There are many cases of polygamy in the Bible, and here we gathered the main examples of such form of family life from the Scripture. Read on and see the verses that describe men with several wives in these times. Was it considered a sin?
Examples of polygamy in the Bible
Maybe it will be surprising for someone, but there are many examples of polygamy in the Bible verses. And here we gathered the main cases described in the Bible when a man had more than one wife. Let’s see the list:
And after him Abdon the son of Hillel, a Pirathonite, judged Israel. And he had forty sons and thirty nephews, that rode on threescore and he judged Israel eight years. — Judges 12:13–14, King James Version
Here we don't have direct notion that Abdon had many wives, but the number of his kids can be considered as the evidence of his polygamy. We also don’t see any negative remarks related to Abdon’s relationships.
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But Abijah waxed mighty, and married fourteen wives, and begat twenty and two sons, and sixteen daughters. — 2 Chronicles 13:21, King James Version
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- Abram or Abraham
Now Sarai Abram’s wife bares him no children: and she had a handmaid, an Egyptian, whose name was Hagar. And Sarai said unto Abram, Behold now, the Lord hath restrained me from bearing: I pray thee, go in unto my maid; it may be that I may obtain children by her. And Abram hearkened to the voice of Sarai. And Sarai Abram’s wife took Hagar her maid the Egyptian, after Abram had dwelt ten years in the land of Canaan, and gave her to her husband Abram to be his wife. — Genesis 16:1–3, King James Version
Then again Abraham took a wife, and her name was Keturah. — Genesis 25:1, King James Version
According to the scripture Abraham had at least three wives.
And Ben-hadad the king of Syria gathered all his host together: and there were thirty and two kings with him, and horses, and chariots: and he went up and besieged Samaria, and warred against it. And he sent messengers to Ahab king of Israel into the city, and said unto him, Thus saith Ben-hadad, Thy silver and thy gold is mine; thy wives also and thy children, even the goodliest, are mine. — 1 Kings 20:1–3, King James Version
And Ashur the father of Tekoa had two wives, Helah and Naarah. — 1 Chronicles 4:5, King James Version
It is a straightforward example, and again we do not see any reproaches in the Bible regarding Ashur ‘s polygamy.
Belshazzar, while he tasted the wine, commanded to bring the golden and silver vessels which his father Nebuchadnezzar had taken out of the temple which was in Jerusalem; that the king, and his princes, his wives, and his concubines, might drink therein. — Daniel 5:2, King James Version
And Caleb the son of Hezron begat children of Azubah his wife, and of Jerioth: her sons arethese; Jesher, and Shobab, and Ardon. And when Azubah was dad, Caleb took unto him Ephrath, which bare him Hur. — 1 Chronicles 2:18–19, King James Version
And Ephah, Caleb’s concubine, bare Haran, and Moza, and Gazez: and Haran begat Gazez. — 1 Chronicles 2:46, King James Version
Maachah, Caleb’s concubine, bare Sheber, and Tirhanah. — 1 Chronicles 2:48, King James Version
As we see Caleb had wives plus some concubines.
Wherefore David arose and went, he and his men, and slew of the Philistines two hundred men; and David brought their foreskins and they gave them in full tale to the king, that he might be the king’s son in law. And Saul gave him Michal his daughter to wife. — 1 Samuel 18:27, King James Version
And when David heard that Nabal was dead, he said, Blessed be the Lord, that hath pleaded the cause of my reproach from the hand of Nabal, and hath kept his servant from evil: for the Lord hath returned the wickedness of Nabal upon his own head. And David sent and communed with Abigail, to take her to him to wife. — 1 Samuel 25:39, King James Version
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David also took Ahinoam of Jezreel; and they were also both of them his wives. — 1 Samuel 25:42, King James Version
And the sixth, Ithream, by Eglah David’s wife. These were born to David in Hebron. — 2 Samuel 3:5, King James Version
And David took him more concubines and wives out of Jerusalem, after he was come from Hebron: and there were yet sons and daughters born to David. — 2 Samuel 5:13, King James Version
And Nathan said to David, Thou art the man. Thus saith the Lord God of Israel, I anointed thee king over Israel, and I delivered thee out of the hand of Saul; 8And I gave thee thy master’s house, and thy master’s wives into thy bosom, and gave thee the house of Israel and of Judah; and if that had been too little, I would moreover have given unto thee such and such things. — 2 Samuel 12:7–8, King James Version
And David comforted Bathsheba his wife, and went in unto her, and lay with her: and she bare a son, and he called his name Solomon: and the Lord loved him. — 2 Samuel 12:24, King James Version
We don’t see any words in the Scripture that polygamy of David was considered as a sin.
And the sons of Eliphaz were Teman, Omar, Zepho, and Gatam, and Kenaz. And Timna was concubine to Eliphaz Esau’s son; and she bare to Eliphaz Amalek: these were the sons of Adah Esau’s wife. — Genesis 36:11–12, King James Version
Now there was a certain man of Ramathaim-zophim, of mount Ephraim, and his name was Elkanah, the son of Jeroham, the son of Elihu, the son of Tohu, the son of Zuph, an Ephrathite: And he had two wives; the name of the one was Hannah, and the name of the other Peninnah: and Peninnah had children, but Hannah had no children. — 1 Samuel 1:1–2, King James Version
And Esau was forty years old when he took to wife Judith the daughter of Beeri the Hittite, and Bashemath the daughter of Elon the Hittite. — Genesis 26:34, King James Version
And the sons of Ezra were, Jether, and Mered, and Epher, and Jalon: and she bare Miriam, and Shammai, and Ishbah the father of Eshtemoa. And his wife Jehudijah bare Jered the father of Gedor, and Heber the father of Socho, and Jekuthiel the father of Zanoah. And these are the sons of Bithiah the daughter of Pharaoh, which Mered took. — 1 Chronicles 4:17–18, King James Version
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And Gideon had threescore and ten sons of his body begotten: for he had many wives. — Judges 8:30, King James Version
It is hard to say when did polygamy start in the Bible, we can see the first examples of such model of family life since verses of Old Testament. There were notions about over 40 important figures who had more than one wife. Today polygamy and Christianity are considered as a separate or even opposite practices.
This attitude to polygamy was developed mostly because of the verses from the New Testament, that is why today most Christians don't practice polygamy.
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