Established on:  6/28/6182+  ---  Sept 17, 2009  ---   Elul 28, 5769
Hot Springs, AR  USA
Established on:  6/28/6182+  ---  Sept 17, 2009  ---   Elul 28, 5769
Hot Springs, AR  USA
Established on:  6/28/6182+  ---  Sept 17, 2009  ---   Elul 28, 5769
Hot Springs, AR  USA
Established on:  6/28/6182+  ---  Sept 17, 2009  ---   Elul 28, 5769
Hot Springs, AR  USA
Is Polygamy Allowed in Judaism or in the Biblical Religion of Ancient Israel?


Polygamy is one of the bedrocks to ancient Judaic culture, as also to all her surronding neighbors.

Throughout the Tanach we constantly see families or the household unit consisting of more than one wife in the home.

Christians like to think that polygamy was rare, or that it was illegal. In reality it wasn't rare at all, but common place. Likewise, the rights to such households were fully supported by the laws of the land.

Ancient Israel, by the way, was a theocracy. This means that the laws of the land were governed by religious law, that would be the Law of Moses and of the other prophets. There was no "freedom of religion" in ancient Israel.

YHWH does condone polygamy, that is our Jewish culture and heritage!

Even Isaiah the prophet foretells polygamy for the future...  "And in that day seven women shall take hold of one man, saying, We will eat our own bread, and wear our own apparel: only let us be called by thy name, to take away our reproach," Isaiah 4:1

The Talmud condones polygamy, Sephardic Jews condone polygamy and Yemenite Jews to this day practice polygamy.

Polygamy is not practiced just for the sake of pleasure, but rather, polygamy is practiced for several other reasons. Some of those reasons are for tribal relations. A pact is made through marriage and so a man might want to take another wife for these purposes. Other reasons are for the financial support of the woman. Others are strictly based upon love and because the culture is already accustomed to this kind of thinking. It is not a mental issue as it would be in Western societies where it is a "sin" to have more than one wife. There are other reasons as well, but - nonetheless - the God of Israel allows it.

When Moses laid down the rules of polygamy, he gave three criterias a man must meet:
1) He must support her, not the other way around, and              provide her shelter.
2) He must give her clothes.
3) He must give her marital rights, that is: he must be with
   her sexually.

If you notice, in the passage from Isaiah, he gives these three things.

In regards to one quote from the author on the right, where he says "In Judaism, it is permitted but definitely not encouraged, [and] was never considered an ideal," I find this false and a spin-off from Rabbinical teachings, and therefore, I don't agree with it.

Maregaal Ben Yaakov



Listen my friends, I am a Jewish Orthodox man of the sect - Mefachadim. We Jewish folks have always allowed Polygamy, it is a part of our culture and heritage. When some Christian says, "It was a sin." I say, "That is false my friend and you are highly oblivious to Jewish culture."

You cannot condemn what HaShem condones.

Many Christians are like Balaam in this regard. Though Balaam wanted to curse, he couldn’t - because HaShem has blessed.

Polygamy is not only allowed, it is sanctioned. Likewise, in many cases, it was forced.

“How was it forced” you may ask? Well, if I am married (which I am) and my brother is also married, yet he died before producing a son, I am forced to marry his wife in order to produce a son for him. This is according to biblical law. The “Eternal law” given through Moshe mind you.

Likewise, there are laws dictating the criteria a man must meet, before he can marry a second wife. If he cannot meet those criteria then he is not allowed to marry a second wife. The elders would judge this, not the man himself. It was, therefore, the men that had some money in their pockets that could marry more than one wife.

Not every wealthy man married more than one wife, however. For that was a individual choice. What I cannot stand is seeing non-Jews hijack our Jewish bible and then misrepresent it by condemning sex, sexual desires and allowable leanings towards single women. Judaism celebrates sex, it just can’t be done in the open, but in private. Judaism also dictates what is allowed and not allowed in relationships, we see this in Lev 18 and in Lev 20 and in other places.

Many biblical characters were polygamous. One cannot use Hagar as a prime example for good, because she was not even free, rather she was the slave of Sarah and not everyone wanted to be slave. Slaves had little rights. One cannot use Leah for an example either, because Jacob was deceived by Laban and Jacob never intended to marry Leah. Once Jacob had sex with her though he was obligated to marry her. This is because that was the law of the land in Haran and in many Middle-Eastern cultures. Keep in mind that the Mosaic law came more than 430 years later, yet it was similar to the surrounding countries in regards to marriage, polygamy and virgins.

What could Jacob do? How could he get out of it? He couldn‘t because he was already staying under Laban‘s roof, therefore her shelter and food and clothing was already provided!!! I feel sorry for Leah.

Abraham did not sin, nor Jacob, nor any of the other biblical characters, because polygamy is allowed.

Polygamy was practiced among all Jewry up to about the 10th century when Rabbeinu Gershom gave a anti-Torah ruling. This ruling was only accepted by the Jewish communities around Germany and those of the North, commonly called the Ashkenazic communities. The Jewish folks in Spain and those in more Southern areas, called Sefardic Jews, did not accept these rulings or judgments. Yemenite Jews and Jewish communities that lived in Islamic lands did not accept this ruling either. In fact, some Yemenite Jews living today are still polygamous.

Now here are some of those laws:

And if a man sell his daughter to be a maidservant, she shall not go out as the menservants do. If she please not her master, who hath betrothed her to himself, then shall he let her be redeemed: to sell her unto a strange nation he shall have no power, seeing he hath dealt deceitfully with her. If he take him another [wife]; her food, her raiment, and her duty of marriage, shall he not diminish. And if he do not these three unto her, then shall she go out free without money,” Exodus 21:7-11

When thou art come unto the land… and shalt say, I will set a king over me… Thou shalt in any wise set [him] king over thee, whom YHWH thy God shall choose… he shall not… multiply wives to himself, that his heart turn not away,” Deut 17.

