I am always fascinated by some civil laws inside Bible in Old Testament. It seems that there are a lot of laws that treated men and women with different standard especially regarding sex, marriage, and promiscuity.
Female promiscuity inside Old Testament was condemned (Deuteronomy 22: 20-21) and Bible silent about legality of polyandry. Many times God talked through prophets in Old Testament depicting Israel’s idol worship like a prostitute who sleep with men. In contrast, polygamy seems OK for male in Old Testament since it was regulated in Law of Moses (Exodus 21: 10; Deuteronomy 21: 15-17) and God said He gave David all king Saul’s wives (2 Samuel 12: 7-8). And even in New Testament, several times Lord Jesus used polygamy for illustration of relationship between Himself and the church (Matthew 25: 1-13).
There are some objections for polygamy. For example, many say that polygamy is a form of adultery, it beg a question: If polygamy is a form of adultery then why the penalty for adulterer is stoning (Deuteronomy 22: 22) whereas polygamy was regulated? Then, there is also argument that since in the beginning, God created one male and one female then the ideal marriage is supposed to be monogamy. But then if we want to make today’s marriage like marriage before fall then we also need to become vegetarians and walking around naked. But strangely, no monogamy proponents who is also advocate of public nudity or vegetarianism.
For those verses in Old and New Testament, I am convinced that polygamy is still legal for Christians today although I think it is difficult to do and need extra precaution (It is difficult enough to feed one wife in this modern time, even more for multiple wives!) and I would not recommend it for social reason.
But then how about polyandry? What is the reason that polygamy is legal while polyandry is not even mentioned or probably illegal? It is a mystery to me until I saw the comment on a blog about this topic.
One man said it got something to do with tracking of children’s parents. When one man has multiple wives and each of man’s wife got pregnant, the father and mother for each children can be known. Reverse the gender, and the thing become complicated. If father of a child is unknown, it will raise difficulty on who is supposed to raise a child and later will cause problem when determining inheritance.
In addition, men usually want to have children. If a women has 4 husbands and each of her husband want 2 children, she need to get pregnant and raise 8 children. Unless she can somehow get house-husbands who are willing to take care of her children, it will be very hectic for her.
The third reason why polygamous men are more respected than polygamous women is related to difficulty in getting multiple partners. Traditionally, in order for a guy to be able to attract many women, he needs to be either strong, intelligent, rich or powerful person. Those attributes need to be obtained by a lot of efforts. In contrast, for a women to attract many men, the only thing she needs is beautiful face or sexy body and…..ahem, seductive attitude.
I will surely raise many comments and critiques by this post. However, most of these reasons are not my original opinion and feel free to speak your mind.