The Old Testament does not condone polygamy!

polygamy

While I was reading an NPR article entitled: Same Bible, Different Verdict On Gay Marriage I ran across a claim that I have encountered one to many times and that has galvanized me into responding with this blog entry. An excerpt from the article states:

LaBerge resigned her post as minister in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) after the denomination voted last year to ordain non-celibate gay clergy. She says the Bible is clear.

“From the Old Testament and throughout the New Testament, the only sexual relationships that are affirmed in scripture are those in the context of marriage between one man and one woman,” she says.

Actually, the Old Testament does condone polygamy. Still, LaBerge says, from Leviticus to Paul’s writings in Romans and First Corinthians, homosexual acts are called vile and detestable, and legalizing same-sex relationships does not change the sin.

As the author (Barbara Bradley Hagerty) interjects the phrase: “Actually, the Old Testament does condone polygamy,” I am left thinking to myself, Really? Where in the Old Testament is the reader told that God allows polygamy? In Hagerty’s defense, one will undoubtedly find many theologians who utter the same claim without hesitation [7]; but this observation in and of itself does not constitute a proof. To be sure, there are several accounts of Old Testament men who had multiple wives (Genesis 16:3; 25:6; 1 Samuel 1:1-2; 2 Samuel 5:13; Judges 8:30; 2 Chronicles 11:21; 13:21; 1 Kings 11:3 etc.) but then there are also several accounts of Old Testament men who worshiped idols (1 Kings 11:5, 1 Kings 16:30-31, 2 Kings 21:1-3, Judges 2:11-13, Hosea 13:2 etc.), yet no one in their right mind would claim that the Old Testament condones idol worshiping. The mere existence of polygamous unions in the Old Testament Scriptures is not a rational basis for assuming or concluding that God condoned the practice.

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