I have a question about marriage, I have been reading up on Samuel and David and Saul and it seems to me that God allowed David to marry more than one wife. Why is this so when we think that God does not condemn this and says that you can only have one wife or husband and that if you have more than one that this is adultery? David seemed to be allowed to have more than one….
Answer: Good question. I believe this falls into the same category as divorce in the Old Covenant. We know God hates divorce, yet, as Jesus said, he allowed the Jews the option of a very limited, controlled divorce, not because he supports divorce, but because of the hard hearts of the Jews (Matthew 19:8).
God definitely does not support a man taking more than one wife. I suppose God hates divorce at least as much as he hates a man having more than one wife–probably more, yet he made allowances because of the hard hearts of the Jews and because of a strongly ingrained culture. I assume that this is the explanation of God’s allowing David more than one wife. Notice, there is literally zero provision for polygamy in the Old covenant (note: Deuteronomy 21:15-17 mentions a polygamous situation, without recommending it, but legislating fair treatment of the plural wife). Even if God did not specifically condemn the practice, every example we have in the Old Testament ended very badly. The message is clear. God did not say it is OK, but it was not expressly condemned. Nevertheless, Jesus made it clear what God’s intent was all along. The two will become one flesh. The Christian is not permitted to take more than one wife.
I am curious. Where is the passage you are quoting that God said more than one wife is adultery? I am not saying that this is not true, but I do not know of a passage which says having more than one wife is adultery. Having sex with someone you are not married with when you are married is adultery. I want to be careful, so I personally would not call David an adulterer. Well….. actually he clearly committed adultery with Bathsheba. Anyway, I would appreciate if you could clear this up, as I know of no passage which says this practice is adultery.