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Are Multiple Wives Righteous?

Recap of Understanding Divorce

  • The Lord Yache, gave commandments in the Gospel concerning divorce explaining the proper grounds for divorce according the original law [Gen 2:23] in order to abolish the contrary precept that Moses gave for divorce, due to the hardness of the hearts of the Israelites.[Matt 19:7-8] Based on the edification on the understanding of divorce, the grounds for divorce are:

    1. A believer is free to divorce and marry another in the Lord, [I Co 7:39] if the unbelieving spouse commits fornication or adultery. [Matt 19:9; Mark 10:12]]

    2. A believer must not live with a believing spouse if the spouse is detected in adultery [Shepherd of Hermas Mandate 4] or fornication. [Matt 19:9; Mark 10:11-12]  The believer must remain alone to give the spouse at fault an opportunity to repent and return. There is one opportunity of repentance from adultery for a believing spouse and if they continue in their fornication, then the believer is free to divorce them and marry another, only in the Lord. [Shepherd of Hermas Mandate 4; I Co 7:39]

    3. If a spouse dies, the living spouse is free to marry another, only in the Lord [I Co 7:39] and it is not adultery though he/she is married to another in this case. [Rom 7:2-3]

    4. If a man take a wife of the virgins of Israel and goes in unto her, and hates her, and brings up an evil name upon her saying she was not a virgin and the occasion of speech against her be false, she shall be his wife and he may not put her away all his days. [Deu 22:13-19]

    5. A woman who is a bondwoman (maid-wife) is free to return to her family if her husband is not providing the 3 provisions of a marriage: food, raiment, and duty of marriage. [Exo 21:10-11] She may be given in marriage to a man of understanding after she goes out free. [Sir 7:25]

  • Please visit the tab on Understanding Divorce for further in depth edification:

Understanding Multiple Wives

  • By understanding the lawful grounds for divorce, we can understand if multiple wives are lawful. If a wife did not commit fornication, he cannot "put her away" and marry another. If a faithful wife falls into adultery, he may not live with her and abides alone for the sake of her one opportunity of repentance and cannot marry another unless she will not repent of her fornication. Those are grounds for prohibiting multiple wives based on the law and testimonies. On the other hand, a man who has not put his wife away unlawfully can marry another wife just as Abraham who was married to Sarah and received another wife uprightly in the sight of Alahayim. Jacob also received other wives from Alahayim having not put away his first wife to marry another. In the law, multiple wives isn't unlawful because there are laws to ensure a man deals justly in respect of his wives as well: 

Deu 21:15

If a man have two wives, one beloved, and another hated, and they have born him children, both the beloved and the hated; and if the firstborn son be hers that was hated:

Deu 21:16

Then it shall be, when he maketh his sons to inherit that which he hath, that he may not make the son of the beloved firstborn before the son of the hated, which is indeed the firstborn:
Deu 21:17

But he shall acknowledge the son of the hated for the firstborn, by giving him a double portion of all that he hath: for he is the beginning of his strength; the right of the firstborn is his.

  • Also the ordinances of the Apostles from the Lord helps ensure a man provides for his household and no one commits fornication:

1Ti 5:8  

But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.

1 Cor 7:2  

Nevertheless, to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband.

  • A man's wife is his "own" bones and flesh, so he cannot commit fornication with her even if he has more than one because they are his wives and not another man's wife or wives. A woman commits fornication by having someone that is not her own husband. Each wife a man has is one flesh with him and he is their husband, but he would be in sin if he lay with them simultaneously or in the same day, which is prohibited by the law. Also, each wife is one flesh with her husband, so she cannot commit fornication with her "own" husband because she is his wife also, though he may have another wife as well just as Hagar did not commit fornication with Abraham because he was her husband too, not just Sarah's. The testimonies show a woman commits adultery by sleeping with a stranger that is not her husband:

Eze 16:32  

But as a wife that committeth adultery, which taketh strangers instead of her husband!

