Who In The Bible Had Multiple Wives


Multiple wives has been an important element of the Bible; while it is illegal in many countries around the world, it is a practice that was accepted and frequently practiced in the ancient world of the Bible. The Bible is clear in its condemnation of polygamy, however it does not condemn certain individuals who had multiple wives, and in many cases, even approves of them.

Polygamy in the Bible

Polygamy was a part of everyday life in the ancient world. It is even mentioned in the Bible; in the book of Deuteronomy, it states, “If he take him another wife: her food, her raiment and her duty of marriage, shall he not diminish (25:5).”This passage is not recommending polygamy, however it is showing that it is an accepted practice.

Polygamy not only was accepted, it is seen as a practice that some of the prominent characters in the Bible took part in. Men such as Jacob, David and Solomon, who were considered great leaders and faithful believers, all had multiple wives. This can pose a problem for those who take the Bible literally as some passages are highly critical of the practice.

Who in the Bible Had Multiple Wives

The most notable individual in the Bible who had multiple wives is King Solomon, who is the author of the Book of Proverbs and the Song of Solomon. Sources state that Solomon had up to 700 wives and 300 concubines (1 Kings 11:3). Despite having such a large marital entourage, Solomon is an example of a righteous leader in the Bible due to his wisdom, as described in the Psalms.

Another prominent figure in the Bible who was also a Polygamist was Jacob. Jacob married Leah and Rachel and then gave them each their own handmaidens (Genesis 30). The handmaidens Bilhah and Zilpah had children by him and this increased Jacob’s wealth in livestock and property (Genesis 30:43).

Lastly, King David had multiple wives. It is said that he had up to 8 wives, including Michal and Abigail. In 2 Samuel 12, David is chastised by the prophet Nathan for his infidelity; however, he is not condemned for having multiple wives.

Theological Perspective

From a theological perspective, polygamy is seen as a sin, due to the fact that it goes against God’s design for marriage. The Bible promotes monogamy and fidelity between one man and one woman. There are limits set upon marriage such as in Exodus 20:14, which states “You shall not commit adultery.”

Some may argue that it is not a sin for those who practiced polygamy, such as King David and King Solomon. These men were seen as special and God was not taken aback by the number of wives they had; this suggests that the Lord accepted them and their multiple marital partners.

Modern Perspective

Today, the modern view of polygamy conveys it as an immoral act. It is illegal in many countries and considered a form of exploitation; the unequal sharing of power in certain polygamous relationships is seen as a way for men to take advantage of women.

There is also a concern that polygamy is a form of patriarchal system and men are viewed as having authority over women. Polygamy also limits the economic opportunities available to women, as they are unable to have husbands legally commit to them, as marriages in many countries have to be legally recognised.


Despite the fact that polygamy is illegal in many countries today, it was an accepted practice in the ancient world. Certain biblical figures such as King David, King Solomon and Jacob actively took part in the practice of having multiple wives. However, the Bible overall disapproves of the practice and there is a modern perspective that it is an immoral act in today’s society.

The Impact of Polygamy on Status

Having multiple wives can often increase one’s status and wealth. This is seen in the case of King Solomon who, according to sources, had up to 700 wives and 300 concubines. This significant amount of wives and concubines showed that he had great wealth and it increased his status as a powerful king. Having multiple wives also enabled people in this period to form alliances and increase their political standings.

In some cases,polygamy is seen as a way to resolve conflict. In the book of Deuteronmy, when a man dies without having children, his nearest living brother was obligated to marry the widow and bear children on her behalf (Deuteronmy 25:5-10). This was seen as a way to ensure that a family’s name and heritage would be carried on.

The Impact of Polygamy on Morals

Having multiple wives has the potential to negatively impact one’s morality. Polygamy can create an environment of jealousy, competition and insecurity amongst the wives. This can lead to disputes among them, as no one is certain who holds the higher rank. The Bible speaks of warnings such as, “ hate stirs up strife and love covers all offenses” (Proverbs 10:12). Without love, it can be difficult to navigate the dynamics of a polygamous marriage.

Polygamy can also lead to sexual immorality, as it is difficult for a man to remain completely faithful to multiple wives. This could result in dishonesty and unfaithfulness. The Bible speaks of sexual sin, adultery, and immoral behavior on multiple occasions. Prominence figures such as David and Solomon are warned of these things and it would be wise to apply this principle to polygamy as well.

Theological View of Polygamy

From a theological perspective, there is no doubt that the Bible condemns polygamy. It sees it as a way to take advantage of wives and children, violates the stated principle of one man and one wife, and takes away loyalty and attention away from one’s spouse. The Bible does not directly support it and instead speaks of consequences for engaging in such behavior.

In Matthew 19:4-6, Jesus speaks about his Father’s original design of marriage. “He who made them from the beginning made them male and female and said: ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife and the two shall become one flesh?’” This is the ideal that God has set for marriage and any deviation from this is seen as sinful and not beneficial to the relationship.


Multiple wives in the Bible is an important yet controversial topic. It appears as if some of the prominent figures in the Bible chose to engage in the practice, and, although God warned of the consequences, He did not condemn them for it. From a theological perspective, it is clear that the Bible disapproves of the practice. In today’s society, polygamy is illegal and seen as immoral, and this view is in keeping with many biblical principles.

Hilda Scott is an avid explorer of the Bible and inteprator of its gospel. She is passionate about researching and uncovering the mysteries that lie in this sacred book. She hopes to use her knowledge and expertise to bring faith and God closer to people all around the world.

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