He then declares, that, except in the single case of incontinence, it is not lawful for a man to put away his wife, and marry another; and assigns four reasons for. (1.) The fact, that God originally created but one man and one woman, and joined them in marriage; and thus expressed his own pleasure that marriage should subsist between one man and one woman. (2.) That at the time when God instituted marriage, he declared " For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and cleave unto his wife; and they twain shall be one flesh." (3.) That that is the reason why two married persons. (4.) That all who are united movie in marriage, are joined together by god.—Here, then, is an express recognition of this law. As the Original Law of Marriage ; as in force from the beginning; as in full force under the levitical Dispensation, amended as it was in a single point— that relating to divorces; and, in consequence of the express repeal of that amendment by Christ himself. This Law in the very terms of it, as well as according to the comment of Christ, is an absolute prohibition of Polygamy. It is so in the terms. It declares that lawful marriage, as appointed by god, is the connection for life between twain or two, one man and one woman, and that when they are married they cease to be twain, and are one flesh. It also declares that the man who is thus united to a woman in marriage, shall cleave unto her as his wife.
The language of Christ is, " he who made them at the beginning, said, ' for this cause. The maker of of Adam, therefore, and not Adam, said this; and the thing uttered was not a prediction of Adam, but a command of God. This is the Great Original Law of Marriage binding on the whole human family. It was not a part of any ceremonial Law, or of the national Law of Israel; but was promulgated at the original institution of marriage, to the first parents of mankind, as the representatives of the whole race. Men and women about to contract marriage were the only beings, and the very beings on whom it was binding. By the terms of it, Adam and eve were personally essays exempted from its operation ; since they were already married, and Adam had no father or mother, whom he could leave. It was made, therefore, for their Posterity; and since, in its binding force on them, there are no restrictions or limitations, it was clearly given to bind the whole human family. On this point the comment of Christ is express. The jews inquired of him,— whether it was lawful for a man to put away his wife for every cause?—In his reply, he admits that Moses, for the hardness of their hearts, allowed divorces in certain cases; but asserts that in the beginning it was.
In this statement of facts we find strong presumptive evidence that the patriarchs did not regard Polygamy as lawful. Let us now inquire whether it was not expressly forbidden. The Great Original Law of Marriage, with the occasion of its promulgation, is thus recited in the second chapter of Genesis: "And the lord God said, 'it is not good that the man should be alone : I will make an help-meet for him'—And the lord. The comment of our saviour on this Law, in the 19th of Matthew, will help us to explain. The Pharisees, tempting him, inquired, " Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife, for every cause."—to this he replied, " have ye not read, that he who made them at the beginning, made them male and female; and said,— ' for. What therefore god hath joined together, let not Man put asunder.". The following remarks on this Law, may show on what footing Marriage was placed under the Old Dispensation. The words—" For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and cleave unto his wife, and they twain shall be one flesh"—were not, as some have supposed, the words of Adam, but were uttered by god.
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Abraham's marriage with Keturah did not occur until seven years after the death of Sarah. If this extemporaneous connection of Abraham with Hagar proves the lawfulness of any thing, it proves merely that a husband who was childless might lawfully, with the consent of his wife, connect himself temporarily with his female slave ; but obviously, this is not Polygamy. Isaac had but one wife. Esau, " that profane person had three wives. " And Esau said in his heart, ' the days of mourning for my father are at hand; then will I slay my brother Jacob.
Jacob, while in the family of Laban, lived among idolaters, who practised polygamy. Laban and his children were idolaters, yet polygamy was no part of Jacob's plan of life. Leah was put paperweight upon him by a fraud, to avhich he must submit, or hazard the loss of Rachel. He likewise told his father several direct falsehoods, and with extreme cruelty defrauded Esau of his birthright. Lot, the twelve sons of Jacob, Amram, moses, aaron, Eleazar, joshua, caleb, and many others, who lived during the period in question, had each but one wife. On the supposition that polygamy was lawful, this fact cannot be explained. We have, then, the practice of the patriarchs on this subject before the flood, in the example of Lamech, and that of the Apostates who filled the earth with violence; and in that of Esau, and that of Jacob after the flood : four instances during.
These are the only two examples of Antediluvian Polygamy. After the deluge, no mention is made of the practice of Polygamy among the descendents of Hani or Japhet, though their genealogies are given; nor had any of them such a number of children, as to indicate his possession of several wives. No example of polygamy is mentioned in the ten successive patriarchs in the line of Shem, from Shem to terah the father of Abraham ; nor does the number of their children lead us to suppose that either of them had more than one wife. Nahor, Abraham's brother had a concubine; but we are not told, whether during the life of his wife, or after her death. Abraham had one wife, sarah, who had no children.
