I have a question for the polygamists who base their beliefs on the Christian Bible. The Bible says:
"Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh." Genesis 2:24 K.J.V."
From this viewpoint, If a man takes a second wife, do the three become two flesh? Likewise, do a husband and three wives become four flesh, ad infinitium, or are they all still one flesh?
I would say the Bible is pretty ambiguous on that point because while you can go Genesis 2:24, as you did, but you can also find multiple places where the Christian Bible has no problem with it, Solomon, as Blackandgoldjack suggests; then there is Abraham with his two mates, best I can tell polygomy was SOP back then whether you were Jewish or Gentile.
The Essene Jews, from wince Christianity apparently sprung, went the other direction; celabacy was the highest form of praise to God for them. Obviously, not all of them practiced it.
It is also interesting to note that the actual role of women in those days, was one of property, not love, and where held slightly higher in esteem than slaves. In many parts of the world today, that hasn't changed a whole lot the best I can see, whether they are Christian or not.
I am not a polygamist nor would I ever want to be. Sometimes one wife is one to many but I guess in answer to your question since you ask it in a solely mathematical perspective, your theory would be right.
Betty Bowers, the world's best Christian can quote chapter and verse on what constitutes a bible based marriage and polygamy is included. If you haven't seen the video, here's a link
I'm not a polygamist. I don't even have one wife, and that's the way I want to keep it, and that's why I'll be watching March Madness all day.
But Solomon was a polygamist. He had 700 wives, not to mention 300 concubines.
I'm not too sure how much flesh that is. I'll just call it an orgy.
Yikes! How could any one man keep up with a thousand women at the same time?
Dang, talk about being an ancient player that is straight pimpin' ...
Something tells me that there was a lot more going on besides "spreading the word," just saying...
For someone who was supposed to have had the wisdom of God, Solomon strikes as being a complete and utter idiot. All those women were the ruin of him in the end.
Most of the women had their own quarters in which to live. Most of them were completely neglected and lonely, although they probably lived far above the average people of their time. He had his favorites, and the rest were his property. That's pretty much how it went. It was considered an honor to be a wife, even if it was one of several, but it was supreme to be the first wife. The rest were subjected to an awful pecking order of hate, envy, jealously, betrayal and backstabbing.
Abraham experienced this his Sariah and Hagar. That story pretty much sums up the kind of relationships they had at the time.
When it becomes math, the emotional/spiritual aspect is pretty much obliterated, as nearly as I can tell.
If you want a great relationship, then you pretty much know in your heart what to do. If you think you can handle more than one at a time, then it ought to teach you an awful lot about yourself, your ego, and your perceptions of others.
What is culturally or religiously acceptable in one time period isn't always acceptable in another. That also begs the question of what is truly right and wrong, if something can be okay in one era, but not in another.
No wonder Solomon needed so many gold mines.
I wonder what Solomon used in lieu of Viagra.
Now this has me thinking. I'm also wondering what all those wives and concubines of Solomon's did when it wasn't their turn to visit the king's bed chamber.
hehehe....Maybe Solomon had other sidekicks to do the job for him!!
Ironically, when I was a nerd back in High School... my love life could have been described as 'Soloman'
PDH, actually the men were eunochs, and if a man was caught fooling around with a wife in a harem, he was punished, usually by death. Not very fair, huh?
So the eunuchs guarded the harem. And no other men would be fooling around with the harem due to the possibility of being beheaded (both places).
Solomon even had his own brother Adonijah put to death because he wanted Abishag, with the emphasis on shag.
I'm still wondering what all these wives and concubines did to . . . uh . . . you know.
Maybe they were the first nuns?
It is interesting that the Bible doesn't explicitly weigh in on polygamy, though it does seem like some of the polyamorous figures in the Bible went through strife. Solomon eventually became an idolater, and there was some serious baby mama drama with Jacob and Leah and Rachel.
