“Biblical Marriage”

by Bruce Bawer

In 2008 I posted the following on my own blog under the title "The truth about 'Biblical marriage'":

“Lamech [Noah’s father] married two women, one named Adah, the other Zillah.” (Genesis 4)

“Sarai brought her slave-girl, Hagar the Egyptian, to her husband and gave her to Abram as a a wife.” (Genesis 16)  

“When [Rachel] gave [her husband Jacob] her slave-girl Bilhah as a wife, Jacob lay with her, and she conceived and bore him a son.” (Genesis 30)

“Esau took Canaanite women in marriage: Adah daughter of Elon the Hittite and Oholibamah daughter of Anah son of Zibeon the Horite, and Basemath, Ishmael’s daughter, sister of Nebaioth.”  (Genesis 26)

“When a man has two wives, one loved and the other unloved, if they both bear him sons, and the son of the unloved wife is the elder, then, when the day comes for him to divide his property among his sons, he must not treat the sons of the loved wife as his firstborn in preference to his true firstborn, the son of the unloved wife.” (Deuteronomy 21)

“If, on the other hand, the accusation [by a newlywed man that his bride is not a virgin] turns out to be true…then they must bring her out to the door of her father’s house and the men of her town will stone her to death.” (Deuteronomy 22)

“When a virgin is pledged in marriage to a man, and another man encounters her in the town and lies with her, bring both of them out to the gate of that town and stone them to death; the girl because, although she was in the town, she did not cry out for help, and the man because he violated another man’s wife: you must rid yourself of this wickedness.”  (Deuteronomy 22)

“When brothers live together and one of them dies without leaving a son, his widow is not to marry outside the family.  Her husband’s brother is to have intercourse with her; he should take her in marriage and do his duty by her as her husband’s brother.”(Deuteronomy 25)

“David’s two wives, Ahinoam of Jezreel and Abigail widow of Nabal of Carmel, were among the captives.” (1 Samuel 30)

“Sons were born to David at Hebron.  His eldest was Amnon, whose mother was Ahinoam from Jezreel; his second Cileab, whose mother was Abigail widow of Nabal from Carmel; the third Absalom, whose mother was Maacah daughter of Talmai king of Geshur; the fourth Adonihah, whose mother was Haggith; the fifth Shephatiah, whose mother was Abital; and the sixth Ithream, whose mother was David’s wife Eglah.”  (2 Samuel 3)

And that's just a scattering of items from the first quarter of the Bible; we haven't even gotten around to Bathsheba yet, or to King Solomon's 700 wives and 300 concubines….