Monogamy in the Bible...where?


Adam was the first man. He was monogamous-- so monogamy is the ideal.

Cain was the first person with two wives. He was cursed-- he wasn’t the best role model.

Noah had one wife. Each of his sons had one wife.

Abraham had one wife, until Sarah persuaded him to take a concubine. We all know how that worked out for them…

Isaac had one wife.

Jacob wanted one wife, but was tricked into taking two. And then each of his wives had him take their slaves as concubines. And we all know how happy that family was…

Jacob, Moses, and Aaron were all monogamous, as far as we can tell.

By the time you get to the Judges and the Kings of Israel, polygamy has really picked up steam. But amongst the Hebrews, polygamy was associated with paganism and pagan influences. So while even modern Jews have rules of conduct in countries that allow for polygamy, and while Jewish people have been polygamous at various points in time in various places, it’s still something that’s discouraged… because it strays from that original ideal.


There is a lot of stuff in the Bible, for example, slavery. It does not mean that slavery is a good thing.
One man and one woman - the correct combo.


I still don’t understand the logic of those who claim Jesus was not speaking about monogamy in Mathew 19. And if he said one thing, examples from the Old Testament are no longer valid if they contradict what he said. Christianity begins with Christ and the rest follows through him. And he is very direct in Mathew 19.


Aside from the many excellent arguments already made, Christians are required to follow the law of the land, and respect governing authorities - From Romans 13:

"Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. "

Polygamy is against the law - in every place on the globe that I can think of at least.


Well… to be fair, he could have stopped at one wife. He was greedy, and so he took a second wife.


Umm… Jacob? Monogamous? That would have come as a surprise to his two wives and two concubines, as you mentioned… :wink:

Moses had a second wife, although we don’t know if Zipporah had died by the time he married his Cushite wife.


Haha, you’re right. I need to pay more attention.

But Jacob wasn’t greedy.

He said, “I want to marry Rachel.”

And her father said, “Sure, you can marry Rachel. Work for me for seven years, and you can marry Rachel.”

And Jacob works for seven years, and he’s married to Rachel— except when he wakes up in the morning, he realizes he’s actually married to Leah.

And Jacob’s like, “What’s up with this? I said I wanted to marry Rachel!”

And Labon’s all, “Oh? I’m sorry. I thought you knew. In our culture, a younger sister can’t get married before her elder sister. But if you work for me for seven more years, you can have Rachel, for realz this time.”

And Jacob does, and he marries Rachel.

That’s hardly greedy. If there was anyone who was greedy, it was Laban, who was looking to gain 14 years’ worth of free labor in exchange for his two daughters. :stuck_out_tongue:


St John Paul II makes this same argument in his Theology of the Body, Jesus referred back to Genesis and stated definitively that the natural law is for monogamy. He says that any instances in the Old Testament of jewish polygamy are nothing more but symptoms of the fall.


I believe it was Lamech of the line of Cain that was the first man mentioned in Scripture to have two wives (Genesis 4:19). And Lamech is the one who said: "I have slain a man for wounding me, a young man for striking me. If Cain is avenged sevenfold, truly Lamech seventy-sevenfold.” In other words, his wickedness was like Cain’s on steroids.

So, yes, neither of them are the best role models. :slight_smile: It is interesting to me that the origin of polygamy is mentioned in the same breath as wickedness and sinfulness. In the beginning, it was not so.


Many countries in Africa and the Middle East allow it.


And that State where the Mormons went to…



If you’re thinking of Utah, it’s illegal there too. It’s illegal in all US states.


We have to look at this from the perspective of the magisterial teaching of the Catholic Church.


Specifically, renouncing polygamy was a requirement by Congress for statehood, and someone promptly had a vision baking polygamy.


It is not just the Bible. It is the magisterial teaching of the Catholic Church. The Catholic Church has taught this and so it is.


"O Polite Friend o’mine, it is because of your Hardness of Heart that you have excuses for changing and increasing count of Sex Partners; But I say to you, from the beginning it was not so; from the beginning of creation, ‘God made them male and female.’ ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate. You are wondering how much is ‘allowed’, what one can get away with; the real question is ‘what does God will? Not what may I crave.’ "

Be Bold; be the mouth of Jesus in your answer.

John Martin


VeryBlessed . . .

1 Tim 3:20, when talking about “qualifications” for being an overseer (or a Bishop), says they should be “the husband of one wife”. I’ve heard some say that this verse sets a pattern or ideal for all to follow.

Please feel free to follow these links . . . .

Celibacy unbiblical?

Celibacy unbiblical?

Hope this helps you VeryBlessed.

God bless.



Many Jews in the Old Testament were polytheistic, too (this also caused a lot of problems).

King Solomon was poligamistic. He built a pagan Temple, and ended up losing his father’s kingdom. Abraham poligamistic, and was asked to sacrifice his son.

Israel was polytheistic, and had to wander the desert for forty years.

Nowhere is polygamy portrayed in a good way. Jesus even straight up calls a woman out for having many husbands (John 4:17).

It would be very misleading to say biblical reference to historical polygamy (and it’s consequences) were any sort of endorsement of it’s continued practice.


I’m actually deeply impressed with celibacy by priests. In my late 30s (still single & celibate), a priest & I were discussing celibacy, and he said something about it I’ve never forgotten. This is the gist of what he said.

I know I was made by God for a woman’s touch. Living without that introduces suffering into my life. That constant source of suffering sensitizes me to the various types of suffering happening in the lives of my parishioners. So even if church leadership were to suddenly allow priests to marry, I would not, because I wouldn’t be as good a priest.

God bless our amazing priests!! And praise God for the good he can bring forth out of suffering…!

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