Polygyny

(Previous Article)

Until recently, I would have hesitated to touch on polygyny. The topic is volatile and doesn’t directly affect most people in the modern West. However, now that sodomites have been “granted” the “right” to “marry”, conservatives are up in arms over polygamists wanting the same recognition, calling it “the next gay marriage”. Is this a fight Christians should commence? Advocates for “traditional marriage” respond to this question with a resounding YES… but what should our answer be if our focus is on the Biblical rather than the traditional? “Conservatives” would insist that the traditional “one man, one woman” view of marriage is Biblical, but as we’ve seen in the previous chapters, there are many people in “traditional” marriages who are hardly living them in a Biblical manner. So should we rely on their word, or God’s Word?

If polygyny is a sin according to Scripture, then let’s fight it with everything we have! But if it is not, then Christians are wasting time and energy better spent fighting sodomy, and worse, opposing what exists under divine authority. I would rather not be found guilty of either.

The West has had over 2000 years to twist Scripture to fit its own ideas of what is proper. Even as early as the days of the apostles, entire congregations were falling prey to the prevailing thought patterns of the day: Namely, Gnosticism, Romanism, and Judaism. Paul’s frustration with them burst through when he cried in his epistle to Galatia, “O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you?” (Galatians 3:1) Everything Paul had worked so hard to establish on the solid rock of Christ was being undermined nearly as quickly as he established it. Still, he and his apostolic brethren labored on to counter the humanist influences of their day. But once the apostles were gone, all that remained were their writings, which were largely ignored in favor of such so-called “early church fathers” as Augustine, Origen, and Justin Martyr, who actively tried to marry the laws and teachings of God with the philosophies and syllogisms of Plato and Aristotle. By the time the Bible was printed and distributed for use among the common people, the Roman Catholic church, heavily influenced by all three of the apostles’ nemeses, had thoroughly ingrained its doctrines in the minds of its laity. Protestant and Catholic alike continued to read the Scriptures through the lenses of neoplatonism, and taught accordingly. Thus the pattern has continued nearly unchallenged for centuries.

It’s well past time for Christians to break free of the neoplatonic, Judaistic influences and return to the Bible, going beyond where Luther and other reformers stopped in their sola scriptura approach. Gnosticism and its allies have served to shackle the church to an impotent existence. As the enemies of Christ grow stronger, we must burst their bands asunder and resist them with the Sword of the Spirit.


WHAT IS POLYGYNY?

When most people think of polygamy, they think of  Mormons, incest, or child marriages. This is hardly accurate. The negative connotations associated with plural marriage are largely resultant of isolated cases which have received national attention. The propaganda which has placed such stigma on the practice has served well to make most people, Christian and non-Christian alike, regard it with disdain and disgust.

First of all, we need to understand the nature of polygyny. The word most commonly used is “polygamy”, which refers to having multiple spouses – both polygyny (having multiple wives) and polyandry (having multiple husbands) fall into this category. Because polyandry is a vile sin which is condemned as adultery and harlotry in Scripture, it is not even going to be discussed here. The more accurate term for a marriage involving more than one wife is polygyny, and thus will be the term used here from this point on.

Polygyny has been practiced since early in the history of mankind’s existence. Though the West largely frowns on it now, some people still practice it in America and Europe. Monogamy (the practice of having only one spouse) has not only been the accepted norm but also the legally imposed standard in most countries since the days of the Greek and Roman societies. Socially imposed universal monogamy [10] was unique to Greece and Rome and spread throughout their empires. It was under these conditions that Christ and the apostles worked to spread the Good News of the Kingdom, and this standard became incorporated into the philosophy and morals of Christianity. Fueled by the asceticism of Gnostic thought and revulsion toward the prevalent sexual immorality of the day, it carried on so far as early church writers condemning even marital sex as sinful. This led to the idea that to be holy one had to lead a celibate life, and the Roman Catholic church instituted celibacy for their clergy while continuing to impose monogamy (“the usage of Rome”, as Augustine called it [11] ) on the masses. Polygyny would lead to excommunication. This carried over into the Reformation and the beliefs of the Protestants, who upheld that monogamy and monogamy alone was the sole accepted form of marriage in the eyes of God. Martin Luther once wrote, “I confess that I cannot forbid a person to marry several wives, nor is it contrary to the Holy Scripture” [12], while John Calvin wrote that polygamy is violation of conjugal fidelity [13]. More recently, John MacArthur referred to polygamy as an “iniquity” [14].

