God allowed polygamy; He did not command it. In the scriptures, we see how some of the great men of God had multiple wives; however, we never see where God instructed man to have multiple wives. When God made Adam and Eve, He made one man and one woman. This was the prototype and model in which marriage is supposed to function. God always provides instructions and examples of what he wants us to do. In 1 Corinthians 7 It says that each man is to have their own wife and each wife their own husband and that the two will become one flesh. It continues to explain further how the unit of marriage is supposed to operate. Nowhere is this chapter where it explains the instructions on marriage does it command men to have multiple wives. It’s just like if you tell your child they can have one lollipop and they take two, and you ask them, I told you, you could only have one. Why did you take two? And the child responds because you didn’t say not to take two. The instructions to have one wife and one husband mean one, not many.
Why did God Allow Polygamy?
God allowed polygamy because men did not have the ability to adhere to the law. It was not until Jesus fulfilled the law that man was freed from the law. But now we are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we were held; that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter. (Romans 7:6) God knows the beginning from the end. (Isaiah 46:10) So he already knew that man needed the blood of Jesus to defeat his sinful nature. As human beings, we cannot do this on our own. From the beginning, the fall of man was a woman. Ever notice how Satan didn’t ask Adam to bite the apple? He went to Eve. Eve causes Adam to disobey God. However, through his word, he shows us how we need Him and how, despite not adhering to what we know is right. He still is with us, showing us unlimited grace and mercy. Moreover, the law entered that the offense might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound:
That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so, might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord. (Romans 5:20-21)
If polygamy is wrong, why did God give instructions to polygamists on how to live?
God will always instruct us on what to do as long as we are willing to listen, even if we mess up. The instructions of God on how to live are not only for the righteous they are for everyone. He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. (Matthew 5:45) Just because God helps or shows mercy to us after we have gotten into a bad situation doesn’t mean He is in agreement with the sin we have done. It means that as our God, He loves us and promises never to leave or forsake us.
Why did God Give wives to men?
When men had many wives and died or were defeated in battle, someone needed to take care of these women. For example, in 2 Samuel 12. David was given his master’s possessions, including the wives. God said I’m giving them unto your bosom, or some translations say keeping. And I gave thee thy master’s house, and thy master’s wives into thy bosom, and gave thee the house of Israel and of Judah; and if that had been too little, I would moreover have given unto thee such and such things. (2 Samuel 12:8) David was to care for these women, not marry them. God does not instruct David to marry these women. Women in biblical times were an asset. They helped tend to the fields and the homes and helped the overall flow of the home.
Polygamy only led to chaos in the home
Every instance where polygamy occurred, chaos followed. Despite David being a man after God’s own heart, the weakness of his flesh, his desire for women caused him unnecessary pain. After God gave him his masters possessions, he then killed Uriah because he wanted his wife. (2 Samuel 12) This is how out of control his flesh was. God was very upset by this. This causes God to take the one thing David couldn’t seem to get enough of, women, and give it to someone close to him. This publicly humiliated David. Thus saith the Lord, Behold, I will raise up evil against thee out of thine own house, and I will take thy wives before thine eyes, and give them unto thy neighbor, and he shall lie with thy wives in the sight of this sun. (2 Samuel 12:11) God took David’s wives and allowed his neighbor to sleep with them. Again this is not God commanding polygamy. This is a punishment for David. What worse punishment to see what you want most to be given to someone and to be shamed in front of everyone. God could have taken so many other things, but He took the women because it was the desire David had for women that caused him to displease God. God also killed Davids’s son and caused the sword to never to leave his house. (2 Samuel 12)
Even with King Solomon, chaos ensued in his kingdom. He, too, had a strong desire for many women. God warned him not to marry women from the Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Sidonians, and Hittites. However, he did so anyway, and they turned his heart away from God, and this caused God to raise enemies against Solomon, causing grievous consequences for his kingdom. ( 1 Kings11)
The chaos from Abraham sleeping with Hagar is still in the earth today. The seed of Sarah and the seed of Hagar still to this day are at war with one another.
The word of God is the truth. Jesus is the way the truth and the light. (John 14:6) The word of God cannot contradict itself. If it did, then it wouldn’t be true. Nowhere in the bible do we see God instructing us that polygamy is the prototype or the way that we should marry. However, we do see specific instructions concerning marriage in 1 Corinthians, and polygamy is not listed at all. God shows us in his word through the lives of those who chose to engage in polygamy that even though that was not how he designed marriage to be, he was still with those who decided to have multiple wives. Unfortunately, the men that chose this lifestyle had to suffer dire consequences. Polygamy is a choice, not a commandment.