I stumbled upon a tragically funny post that contorts Song of Solomon into the form of the religion created to mock Christianity, courtly love (what we call chivalry). The post is titled The Song of Solomon: the Psalm of Married Love: Part V: the Husband as Lover and the Wife as Responder. In the post, the author describes King Solomon following the script of the courtly lover, with the minor modification (as is now customary) of bringing it into marriage. Solomon sees the woman and is overcome by her beauty. This compels him to woo her.
In verses 9-11 Solomon goes on to declare his romantic infatuation with his bride. Much has been written about the pitfalls of infatuation by evangelical writers, but one thing is clear here: its existence within the bonds of marriage is in line with God’s purpose.
Verses 12-15 are Solomon’s comparison of his bride with a garden and a flowing fountain. Verse 12 is noteworthy for its declaration of her exclusivity for him. (Although Solomon has already professed his utter infatuation with her, it is unfortunate that he could not have likewise professed his exclusivity for her.)
Excursus: The Christian man as a loving husband: God’s provision of an example
One of the problems of men becoming loving husbands is often their lack of an example to follow. One of the most influential images of a man upon a man’s understanding of his own identity over the past generation has been that of man as provider. Thus, many men have considered their duties fulfilled as husband and father with the provision of a steady paycheck. Another image prevalent is that of man as hero (either in war or in sports). Biblically, the image of manhood is man as a son of God by faith in Jesus Christ. This adds another dimension onto that ruling metaphor for the Biblical definition of a man’s identity, to man as loving husband. The married man who follows Jesus Christ is not fulfilling God’s purpose for his marriage or his manhood unless he begins to allow himself to be molded into the kind of loving husband that he can be by the grace of God. Here God gives an example of marital wooing of a woman as a part of that image.
This is just a taste. See the full post at the link above for many more examples.
That essay would be OK if it also said:
“The married woman who follows Jesus Christ is not fulfilling God’s purpose for his marriage or her womanhood unless she begins to allow herself to be molded into the kind of loving wife that she can be by the grace of God.”
But that’s not the program. It is the man who is to be molded. The princess wife is to be served.
I love how the writer is disappointed in Solomon. Like, sure, the most famous and influential love poem of all time, but if only it made some minor changes to get in line with modern morality and it would be perfect.
Agreed with the comment about the minor changes to get in line with modern morality.
“it is unfortunate that he could not have likewise professed his exclusivity for her.” – His culture is showing. God has no problem with more than one wife (2 Chronicles 2:2,3 and many more examples).
Indeed, the Greek text of the New Testament, where Apostle Paul said for each woman to have her own husband, and each man his own wife, is worded in such a way (in Greek) that makes it clear that polygamy is ok for the man. The “ownership” of each for the other is of a different sort, and different words are used for it. In English, this distinction is lost. Also in the Aramaic New Testament this distinction is lost, but that is one of the reasons the Aramaic primacists use to advocate for it!
“God has no problem with more than one wife” may be overstating Heavenly Father’s provisions for polygyny. A better paraphrase of deity’s opinion would be. “No man can escape marriage to a faithful woman – even if he collects more than one.” That seems more in line with Jesus opinion of marriage when he was asked about it.
Regardless, everything Solomon wrote should be suspect, considering how his life ended, and that Heavenly Father thought it better to give most of his Kingdom to Jeroboam. Had Song of Songs been written by a monogamous husband to his wife, it would have a different ring. Alas, what we get is one man’s love poetry to one of many wives.
I shouldn’t have capitalized “kingdom.” That might lead you to believe I meant something I didn’t.
“The “ownership” of each for the other is of a different sort, and different words are used for it.” – That is true. In English 1 Cor 7:2 looks like a reciprocal parallel, but in Greek they are different words with different meanings which you can easily see for yourself if you bring up the verse in Greek (Strong’s 3588 and 2398).
“No man can escape marriage to a faithful woman – even if he collects more than one.” – I confess I do not understand the distinction that you are trying to make. The Bible calls polygamy “marriage” and makes no distinction of it. We only think of it as something different than normal marriage because of our culture.
“2 Chronicles 2:2,3” – Sorry. Typo. I left off a number. This should be 2 Chronicles 24:2,3 about Joash.
Off Topic: here it comes.
18 Oct 2019.
From “man up and marry those sluts” to “man up and hump those trannies” in just a few years.
By the way, this person is completely insane. This is from 29 Oct 2012.
But, obviously, this person is once again “identifying” as a woman. And now, everyone has to dance to his insane tune.
“Regardless, everything Solomon wrote should be suspect, considering how his life ended, and that Heavenly Father thought it better to give most of his Kingdom to Jeroboam. Had Song of Songs been written by a monogamous husband to his wife, it would have a different ring. Alas, what we get is one man’s love poetry to one of many wives.” – You seem guilty of the same thing @malcolmthecynic is pointing out about the author. You do not seem happy with the Bible or that God in his wisdom decided to include this, this greatest of all love poems.
I’m not totally sure I am tracking what’s going on here.