No matter how one feels about the overall character or theology of Luther or Calvin, the inescapable truth is that, as far as their stances on polygyny are concerned, both could not be right. To determine the truth, we need to discard any preconceived ideas and turn to Scripture with an open mind and a willing heart, because only there will we find the answer.


POLYGYNY AND THE LAW

The Law of God is our moral yardstick. It determines what is acceptable and what is not, because His laws are a manifestation of His morals. What He allows or prohibits tells us what is right or wrong. If we add to it, we are proclaiming ourselves more righteous than God. If we take away from it, we are rebelling against His standard and deeming it burdensome. Sadly, Christians in the antinomian world are guilty of both. As regards polygyny, the guilt is of both adding and taking away.

God’s moral Law never once, at any time, condemns the marriage of a man to more than one wife. An honest reading shows that the Law regulated plural marriages, but did not forbid them. A man could not marry sisters to vex one or the other (Leviticus 18:18). If he married another wife he had to treat the first wife fairly and provide for all her needs as before (Exodus 21:10). These laws not only did not prohibit polygyny, but ensured justice and kindness in such marriages, thus creating groundwork for a harmonious relationship. If polygyny were a sin, God would not have provided these stipulations, but rather forbidden plural marriage altogether.

Further, if a man were to obey the Law, the levirate law would compel him to engage in plural marriage if he were already married (Deuteronomy 25:5-10). The Law never once stipulated that the living kinsman had to be single. Whether he was married or not, the levirate law was to be upheld so the dead husband’s line wouldn’t die out. God’s concern here, as was the case in many other laws, was to preserve [15] .God obviously felt very strongly about this, because when Onan took measures to disobey the mandate he paid for it with his life (Genesis 38). When Tamar disguised herself as a harlot and seduced Judah after he failed to provide her his son Shelah as a husband, Judah confessed, “She has been more righteous than I.” Righteous? By 21st-Century “conservative” standards, Tamar would have been branded a slut. Instead, her deception and seduction were rewarded by a strong line that continued through Israel for a long time, so much so that she was specifically mentioned in a blessing on Boaz and Ruth (Ruth 4:12). Tamar did what she had to in order to fulfill her duty to God and to her dead husband. Judah had to be tricked into doing the right thing.

When David took the throne of Israel, he not only brought along seven wives, but he also took to himself the women who had previously been Saul’s. Never once was this “man after God’s heart” rebuked for it. God did, however, rebuke him for committing adultery with Bathsheba, adding, “I gave your master’s house to you and your master’s wives into your arms, and I gave you the house of Israel and Judah, and if that was not enough, I would have given you more.” (II Samuel 12:8, HCSB) In other words, not only did God state outright that he had given David wives for an increased polygynist marriage, but had that been insufficient He would have given David even more. God had contributed to David’s polygyny. His dalliance with Bathsheba, not his plural marriage, was sinful in God’s eyes.

The Old Testament is filled with instances of polygynous marriages. Abraham, Jacob, Gideon, Elkanah and many of Israel’s and Judah’s kings had multiple wives. Hannah and Sarah were in polygynous marriages. In no case were any of these people – many of whom are held up as examples of godliness – condemned for the nature of their marriages. They all sinned at one time or another, and Scripture is clear that their sins were unacceptable, but polygyny is never listed among those sins.

If God considers polygyny sin, why were most of the sons of Israel, begotten through Rachel, Bilhah, and Zilpah, the wives Jacob took after he had married Leah, blessed so abundantly and expanded into entire tribes? Why was Joseph, the son of Rachel, given a double portion in Israel through Ephraim and Manasseh? Solomon was the son of David through Bathsheba after David had added her to his retinue of wives: Not only did he become King of Israel, but through him came the Messiah, Jesus Christ! Would God have allowed His Son to be born through a relationship that was illegitimate in His eyes? He was very careful to keep the line of His Son pure and inviolate.


WHAT ABOUT THE NEW TESTAMENT?

But,” some may argue, “that was the God of the Old Testament. The God of the New Testament would never allow polygyny!”

I have heard arguments along this vein many times, and every time I wonder if these people even hear themselves. Do they mean to suggest that the God of the Old Testament is a different God than the one Christians ought to worship today? This sounds chillingly like the doctrines of Gnosticism, which teach that the material world was built and governed by a harsh, evil entity, [16] and went unchallenged until the spiritual truth of the real God was sent to enlighten man through an immaterial entity known as Jesus. This dualism is the bedrock of antinomian thought – that somehow the God of the patriarchs’ day was different from the God of today, thus rendering the laws of that God not only irrelevant, but repulsive to New Testament doctrine.

