The subject of having multiple wives, known as “polygamy,” has been a controversial question throughout the ages. The Bible gives us many examples of God-fearing men who had more than one wife, but does that make it right? Surely God “allowed” it, but was it, as you asked, “good for a man to have more than one wife?

It seems clear that God’s intention, from the beginning, was for a man to have one wife. Mark 10:6-8 states, “But from the beginning of creation God made them male and female. For this reason shall a man leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh; so they are no longer two, but one flesh” (NKJV). Notice, “the two shall become one flesh,” NOT “the three or four or more shall become one flesh!” Polygamy occurred for the first time AFTER the fall of man with a descendant of Cain. We read in Genesis 4:19, “And Lamech took unto him two wives.” Cain had been cursed and he started a rebellious society apart from God and it’s interesting to note that Lamech was not only the first polygamist, but like Cain he was a murderer! In Genesis 4:23 we learn that Lamech told his wives, “I have slain a man to my wounding, and a young man to my hurt.” Such was the environment where polygamy was first introduced; one of rebellion and defiance of God! The “pattern” of “one man and one woman becoming one flesh” had been broken, and I believe that every act of polygamy that followed was not God’s will, nor was it for man’s good, even though God “allowed it.”

There are at least 15 cases of polygamy in the Old Testament, including true believers like Abraham, Jacob, David, and Solomon. Were they condemned or were they approved for practicing polygamy? Scripture is silent on this point, but they surely weren’t “blessed” for it! Space forbids us from citing the many scriptures where untold harm was done in those families where a man had more than one wife. I can’t think of one, solitary verse where “good” came from it. But in contrast we read of the blessings that are promised to those who follow God’s design of monogamy. Proverbs 5:18 says, “Let thy fountain be blessed: and rejoice with the wife of thy youth.” Later, in Proverbs 18:22, we read, “Whoso findeth a wife findeth a good thing, and obtaineth favor of the Lord.” One of the most precious portions in all of Scripture on this subject is Proverbs 31:10-31 and it begins with these blessed words, “Who can find a virtuous woman? For her price is far above rubies.” Notice again, it says “a virtuous woman,” NOT “virtuous women!” This, dear friend, is what is “good,” to find “a virtuous woman” to be one’s wife. Blessings will surely follow, God will be glorified, and the desire to have “more than one wife” will never enter into your heart or cross your mind! (156.1) (DO)