My wife and I are infatuated with each other. It’s like we still have a crush on each other. I’ve always assumed this was a function of a number variables including things we can’t control (chemistry, personalities that are oriented toward being “hopelessly romantic”) and effort (going out our way to honor our commitment and pursuing the eros between us deliberately.
When we are together, we are like two people totally closed off to anything going on around us, almost to the point of making other people roll their eyes at us.
Mostly I just wish all married couples were like that.
The problem is the insertion of the courtly love script into the Bible, obliterating the kind of experience you and your wife have. The kind of eros you describe is delightful. This is quite different than “The knight sees his Lady and is overcome by her beauty. He sets out to win her favor through flattery and submission. The Lady eventually is won over by this…”
Pingback: Solomon as Lancelot: Song of Solomon viewed through the lens of chivalry/courtly love. | Reaction Times
I saw a few people posting that the bible thinks polygamy is ok. Though God seems to have tolerated instances of it, remind yourself that in Matthew 19: 4-6 Christ clearly describes marriage as between one man and one woman. This is the Christian position on marriage.
You seem guilty of the same thing @malcolmthecynic is pointing out about the author. You do not seem happy with the Bible or that God in his wisdom decided to include this, this greatest of all love poems.
Ths is an unfair criticism, if I’ve understood where ttclod is headed with his comment. The use of the word “suspect” does bear clarification at least. Many lessons of Scripture are taught in both the positive and the negative, using both wise and foolish characters. There is much wisdom in Solomon’s words but by far the more important lesson is his error, which led to violence, division, the fall of David’s house, and ultimately, through the generations, to exile for Israel. The fact that Israel needed a Messiah is enough to question the wisdom of following Solomon’s (or any of the Israelite and Judaic Kings’) advice. Christians should view all of Solomon’s wisdom in light of Christ, the One King who has it right. The Teacher in Ecclesiastes (who may or may not have been Solomon) drove home the point that all the wisdom in the world was futile. These remarkable lessons are an essential part of Biblical teaching. Solomon is critical for right understanding of godly wisdom.
With regard to Songs being chivalrous, Dale Hawthorne has thrown himself at the interpretation problem and missed fastidiously. I’d also once looked at Songs in terms of erotic love in marriage, but it’s more persuasive as a metaphor and a warning about Israel’s infidelity, given its context and place in the timeline. It also looks to me like biblical proof that female hypergamy is not a godly attribute, being viewed in the same way as the seductive lure of pagan gods (mostly to do with human fertility and virility).
Chivalry is a curiously Western phenomenon, so it’s unsurprising that Dale would get Songs confused with Western notions. Chivalry has been part of the European tradition for a very long time. If you combine chivalry, courtly love and a Darwinian (e.g. racialist) view of the world, you get a culture that doesn’t see female hypergamy as anythhing wrong. If that’s also absorbed into Western church tradition, that church would not be a place where the plight of the Shulammite woman would make much sense as a metaphor for Israel’s infidelity. Songs would have to be preached in the context of erotic love in marriage if it were preached at all.
The metaphor is interesting if it’s intended. If Songs is teachimg about Israel’s infidelity using the hypergamous nature of women, it would be as clear an indictment of feminism as there is in Scripture. That is, when you strip away from feminism the gender politics, the post-modern reconstructivisms and the solipsistic rationalizations, feminism at its core is a desire to remove all constraints on female hypergamy. It’s basically encouraging (bullying? preparing?) the Shulammite woman to go into Solomon’s harem. That would mean Songs is essentially teaching the opposite of what Dale Hawthorne is teaching.
Dalrock, thank you for wading through this cringefest so I don’t have to. I’m deeply in your debt.
Larry Kummer, you stole the words right out of my mouth. Stated with role reversal, it once again sounds deeply patronising.
Under Marriage 1.0, the Biblical model, the husband had roles. Those were protection and provision. Considering that one would put his life on the line in ancient times and the other consisted of back-breaking manual labour, then one should consider that he had earned his wife’s favour.
But that isn’t enough for the modern churchian feminist woman nor her white knight book-writing lackies. Something else has to be found. In this case it’s devotion to Jesus. This isn’t wrong in itself, I’ve dedicated my life to following Him. What is wrong is their ability to use a man’s devotion to his Lord as an excuse to not obey, respect and give him his due (“He’s not following Jesus enough. So I shouldn’t ……”).
Following Jesus is a personal, one-on-one, lifelong, marathon dedication. It isn’t for others to judge, wife included.
Why do Christians feel the need to fiddle with masculinity? A church friend went to a conference recently. After I had made a joke about “Toxic Masculinity”, he told me that at the conference, Christian men should have “tender masculinity”. I told him that there is only one type of masculinity, like there is only one type of femininity that women don’t seem to want to cultivate and lastly, were I to front up to my wife and tell her I’m going to embark on “tender masculinity”, she would laugh loud and long at me.
Regardless, everything Solomon wrote should be suspect, considering how his life ended,
Including Proverbs? Interesting.
Why do Christians feel the need to fiddle with masculinity?