What heresy! “I change not,” God declares in Malachi 3:6. “Think not that I am come to destroy the Law, or the prophets,” Jesus insists in Matthew 5:17. “I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.” Sin, in New Testament terms, is transgression of the Law (I John 3:17). To suggest that the God between the first verse in Genesis and the last verse in Malachi is in any way different from the God in the rest of Scripture is rejection of God’s Word in favor of the Gnostic traditions of men.

It is true that we read little to nothing about polygyny in New Testament text, as many argue. However, this should not lead us to conclude that polygyny was therefore forbidden. Hardly. At no point in Scripture does God say, “Okay, fellas, things have changed. Only one wife per man, and no more – anyone who violates this new decree is sinning.” On the contrary, Jesus Christ used a polygynous wedding as an illustration of the Kingdom of heaven (Matthew 25:1-12). Would He have made this comparison if polygyny were the deadly sin so many Bible teachers would have us believe it is?

How is a law a true law if it is subject to change? Webster’s 1828 dictionary defines “law” as something that is set or fixed. In other words, a law is only law if it was, is, and ever will be. Biblical moral law didn’t make its first appearance at Sinai. We read of its commandments and statutes well before Sinai. We know sinners existed prior to Sinai, and Paul tells us that without law there is no sin (Romans 5:13). The existence of sin confirms the existence of law. If God were to ever change the smallest aspect of His Law, it would immediately make it no law at all, but rather an arbitrary mandate. God is not arbitrary. He does not change, and He, as well as His moral Law, is unchangeable and immutable.

Think about it: Imagine a man married to multiple wives under the Old Covenant, living happily in conformity with the Law. Then, suddenly, one day he awakes to discover that a New Covenant has been instituted and his plural marriage, once acceptable before God, is now a deadly sin. One day he’s living in righteousness – the next he’s an adulterer. How would that be even remotely just on God’s part? This sort of legal antics is what we would expect of fickle human government, not the Eternal God.

Therefore, the laws governing marriage, including those laws governing plural marriage, are still alive and well today under the New Covenant – a Covenant which, I would be remiss to add, includes the Law as an integral aspect of its nature (Jeremiah 31:31-33, Hebrews 8:7-13).

The reason for so little mention of polygyny in the New Testament text is not because God forbade the practice, but because Rome forbade it. Because Christianity began in the heart of the Roman Empire, polygyny was a rare occurrence. Monogamy was the only form of marriage permitted under the Romans, who had borrowed the idea from the Greeks. As one result of monogamy, women had a much higher social status than they would otherwise have enjoyed in a polygynous society, which probably prompted Paul to remind Timothy not to permit women to teach men or to speak in the assembly (I Timothy 2:11-15). History shows that monogamy as an enforced institution was not of divine origin, but pagan, no matter what the John MacArthurs, Ken Hams, and John Calvins of our day might insist to the contrary. [17] It was in an atmosphere of enforced monogamy that the early church came into being, and as a result the practice became accepted as a doctrine. [18]


COMMON ARGUMENTS AGAINST POLYGYNY

God only made one man and one woman at the beginning – thus we must conclude that only one man and one woman is acceptable to God.”

If we are to be consistent with this reasoning, then we should also conclude that it’s sinful to wear clothes and live anywhere but in a garden, since God originally made man and woman naked and placed them in a garden. Of course, that would be absurd. Yes, God made only one woman and one man. But this by no means trumps the Law, which not only allows for and regulates polygyny, but also, in the case of the levirate law, commands it even if the living kinsman is already married. What the case of Adam and Eve does prove, is that monogamous marriage is acceptable before God. It does not prove polygyny to be sin.

Lamech was the first man mentioned in Scripture to have multiple wives (Genesis 4:19-24). Lamech was a murderer. Thus, because a murderer is the first mentioned polygynist, polygyny is a sin.”

Again, if we were to be consistent with this reasoning, then we would be forced to conclude that building cities is sinful, since Cain, a murderer, is the first person mentioned in Scripture to build a city. And of course, this as well would be ludicrous. This is not exegesis (extracting from Scripture what is there) but rather eisegesis (reading into Scripture what is not). It is akin to saying, “Because a shark is a fish, then all fish are toothy carnivores.” Anyone familiar with the most rudimentary elements of logic would identify it as a fallacy. Unless God condemns something, it is not sin. He condemns murder, of which Cain and Lamech were both guilty. He never once condemned either city-building or polygyny, even if murderers happened to engage in such activities.

