemer.

The Hebrew scriptures document approximately forty polygamists. Notable examples include Abraham, who bore for himself a child through his wife's maidservant;[15] Jacob, who had fallen in love with Rachel, but was tricked into marrying her sister, Leah;[16] David, who inherited his wives from Saul;[17] and perhaps most famously, Solomon, who was led astray by his wives.

My opinion is that the man continues to fulfill his husbandly obligations to his seven wives and fatherly obligation to his children. I believe I have supported my position. If someone doesn't agree that's fine.

Last edited by greenbear; 07-23-2009 at 09:23 PM.