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Mark Done

Two Sisters: Rachel and Leah www.biblegateway.com Mark Done There are several stories of polygamy in the

There are several stories of polygamy in the Bible, and they almost all turn out badly.

In Genesis 29 (see this learning for the complete story), Jacob has fled Canaan from his murderous brother Esau after deceptively obtaining Esau's blessing from Isaac. He makes his way to Haran, to his uncle Laban's house. There he ends up marrying Laban's two daughters, Leah and Rachel, as well as their two handmaidens, Bilhah and Zilpah. But he only married Leah because he was tricked into it, and as verse 29:31 records, Leah was hated. Some translations offer the nicer "unloved" or "not loved," but the literal Hebrew is quite clearly hate.

Reading through this chapter, and the explanations that Leah gives to the names each of her children receives, it's heart-wrenching to see what it can be like for one wife when a different wife is clearly preferred by her husband. And when they're sisters, of course, it's that much worse.

This dynamic doesn't end - the children of Rachel are preferred by Jacob to the children of Leah, leading to a lot of resentment and ultimately the brothers' selling Joseph (Rachel's son) down to Egypt.

Later on in the Bible, the reality that it's not such a good idea to marry two sisters is turned into a proper prohibition:

"You shall not take a woman as a wife after marrying her sister, as her rival, to uncover her nakedness beside the other during her lifetime." (Vayikra 18:18)

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Biblical Polygamy Does Not Turn Out Well

byPassword Password Biblical Polygamy Does Not Turn Out Well Category: Mike Schultz Society | 138 views

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Mike Schultz

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Though always coming leads out polygamy of to the really Bible, is clearly bad Christianity situations. allowed (early) in Of the the Bible, and three Judaism it religions almost (much later) ended polygamy while Islam continued it.

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 Related Boards Religions of the Fertile Crescent By: Kristen Wells Boehnlein
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11/14/13

Biblical PolygamyDoes Not Turn Out Well | Society| Learnist

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Mark Done

Abraham, Sarah and Hagar: Hagar is Banished www.torah.org A couple of generations earlier, Abraham's wife, Sarah,

A couple of generations earlier,

Abraham's wife, Sarah, who he loves,

is barren for many years. So she

suggests that Abraham take her maidservant, Hagar, as his second wife. But she ends up regretting it pretty quickly, as Hagar starts disrespecting her from the moment that she becomes pregnant. In two separate episodes, Sarah demands that Abraham banish Hagar, first when she is pregnant and then after Hagar's teenaged son, Ishmael, is mistreating Sarah's young son, Isaac (don't let the image trick you - Ishmael is 13 years older than Isaac, not the same age as in this painting). In each case, Hagar and Ishmael almost perish in the desert but are miraculously saved.

So Sarah and Hagar did really poorly as co-wives. This learning retells the full story and suggests based on a rabbinic source that Sarah acted inappropriately. Here maybe the message is not to marry your wife and her servant.

Very interestingly, after Sarah dies, the midrash suggests that Isaac took an unusual step. Abraham's servant was off searching for a wife for Isaac. Isaac, according to the midrash, felt that the least he could in return was make sure his father wasn't alone. So in Genesis 24:62, he went to the Well of the Eternal One Who Sees, the well named by Hagar after her miraculous salvation. Why did he go there? The midrash suggests that this is where Hagar went to live after having been sent away the second time. (Interestingly, I believe Islam says the same thing - this is the Zamzam well outside of Mecca.) And Isaac went there to bring Hagar back to be his father's wife once more.

So there you have quite a co-wife dynamic: the son of the preferred wife encouraging his father to remarry the rejected wife after his preferred wife passes away. And then after Abraham dies, it says in 25:11 that Isaac went back to the Well again, to ensure that Hagar remains part of the family.

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part of the family. more Like No comments posted yet The Order of the Books of
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11/14/13

Biblical PolygamyDoes Not Turn Out Well | Society| Learnist

Even when there's no prior relationship between two wives, it still can go quite badly.

Even when there's no prior relationship between two wives, it still can go quite badly. In the beginning of the Book of Samuel, as you can read in this learning, Elkanah has two wives, and as usual the one he loves better (Hannah) is barren while the one he loves less (Peninah) has kids. And just as this painting captures, Peninah does not hesitate to torture Hannah with incessant reminders of her barrenness.