God said in Genesis 2:24 that a man was to leave his father and mother and cleave to his wife. He never said ‘wives’. Just ‘wife’, singular.

Indeed he did. But what if he’d said “wives”? According to your logic we would have to conclude that monogamy is wrong. And it is apparent by the rest of Scripture that monogamy is not wrong at all. Rather than picking out isolated “proof texts”, we should examine the whole of Scripture. A man can cleave to (be joined to) his wife in a monogamous marriage, and he can cleave to (be joined to) each one of his wives equally in a polygynous one. The verse by no means indicates that polygyny is wrong. Taken with the rest of Scripture regulating polygyny, it indicates that a man must love and cherish his wife or wives, regardless of number.

A husband and wife are one flesh, according to Genesis 2:24.”

Yes, they are. Scripture also says that a man who has sex with a prostitute is one flesh with her (I Corinthians 6:16)… and thus so are all her other clients. “One flesh” has absolutely nothing to do with exclusivity. It has nothing to do with being of one mind either, as some Christian psychologists and preachers might try to assert. “One flesh” literally indicates sexual union. That’s it. A man can be “one flesh” with one wife, or with multiple wives, just as a prostitute can be one flesh with one client, or with many clients.

I Corinthinans 7:2 says, Let each man have his own wife, and each woman have her own husband.”

The verse begins with “to avoid fornication” (or, more accurately translated, “sexual sin”). To determine what sexual sin is, we need to understand what the Bible identifies as sexual sin – and nowhere is polygyny listed as such. Sex between a man and another’s wife, between closely related people, between people of the same gender, between people and animals, between a man and a harlot, etc are sexual sins. Sex within polygynous marriage is not. In a polygynous marriage, each woman has her own husband, even if she shares that husband with another woman. Likewise, the husband has his own wife – each wife being his own.

If it’s okay for a man to have multiple wives, why can’t a woman have multiple husbands?

Because it is expressly forbidden. In Scripture, a woman is condemned for having sex with multiple men, but a man is never condemned for sexual relations with multiple women (unless, of course, he’s one of a woman’s multiple lovers, in which case he is condemned as a whoremonger as per Ephesians 5:5, Hebrews 13:4, I Timothy 1:10, etc). The purpose of polygyny is for (1) the husband to have as many helpmeets as he needs, and (2) observance of the command to “be fruitful and multiply” (Genesis 1:28). Polyandry fulfills neither of these points. It is nothing more than pollution and seed mixing. A man is forbidden to have sex with another man’s wife (Leviticus 18:20), and that is exactly what polyandry would be. Also, in a polyandrous relationship, the woman would have multiple authorities over her, creating a multi-headed monstrosity – unless she were to take up the position of authority in the relationship, which once again would be unscriptural since the woman is to submit to the man. A man can marry multiple women. A woman cannot marry multiple men.

In Deuteronomy 17:14-17, a king was not allowed to increase wives.”

He was also told not to increase gold or horses – does this mean he could only own one gold coin and only one horse? Of course not. God’s warning was against multiplying women lest they turn his heart away. Many of the king’s marriages were political, which would easily lead him to take wives of pagan nations and thus lead him down the path of idolatry. As leader of the people, the king had to be especially careful. Solomon failed to heed the warning. As a result his foreign wives drew him into the worship of false gods (I Kings 11:4) . If the taking of more than one wife were utterly forbidden to kings, then David would have been sinning – and as we saw earlier, God told him if he had wanted more wives, He would have given him more. The commandment probably also sought to guard against extravagant greed, which would necessitate heavy taxation of the people and the taking of more women than the king needed to the loss of other men who were in need of wives.

In Titus 6:1 Paul says a bishop or deacon is supposed to have only one wife.”

Yes. But we aren’t all bishops and deacons, are we? So this can hardly be construed to be a blanket statement for all people everywhere. Also, the translation of this verse may have been affected by the Roman Catholic influences on the English translators. The Greek word translated as “one” (mia) can also be translated as “first” – “husband to his first wife”. A bishop or deacon who has not been compelled to divorce his first wife displays good leadership skills which would be essential to the position of church overseer. He has been able to maintain a healthy and stable household, whether he has only one wife, or multiple wives. This kind of leadership is necessary in shepherding the Lord’s flock.

Polygyny is degrading to women.”

