A big political controversy in the United States is the issue of “homosexual marriage.” The map below shows various state policies on this topic. The states in red currently have bans on homosexual marriage written into their constitutions either originally or via amendments.
In this post I want to address one of the big arguments I hear about why homosexual marriage is against God’s will: “God intended marriage to be between one man and one woman.” I want to play a little game I like called “what does the Bible actually say?” Let us take a look at many examples of God-sanctioned marriages in the Bible that are not “one man, one woman.”
Genesis 16:1 Now Sarai, Abram’s wife, had borne him no children. But she had an Egyptian slave named Hagar; 2 so she said to Abram, “The Lord has kept me from having children. Go, sleep with my slave; perhaps I can build a family through her.” Abram agreed to what Sarai said. 3 So after Abram had been living in Canaan ten years, Sarai his wife took her Egyptian slave Hagar and gave her to her husband to be his wife. 4 He slept with Hagar, and she conceived.
God, in verses 7 through 15, shows no indication that there is anything improper about what Abram has done by marrying more than one woman. God even appears to Abram 13 years later (at which time he renames “Abram” to “Abraham” and “Sarai” to “Sarah”) and causes Sarah to become pregnant (Genesis 17:15-22). Nowhere does God indicate that Abraham did anything wrong by marrying two wives and impregnating the second wife.
In Exodus 21 verses 7 through 10 the Bible specifically talks about a man marrying more than one wife and gives some requirements for doing so. If a man marries multiple wives, he must still provide all of his wives with “food, clothing, and marital rights (for the sheltered, that means ‘the sexy time’).”
Exodus 21:7 “If a man sells his daughter as a servant, she is not to go free as menservants do. 8 If she does not please the master who has selected her for himself, he must let her be redeemed. He has no right to sell her to foreigners, because he has broken faith with her. 9 If he selects her for his son, he must grant her the rights of a daughter. 10 If he marries another woman, he must not deprive the first one of her food, clothing and marital rights.
2 Samuel 5:13 After he left Hebron, David took more concubines and wives in Jerusalem, and more sons and daughters were born to him. 14 These are the names of the children born to him there: Shammua, Shobab, Nathan, Solomon, 15 Ibhar, Elishua, Nepheg, Japhia, 16 Elishama, Eliada and Eliphelet.
In 1 Chronicles Chapter 3 verses 1 through 9 there is a list of some of David’s children and the wives they are from. Note that these are not wives married after the previous had died. These are wives David, anointed by God, had at one time!
1 Chronicles 3:1 These were the sons of David born to him in Hebron: The firstborn was Amnon the son of Ahinoam of Jezreel; the second, Daniel the son of Abigail of Carmel; 2 the third, Absalom the son of Maacah daughter of Talmai king of Geshur; the fourth, Adonijah the son of Haggith; 3 the fifth, Shephatiah the son of Abital; and the sixth, Ithream, by his wife Eglah. 4 These six were born to David in Hebron, where he reigned seven years and six months. David reigned in Jerusalem thirty-three years, 5 and these were the children born to him there: Shammua, Shobab, Nathan and Solomon. These four were by Bathsheba daughter of Ammiel. 6 There were also Ibhar, Elishua, Eliphelet, 7 Nogah, Nepheg, Japhia, 8 Elishama, Eliada and Eliphelet—nine in all. 9 All these were the sons of David, besides his sons by his concubines. And Tamar was their sister.
One last reference to King David and his multiple wives is 1 Chronicles 14 verses 3 through 7.
1 Chronicles 14:3 In Jerusalem David took more wives and became the father of more sons and daughters. 4 These are the names of the children born to him there: Shammua, Shobab, Nathan, Solomon, 5 Ibhar, Elishua, Elpelet, 6 Nogah, Nepheg, Japhia, 7 Elishama, Beeliada and Eliphelet.
To be honest, I had never really heard of Rehoboam before creating this article. He was, according to the Bible, the husband of David’s son’s daughter “Mahalath.” 2 Chronicles Chapter 11 verses 18 through 21 talk about him and his multiple wives and concubines.
2 Chronicles 11:18 Rehoboam married Mahalath, who was the daughter of David’s son Jerimoth and of Abihail, the daughter of Jesse’s son Eliab. 19 She bore him sons: Jeush, Shemariah and Zaham. 20 Then he married Maakah daughter of Absalom, who bore him Abijah, Attai, Ziza and Shelomith. 21 Rehoboam loved Maakah daughter of Absalom more than any of his other wives and concubines. In all, he had eighteen wives and sixty concubines, twenty-eight sons and sixty daughters.
My last example of polygamy in the Bible is of King Solomon. In 1 Kings Chapter 11 verses verses 1 through 3 talks about King Solomon’s 700 wives and 300 concubines. Granted, it does also talk about how these women led him astray from God. NOTE though that this being led astray from God is contributed to his wives being foreign. Nothing is ever mentioned that God cares that he married many women, only that he was lead astray by the foreigners.
1 Kings 11:1 King Solomon, however, loved many foreign women besides Pharaoh’s daughter—Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Sidonians and Hittites. 2 They were from nations about which the Lord had told the Israelites, “You must not intermarry with them, because they will surely turn your hearts after their gods.” Nevertheless, Solomon held fast to them in love. 3 He had seven hundred wives of royal birth and three hundred concubines, and his wives led him astray.
Now, in the interest of full disclosure, the Bible does mention 1 time about marrying only one wife. This only applied to deacons in the New Testament (1 Timothy 3). Seriously though, unless you are wishing to become a deacon in a Christian church, there is nothing in the Bible saying that marriage “is between ONE man and ONE woman” for you!
To conclude, there are plenty of other arguments I am sure those against homosexual marriage can fabricate as to why it shouldn’t happen (not that I believe I will find any of them legitimate) but stating that “God intended marriage to be between ONE man and ONE woman” shows ignorance about the very book on which you are trying to base your argument!