It seems that every couple of years, the necessity arises to address one more unsavory issue plaguing the Hebrew Roots Movement, and especially the precious Israelite Identity adherents. The enemy is relentless in trying to turn this group into an esoteric-cum-occultic sect and having everyone in it vilified by virtue of association with those who espouse strange and nonbiblical ideas.
Among all the various questionable forms of beliefs and associations which have sprung up during the past few years, there has been one that many of you are no doubt aware of, and that is polygyny. And so that you will not be mistaken as to what this term means, let me clarify that it is not referring to a general multiple-spouse relationship “polygamy”, but specifically to a multiplicity of wives. One man—several wives!
Do we need to belabor the point that at Creation there was one man and one woman? Is it necessary to quote Scriptures which point out that the sacred union between husband and wife is likened to the Messiah and His Bride? Should we point out that in the New Covenant it states very clearly that he who aspires to be a spiritual leader must be the husband of one wife? Or is there a need to mention that Elohim seemingly tolerated some of the customs of this sinful world, even within His own Israelite community, and did not forbid this kind of union but also never really favored it, pointing out that if one man has two wives, one will be loved but the other hated? (I will elaborate on the above comments in this article).
Nevertheless, even though you are probably quite clear about this matter, and most likely are not in favor of such an arrangement, please let me expound some more on this issue since it has reared its head again in the “House of Joseph/Ephraim”.
In today’s society, polygyny is no longer recognized as a moral issue but a sociological one. However, a man who wishes to have more than one wife and is a believer in the Word of Elohim (the Bible), especially the New Covenant, has very little to stand on as far as justifying himself biblically. I do not condone this practice for the following reasons.
The Creator took only one rib out of Adam’s side, from which He formed one woman to be his companion (wife), so that they would become one flesh. This would be impossible if another person were added to the “equation” or union—even chromosomes come in pairs.
Noah is said to have entered the ark with his sons, Shem, Ham, and Japheth; his wife; and three daughters-in-law. Although YHVH, no doubt, desired to repopulate the earth after the flood, He did not allow Noah and his sons to have two or more wives each in order to hurry up the process.
Abraham had only one wife, and that was Sarah. Hagar was not recognized by YHVH as Abraham’s divinely given mate. Nor was Ishmael recognized as a legitimate son. We know this from what YHVH said to Abraham when instructing him to take Isaac, his “only son” (Genesis 22:2), and give him back to Himself. It was not Abraham’s idea to take Hagar. He did not initiate the relationship. When Abraham did take another wife, it was after Sarah’s departure.
Isaac had only one wife—Rebecca.
Jacob ended up with two wives, not by choice but by trickery, and then proved the veracity of Deuteronomy 21:15—that man is only capable of loving one wife while . . . hating the other. I do not even want to mention what happens when one wife is favored over the other; it is an open door for the spirits of envy, jealousy, resentment, rejection, hatred, murder (with the tongue), etc. Entertaining any of these spirits is sin, which will result in curses and, of course, bad fruit. The following from the Song of Solomon 8:6: “Set me as a seal on your heart, as a seal on your arm. For love is strong as death, jealousy is cruel as Sheol [the bottomless bit]”, points very clearly to jealousy within a love relationship. Thus if a husband really loves his wife, why would he subject her to such potential cruelty? Any spirits coming from the nature and power of sin are cruel and tormenting. One such example is the relationship between Peninnah and Hannah, Elkanah’s wives. Those two are called “rivals,” or in Hebrew, “tzarah”—that is, “trouble, anguish, distress.” They were each other’s “trouble” (1 Sam. 1:4-6). Elkanah loved Hannah more than Peninnah (v. 5), and thus jealousy, strife and contention ensued. We could also mention the conflicts between Hagar and Sarah, and Leah and Rachel.
In Ephesians, Paul addresses husbands, admonishing them to love their wives since it is a testimony of Messiah’s relationship to His bride, not brides. Some claim that the Messiah has two brides—Israel and the Church. If that is the case, then somehow they will have to squeeze into the same wedding dress, “for the marriage of the Lamb has come and His wife has made herself ready” (Rev. 19:7). I don’t see “brides” or “wives” in this Scripture, nor does YHVH add another one on any other occasion. He is very consistent and faithful to the one nation/bride that he betrothed at Sinai. “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Messiah and His ecclesia [or in Hebrew “Kahal”]. Nevertheless let each one of you in particular so love his own wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband” (Eph. 5:31-33).