  • On the other hand, Rachel and Leah were not in adultery when the two of them built up the house of Israel with their one husband, Jacob:

Rth 4:11  

And all the people that were in the gate, and the elders, said, We are witnesses. The LORD make the woman that is come into thine house like Rachel and like Leah, which two did build the house of Israel: and do thou worthily in Ephratah, and be famous in Bethlehem:

  • Through the testimonies and the law, in marriages, a wife isn't in fornication if she isn't sleeping with a stranger that is not her husband and a husband isn't in fornication if he isn't sleeping with someone else's wife or a strange woman that is not his wife. [Pro 5:20; Pro 23:27] As for example, Abraham sinned not by having multiple wives in righteousness.

Jubilees 23:10

10. For Abraham was perfect in all his deeds with Ahayah, and well pleasing in righteousness all the days of his life;

  • Ahayah Alahayim ordains a wife or wives for each man as he also offered David more wives if he wanted them but it is a sin to take another man's wife by evidence of David sinning for taking another man's wife:

2Sa 12:8

And I gave thee thy master's house, and thy master's wives into thy bosom, and gave thee the house of Israel and of Judah; and if that had been too little, I would moreover have given unto thee such and such things.

2Sa 12:9

Wherefore hast thou despised the commandment of AHAYAH, to do evil in his sight? thou hast killed Uriah the Hittite with the sword, and hast taken his wife to be thy wife, and hast slain him with the sword of the children of Ammon.

  • The evil was accounted for killing Uriah and committing adultery by laying with another man's wife. It is also not upright to add wives unto one's self for lusts sake in abuse of power because it would cause one's heart to turn away from Alahayim as Solomon's did:

Deu 17:17  

Neither shall he multiply wives to himself, that his heart turn not away: 

  • The upright man doesn't take a wife for lust but does it uprightly focusing on his labors in good works, study and his business affairs until Ahayah gives him a wife or wives according to His will:

Testament of Reuben 4:1

Pay no heed, therefore, my children, to the beauty of women, nor set your mind on their affairs; but walk in singleness of heart in the fear of the Lord, and expend labour on good works, and on study and on your flocks, until the Lord give you a wife, whom He will, that ye suffer not as I did.

Tob 8:7  

And now, O Lord, I take not this my sister for lust but uprightly: therefore mercifully ordain that we may become aged together.

Examples of multiple wives in the Law and Testimony:

  • Abraham, the father of the covenants of promise.

Gen 16:3

And Sarai Abram's wife took Hagar her maid the Egyptian, after Abram had dwelt ten years in the land of Canaan, and gave her to her husband Abram to be his wife.

  • Jacob with 4 wives, of whom came the 12 tribes of Israel. According to the testimonies, the house of Israel, was built by his two wives.{Ruth 4:11; Gen 30:4,9}

Rth 4:11  

And all the people that were in the gate, and the elders, said, We are witnesses. The LORD make the woman that is come into thine house like Rachel and like Leah, which two did build the house of Israel: and do thou worthily in Ephratah, and be famous in Bethlehem:

Gen 30:4  

And she gave him Bilhah her handmaid to wife: and Jacob went in unto her.

Gen 30:9  

When Leah saw that she had left bearing, she took Zilpah her maid, and gave her Jacob to wife.

  • The Patriarchs had multiple wives:

    1. Simeon, 3 wives, Dinah, Bunah the Canaanite, & A third wife of Mesopotamia {​Jasher 45:2-3; Jubilees 34:21}

    2. Benjamin 2 wives, Mechalia & Aribath {Jasher 45:21-22}

    3. Manasseh, 2 wives, his wife and maid-wife, the Aramitess {1 Ch 7:14}

  • Christ's lineage according to the flesh stems from multiple wives. 

  1. Hezron, son of Pharez, son of Judah, son of Jacob (multiple wives) {I Chron 2:9,21,24}

  2. Jerahmeel, 1st son of Hezron, son of Pharez, son of Judah, had multiple wives {I Chron 2:25-26}

  3. Caleb, 3rd son of Hezron, son of Pharez, son of Judah (4 wives) {1Ch 2:18-19,46-48}

New Testament Edification on Multiple Wives

  • In the New Testament, multiple wives was still common by evidence of there needing to be a regulation for the Bishops and Deacons to be the husbands of one wife because anyone who had more than one wife or no wife at all could not take on those positions in the ministry specifically. This ordinance did not restrict Apostles, prophets, teachers, and disciples from not marrying at all or having multiple wives.

