Question on the Old Testament and Marriage


#1

My husband and I facilitate RCIA lessons and during one of our lessons, a question was raised that we need some guidance on.
In the old testament many leaders, holy men were allowed to have more than one wife and mistresses etc but our Catholic Faith advocates faithfulness in marriage -
How would we answer such a question - why was it allowed then and not now?


#2

I wonder if this question would get more response if it were in the Apologetic forum under Sacred Scripture?

I did a search and found some other threads that might help. Look HERE

Peace
James


#3

[quote="JenMoonilal, post:1, topic:254008"]
My husband and I facilitate RCIA lessons and during one of our lessons, a question was raised that we need some guidance on.
In the old testament many leaders, holy men were allowed to have more than one wife and mistresses etc but our Catholic Faith advocates faithfulness in marriage -
How would we answer such a question - why was it allowed then and not now?

[/quote]

Probably the same principle as when Jesus was asked if it was ok for a man to divorce his wife. He said that in the OT, God allowed it because of the hardness of men's hearts, but from the beginning it was not so. Similarly, polygamy was once permitted as a concession to human weakness, but not anymore.


#4

[quote="JRKH, post:2, topic:254008"]
I wonder if this question would get more response if it were in the Apologetic forum under Sacred Scripture?

I did a search and found some other threads that might help. Look HERE

Peace
James

[/quote]

Thank you I posted the question under Ask an Apologist - I am new to this site and forum and still feeling my way around so I am very grateful for your guidance.


#5

Happy to help

Peace
James


#6

The first time polygamy is shown in the Bible is with Lamech (Gen 4:19) who was from the sinful line of Cain…


#7

The word escapes me right now, but the same word for an “additional wife” also means “problem”! So it’s no suprise that all of the depicted polygamous Biblical relationships were bare stress:

Solomon’s wives led him to worship other gods. King David became a murderer and an adulterer to marry Bathsheba. Furthermore, when his son tried to usurp him, none of his wives were able to bring the matter to his attention because they had their own quarters.

Leah and Rachel had a jealous rivlary for Jacob’s attention. Likewise, Peninah was spiteful and abusive towards Hannah, jealous over Elkanah’s greater affection for Hannah. Abraham didn’t marry Hagar, but Hagar and Sarah clearly didn’t get along.

Kings were allowed marriages for political advantage. Ordinary people had multiple marriages because that was the culture.


#8

I once heard a Rabbi answer this question and he made a good point. He said that if you follow all the patriarchs that practiced polygamy, you'll notice that there was nothing but tension, heartache, and trouble involved. I don't remember if that was true of every polygamist in the Old Testament, but he had a point.


#9

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