Because they want to make their conservative, feminist wives suffering from a “problem with no name” haaaaaapy and they don’t really know how to do that. They get confused by what women say and don’t watch what women do.
They are blue-pilled, blind, Average Frustrated Chumps.
That’s why. I’ll leave the details of the theology to you.
Mostly I just wish all married couples were like that.
Mostly they also wish they were like that. Good times.
Re 1 Cor 7:2
The Greek clearly says ‘let every woman have her own man’. That excludes polygamy/polygyny, else it would not be her own man.
Compare the same word used in John 5:18
“For this reason they tried all the more to kill him; not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he was even calling God his own Father, making himself equal with God.”
Paul, 1 Cor 7:2 uses idios, G2398, for the wife’s ownership of her man. That indicates one’s own, singular or private. It uses heautou, G1438, for the husband’s ownership of his woman. That indicates himself, but doesn’t indicate uniqueness or singularity.
Whatever the different words mean, they surely mean different things. “Wife has husband” is surely different than “husband has wife.”
The Song of Solomon is both erotic poetry in the context of marriage and a spiritual andsymbolic implications. Its possible for scripture to have multiple layers of meaning. Its not always either this or that.
Like how Joseph saved Israel who is God’s son(Exodus 4:22) by bringing the family to egypt where they grew into a nation. Which occurred in Genesis and Luke. Joseph the Vizier foreshadowed Joseph the earthly father of Jesus.
And Israel foreshadowed the salvation of baby Jesus from death.
Like the prophecy of the virgin birth:
Which has both the fulfillment within the lifetime of the political events and the birth of the child to a young maiden and the future birth of Jesus to a virgin.
Because man is head of his wife. Therefore Paul uses such language. As God/Christ is over his bride the church.
info, I cannot see that the Greek rules out polygamy. It might well rule out polyandry. The head can have many limbs, but the limbs can only have one head.
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All of that is irrelevant. Jesus ruled out polygamy.
If you’re going to accept that Jesus’ statement on marriage excludes homosexual “marriage”, then to be logically consistent, you also have to accept that His statement on marriage excludes polygamy.
First; whom did Jesus say established marriage?
Obviously, God did.
Where do we learn God’s design for marriage?
We learn it where Jesus quoted: Genesis 1 & 2.
That has been God’s design for marriage since He created the first two people, Adam and Eve.
He created one woman for one man.
He did not create multiple women for one man.
He did not create multiple men for one woman.
He did not create a man for a man.
He did not create a woman for a woman.
He did not create a dog for a man.
He created one woman for one man.
Every permutation that humans have invented since then falls outside of God’s design.
Don’t like it? Tough. Take it up with the Creator.
Unfortunately that is not often true in my view. Sure, women want that in the generic, but they marry for the experience, to avoid missing out, to get someone, etc. They rarely do it for true deep committed love these days.
It is all about them after all. That is far from what God setup, but welcome to real life.
I will serve God whatever, but I do question why I couldn’t have that when so many that really messed their lives up ended up with it. Not much I (or anyone else) can do about that of course, but it still sucks big time.
Marriage was one man and one woman for life at the start. That is the best and ideal way.
Sin impacts that of course, but polygamy is never a good thing, even if it is tolerated, though that has been debated plenty here.
Solomon began well, but used God’s gifts to go incredibly wrong. I believe he repented at the end (see the end of Ecclesiastes), but the consequences for his foolishness still came.
Though he was only continuing David’s since in many ways. David repented when confronted, but was not perfect himself.
Whether or not polygamy is allowed by God does not change the fact that the author is clearly unsatisfied with Holy Scripture and does not excuse his desire to alter Scripture to be more in line with his modern morality.
Different greek words do not imply completely different meaning, that’s an error only the uninformed make. But next to that, if a woman shared a man with other women, it would not be her own man, which therefore rules out polygamy/polygyny.
Other examples of the same word used from 1 Cor and Galatians
each man has his own gift from God
reward according to his own labor
to every seed his own body
For each one will bear his own load
And to add to the foreshadowing of the salvation of Jesus in Egypt.
The Father of St Joseph is Jacob. Jacob is also the Father of Joseph who ruled Egypt.
David experienced the discipline of God because of his sins.
Do they include the fierce nature of Christ?
Christ’s mind JUDGES. It discerns good from bad. Otherwise, he could not be KING. You in your ignorance would be king….
Everyone wants the all loving God….so they can do whatever they want and be forgiven.
But, Christ’s mind includes judgement and natural consequences. Otherwise, God would not be able to parent you or shape you using His Whole Intelligence.
People think often of God’s love, his left hand let’s say, but not his Justice….the right. (Leftists tend to do this politically.)
If a man firmly says to a woman….hey, cut it out. That’s not right. Will they perceive that as God’s goodness….or as Justice? Or evidence that he’s not loving enough. Or, if he uses amused mastery….an instinctive response to women’s emotionality and control strategies….how will this be experienced?
Just some Questions….
The man is molded by God….sometimes the woman’s feedback is part of that process.
But, the woman is not God in herself. Aka, not worshipable.