1Co 12:28  

And Alahayim hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues.

  • The bishops and deacons are the positions of governments in the church. They must be men that have one wife:

1Ti 3:1  

This is a true saying, If a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work.

1Ti 3:2  

A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach;

1Ti 3:12  

Let the deacons be the husbands of one wife, ruling their children and their own houses well.

  • Those of other offices in the church do not have an ordinance to be the husband of one wife, so they may remain unmarried or marry a wife or wives as Alahayim appoints unto them.

  • From the beginning, men are appointed wives of Alahayim {Tob 6:17} for companionship, {Gen 2:18} bearing children, {Gen 1:22} and preserving of the woman {Tob 6:17} as the husband is the saviour of the body. {Eph 5:23} 

Understanding the Law

Genesis 2:23-24
[23]And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because

she was taken out of Man.
[24]Therefore shall a man
leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.

  • Yache said "what therefore Alahayim hath joined together, let no man put asunder "[Matt 19:6] so when married, a man's wife is now his own body by Alahayim joining them together. One can confirm a man's wife is actually his flesh by the fact that divorcing her is cutting her off from his flesh:

Sir 25:26  

If she go not as thou wouldest have her, cut her off from thy flesh, and give her a bill of divorce, and let her go.

  •  A man's wife is referred to as "his nakedness" because seeing her nakedness is no different than looking at the man's nakedness since she is one flesh with her husband. 

Lev 18:16  

Thou shalt not uncover the nakedness of thy brother's wife: it is thy brother's nakedness.

  • A man's wife, being his flesh, is brought under "his skirt" in marriage because she is her husband's body and he is her covering. Ruth asked Boaz to spread his skirt over her, which meant to take her as his wife, to confirm a woman being under a man's skirt means she is his wife and his bones and flesh:

Ruth 3:9 

And he said, Who art thou? and she answered, I am Ruth thine handmaid: spread therefore thy skirt over thine handmaid; for thou art a near kinsman.

  • If someone lies with another man's wife, the person is uncovering the skirt of her husband because she is his flesh. This is the case for each wife a man receives according to the testimonies, not just the first wife by evidence of Bilhah, Jacob's 3rd wife being under his skirt as well: 

Gen 30:4  

And she gave him Bilhah her handmaid to wife: and Jacob went in unto her.

Jubilees 33:8, 12

8. And Jacob was exceedingly wroth with Reuben because he had lain with Bilhah, because he had uncovered his father's skirt

12. And again, it is written a second time: "Cursed he be who lieth with the wife of his father, for he hath uncovered his father's shame"; and all the holy ones of Ahayah said "So be it; so be it."

  • Through precept, any wife a man has is his nakedness {Lev 18:8} and she is also his shame, {Jubilees 38:12} covered under his skirt. The law states, "a man shall leave his father and his mother" to cleave to his wife and Christ said "what Alahayim has joined let no man put asunder." In scripture, believing men who receive another wife also stay married to the first wife he already had like Jacob and Abraham to avoid sinning against their wives and Alahayim. There is no transgression for taking another wife if one is still married with one's first wife because it is not fornication or adultery by law.

Understanding Adultery

Pro 6:32  

But whoso committeth adultery with a woman lacketh understanding: he that doeth it destroyeth his own soul.

Pro 6:33  

A wound and dishonour shall he get; and his reproach shall not be wiped away.

  • The ways a man who lacks understanding can commit adultery are as follows:

Mat 5:27  

Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery:
Mat 5:28  

But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.

Mat 19:9  

And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery. ​

Lev 20:10  

And the man that committeth adultery with another man's wife, even he that committeth adultery with his neighbour's wife, the adulterer and the adulteress shall surely be put to death.

  • A man can commit adultery by:

  1. looking at a woman who is not his wife to lust after her {Matt 5:27-28}

  2. Marrying another woman after divorcing his wife who did not commit fornication against him. {Matt 19:9}

  3. Not abiding alone to give his believing wife who committed adultery one opportunity to repent and marrying another.{Hermas Mandate 4}

  4. Departing from an unbelieving wife who was not pleased to dwell with him but didn't commit fornication to marry another woman. {I Co 7:10-16; Matt 19:9}

  5. Sleeping with another man's wife. {Lev 20:10}

  •  A woman can commit adultery by sleeping with a stranger that is not her husband.

