Friday, November 9, 2007

Did God Disapprove of David's Polygamy?
According to John MacArthur, "...David committed adultery with a whole bunch of women...," referring supposedly to his numerous wives and concubines.

Of course, few would argue that God strongly disapproved of his adulterous relationship with Bathsheba. However, there is no hint whatsoever in Scripture that God ever disapproved of David having numerous wives and concubines.Second Samuel 12:7-8 is often used by pro-polygamists to say that God not only approved of David having numerous wives, but he actually gave David those wives, including the wives of Saul.

Thus says the LORD God of Israel: "I anointed you king over Israel, and I
delivered you from the hand of Saul. I gave you your master's house and your master's wives into your keeping, and gave you the house of Israel and Judah. And if that had been too little, I also would have given you much more!"

Taken in context, Nathan the prophet was sent by God to confront David about his sins. David had committed adultery with Bathsheba. Then, to cover it up, he arranged to have her husband Uriah killed in battle. Within that context, God told David through Nathan that he had given David Saul's wives. However, opponents of polygamy have come up with numerous explanations to try and make this Scripture say something other than what it plainly says. The most common explanation goes something like this:

Sure, the Bible states that God gave David Saul's wives, but that is just a figure of speach. In ancient times, it was commonplace for a new king to take possession of everything owned by the former king, including his wives.

According to Jamieson, Fausset & Brown:

The phraseology means nothing more than that God in His providence had given David, as king of Israel, everything that was Saul's. The history furnishes conclusive evidence that he never actually married any of the wives of Saul. But the harem of the preceding king belongs, according to Oriental notions, as a part of the regalia to his successor.

So what opponents of polygamy tell us we're supposed to believe is that God didn't really give David Saul's wives because that would have been just plain wrong. We're supposed to believe that Nathan was simply using a figure of speach to say God gave David everything Saul had except for Saul's wives. Or perhaps God gave David Nathan's wives, but he didn't want them. Perhaps they were too ugly. Or perhaps God gave David Saul's wives, but he didn't really want David to take them because that would have been wrong. Perhaps God was just toying with David, playing the part of the serpent to see if David would eat the forbidden fruit.

Of course, this is all silly reasoning. James 1:13 plainly states:

Let no one say when he is tempted, "I am tempted by God"; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone (NKJV).

Therefore, if God disapproved of David's polygamy, there is no indication of that disapproval in Scripture. There is, however, a strong indication that God gave David Saul's wives. Whether or not David actually married Saul's wives seems beside the point.


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Anonymous said...

Does this text ever say he actually married the this other persons wives?

Anonymous said...

Man has needs. When a wife no longer gives sex to her mate or master and he has the need to have sex and the wife refuses, it is natural to want sex from a 2nd wife or a concubine. If God made man to have emotions and feelings for sex and the wife refuses sex then how can you blame a man for looking for sex from another women when he has the over bearing need to have sex? Futher more, laws that condemn a man for divorcing a women when caught in fornication should be understood as fulfilling a man's sexual need and not getting it with his wife. God understood David's sexual needs,he made us.

Anonymous said...

Whether David was a polygamist or not is irrelevant. David is in the Old Testament. The entire old testament was written and put together as a text. Culturally at that time, God approved of sexual relations between married persons only. He also did not specifically disprove of polygamist relationships because whether there was 1 or 5 wives, they were still married to him. Polygamy wasn't ruled out until Jesus's ministry when Jesus said because of so much immorality that went on with polygamist relationships (Not loving all wives equally, giving certain rights to one wife and disregarding the other, having multiple wives and not being able to care for all of them, etc) it is better for each man to have one wife and each woman to have one husband. Only time you can have another spouse is if your spouse dies or you are divorced because of constant unfaithfulness. So David did nothing wrong and God approved of polygamy during Davids time.

Anonymous said...

Uhm... not just that there is actually NO proof that David married Saul's wives; also there is proof to contrary: the marriage with Michal.

Lev 20 14 And if a man take a wife and her mother, it is wickedness: they shall be burnt with fire, both he and they;... also Lev 18 17. Therefore, besides that there is no proof, this seals that these women just fell under his authority, as humbled by Saul, and that he possibly could not have come unto them as wives. And "if that had been too little, I would moreover have given unto thee such and such things" that God promises to David doesnt have necceccarily to be read as "many more women to screw" (sorry the expression but thats how this accusation sounds to me); i rather think it reveals more about the mind of the reader than about David himself.

Also, is there any proof that David had all the wives at the same time? Bible does not give us such proof. Read up... no proof. Furthermore, God's commandment concerning kings over Israel: Deuteronomy 17:17 Neither shall he multiply wives to himself,...
Sorry to disappoint many, but David was no polygamist at all. Saul and Solomon were, but they were evil kings.

Anonymous said...

What about Abraham who had 2 wives and 2 concubines? oh yeah you also have Solomon...