Keep in mind that David had over 12 wives and he was never lead astray by them.

If a man have two wives, one beloved, and another hated, and they have born him children, [both] the beloved and the hated; and [if] the firstborn son be hers that was hated: Then it shall be, when he maketh his sons to inherit [that] which he hath, [that] he may not make the son of the beloved firstborn before the son of the hated, [which is indeed] the firstborn: But he shall acknowledge the son of the hated [for] the firstborn, by giving him a double portion of all that he hath: for he [is] the beginning of his strength; the right of the firstborn [is] his,” Deut 21:15-17.

As you can see the man is married to two ladies at the same time.

If brethren dwell together, and one of them die, and have no child, the wife of the dead shall not marry without unto a stranger: her husband's brother shall go in unto her, and take her to him to wife, and perform the duty of an husband's brother unto her. And it shall be, [that] the firstborn which she beareth shall succeed in the name of his brother [which is] dead, that his name be not put out of Israel,” Deut 25:5-6.

It is clear that the Torah allows polygamy and Isaiah prophesies that it will occur again in bigger numbers - in Isaiah 4:1

I hope this helps and “Please” -- do not let fools tell you the direct opposite of the Jewish bible. 

For more information please go here:

Thank you,


Polygamy's Practice Stirs Debate in Israel

December 7, 2001 - Salt Lake Tribune

WASHINGTON -- Polygamy may be banned by the state
constitution and abolished by the predominant religion, but it is still
practiced by ultra-orthodox followers of the faith, some who want it
made lawful to avoid sticky legal and moral questions.
Sounds like Utah, but it's Israel.

Political pressure to loosen the prohibition on polygamy for Sephardi
Jews who came to Israel from Muslim countries is growing, a researcher
told the American Anthropological Association's annual meeting, which
concluded Sunday in the nation's capital.

But the push in Israel for legalized "polygyny," the alternative term for
having more than one wife at one time, stems not from a shortage of
marriage-age men, an abundance of single women or an upswing in
demand for multiple brides. Anthropologist S. Zev Kalifon of Bar-Ilan
University in Israel said the call by former Sephardi Chief Rabbi Ovadia
Yoseph to legalize polygyny is part of a political movement to restore
conservative traditions and lash out against popular notions of social

"They feel that the secular world which they met in Israel when they
immigrated in the 1950s destroyed the patriarchal Sephardi family and its
values," said Kalifon. "The ban on polygyny is seen as something modern,
an expression of western or European values."

Stories in the Old Testament indicate polygamy was an accepted part
of the social order and is technically legal under Jewish law. But the
practice has been banned for Jews in Europe since the 11th century,
when rabbinate leaders sought to ease tensions between Jews and their
Christian neighbors, who considered polygamy barbaric. Kalifon said the
view of polygamy for the Jewish people differed significantly from that of
early leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which
renounced the practice by the turn of the 20th century.

"What Joseph Smith and Brigham Young did was make polygyny an
ideal, with an ideal man having more than one wife," he said. "In Judaism,
it is permitted but definitely not encouraged, [and] was never considered
an ideal."

While European or "Ashkenazi" Jews adopted the rabbinical
adjustment to ban polygamy as a binding tradition, the Sephardi Jews
outside of Europe continued to take second wives. Two wives is
the "unspoken cap" for Sephardi Jews, said Kalifon.

Polygamy among Jews is not limited to Sephardim. Jews living in the
predominantly Arab country of Yemen still practice polygamy under the
belief that Israel's rabbis are wrong in their prohibition of plural marriage.
Yemeni Jews have an "unspoken cap" of four wives, rather than two.
"If a man can satisfy four women at the same time, then good for him,"
the Yemeni chief rabbi in Raydah, Yemen, told the Associated Press last
year. Another group of polygamists associating with Judaism are the
"Black Hebrews," some 2,000 African-Americans who emigrated
illegally from urban Chicago to Israel in the early 1970s, claiming to be
descendants of "one of the lost tribes of Israel." Besides practicing
polygamy, the members are strict vegetarians and eat only raw food for
four weeks each year.

When Israel became a state in 1949, the ban on polygamy became
legally binding on all Jewish residents. Yet some Sephardi Jews in Israel
continue to take second wives in "underground" marriages performed by
rabbis who oppose the legal ban. Kalifon said these plural marriages by
Sephardi Jews have created a mire of legal problems.
Kalifon doubts any groundswell of would-be polygamist Sephardim is
the motivation behind Rabbi Yoseph's campaign, given that most of his
congregants are poor immigrants who are unable to support multiple

"Polygyny, if done right, is a good way to go bankrupt," said Kalifon.
He contends the pro-polygamy movement is spurred more by moral
issues than legal, financial or demographic concerns.

"Advocating polygyny reminds these [Ashkenazim] rabbis that they
'gave in' to outside pressures, changed tradition to fit in to the European world
and strayed from the way of our forefathers," said Kalifon. "Polygyny
says that Sephardi Jews are closer to the tradition, purer in their
observation of Judaism and less assimilated into the modern world. The
desire to reinstate polygyny can be seen as a symbol of the uniqueness of
the Sephardi religious worldview and a test of their growing political

"...the most well-known of these prohibitions (the rulings of Rabbeinu Gershom of 1,000 years ago) is to not to be married to more than one woman at a time, despite the fact that this was common in biblical times,"- JONAH MANDEL
The Jerusalem Post

A Map Regarding Polygamy Around the World