Eze 16:32  

But as a wife that committeth adultery, which taketh strangers instead of her husband! 

Sirach 23:22-23

[22]Thus shall it go also with the wife that leaveth her husband, and bringeth in an heir by another.

[23]For first, she hath disobeyed the law of the most High; and secondly, she hath trespassed against her own husband; and thirdly, she hath played the whore in adultery, and brought children by another man.

Understanding Fornication

  • The spirit of fornication is seated in the senses from youth:

Testament of Rueben 2:3

First, the spirit of fornication is seated in the nature and in the senses

  • The spirit of fornication also leads a woman to plot against a man to deceive his mind by outward attractions unto fornication and it causes a woman to lust after a man in her mind who is not her husband: 

Testament of Reuben 5:2-7

For moreover, concerning them, the angel of the Lord told me, and taught me, that women are overcome by the spirit of fornication more than men, and in their heart they plot against men; and by means of their adornment they deceive first their minds, and by the glance of the eye instill the poison, and then through the accomplished 4 act they take them captive. For a woman cannot force a man openly, but by a harlot’s 5 bearing she beguiles him. Flee, therefore, fornication, my children, and command your wives and your daughters, that they adorn not their heads and faces to deceive the mind: because every woman 6 who useth these wiles hath been reserved for eternal punishment. For thus they allured the Watchers who were before the flood; for as these continually beheld them, they lusted after them, and they conceived the act in their mind; for they changed themselves into the shape of men, and 7 appeared to them when they were with their husbands. And the women lusting in their minds after their forms, gave birth to giants, for the Watchers appeared to them as reaching even unto heaven. 

Sir 26:9  

The whoredom of a woman may be known in her haughty looks and eyelids.

  • A woman can be in the spirit of fornication for:

  1. plotting against a man in her heart to turn him unto fornication by means of outward attractions

  2. Lusting after a man in her mind that is not her husband.

  • A man led by fornication leads himself to the fire:

Ecclesiasticus 23:16
[16]Two sorts of men multiply sin, and the third will bring wrath: a hot mind is as a burning fire, it will never
be quenched till it be consumed: a fornicator in the body of his flesh will never cease till he hath kindled a

  • Fornication causes whomever is under Her dominion to sin against their own body:

1 Corinthians 6:18
[18]Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication
sinneth against his own body.

  • (As we know, a wife is the body of the man, so if a man commits fornication, he also sins against his wife, because she is his flesh and bones. On the other hand, a man cannot commit fornication by laying with his own wife, which is his flesh nor can a woman commit fornication by laying with her own husband as Leah and Rachel were not fornicators when they slept with their own husband, Jacob, at their respective times. 

1Co 7:2  

Nevertheless, to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband.



Understanding the Abominations that Defile 

Lev 18:24  

Defile not ye yourselves in any of these things: for in all these the nations are defiled which I cast out before you:
Lev 18:27  

(For all these abominations have the men of the land done, which were before you, and the land is defiled;)

  • These abominations defile us and the land according to testimonies: 

  1. A man sleeping with another man's wife.[Lev 20:10; Duet 22:22-23]

  2. A wife sleeping with a stranger that is not her husband [Eze 16:32]

  3. The approaching to any that is near kin, to uncover their nakedness [Lev 18:6]

  4. A man uncovering the nakedness of his father or mother [Lev 18:7]

  5. A man that lies with his mother in law [Deut 27:23]

  6. Uncovering the nakedness of your father's wife. Even though she isn't your mother, she is your father's nakedness [Lev 18:8] 

  7. Uncovering the nakedness of one's sister, born of either of one's parents [Lev 18:9,11]

  8. This is a wicked thing for brother and sister to see each other's nakedness [Lev 20:17]

  9. A man cannot uncover the nakedness of his granddaughters because they are his own nakedness. [Lev 18:10]

  10. A man cannot uncover the nakedness of his daughter in-law because it is confusion. [Lev 18:15; 20:12]

  11. A man cannot uncover the nakedness of his aunts. She is your parents' near kin. One will bear one's iniquity. [Lev18:12-13; 20:19]