Well, that depends on what position you think women should hold. If you believe the socialist idea of “gender equality” (the approach to which smacks of matriarchy in more than one respect) then you would probably think so. However, if we understand that God placed woman in subjection to man, there is nothing degrading about it whatsoever. In today’s era, many women freely degrade themselves by living in dissipation, without guidance or headship of any kind, with no one to protect or provide for them. Biblically, that is degradation of the highest (or lowest?) order. A woman who finds a home in which she is loved, protected, and guided by a loving husband, even if it is in the company of another wife, has every opportunity to meet the high standards set by the woman of Proverbs 31. Esther was not degraded by marrying the already-married Ahaseurus [19] – in fact, she became a hero in Judahite history. Only if you consider YHWH’s system of authority “degrading” would you ever consider polygyny to be anything of the sort. Indeed, in Isaiah 4:1 we read of the days when God’s rule is fully established. Seven women will take hold of one man, begging him to give them his name and “take away our reproach”. If polygyny is so degrading, then how could it possibly take away reproach?

Polygynous marriages lead to jealousy. Look at Rachel and Leah.”

Take a look around. We live in a monogamous society. If above assertion is accurate, jealousy should be extinct. But it isn’t. Jealousy is going to exist in any society, simply because people will always be people. In Rachel and Leah’s case, Jacob certainly exacerbated the situation by playing favorites between his wives. Of course that sort of treatment will lead to jealousy! In a polygynous marriage, as in any marriage, the parties involved must strive to be understanding and giving of themselves. Jealousy springs from selfishness, which has no place in a marriage. If a husband is treating his wives fairly and equitably there should be no legitimate cause for jealousy of any kind, no more than should exist among multiple siblings of caring parents. Wives have been able to live together harmoniously and as sisters. There is no insurmountable reason why others can’t do the same. If a solid family unit couldn’t be constructed under a polygynous format, God would not have allowed it.

Polygynous societies have more crime, violence, and poverty.”

If that is true, then why are monogamous societies today seeing a steady rise in all three issues? The cause of crime, violence, and poverty is not polygyny, but rather neglect of God’s Law. If polygyny resulted in those things He would never have allowed it. Obedience to His moral Law is key to a secure and prosperous society. Monogamy and polygamy have little to do with it.

Polygyny is patriarchal.”

And patriarchy is exactly what God has in mind for us. “Patriarchy” has only become a dirty word in recent decades thanks to the rise of the “women’s liberation” movement and feminism, which are outright rebellion against the hierarchal system He designed for us. Man was meant to rule. Woman was meant to submit and obey. While politically incorrect, this fact is Scripturally undeniable. The rule of husbands over their wives and of fathers over their daughters is clearly commanded in Scripture. To make that authoritative system out to be evil is to say that man knows better and is more righteous than his Creator. The fight against patriarchy is a distinguishing mark of socialist feminism, which has flourished in countries with legally-enforced monogamy due to the artificially “equal” status such an environment gives women. The rebellion will not stop when men and women are equal. Nature and society abhor a vacuum. When patriarchy is unseated, matriarchy will slip in to fill the void – the precise opposite of what God intends. And what is antithetical to God is sin.


THOUGHTS ON POLYGYNY

While I stand firm on the statement that polygyny is acceptable and right in light of Scripture, it doesn’t mean that I advocate it. Scripture takes a fairly neutral stance on the topic. While it doesn’t command it, it doesn’t condemn it either. I would never rebuke someone in a monogamous marriage, nor someone in a polygynous marriage. I merely hold to the truth as the Bible lays it out. I would, however, add some caveats to those who are in a polygynous marriage or considering it.

Polygyny is not about the sex, as some anti-polygynist voices insist, or as some carnally-minded men might fantasize. As in monogamous marriage, any relationship built solely on sex is doomed. It is a superficial and weak relationship without any substance whatsoever. Marriage is about commitment, which means hard work. The husband must commit to care for his wife, and the wife must commit to submitting to and helping her husband. It is not something to be entered into lightly.

First, a man must consider his current wife, if he is already married. Forcing her into a polygynous marriage against her will is cruel and thoughtless, guaranteed to lead to contention and perhaps even failure. If the wives can live together harmoniously it will spare everyone what would otherwise be misery. Second, can he support another wife, and for the resulting children? Marriage is a major financial responsibility. He should carefully consider his means before taking such a serious step. Third, is he willing to face the negative responses he will almost certainly receive from society, from his family, and from others? He could very well be criticized and even ostracized in modern Western culture, and should be prepared to face it. Fourth, would he be able to provide for the conjugal needs of each wife? Men, on average, have a higher sex drive than women, but eventually he could end up with more women than he can keep up with. If he can’t provide that as per I Corinthians 7:3, then he shouldn’t marry another woman. Solomon, with 700 wives and 300 concubines, obviously failed in that regard. Fifth, but not at all least, he should consider whether entering into polygynous marriage will help or hinder the advancement of the Kingdom. Most people will immediately reject your message if they know you are a polygynist. If, or more accurately, when the day comes in which God’s Law becomes universally recognized as the Law of the land, perhaps then plural marriage will be a non-issue. But until then, practicing polygyny could hinder the spread of the Gospel.