Not advocating here, just asking. 2 Samuel 12:8 has always confused me because it could be read as condoning polygamy. In God’s rebuke of David for his adultery with Bathsheba, He says “And I gave you your master’s house and your master’s wives into your arms and gave you the house of Israel and of Judah. And if this were too little, I would add to you as much more.” ESV
Unless I’m mistaken, David did not take Saul’s wives as his own.
A number of practices under the Mosaic Law were tolerated by God, not because they were righteous but because of people’s weakness. Divorce on account of hardness of heart, kings(which the people asked for) and sacrifices in emulation of the people around them. In case it’s not obvious, God doesn’t need sacrifices or a temple to house him, it was only ever the sentiment that was pleasing.
Who of the wives of Saul did David marry? Then how does this condone polygamy?
I imagine (since I don’t have two wives), that polygyny is more difficult than monogamy. Heavenly Father is merciful, and wouldn’t oblige men take two or more wives as the norm, else the natural sex ratio wouldn’t approach 1:1. On the other hand, it’s a despicable interpretation of Heavenly Father’s mercy to tell a man that he must choose one woman between two who would willingly share his affection, especially after the sexual relationship is established.
There’s plenty stories in the Bible which are there as a warning. For example, I’m confident my wife enjoys my undivided attention, just as I enjoy the simplicity of my single female distraction. That’s not the content of the Song of Songs.
Dalrock, OT, but total a Churchian melt down is ongoing after John MacArthur said Beth Moore should “Go home”. The comment sections are popcorn worthy. He may need protection.
Here’s an article defending John MacArthur’s clear teaching from Scripture when he said Beth Moore should “go home”.
The question Jesus answers is, “May a man divorce his wife for any reason [or no reason]?”
Jesus answers that question with, “A man may not divorce his wife.”
Then the Pharisees ask him, “But what about Moses law which permits divorce?”
And Jesus answers, “Moses gave you that law because you’re assholes, but you weren’t always assholes.
“Unless your wife screws other men, if you divorce your wife to marry another woman, you’re an adulterer. If you marry a divorced woman, you’re an adulterer.”
Note, at this time, polygyny was lawful among Jews, so the issue wasn’t, “That man had two wives!!” The issue was, “Divorce is okay.” Jesus simply reiterates the established law under Moses, which very clearly provides the justifications for divorce. “Because I like this one better,” isn’t justification enough. Neither is, “She’s just a one-night stand.”
All this goes back to a more fundamental question:”When does a marriage begin?” My bias originates with the Baptist church where I first learned scripture, and where there is no sacrament of marriage. What act initiates marriage? In my mind, that act is sex.
So, Jesus is answering a particular question: “Can we divorce [for convenience]?” Jesus says, “No. You are adult men who have left your parents and married a woman. Unless she quits your marriage, she’s your wife for as long as you live. None of you should approve a divorce for convenience.”
There’s also this question: why do people divorce nowadays? Most filings will say, in essence, “irreconcilable differences,” which is legalese for, “We can’t stop arguing.”
The Bible is consistent regarding cause for divorce: for men, adultery; for women, abandonment. In Arkansas, we’ve added ceasing cohabitation, felony conviction, drunkenness, physical endangerment, and “intolerable conditions,” but none of those are Biblical, and several could be solved with ceasing cohabitation – aka the cause for “no fault” divorce.
What isn’t a Biblical cause for divorce, or, diplomatically, a cause I can’t find in the Bible, is, “My husband married a second wife.” As much as many like to interpret otherwise, it just isn’t there.
It’s very misleading to quote, “Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female, for this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh? Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.” Without the context of the precipitating question, it means something entirely different.
Does every Father have only one child? I have two. Does the second belong to another man, or the first?
Apparently, that part where I read Lamech had two wives is a mistake. Same with Jacob. Same with David. Those women weren’t wives. They were something less, and so Rachel et al must have been… what?
I’ll ask this question another way: for what causes may a woman divorce her husband?
Off Topic: Texas Jury rules against dad trying to save his 7-year-old from gender ‘transition’
That’s it. We’re doomed.
[cause for divorce…] for women, abandonment
From what Scripture does this idea come from? For believers in Jesus, 1 Cor 7 states a woman must not leave her husband; that would logically include not divorcing him.
For the civil law that God gave in the OT, I am not aware of a woman being allowed to initiate or force a divorce; only death of her husband freed her from the law of marriage.
When I think of Lancelot, this comes to mind:
ttclod: The Bible is consistent regarding cause for divorce: for men, adultery; for women, abandonment.
That word in Matthew 19:9 is sometimes translated not as “adultery” but as “sexual impurity” or “sexual immorality.”
My Catholic study Bibles say that when Jesus say “sexual impurity,” he doesn’t mean “adultery” but incest. So Jesus permits divorce in cases of incest (because it was never a real marriage), but not in cases of adultery.
Don’t worry Oscar, Vox will be out with another blog post bemoaning that this man didn’t go ahead and punish the judge, the lawyers, the school teachers and his wife and then kill himself like a ‘real man’.
