28. Put Away Your Plural Wives!
"He (Yah'shua/Jesus) said to them, 'Moses, because of the hardness of your hearts, permitted you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so'" (Matt.19:8, NKJV).
How easy it is to read a preconceived doctrine into a passage of Scripture! And the monogamy-only people sometimes do that here in Matthew 19:8 by claiming that "wives" here actually means "plural wives". They claim that wherever scripture speaks of "wife" it is referring to monogamy, of "wives" that it is talking about polygamy. But the context of Matthew 19:8 (and its parallel in Mk.10:5) is divorce and marriage, not the kind of marriage (for there is, in any case, only one kind: a man married to one or more women). All Yah'shua is saying is that before Moses, divorce wasn't allowed at all! Divorce, then, is only permissive in the Old Covenant, but in the New, Yah'shua (Jesus) tightened up the regulations again and restored the divorce laws to where they were before. Finally, the Greek word gune is uniplural and can be translated as either 'wife' or 'wives' and thus, when used, means actually both. Thus the passage should read:
"He (Yah'shua/Jesus) said to them, "Moses, because of the hardness of your hearts, permitted you to divorce your wife/wives, but from the beginning it was not so" (Matt.19:8, NKJV).
There is no scriptural dichotomy between 'wife' (monogamy) or 'wives' (plural marriage). Where the context does not clearly indicate, gune (and the Hebrew equivalent ishshah) should always be translated "wife or wives".
This page was first created on 1 March 2003
Last updated on 26 February 2009
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