This is the flip side, so to speak, of my post: “Why Would You Do That to Your Wife?”
Ladies sometimes get irritated by what they see as a double standard in moral issues in the Old Testament. Men seem to get away with a lot more than women. I don’t mean to be flippant, but men could have many wives and concubines, a woman might have to prove she had been a virgin on her wedding night, nothing gets cut off if a man messes around, and, last, but not least, there’s “the water of jealousy.”
Though we’re not going to develop it, Numbers 5 describes a ritual in which a jealous husband can prove or disprove whether his wife has been unfaithful to him. There is no such ritual for the husband. A woman might ask, “Why not?”
Though it might not seem like an answer to the question, was it a matter of being “unfaithful” to her if her husband was intimate with his other wives? As for “messing around,” we’ll have more to say about this in a moment.
As for the multiple wives, but only one husband, there have been societies where a woman could have multiple husbands, but Israel wasn’t one of them. Perhaps one of the reasons for this is that lineage was of paramount importance to the Old Testament Jew. Since it’s unlikely that the Old Testament had DNA tests, it would have been very difficult to know who the father was in a case of multiple “fathers” in a family. Besides, thought this answer won’t satisfy some, that’s the way God ordered it.
In the Garden of Eden, God gave Adam one wife. At that time, He said that a man was to leave his parents and be joined to his wife (singular). The Lord Jesus affirmed this, Matthew 19:5. In addition, Paul taught this. In teaching about marriage, he said, let each one of you in particular so love his own WIFE as himself, Ephesians 5:32, emphasis added.
Taken overall, the Old Testament doesn’t paint a very good picture of the idea of multiple wives. It reveals a lot of trouble and jealousy between the various wives and siblings.
As for “getting away with it,” Leviticus 20 lists several sins for which a man was to be killed, the woman also, or, in the case of homosexual acts, the other male as well. In the case of bestiality, the animal was also to be executed.
Our society has largely rejected these ideas. Indeed, certain sexual sins have now been given “protected” status by the “judgocracy” which has taken over the laws in our country. “Living together” is commonly accepted and practiced. Heterosexual marriage has to a great extent been relegated to the trashcan in favor of “domestic partnerships,” etc., etc.
It may seem like we’re “getting away with it,” but even a casual glance at the paper, or the TV or the computer, indicates that’s not really so. Child abuse, spousal abuse, infanticide, disease, degradation, rampant crime and violence – these are just a few of the costs of “free love.”
This says nothing of the eternal cost of such practices. When all is said and done, there will be no “getting away with it,” no matter how much that seems to be the case today.
However, there’s no use pointing the finger at those whose lives we might not agree with. They’re not ultimately the ones with whom we have to do. Scripture says that we have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God, Romans 3:23. Other folks’ sins won’t get us into heaven. Other folks’ sins aren’t an excuse for our own.
There’s only one way any of us will ever stand uncondemned in the presence of God, and that is if we have been forgiven through faith in the death of the Lord Jesus Christ. He willingly took the place of sinners, took their sins upon Himself and paid the price – the cost – of what it would take for them to be saved from their sins.
Even those sins for which there was no OT sacrifice – murder and adultery – will be forgiven that one who comes to God through the Lord Jesus.
Oh, that some might read these words, consider their lives and turn to the Lord Jesus for cleansing. Is there such a one reading these words who feels like he or she needs a shower because of how they live? Oh, listen, there’s only one “bath” that can cleanse away the filth and stain of sin: If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness, 1 John 2:9. …the blood of Jesus Christ [God’s] Son cleanses us from all sin, 1 John 2:7.
This means that we have faith in the death of the Lord Jesus. He alone is able to take away sins. Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved…, Acts 16:31.