Men have zero authority, zero, none, zilch. You are owned property when you get married, your wife has full control. Denying this truth does nothing to bolster your case. The state can force you to put your child through life destroying hormone therapy against your wishes and there is absolutely fuck all you can do about it.
Suck on it.
That link concerning Beth Moore is down for “maintenance”. Any other sources? I’m curious because “Go home” is a pretty good argument. Sometimes bluntness is best.
Men and women in polygamous relationships are still able to convert without having to initiate divorce. Is this correct?
“My Catholic study Bibles say that when Jesus say “sexual impurity,” he doesn’t mean “adultery” but incest. So Jesus permits divorce in cases of incest (because it was never a real marriage), but not in cases of adultery.”
This interpretation was always a laugher even as a Catholic.
I don’t want to promote polygamy, but God did marry Israel and Judea at the same time.
Christ was the husband of all the churches of Revelation.
Justin Martyr was the first to endorse monogamy in his Dialogue with Trypho (c. 160 AD/CE), a Jew. He lambasts Jews who appealed to the Emperor to allow polygamy to the Jews, which he allowed.
Therefore, Jesus must have preached to some Jews who had multiple wives.
Off Topic: Texas Jury rules against dad trying to save his 7-year-old from gender ‘transition’
That is horrifying.
Men and women in polygamous relationships are still able to convert without having to initiate divorce. Is this correct?
Interesting question. I’m sure that Africans have worked something out. Nigeria, Uganda and Kenya are all a mix of Christianity and Islam.
The SJW’s have some things in common with Red Guards of the Chinese Cultural Revolution. Both were more than willing to sacrifice children in pursuit of the larger goal. Things like this are why I find the unending argumentation about theological points to be worse than useless.
In mind’s eye I see Baghdad in the year 1287. Islamic scholars from all the major schools are arguing endlessly about various fine details of the Koran. From coffee houses to mosques to schools to courts the factions grind away at each other over this hadith versus that hadith, etc.
Then in 1288 the Mongols arrive. They besiege the city. Theological disputes cease to matter.
So we need the enact the Outer Limits “Architect of Fear” episode?
Someone has already made the point about multiple children being able to call the same father “my own father” or mother “my own mother”.
Another fact that seems to get overlooked in these discussions is the fact that in some cases polygyny was commanded to occur.
Deuteronomy 25:5-6 King James Version (KJV)
5 If brethren dwell together, and one of them die, and have no child, the wife of the dead shall not marry without unto a stranger: her husband’s brother shall go in unto her, and take her to him to wife, and perform the duty of an husband’s brother unto her.
6 And it shall be, that the firstborn which she beareth shall succeed in the name of his brother which is dead, that his name be not put out of Israel.
In fact, perverting this duty so angered God that he struck down Onan.
6And Judah took a wife for Er his firstborn, whose name was Tamar. 7And Er, Judah’s firstborn, was wicked in the sight of the LORD; and the LORD slew him. 8And Judah said unto Onan, Go in unto thy brother’s wife, and marry her, and raise up seed to thy brother. 9And Onan knew that the seed should not be his; and it came to pass, when he went in unto his brother’s wife, that he spilled it on the ground, lest that he should give seed to his brother. 10And the thing which he did displeased the LORD: wherefore he slew him also.
Therefore, what god has commanded in some circumstances, and not forbidden under all other circumstances, must be permissible. Is it Ideal in all circumstances? Of course not. If it were, God would have made multiple Eves at once for Adam. “The husband of one wife” would not be a requirement for an elder — which still acknowledges that there would be men with a greater or lesser number of wives.
But there’s another relevant verse that a lot of people seem to forget. I’m surprised that no one mentioned it in a previous discussion on eating meat, where it was also relevant.
1Receive one who is weak in the faith, but not to disputes over doubtful things. 2For one believes he may eat all things, but he who is weak eats only vegetables. 3Let not him who eats despise him who does not eat, and let not him who does not eat judge him who eats; for God has received him. 4Who are you to judge another’s servant? To his own master he stands or falls. Indeed, he will be made to stand, for God is able to make him stand.
5One person esteems one day above another; another esteems every day alike. Let each be fully convinced in his own mind. 6He who observes the day, observes it to the Lord; [a]and he who does not observe the day, to the Lord he does not observe it. He who eats, eats to the Lord, for he gives God thanks; and he who does not eat, to the Lord he does not eat, and gives God thanks. 7For none of us lives to himself, and no one dies to himself. 8For if we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. Therefore, whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s. 9For to this end Christ died [b]and rose and lived again, that He might be Lord of both the dead and the living. 10But why do you judge your brother? Or why do you show contempt for your brother? For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of [c]Christ. 11For it is written:
“As I live, says the Lord,
Every knee shall bow to Me,
And every tongue shall confess to God.”
12So then each of us shall give account of himself to God. 13Therefore let us not judge one another [d]anymore, but rather resolve this, not to put a stumbling block or a cause to fall in our brother’s way.
If a man lives in a war torn country, where a large portion of the men have been killed takes a second wife so as to ensure she has a husband, and to exchange help and care with her on a long-term basis, then why would I despise him for that? Particularly if this was how he chose to take care of the childless wife of his brother, as commanded in Deuteronomy?