Cain's progeny, Lamech, was the first to have more than one wife. Esau and Ishmael, had multiple wives, as did many pagan kings and those who could afford to “own” them. In polygynous relationships, women became a commodity and a source of pride and power to the male ego. Some kings would have only one wife, who was given the status of queen, while the other women made up a harem of concubines.
In today’s world, polygamous/polyganous marriages are not seen as a moral issue but rather a sociological problem. There are many secular scholarly studies on the effects such families have on a society. You can check out this article on the internet: https://slate.com/human-interest/2012/01/the-problem-with-polygamy.html. It states, “As marriage historian Stephanie Coontz has pointed out, polygyny is less about sex than it is about power.” Quoting cultural anthropologist Joe Henrich, the article notes that ethnographic surveys of 69 polygamous cultures reveal “no case where co- wife relations could be described as harmonious.” The article further states that “polygynous households foster jealousy and conflict among co-wives.” Polygyny also destabilizes the social and economic norms of a community, which is why nations and states have passed laws against such unions. One report says that monogamous marriage actually reduces crime https://www.nationalreview.com/the-home-front/look-whos-defending-monogamy-glenn-t-stanton/. The biblical idiom and truism that a “thing” is known by its fruit is borne out in the above observations of secular scholars. If evidently even the “wisdom of this world” (1 Cor. 3:19) rejects polygyny, how much more true would that be regarding the “wisdom that is from above” (James 3:17)?!
When the world is calling “evil good, and good evil” (Is. 5:20), and then describes as “marriage” some of the most horrendous combinations—like polyamory (open and multi-partner relations), homosexual, and lesbian relationships—then a man who wants two women to join him in a dual marriage doesn’t sound so bad after all. However, the scriptural definition for adultery is a husband having a relationship with another woman, and the same applies to a wife who has a relationship with a man other than her husband. There is no excuse for a born-again, believing husband to look to marry/take another woman. Not only will this most certainly result in divorce, but worse—it is also committing adultery. A friend pointed out that many times cult leaders tend to surround themselves with multiple wives. I thought this was quite perceptive and also confirmed the power and control issue. However, as mentioned before, even in New Covenant biblical times it was declared that if someone aspired to some kind of leadership position in the body of Messiah, he could not have more than one wife and needed to raise his children in a godly way (see 1 Timothy 3:9-12).
Yes, we are living in a fallen world, where the power of sin has a grip on the human soul. But for a redeemed believer in the blood of the New Covenant, there is no reason, nor justification, for polygyny, polygamy, or any other “poly.” We are to bear witness to principalities and powers in the heavenlies of the righteousness and holiness of our Messiah—qualities that are to be seen in a marriage between one man and one woman. As new creatures with a new heart, being conformed to the image of Messiah by the indwelling Spirit of Elohim, we leave behind us the ways of the world, walking on a restoration path toward the more ideal template which Elohim has set for humanity from the Beginning. “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.” (Genesis 2:24). Yeshua uses the same scripture in both Mathew 19:1-9 and Mark 10:2-12. (Please read both). In Mark’s verse 10 it says: “Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate.” This is exactly what happens when taking a second wife, it breaks YHVH’s ordained union of one man and one woman.
Many people are leery of Covid-19 vaccinations, which may contain unknown and harmful components, potentially altering our DNA. Sin will do the same if it is passed on from generation to generation. The Creator wrote His Word into every living thing, and we need to pay attention to it (the Word) without adjusting or modifying our behavior to accommodate our fleshy desires or carnal instincts.
The word of Elohim tells us that YHVH hates divorce: “YHVH Elohim of Israel says that He hates divorce, for it covers one’s garment with violence” (Malachi 2:16). YHVH’s distain of divorce stems from His hatred of adultery, which is what marriage to two or more wives actually is!
A husband needs to “walk in the light as Yeshua is in the light" (1 John 1:7), and thus his wife will have for her companion a humble servant who undergirds the family in love and treats her as he would his own body. It must be a non-hierarchal relationship, where each lays down their life for the other, until the Spirit washes, cleanses, and purges every vestige of sin.
YHVH is moving in this hour to identify and restore the whole House of Israel, among the nations and here in the Land. But when those who are being drawn by YHVH hear that polygyny is accepted (even if tacitly), they may turn away from the path that YHVH has ordained for them. Let us be bold enough to stand up and declare that this is an intolerable practice in the body of Messiah and in the Hebrew Roots Restoration Movement.