If God is opposed to polygamy, why does 2 Samuel 12:8 say that God gave David wives?
00:00 Is God pro-polygamy? Let's talk about that.
00:09 If God is opposed to polygamy, then why does 2 Samuel 12:8 say that God gave David wives?
00:14 Now, I do believe God is opposed to polygamy.
00:17 In fact, in Genesis 2:24, God's creation account indicates that God intended for one man to marry
00:23 one woman, and become one flesh for one lifetime.
00:26 In fact, Jesus even quotes that definition in Matthew 19 and upholds it as valid.
00:31 And in fact, then He adds his own commentary by claiming
00:34 that monogamous marriage is a God-ordained institution.
00:37 But now, if you read the Old Testament, you'll see polygamy practiced by patriarchs, and
00:41 of course, many Israelite kings.
00:43 Remember though, that many parts of Scripture are descriptive, not prescriptive.
00:49 And the Bible often records what happened, not necessarily what should happen.
00:53 Still, it appears God allowed polygamy to occur.
00:56 Now, I think this is true, but I believe that God tolerated polygamy, but never condoned it.
01:02 And the same could be said of divorce.
01:04 God never intended married couples to divorce, but He tolerated it.
01:07 In fact, Jesus even says in Matthew 19:8 that divorce was permitted because of the hardness
01:12 of the hearts of men.
01:14 And yet He also clearly reminds the pharisees that divorce was never intended by God from
01:19 the beginning.
01:20 So, what are we to make then when the Bible says God gave David his master's wives?
01:25 Well first of all, Deuteronomy 17:17 forbids kings from marrying more than one wife, so
01:30 it doesn't make sense that God would give that clear prohibition and then give David
01:35 multiple wives.
01:37 Furthermore, in Leviticus 18:17, it forbids marrying a woman and her daughter, so that
01:43 would also be odd for God to give David Saul's wife, who was his mother-in-law.
01:48 Now second of all, as Paul Copan points out in his book, "Is God a Moral Monster?", the
01:53 same word "gave" where God gave David these wives, is used in 2 Samuel 12:11 when God
02:00 took David's wives and gave them over to his wicked son Absolom.
02:04 Now we wouldn't say that God approves of polygamy because of this punishment.
02:08 Third, notice that the text doesn't say God gave David these wives to marry, but that
02:13 God gave David your master's house and your master's wives into your care.
02:17 In other words, it's possible that he didn't marry them, but was simply responsible for
02:22 caring for Saul's estate and household after his death.
02:26 This, by the way, would often occur during the Old Testament era.
02:29 A king would inherit the previous ruler's house and especially the widows and the orphans
02:35 if the ruler had died.
02:37 And David would have been expected to extend his protection to Saul's family, including
02:42 his harem.
02:43 In fact, we even see eight chapters later where David takes his concubines and puts
02:48 them in a house under guard, and the text even says he provided for them but had no
02:53 sexual relations with them.
02:56 So, God is opposed to polygamy, and it doesn't seem that the 2 Samuel passage does anything
03:01 to undermine that view.