If a man in a country that is more or less even in men and women decides that he burns with passion, and marries one wife, then why would I despise him for that?
If a man does not burn with passion, and decides his is in a time of trouble and turmoil, and therefor takes Paul’s advice and does not marry, so as not to live with a quarrelsome woman, then why would I despise him for that?
If he chooses to have wine and meat at his wedding feast, why would I despise him for that? If he chooses to have a vegetable stir fry in olive oil and orange juice, why would I despise him for that?
Likewise, whether he chooses to wed on the Sabbath or the Lord’s day, why would I despise him for that?
In none of these cases do I think that a man has sinned. If they ask me advice before making a decision I might advise for or against a given course, but it’s still up to that man to choose.
God has given us rules, and boundaries, and the guide of the greatest two commandments. “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.'” He has put it on each of us to figure out how to best do that in our circumstances and with the Talents he has invested in each of us (Matthew 25).
One of the things that is explicitly forbidden to us is sexual immorality.
1 Corinthians 6:18 King James Version (KJV)
18 Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body.
And in such cases…
1 Corinthians 5 King James Version (KJV)
9 I wrote unto you in an epistle not to company with fornicators:
10 Yet not altogether with the fornicators of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or with idolaters; for then must ye needs go out of the world.
11 But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolator, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat.
12 For what have I to do to judge them also that are without? do not ye judge them that are within?
13 But them that are without God judgeth. Therefore put away from among yourselves that wicked person.
By no means is this a sin that Christians should accommodate. Unfortunately, the Churchians do, and Dalrock’s original post is a great example of this error.
As an aside, I find the “conservative” churichian position sadly amusing, in that they condemn polygamy done in the parallel way (multiple wives at once), but have at this point accepted the feminist position of polygamy done in a serial manner (“starter husband”, husband to retire with, maybe more in between).
Pardon, apparently there was a hole in my proofreading. The unmarked passage was from Romans 14.
JoshtheAspie at 1:32pm: Well said.
Only to a point. He still piled up wives, which Solomon took to the extreme. He also never disciplined his sons as far as we can see. Those had additional consequences many people fail to see.
This never happens in reality today. You have been reading too much fiction.
Many are certainly willing to be in the harem of a hawt guy, but that is a temporary relationship, not a permanent one. The men who take advantage of that are not the kind to stay faithful for a long term marriage. They have plenty of other women who will jump in place of any spots that open.
It was “Judah”. “Judea” is just the territory. “Judah” was an area as well, but included all who moved to that area when false worship was setup in the north, loosely called under King David’s tribe or Judah.
Just a quick reply; looking at the OT of course you can find instances of polygamy. It was never commanded though. Even Levirate marriage could be refused, although it was a shameful thing. And of Onan we do not read he was already married, just that he did not want to give his (deceased) brother offspring, but still wanted to have sex with her on a regular basis. The text does not even mention her married her. She is still called ‘his brother’s wife’, not his wife.
The key point however is to look at the NT, what is there commanded? Everyone trying to read polygamy into the NT teaching is trying to look for tiny loopholes and building a defense on that, while the clear instructions are for one man-one woman, as Christ and the Church (NOT ‘the churches’!!)…
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@DaleU October 22, 2019 at 3:11 pm
Thank you. ^_^
Here we disagree. I will more rigorously establish my point.
Marrying the wife of one’s dead brother is described as a duty. Further, while I admit I have not examined the original Hebrew, the English language here is clear. “Shall” and “Shall not” are the language of command.
Let us look at another place were this language is used.
Shall, and shall not, establishing things which under the old covenant were positively commanded to do, and which were negatively commanded not to do.
Therefore we have the following recurring situation through history.
Brother A has a wife.
Brother A dies without an heir.
Brother B is commanded by scripture to marry the wife of brother A and produce an heir on behalf of brother A.
This leaves us with two possibilities.
1. Since the laying down of Deuteronomy (and possibly earlier due to the passage about Onan), to the time of Christ, there has never been brother B such that Brother B already has a wife when this duty comes upon him. Possibly due to God specifically intervening to ensure that this never happens, despite allowing all of the other instances of polygyny in the Bible.
2. Under some circumstances, polygyny is commanded.
I do not find possibility 1 credible. If you find possibility 1 to be credible, then I am interested in hearing arguments to that effect. If someone is more knowledgeable about the original Hebrew and has an argument based on that, I am interested in learning, and ask for any sources you have to that end.
Partial agreement. The old covenant command refereed to in Deuteronomy is indeed often called Leverite Marriage. There was a rabbinical tradition known as the halitzah that the Talmud (a collection of rabbinical tradition) prefers to Leverite marriage. However, the scripture is clear on whether or not to prefer rabbinical tradition (and thus the Talmud) to Scripture.
As such, whether or not a rabbinical tradition exists to allow someone to avoid following a command in scripture has no bearing on whether or not it actually counts as a command in scripture.
