Marital Fidelity, Part 1
by Matthew Coover
Question: I would like you to shed some light on the marriage and divorce laws. A monogamous marriage was mandatory for the wife but not for the males, polygamy was practiced by the men, for more reasons than one. There is no commandment saying premarital sex was a sin. If so please correct me. –Mr. A.
Answer: In regards to the marriage and divorce issue, Yahweh has certainly instituted guidelines for purity, both for those who are married and for those who are single.
While it is true that mention of multiple wife marriages can be found throughout the scriptural account of history, this by no means suggests that they were instituted of, nor approved by Yahweh . Throughout the teachings of TORAH, Yahweh requires fairness, even in such a messed up situation, but this does not mean that Yahweh has ordained that messed up situation. To the contrary, scripture declares the opposite.
Our reader has mentioned that they believe a monogamous marriage to be mandatory for the wife, but not for the husband. To say so is both logically and scripturally inaccurate. If it is mandatory for a woman to be a partner only in a monogamous marriage, the other side of the coin requires that her husband have only one wife. If there is more than one wife involved, the marriage automatically becomes a polygamous marriage. As soon as a second husband or wife enters the picture, the marriage bed is no longer pure and undefiled. Physical purity is a requirement for both the woman and the man involved.
The devastating effects of polygamy are even more evident in scripture than the sin itself. It is interesting to note that the first recorded account of polygamy occurred as a result of deception. Jacob believed he was marrying Rachel, but his uncle tricked him into marrying Leah instead. It ended up that Jacob worked seven more years to acquire Rachel as a second wife. A polygamous marriage caused rivalry between wives, as can be seen in Hannah's case. Solomon's many wives were the culprit of his turning away from Yahweh to the pagan dieties worshipped by the heathen. Polygamy is also the sin which caused the murder of Uriah the Hittite, by king David. As a result, the first son born to David and Bathsheba died. This was a direct punishment from Yahweh .
The sin of polygamy is forbidden in TORAH. (see Deut. 17:17) The fact that it was practiced does not mean it was right. If it was indeed acceptable to have multiple wives and/or husbands, it would also be permissible to then hand over one of your wives or concubines (or husbands for that matter) to be sexually abused all night long by the residents of your town, and when you find them dead in the morning, it would be perfectly OK to cut their body into 50 pieces (states in comparison to tribes) and send a piece to each state throughout America!!! (See Judges 19:22-29 for such an account!). If you read on into chapter 20, you will find that there is never a word spoken (in this account) against the man who handed the woman over, but only against the men of the town who actually abused the woman. Does this mean that it is OK for us to do the same? It is clearly evident that this deed was both scripturally and morally wrong. The same goes for polygamy, for nowhere in Yahweh’s scriptures is it deemed as acceptable. It is scripturally and morally wrong as well.
Throughout the ages, mankind has greatly corrupted Yahweh’s roles for men and women, and the scriptural institution of marriage. However, Yahshua instructed us that "...From the beginning it was not so." (M't 19:8) Yahshua taught that a man committed adultery if he even looked at a woman and lusted after her. (see M't 5:28). In Luke 16:18 Yahshua warned us saying "Whosoever puts away his wife, (notice it is singular) and marrieth another, committeth adultery: and whosoever marrieth her that is put away from her husband committeth adultery." The sin of adultery goes for both sides. If it is adultery to marry again after ones' wife or husband is put away, it is most certainly adultery to do so while they remain your spouse. The apostle Paul reminds us that "In Yahshua there are neither male nor female" (Galations 3:28). What is sin for one is also sin for the other.
At the creation of the world, Yahweh created one man. When he saw that the man was lonely, he took of his rib and made one woman. Yahshua said, "Yahweh made them male and female (notice it does not read "male and females") Therefore shall a man (singular) leave his father and mother and be united with his wife (singular once again)." (M't 19:4-6) It is singular for both man and woman. Any man who is a physical leader of a Yahshua's flock must be a husband of only one wife. (see 1 Timothy 3:2). This rules out polygamy, along with remarriage after divorce. Polygamy is forbidden in the TORAH as well. "Neither shall he (the king) multiply wives unto himself, that his heart turn not away..." (Deut. 17:17) The king of Israel was not to have multiple wives. What goes for the shepherd, goes for the flock as well (See Matthew 5:48 & Luke 6:40).
In regards to sex before marriage, this too is greatly forbidden of Yahweh, and there are a host of scriptures which confirm this to be a sin. You can easily prove this for yourself by looking it up in a concordance or merely reading throughout the TORAH, the prophets, and the newer writings. Throughout the scriptures, we find the terms "fornication" and "adultery". They are not one in the same. "Fornication" is sexual relations before marriage. "Adultery" is sexual relations outside of an existing marriage covenant. Both are forbidden. If a man seduced a virgin, he was required to pay the bride price and marry the virgin, never being allowed to put her away for all of his days. If the father would not give his daughter to the man, he was still required to pay the bride price, and remain single. (See Exodus 22:16,17 & Deut. 22:28,29)
Even from a secular viewpoint, the results of this sin can easily be identified. All one must do is look at the world, at all the heartache, disease, abortions, suicides, family break-ups, etc. which are taking place every day due to illicit sex. This is all bad enough, but even more devastating is the deterioration of the relationship between mankind and his Creator.
We encourage our readers to study the matter thoroughly, remembering the warnings found in the inspired scriptures. "Whoremongers and adulterers, Yahweh will judge..." (Heb 13:4) "Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of Yahweh. Be not deceived: neither fornicators... nor adulterers... will not inherit the kingdom of Yahweh." (1 Cor 6:9-10). It is a matter which decides where we will spend eternity, and that is not something to take lightly.
May we heed the call of the prophets to return unto the precepts which Yahweh has set forth. "...Babylon the great is fallen, and become the habitation of devils... For all nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornications, and the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her... come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues. For her sins have reached unto heaven, and Yahweh hath remembered her iniquities... therefore shall her plagues come in one day, death, and mourning, and famine; and she shall be utterly burned with fire, for strong is Yahweh Elohim who judgeth her." (Revelation 18:2-5,8)