In Biblical Hebrew, the word tzarah means both "trouble" and "co-wife." So that makes it pretty clear, I'd say - no illusions here about whether co- wives were likely to get along happily.

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to get along happily. more Like No comments posted yet 04 King David & King Solomon

Mark Done

Solomon and their Many Wives www.mechon-mamre.org Mark Done When it came to the kings, they can't

When it came to the kings, they can't say they weren't warned. Deuteronomy 17:16-17 warns, "The king must not acquire great numbers of horses for himself or make the people return to Egypt to get more of them, for the Lord has told you, "You are not to go back that way again." He must not take many wives, or his heart will be led astray."

King David took at least 22 wives and concubines, and suffered greatly from the infighting as to who would inherit his throne.

But King Solomon's story offers more of a warning. This learning takes you to I Kings 11, where we read of King Solomon's 1000 wives (which doesn't include the Queen of Sheba, pictured here, with whom he had a more ambiguous relationship, but the Ethiopian Orthodox Church claims descent from their union, as well as the resulting possession of the holy Ark of the Covenant).

Just as Deuteronomy warned, they lead him astray, building sites of idol worship in his old age, as a result of which he is punished by having the kingdom torn in two in the next generation.

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11/14/13

Biblical PolygamyDoes Not Turn Out Well | Society| Learnist

Mark Done 05 Why (and When) did Christianity Outlaw Polygamy? en.wikipedia.org Search Wikipedia Polygamy in
Mark Done
05 Why (and When) did Christianity Outlaw Polygamy?
en.wikipedia.org
Search Wikipedia
Polygamy in Christianity
This page has some issues
Polygamy is a marriage which includes more than two partners. [1] There are numerous
examples of polygamy in the Old Testament, but it is generally not accepted by modern
Christianity. Some Christians actively debate whether the New Testament or Christian ethics
allows or forbids polygamy. This debate focuses almost exclusively on polygyny (one man
having more than one wife) and not polyandry (one woman having more than one husband).
Old Testament polygamy
Intertestamental period
New Testament
If pass polygamy that the was early so Church clearly allowed prohibited in the it? Hebrew Bible, how did it come to
didn't may You have could go so been say well. they the But were fact this that good Wikipedia Roman readers marriage article of the suggests had Hebrew to be that Bible monogamous. a major and saw driving how And force this
since major Christianity impact. began within the Roman empire, that may well have had a
As has you to say can about see in polygamy. this learning, Though there there is debate are several as to what Biblical the passages Christian that Bible
seem that the to Christian outlaw it, prohibition none of them came are only 100% after clear, the leaving Bible. open the possibility
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open the possibility more Like No comments posted yet 06 Learnboard: The Learning Channel--Sister Wives:

11/14/13

Biblical PolygamyDoes Not Turn Out Well | Society| Learnist

It's well known, thanks to shows like Big Love and the TLC's series of documentaries

It's well known, thanks to shows like Big Love and the TLC's series of documentaries of real-life families, that an offshoot of the Mormon church still practices polygamy today.

This learnboard from Discovery highlights TLC's "Sister Wives" documentary featuring Kody Brown and his four wives. There's also an interesting learning about the history of polygamy in the US and the original position of the Mormon church on the question.

Finally, there's a learning that looks at this issue from a totally different perspective. Many traditional African societies today have polygamy, and in this learning the author argues why polygamy is a good thing.

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is a good thing. more Like No comments posted yet 07 Mark Done Maasai Tribe: The

07

Mark Done

Tribal Wives: Marriage and Polygamy via www.youtube.com From this learnboard about the BBC show "Tribal

From this learnboard about the BBC show "Tribal Wives" (where British women get integrated into indigenous tribes around the world), this video provides some interesting perspective on polygamy. If marriage is not about love but about successfully running a household, then polygamy could take on a totally different feel. In the Bible, it kind of feels like marriage is about both love and practicality, or sometimes one and sometimes the other.

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11/14/13

Biblical PolygamyDoes Not Turn Out Well | Society| Learnist

Biblical PolygamyDoes Not Turn Out Well | Society| Learnist 08 Mark Done Does Jewish Law Forbid
Biblical PolygamyDoes Not Turn Out Well | Society| Learnist 08 Mark Done Does Jewish Law Forbid

08

Mark Done

08 Mark Done Does Jewish Law Forbid Polygamy? www.chabad.org In Judaism, there's no mention of polygamy

In Judaism, there's no mention of polygamy in the rabbinic period (~2000 years ago), so it seems to have been a permitted but very uncommon practice. But 1000 years ago, the head of the Ashkenazi (Northern European) Jewish community, Rabbeinu Gershom, put out a new decree. Among other things (like forbidding reading other people's mail), Rabbeinu Gershom outlawed polygamy.