I agree to your assertion that the scripture does not speak of Onan being in a polygynous arrangement, and do not mean to argue against this point.
Perhaps I was unclear. I did not bring up Onan because I think it was clear that he married two women and was directly commanded to do so by god rather than scripture. I don’t.
I quoted the scripture about Onan to refer to the general duty for which the command exists, and to point to how seriously God reacted to Onan perverting the orders given by Judah to fulfill this duty. Debates have ranged over whether God was angry with Onan because of perverting a duty, disobeying his father, or spilling his seed on the ground. The first reason is at least a factor, when we take into account the later command from Deuteronomy.
This was a supporting quote for context, not the main one.
Multiple things. In the specific context of sex and marriage, the following relevant items:
* That what God has brought together, let no man separate.
* Do not practice sexual immorality. Several enumerated lists of what counts as sexual immorality exist in scripture. They include fornication, multiple forms of incest, adultery, and sodomy (there is some opening for debate about if this includes oral or not), as well as bestiality. I am unaware of any of these lists including polygyny as one of these forms of sexual immorality. If you can provide one, I would be interested to look into it.
In many cases in both the Old and New Testaments, for both the Old and New Covenants, marriage is described as being between one man and one woman.
However, if Man A is married to woman B, and man A then marries woman C, then the second marriage is still between man A and woman C. Woman B is not married to woman C.
Still, I agree that there is an implication of Monogomy being the norm, and quite possibly the ideal under normal circumstances, when it comes to marriage.
If the position were that in most nations, during most times, the ideal situation for most men and most women is monogamy, with remarriage only in the case of one of the spouses dying, then I would entirely agree with that position.
If someone asked me if he should marry a second wife, then under most circumstances (especially today) then my answer would be no. While permitted, it would not be beneficial or bring glory to God.
The position that I am arguing against is the idea that polygamy is forbidden to all men and all women under all circumstances, just as I would argue against the position that singleness for life is forbidden to all men and all women under all circumstances.
Everyone trying to read polygamy into the NT teaching is trying to look for tiny loopholes and building a defense on that, while the clear instructions are for one man-one woman, as Christ and the Church (NOT ‘the churches’!!)…
If you want to abandon exegesis, and get into a rhetorical argument about the motives of those arguing certain positions, that is something I am prepared to do. However, I find it unproductive, and I don’t think many people here would enjoy that, including the host. That would not be an argument. That would be a fight. So I will ask you to constrain yourself to exegesis.
As for the matter of Chruch vs Churches, that is a point that others made, not me. However, if you wish me to address it, I am willing to do so, so long as we are sticking to exegesis.
The last block quote did not take properly, due to an error on my part. The following paragraph was a quote from the commenter Paul.
The last block quote did not take properly, due to an error on my part.
No worries. Nobody is going to read that far, except for you and Paul.
You could take this to email…
Any Christian who tries to say polygamy is just great is both ignoring reality and the guiding principle (from Jesus) of how marriage was in the beginning. Adam only had one wife and Eve one husband, even after The Fall.
Argue for it all you want, but it is ludicrous as something to aim for. Not only does it violate the way God made things, it would work out horribly in practice in the modern world.
“I quoted the scripture about Onan to refer to the general duty for which the command exists, and to point to how seriously God reacted to Onan perverting the orders given by Judah to fulfill this duty.”
Well did He? Or was Onan strucken for another sin?
I would say he took the opportunity to “perform his duty” only as an excuse to have uncommitted sex, knowing that it would continue until he got the wife of his brother pregnant, which he made sure would never happen… Others (e.g. the RCC) have seen it as seen as the sin of masturbation that caused God to strike him down. Who can tell for sure?
There’s a difference between a recorded custom (giving an heir to your deceased brother by having sex with his widow) during that time and culture, and a God-given command. In this case, especially before the law given at Sinai, I don’t think it counts as a command required by God.
@JTA You were almost there, just read a bit further in Deut 25 for the consequence of disobeying this rule: “However, if a man does not want to marry his brother’s wife [..] That man’s line shall be known in Israel as The Family of the Unsandaled.”
There’s not even a sin offering required. Compare that with how other sins are treated.
Furthermore, the command/rule starts with : “If brothers are living together and one of them dies without a son”. To me that does not sound like two married brothers, but rather one (younger) brother living in the household of his older brother. That would indicate no polygamy at all.
But all that is moot, we only have to consider what the NT lays down as rule for Christians, and that’s clear: one man-one woman.
Kinda off topic, but relating to the unintended (yet foreseeable) consequences of feminism and male chivalry:
The Women’s Liberation Front correctly self-describes it as a “radical of a feminist organization” and it as crazy as it gets. But their leader was on Tucker last night complaining about how women’s sports are now being destroyed by men. Not only that, but the feminists are being silenced by… guess who? The Leftwing media! Lol
I am not gonna deny it; I may not be at McDonald’s right now, but I’M LOVIN’ IT! 😀
So feminists pushed for leftist crap for decades. They voted and funded leftists. Then once in power, The Left does what it always does – it turns against its supporters.
