Permissibility of Polygamy & Adultery


Bible Inquiries & Explanations

Q: Why was adultery and polygamy allowed to happen so freely prior to the 10 commandments?

A: As a start I should begin with what Scripture reveals as God’s plan for human flourishing and how polygamy and adultery don’t conform to said plan.

God created woman from the rib of the first man and presented her to him. Adam proclaimed her to be bone of his bone and the flesh of his flesh and he called her woman because she was taken out of man. The Bible then states:

Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh (Gen 2:24 ESV)

Notice the specific use of the singular nouns – one man shall cleave to one wife and the two become one flesh.

Jesus Christ, the Word made flesh, reiterated this great truth in the gospels:

And Pharisees came up to him and tested him by asking, “Is it lawful to divorce one’s wife for any cause?” He answered, “Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.” (Matt 19:3-6 ESV)

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