This learning suggests 5 different reasons for Rabbeinu Gershom's decree, most of them to do with ensuring greater happiness within the home, either because of infighting between the wives or a husband not being nice to all his wives or just because of the financial strain.

However, this decree did not apply to the Sephardic Jewish communities in Spain and later on North Africa and the Middle East.

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and the Middle East. more Like No comments posted yet 09 Jewish Polygamy www.jewishencyclopedia.com Mark

09

09 Jewish Polygamy www.jewishencyclopedia.com Mark Done This 1906 entry from the Jewish Encyclopedia gives a very

Mark Done

This 1906 entry from the Jewish Encyclopedia gives a very thorough look at polygamy in Judaism, from a close reading of the Bible (When did polygamy start? What was the ideal, as represented by Adam and Eve? Why did the Judges take multiple wives? Why did the Prophets not do so?) through the rabbinic period and into the last millenia. Polygamy in the Sephardic world was certainly rare, but it remained a possibility until recent years, when there were basically almost no Jews left living in countries that permitted polygamy.

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11/14/13

Biblical PolygamyDoes Not Turn Out Well | Society| Learnist

Biblical PolygamyDoes Not Turn Out Well | Society| Learnist 1 0 Why Polygamy Is Allowed in

10 Why Polygamy Is Allowed in Islam

www.patheos.com

Mark Done

Why Polygamy Is Allowed in Islam www.patheos.com Mark Done This blog post written by a Muslim

This blog post written by a Muslim allowing underlying woman attempts a man reason to to take behind explain up Islam's to the four suggestions wives. make it In work. addition, to the she women offers for how to

Muhammad), Hadith In Islam, (oral explicit teachings a man in the is allowed of Quran the Prophet and to marry encouraged up to 4 women. nor It's discouraged, neither just means teachings, allowed. of The caring that author after for the a argues, time widows of based war, and with on orphans. the so many context fallen in the men, Quran polygamy of these is a Islam financial requires resources the husband evenly and to treat provide all his similar wives housing equally for - to each. divide his time and

Towards of tips and the advice end of for this women learning, considering the author marrying provides someone an interesting who is collection already married.

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already married. more Like No comments posted yet Mark Done 11 Polygyny in Islam - the
Mark Done 11 Polygyny in Islam - the Historical Context en.wikipedia.org Search Wikipedia Polygyny in
Mark Done
11 Polygyny in Islam - the Historical Context
en.wikipedia.org
Search Wikipedia
Polygyny in Islam
This page has some issues
Under Islamic marital jurisprudence, Muslim men are allowed to practice polygyny under
Islam, that is, they can have more than one wife at the same time, up to a total of four.
Polyandry, the practice of a woman having more than one husband, by contrast, is not
permitted.
The New Oxford American Dictionary defines polygyny as “polygamy in which a man has more
than one wife.” Since Islamic law does not allow women to have more than one husband at the
same time, this article will use the word polygyny (as polygamy is the practice or custom of
having more than one wife or husband at the same time) unless it is within a quote of an
original source. Numerous sources use the terms interchangeably.
Polygyny for Muslims, in practice and in law, differs greatly throughout the Islamic world,
where polygamous marriages constitute 1–3% of all marriages. In some Muslim countries,
polygyny is relatively common while in others it is rare or non-existent Azerbaijan Bosnia

11/14/13

Biblical PolygamyDoes Not Turn Out Well | Society| Learnist

Among many interesting pieces in this Wikipedia article, two in particular jump out as worth paying attention to:

1) The historical context. In the Arabian peninsula in the time of the Prophet Muhammad, there were no limits on the number of wives a man could take. There was also in general a good deal of variety of the kinds of marriages allowed by different societies in the region. It was most definitely not a Christian-ruled area with monogamy as the norm. It's quite possible that Islam actually greatly limited polygamy and added protections for that time period.

2) A current list of Muslim countries with some restrictions on polygamy and what those restrictions are.

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