What we can do with this understanding is know that, because polygyny is not a sin, polygynists do not have to repent of it upon conversion. A polygynist can enter the Kingdom without having to get rid of all but one wife, as some missionaries have made their converts do. The heartache that must accompany the disposal of wives is unnecessary. We don’t need to exclude polygynists from Christian fellowship if they have truly obeyed the Biblical plan of salvation. Would we exclude Abraham, Jacob, or David? Of course not! Then why would we turn up our noses at a Christian polygynist? There is no Scriptural reason for doing so, and every reason to welcome him with open arms.

Polygyny is not “the next gay marriage”. “Conservative” Christians who shout that marriage is exclusively designed to be between one man and one woman are quite obviously rejecting the Biblical in favor of the traditional. To fight polygyny as if it is some horrendous sin is to fight against the will of Yahweh God and to distract from the real issues that genuinely deserve our resistance, such as sodomy. Let’s leave the polygynists alone and turn our spiritual weapons on the true perversions.

(Next Article)


[10] “Socially Imposed Universal Monogamy”, or SIUM, is a term coined by Walter Scheidel in his paper, “Monogamy and Polygyny in Greece, Rome, and World History”, published by Stanford University in 2008. Though secular, his objective examination of monogamy and polygyny throughout history sheds great light on the fact that SIUM is a relatively new idea of pagan, rather than divine, origin.

[11] “…and after the usage of Rome, neither to marry in addition, so as to have more than one wife living…” – On the Good of Marriage, 7

[12]Ego sane fateor, me non posse prohibere, si quis plures velit uxores ducere, nec repugnat sacris literis.” – Letter to Chancellor Gregory Brück, January 1524

[13] Commentaries, remarking on Genesis 1:27

[14] The MacArthur Study Bible, p.348

[15] Considering that to “conserve” means to “preserve” (Webster’s 1828 Dictionary), God’s approach to conservativism and the right wing approach to conservativism are drastically different in this case. “Conservative” Christians would be among the first to denounce obedience of the levirate law by a married man to be disgusting and vile.

[16] Yaldabaoth, an accidentally created entity who arrogantly (and, according to Gnostic teaching, falsely) thought he was the only God, and thus told the Israelites, “I am Yahweh, and there is none else, there is no God beside me.” (Isaiah 45:5)

[17] In a January 10, 2011 article in The Toronto Star, entitled, “Reason – Not Religion – Behind Ban on Polygamy, Prof Tells BC Court”, law professor John Witte, Jr is quoted as explaining, “The prohibitions against polygamy are pre-Christian and post Christian in their formulation. … Pre-Christian in that we have these formulations in Greek texts and pre-Christian Roman law…” Later he is quoted to say, “The Greeks and Romans are in many ways the forefathers and foremothers of our Western civilization … We received from them ideas of liberty, ideas of constitutional order, ideas of rights. … It is a fundamental part of who we are as Western people.” In a report on polygamy prepared for the Supreme Court of British Columbia (Vancouver Registery Number S-097767, filed July 19, 2010), Witte says, “The philosophical roots of monogamous marriage lie in ancient Greece and Rome. … These ideas of monogamous marriage entered Roman law already in the centuries before the common era [before Christ], and became axiomatic for the Roman imperial law of the first six centuries of the common era.” It is telling to note that the BC Supreme Court commissioned Witte’s report in order to determine whether banning polygamy would be a Christian action – if so, they were prepared to refrain. When Witte revealed that banning polygamy would be in keeping with classical and humanist ideals, rather than Christian morals, the court ruled against polygamy.

[18] Quoting Scheidel in his paper on monogamy and polygamy: “Pauline Christianity may well have been monogamous because it evolved in a Greco-Roman context and not because of anything that was specific to this movement, let alone its latently polygamous Jewish background.”

[19] Contrary to popular understanding, Vashti was not divorced. Her rank was merely reduced and she was no longer Ahaseurus’ chief wife. Esther was chosen to fill the role which Vashti’s demotion left vacant.

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