  12. A man cannot uncover the nakedness of his uncle's wife, she is your aunt. The man and the woman shall die childless for this deed. [Lev 18:16; 20:20]

  13. A man shall not uncover the nakedness of his brother's wife. It is his brother's nakedness. [Lev 18:16]

  14. A man shall not take his brother's wife. it is an unclean thing, they shall be childless. [Lev 20:21]

  15. A man shall not uncover the nakedness of a woman and her daughter. It is wickedness, because they are her near kinswomen [Lev 18:17]

  16. A man shall not take a mother and her granddaughters to uncover their nakedness. It is wickedness, because they are her near kinswomen. It is very wicked. [Lev 18:17; 20:14]

  17. A man cannot marry his wife's sister while his wife is still alive [Lev 18:18]

  18. Don't approach to uncover the nakedness of woman while she is on her menstrual cycle [Lev 18:19; 20:18]

  19. A man sleeping with a strange woman. [Pro 5:20; Pro 23:27]

    • Sleeping with the same kind is an abomination:

  20.  A man laying with mankind as womankind, it is abomination and vile affection [Lev 18:22; 20:13; Rom 1:26-27]

  21. corrupting boys is also against the Law {Barnabas 19:4}

  22. A woman changing her natural use to lay with a woman, it is a vile affection [Rom 1:26]

    • Sleeping with animals is an abomination

  23. Whosever that lies with a beast shall be put to death. [Exodus 22:19]

  24. A man who lays with any animal to defile himself. It is abomination [Lev 18:23]

  25. A woman who lies down with an animal is confusion [Lev 28:23]

Laws for households with multiple wives 


To avoid unrighteousness, there are laws for households with multiple wives:

  • A man cannot go into his wife while she is on her menstrual period nor uncover her nakedness.

Lev 20:18 

And if a man shall lie with a woman having her sickness, and shall uncover her nakedness; he hath discovered her fountain, and she hath uncovered the fountain of her blood: and both of them shall be cut off from among their people.

Lev 18:19  

Also thou shalt not approach unto a woman to uncover her nakedness, as long as she is put apart for her uncleanness.

  • A man is unclean after his seed of copulation goes from him, so he cannot go lay with his other wife after laying with the first. he must wash himself and wait until he is clean when night comes. 

Lev 15:16-18

And if any man's seed of copulation go out from him, then he shall wash all his flesh in water, and be unclean until the even. And every garment, and every skin, whereon is the seed of copulation, shall be washed with water, and be unclean until the even. The woman also with whom man shall lie with seed of copulation, they shall both bathe themselves in water, and be unclean until the even.

  • Jacob's wives are a testimony of the right way to do things as both wives had their husband on their own respective nights and he did not deny due benevolence to them for our example of the right way to do things when multiple wives are involved:

Gen 30:15  

And she said unto her, Is it a small matter that thou hast taken my husband? and wouldest thou take away my son's mandrakes also? And Rachel said, Therefore he shall lie with thee to night for thy son's mandrakes.

Gen 30:16 

 And Jacob came out of the field in the evening, and Leah went out to meet him, and said, Thou must come in unto me; for surely I have hired thee with my son's mandrakes. And he lay with her that night.

 Are Wives Appointed by the Lord?

  • By example of Tobit, wives are appointed unto men from the beginning: 

Tob 6:10

The Angel said to the young man, Brother, to day we shall lodge with Raguel, who is thy cousin; hee also hath one only daughter, named Sara, I will speak for her, that she may be given thee for a wife.

Tob 6:11

For to thee doth the right of her appertain, seeing thou only art of her kindred.

Tob 6:17

And the devil shall smell it, and flee away, and never come again any more: but when thou shalt come to her, rise up both of you, and pray to Alahayim, which is merciful, who will have pity on you, and save you: fear not, for she is appointed unto thee from the beginning; and thou shalt preserve her, and she shall go with thee. Moreover I suppose that she shall bear thee children. Now when Tobias had heard these things, he loved her, and his heart was effectually joined to her.

  • In closing, through the scriptures, multiples wives was righteous when a man didn't add wives unto him self for lust but labored in good works, study, and his business until Ahayah gave him a wife according to His will for a companion, to beget children, and/or preserve the woman as the savior of her body. 

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