Currently, the Left is using “upper middle class white women” as its key voting base. But the second they gets an amnesty for the 22-30 million illegals, they will turn on these dumb women in favor of a bigger voting block, like newly-legalized illegal aliens and will blame white women for all the problems they cause the country. We have already seen this with black voters in Cali already, for instance. Blacks were used and have now been discarded and replaced for illegals and lost their place at the table in Cali politics, save for few remaining establishment figures.
In Italian culture, there is a saying that translates to “do not raise a snake at home, as it eventually will turn to bite you”. Totally applies here, but I doubt the feminists will have learned anything from the “transgender rights” wrecking women’s benefits and privileges, in sports in this case, but overall. They just never learn! Lol
In which case he can’t be said to be fulfilling his duty, now can he?
It’s all one here. Assume for the moment that the position of the RCC. Having sex with a woman is “masturbation” if the man takes his rod out before he ejaculates. Then Onan disobeyed his father Jacob (1), by perverting his ordered duty to give Tamar a son (2), by the method of pulling out and spilling his seed on the ground (3).
All 3 things are the same act. For that act, God called him evil, and punished him with death.
I agree with you that during this period, before the rules in Deuteronomy were instituted, this was not explicitly listed for us as a command from God.
This does, however, provide additional context for that later command. We know that the command in Deuteronomy was not instituted from that later command. We know that this is already something that was done before there was a codified command in the law of God.
We know that the only explicit example of the duty being perverted rather than refused was met with harsh punishment. Punishment that happened even when it was Jacob that had explicitly commanded it, rather than it being a law from God at that time — even if you want to say the punishment occurred due to a different aspect of that same act.
I should have read farther past the break.
Yep, it’s right there, and not just a Rabbinical tradition. No sin offering specifically listed.
I accept the correction on this particular point, and thank you for it. I do not thank you for the attitude that came with the correction.
The man is still refusing to obey a command in scripture. The quoted passage deals with what a woman is to do if the man refuses to obey this command, and the punishment that follows not just to this man, but to his house.
Households with multiple nuclear families, usually of the same family, often multi-generational, were far more common in the past. To me your contention sounds like a case of modernity bias.
Also, if his house is to be punished and shamed, and not just him… how are there not more people in it? The other brother is dead. The woman is no longer going to be considered a part of it. Both brothers could have been living in a multi-generational or multi-family home with their parents and unmarried sisters. But then that removes any idea that the surviving brother must of course be younger and unmarried.
Still. I’m going to ask for your explicit position on a point here. Is it your position that two married brothers never lived together in Israel from the time Deuteronomy was laid down, to the time of Jesus, where one died without an heir? And if so, how do you find this plausible?
Does anyone reading the blog take this position? And if so, how do you find this plausible?
Is this a miracle from God? Why would he prevent polygyny in this case, but not others?
@JTA I’ve shown reasonably alternative interpretations that do not require an appeal to polygamy. The onus is on you to prove that there is any command requiring to enter into polygamy. However, I’m not that interested in a discussion, because the NT clearly forbids polygamy, so what’s the point?
And if you try to make a point, please read all verses in context, preferably some chapters around it. Not only will it make your arguments better, but you will also learn more for your own edification.
As a rule, I do read the surrounding verses. This was an oversight. In part, it was because of the number of verses I was dealing with.
If you are not interested in a discussion of the Old Testiment, then why did you reply to those parts of my earlier post, rather than the parts dealing with the New Testament? Either discuss the Old Testiment passages with me, or don’t. Don’t half-discuss them, ignore things I’ve said, then say it doesn’t matter.
Paul and Josh,
Another relevant OT story is Boaz and Ruth. While I don’t think it’s explicitly stated, it’s very likely that as a wealthy and respected member of the community, Boaz probably was married already when he took Ruth through levirate marriage. Ruth would have been an additional wife (second?, third?, who knows?). This was never criticized, and instead Boaz was praised as a righteous man. And remember, Ruth and Boaz were great-grandparents of David, and therefore direct ancestors of Jesus.
@JTA why did you reply to those parts of my earlier post
To expose obviously false statements. Sometimes I cannot withstand the urge to reply.
Oh, no, not again! Please do not tell me this discussion is going towards polygamy again?! *sigh*
Polygamy is a felony in most States, including federal law. It is also dumb. Want polygamy, go become RooshV pre-conversion and save your money, keep your freedom, and sanity.
Have you all ever looked at the basic Alimony guidelines in your State? 1 wife is enough to ruin your finances for decades, if not permanently. Imagine multiple wives in a divorce. LOL
Read Chapter 5 of the Song. There the woman rejects sex because she is tired. He does not try to romanticize her, wait for her to be in a better mood (in fact he’s gone by the time she reconsiders that very night) or try more “communication”: he leaves. The silent treatment, even to separation is the recommended behavior to the husband towards a disobedient wife; not more therapy or communication. Unfortunately in today’s society the courts make this a dangerous reaction and the Church will become your enemy. I did implement this strategy and it worked but only because I chose a wife who fears God. It would be a far better world were welfare for divorced and single mother be terminated.