I'm guessing polygamy came out of primitive tribes and associated warfare. Population was key to survival, and men tended to be killed off in battles, so there was probably a high ratio of women to men, and they needed to be producing babies to make into future soldiers, so the proper course of action must have seemed pretty obvious.
Thus also the typical rule that if you killed a man you got his woman/women. That was probably where women as property came from and may have been the birth of chauvinism as a whole.
But now that men are not warlords, the man/woman ratio is roughly equal, and women are equal partners in a relationship, I just don't feel that polygamy has a place in modern society. It doesn't even work from a basic mathematic standpoint: if every man who married took four wives three quarters of the male population would be permanently single.
I think men and women are ultimately both wired to be exclusively with one partner, and I think it shows on, say, Sister Wives. I feel that the subtext of the show clearly indicates that the women are under a lot of strain because they're forced to share something that they want, and really deserve to have, exclusively.
In the olden days, man’s main responsibility was to go fight in war and as such all women, land, and domesticated animals belonged to men. In a society of 1000 men and 1000 women, men would go to war and perhaps only 250 men would survive it. Since all properties belonged to men, then, every man would have to take care of 4 women. Having that many wives may not have been optional but a responsibility of every man in as long as he was to live in that society.
If today we were to start fighting with bows and arrows, many men would lose their lives and Mother Nature would demand we do exactly the same thing these ancient people did.
@ Eric Newland -- polyamorous-- love the word. There are still a few of those left around
@ ngureco -- Probably true. There are few women who could be self-sufficient in a newly primitive world. Of course, a lot of men would be lost without their iPhones and McDonalds, too.
My thanx to you both!
I see some really great and intelligent answers to what could have been interpreted as a frivolus question. Thank you everybody. I do agree that polygamy has no place in modern society. From what I've read, polygamy was a form of slavery of women. Perhaps the only difference between a wife in a polygamous marriage or a harem and a female slave was the station and lifestyle. Male servants in the harems were eunochs, so apparently their lives weren't any better. I can't see why any woman would choose that kind of life today. If I had lived way back then, I would have preferred to be an Amazon.
To me the question for today's world is not whether polygamy is right or wrong, but should it be prohibited by law for consenting adults to participate in. Right now, because of the influence of the Christian church, it is illegal, but, should it be? Remember Mormons were, and are, pursecuted over this idea and had to change their faith to outlaw polygamy in order stop from being hounded to death, sometimes literally, by the Christian Church; this is circa late 1800s.
I agree that the question may not be right or wrong among consenting adults, but it does get into legalities. If three or four women want to live with one man as concubines, I see no problem with that. However, if he legally, and the is emphasis on "legally" marries them all, how would the laws apply? Would an employer be obligated to provide to all wives the benefits such as insurance that are usually provided to one wife? If he divorces one wife, would she be entitled to alimony that might cut into the lifestyle of his other wives? In a community property state where the husband and wife own jointly, would they all own jointly? In the event of a divorce from one wife, could the others involved be forced to sell the property to give her a settlement? See where I am going with this?
In the old days, the wives were the man's property, and there was no question that he was in control. Today, it could get a little hairy. Gay marriage and benefits to the gay partner have caused enough consternation. Can you imagine this?
Hehe, as they say, all hell would break loose! No question there would be interesting legal questions to solve, but, then, isn't that why God gave man, and now women, brains?
The whoopdeedoo really isn't about how people, absent outside influences, would feel about it; as they did in the old, old days, it was common. But, there are outside influences, specifically the Christian Church. Because, in the Christian tradition, marriage isn't about love, it never has been, instead, it is about procreating; Christians need to begat Christians and women are the only vehicle with which to do it. The whole purpose of having a wife was to have sons; there was no other and that, I think, is why polygamy was so popular back in the day.
Gay marriage doesn't fit the bill, so it is vehemently opposed by the Church. Why Christians moved away from polygamy is a mystery to me, however. Mormons and Muslims accept it and they come from the same root; I am not sure where the Jewish stand on the subject.
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