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1M1WNot: Biblical Regulation Regarding Children of Multiple Wives

The tolerance of multiple wives for a future monarch of Israel isn’t the only passage we read in Deuteronomy that seems clear that the law of God at one time accepted polygamy. Here is Deuteronomy 21:15-17:

“If a man with two wives loves one and dislikes the other; and if both bear him sons, but the first-born is of her whom he dislikes: when he comes to bequeath his property to his sons he may not consider as his first-born the son of the wife he loves, in preference to his true first-born, the son of the wife whom he dislikes. On the contrary, he shall recognize as his first-born the son of her whom he dislikes, giving him a double share of whatever he happens to own, since he is the first fruits of his manhood, and to him belong the rights of the first-born.”

If  marriage had been limited to “One Man, One Woman” from “the beginning of time, as Nature/God defined”, we would not have Mosaic Law, traditionally ascribed to God in the Old Testament, giving these kind of instructions. The passage above would have simply said that the first legitimate child of the man’s one true wife would get the inheritance, as became the case in later Western tradition. But that is NOT what the Bible says here.

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