Biblical Polygyny: A Forgotten Practice with Modern Implications

Rob Kowalski
3 min readOct 21, 2023

In the realm of relationships and marriage, monogamy has been the accepted norm in Western societies for centuries. However, if we delve into the annals of biblical history, we find that monogamy, as we understand it today, was not the standard practice among the Jews, often referred to as “God’s people”. Instead, polygyny, a form of marriage in which a man has more than one wife, was prevalent.

The concept of monogamy as the only acceptable form of marriage is not explicitly written in the Bible. It was, in fact, a Roman idea, hence the term “romantic”. This Roman influence gradually permeated Christian societies, leading to the widespread adoption of monogamy. However, this shift has not been without its consequences.

Today, we are witnessing a myriad of societal issues that can be linked, at least in part, to the monogamy-only model. Rampant adultery, skyrocketing divorce rates, mass abortions, widespread fornication, and a general reluctance to marry are all symptoms of a system that may not be serving society as well as we’d hoped.

The statistics are alarming. The marriage rate is currently at its lowest point in history, with only five out of every 1,000 people getting married each year. This decline suggests that men, in particular, are finding less value in the institution of marriage.

So, what’s the solution? Could a return to biblical polygyny be the answer?

While it’s impossible to predict with certainty the societal impact of such a shift, it’s worth considering. After all, we can clearly see the results of a monogamy-only model, and they leave much to be desired.

Polygyny, if practiced with respect and fairness, could potentially offer a viable alternative. It could provide a solution for the imbalance in the marriage market and offer a different perspective on family structure and marital responsibilities.

However, it’s important to note that any form of marriage, be it monogamy or polygyny, requires mutual respect, love, and understanding to thrive. The form of marriage is less important than the quality of the relationships it fosters.

In conclusion, while biblical polygyny may seem like a radical concept in today’s world, it’s a part of our historical and religious heritage that deserves consideration. As we grapple with the societal issues stemming from our current marital practices, it’s crucial to explore all potential solutions, even those that challenge our modern norms.

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Rob Kowalski

Jesus follower, Author, Unplugged Christian Alphas Founder