"Ano sarah said unto Abraham, 'i pray thee go in unto my maid; it may be that I may obtain children by her. This connection was no part of Abraham's plan of life. It was occasioned by sarah's strong desire to have children, whom she could call her own. It was temporary intercourse with a bondwoman ; and ceased as soon as Hagar had conceived. The issue, as paul tells us, was not legitimate, or entitled to inherit the property of Abraham. That Abraham—himself originally an idolater, and living in the midst of idolaters, who not only practised polygamy, but every other species of impurity—in despair also of any issue from Sarah, should have had views of marriage so far loose and incorrect, as to yield.
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The only act charged on Lamech by the historian, is his Polygamy ; and when his two wives ex-pressed their apprehensions, lest, for this, some one would kill him, he might well reply, " Adah and Zillah, hear my voice ; ye wives of Lamech, hearken. If God shall avenge cain seven fold, truly lamech seventy and seven fold." movie His crime then, obviously, was his Polygamy. In either case, however, polygamy was introduced into the world under very bad auspices. The second and only remaining account of Polygamy before the deluge is found in Gen. 1—7, " And it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born unto them, that the eons of God saw the daughters of men, that they were fair, and they took them wives of all. And the lord said, 'my spirit shall not always strive with man.' There were giants in the earth, in those days; and also after that, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bare children unto them, the same. And God saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually; and it repented paperless the lord that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him. And the lord said, i will destroy man, whom I have created, from the face of the earth."—The fact, that Polygamy became general, or that men took them wives of all whom they chose, is here obviously assigned as the cause of that universal corruption.
"And Lamech took unto thesis him two wives, Adah and Zillah. And Lamech said unto his wives, ' adah and Zillah, hear my voice; ye wives of Lamech, hearken unto my speech. Have i slain a man to my wounding, or a young man to my hurt? If cain shall be avenged seven fold, truly lamech seventy and seven fold.". If we take the former version as the correct one, then the first polygamist was a murderer ; and when his two wives expressed their apprehensions lest vengeance should fall upon him for his crime, he consoles them with the reflection, that God had threatened seven. But this abrupt and most incongruous version is obviously erroneous. Moses does not intimate that Lamech had been guilty of murder, nor that his wives had any apprehension on account. Nor, if Lamech had been guilty of murder, would he have had any right to suppose that God would inflict on the man, who should kill him, eleven times as exemplary vengeance, as on the slayer of cain.
and his three sons. The first polygainist on record was Lamech, the fifth in lineal descent from cain ; and, as the Introduction of Polygamy into this world is an important event, we will examine the account given of it by moses. The passage containing it is found in Genesis,. 19, 23 and. As the hebrew manuscripts have no notes of interrogation, the original is equally susceptible of the two following translations: 1st. " And Lamech took unto him two wives, Adah and Zillah. And Lamech said unto his wives, ' adah and Zillah, hear my voice; ye wives of Lamech, hearken unto my speech : For I have slain a man to my wounding, and a young man to my hurt. If cain shall be avenged seven fold, truly lamech, seventy and seven fold." This is the common version; ' -.
24, " Therefore shall a man leave his father and book mother, and shall cleave unto his wife; and they shall be one flesh." The import of this Law will be sought hereafter. It is sufficient to remark, here, that it certainly does not contain a permission of Polygamy. If, then, it can be shown that Polygamy was lawful to the patriarchs, the evidence must be derived from their Practice. In examining lhi point, however, we must distinctly remember, that the question before us is not, Whether Polygamy was permitted, by the customs or laws of the tribes, among whom the patriarchs lived? But, Whether Polygamy was permitted by the law of God?—The beat human laws authorize, and the best men sanction, conduct, which is directly prohibited by the divine law. To argue what the law of God is, from the Practice of men, even of the best men, seems, therefore, a hazardous course, in any case; but especially in the case in question. None of the patriarchs lived in a regular state of society, governed by established laws ; but each was the head of his clan—a petty chieftain, acknowledging no superior. The surrounding chieftains, also, as well as the tribes whom they governed, all practised Polygamy. With these things in view, let us see what the Practice of the patriarchs actually was, on this subject, both before and after the deluge.
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625141Essay on PolygamySereno Edwards Dwight1836, polygamy is That state, in which a man has two or more wives, or a woman has two or more husbands, at the same time. The question to be answered is this, was Polygamy lawful under the Old Dispensation? As the Old Dispensation embraced two periods—the patriarchal, and the levitical—this inquiry naturally resolves itself into two others :. Was Polygamy lawful to the patriarchs? Was Polygamy lawful under the levitical Code? Each of these questions claims, and shall receive, a distinct answer. Edit, it will be conceded by all, that, under the patriarchal Dispensation, there is no express permission of Polygamy, on record. Previous to the promulgation of the levitical Code, there is no law or dictum relating even remotely to the subject, except the Great Original Law Of Marriage, found in Genesis,.