What the Bible Says About

-By Name
-As numbered in the SAB book
-A short List
-In the Quran
-In the Book of Mormon


16. Is polygamy OK?

Yes, the Bible approves of polygamy

There are many polygamists in the Bible. Some of them were God's favorite people (including Abraham, Jacob, Gideon, Solomon, and David). God didn't seem to mind.
And Lamech took unto him two wives. Genesis 4:19

Now Sarai Abram's wife bare him no children: and she had an handmaid, an Egyptian, whose name was Hagar. And Sarai said unto Abram, Behold now, the LORD hath restrained me from bearing: I pray thee, go in unto my maid; it may be that I may obtain children by her. And Abram hearkened to the voice of Sarai. And Sarai ... gave her to her husband Abram to be his wife. And he went in unto Hagar, and she conceived. Genesis 16:1-4

But unto the sons of the concubines, which Abraham had.... Genesis 25:6

Esau ... took to wife Judith the daughter of Beeri the Hittite, and Bashemath the daughter of Elon the Hittite. Genesis 26:34

Esau .. took ... Mahalath the daughter of Ishmael ... to be his wife. Genesis 28:9

Then Jacob rose up, and set ... his wives upon camels. Genesis 31:17

He [Jacob] ... took his two wives, and his two womenservants. Genesis 32:22

And Gideon had threescore and ten sons of his body begotten: for he had many wives. Judges 8:30

Elkanah ... had two wives; the name of the one was Hannah, and the name of the other Peninnah. 1 Samuel 1:1-2

Solomon ... had seven hundred wives ... and three hundred concubines. 1 Kings 11:2-3

And Ashur the father of Tekoa had two wives, Helah and Naarah. 1 Chronicles 4:5

Rehoboam ... took eighteen wives, and threescore concubines. 2 Chrornicles 11:21

But Abijah waxed mighty, and married fourteen wives.... 2 Chronicles 13:21

Jehoiada took for him two wives.... 2 Chronicles 24:3

God even gave David Saul's wives. (He wouldn't do that if polygamy.he didn't approve of polygamy.)
Thus saith the LORD God of Israel ... I gave thee [David] ... thy master's [Saul's] wives.... 2 Samuel 12:7-8
He set up rules for men who wanted to take another wife.
If he take him another wife.... Exodus 21:10
And he provided instructions for men that had two wives, "one beloved, and another hated."
If a man have two wives, one beloved, and another hated.... Deuteronomy 21:15
Even Jesus (sometimes) seemed OK with polygamy. The parable of the ten virgins, for example involved a man and his ten brides.
Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom. Matthew 25:1

No, the Bible disapproves of polygamy

God created only one woman to be Adam's help meet. This seems to imply that God intended marriage to involve one man and one woman.
The LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof; And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man. And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh. Genesis 2:21-24
Jesus seems to agree with this passage, saying that a man and a woman become "one flesh" in marrige, as it was in "the begining."
Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female, And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh? Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. Matthew 19:4-5
And although it's OK for a king to have more than one wife, he shouldn't have too many. (Although how many is too many is not specified.)
Neither shall he [the king] multiply wives to himself. Deuteronomy 17:17
Paul seemed to think that a marriage should only be between one man and one woman.
Let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband. 1 Corinthians 7:2
As did the author of Ephesians.
Let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband. Ephesians 5:33

Polygamy is OK, unless you're a bishop

A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife.... 1 Timothy 3:2

If any be blameless, the husband of one wife, having faithful children not accused of riot or unruly. For a bishop must be blameless. Titus 1:6-7

Christian Responses
Annotated Skeptic's Annotated Bible

Polygamy is OK

Polygamy is not OK

Other questions about marriage:
Is it wrong to have sex outside of marriage?
If a husband believes, is his wife saved also?
Is marriage a good thing?
Is it OK for a divorced woman to remarry?
Is divorce ever permissible?

And morals:
Is dancing a sin?
Is magic OK?
Is it wrong to steal?
Is it wrong to lie?
Is it OK to make images?
Is it OK to covet?
Should we hate other people?
To kill or not to kill.
To judge or not to judge.
Is it OK for men to have long hair?
How should nonbelievers be treated?
How should homosexuals be treated?
Is it OK to call someone a fool?
Should we let others see our good works?

Dwindling in Unbelief
-Polygamy Quiz: Bible, Quran, or Book of Mormon?