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Solomon and Monogamy

October 4, 2012

Many people will point to the Old Testament, especially concerning Solomon and his many wives and concubines, and say the Bible in fact does not promote a monogamous relationship, or at least the Bible is inconsistent in its message concerning marriage.

So does Solomons many wives and concubines dismantle the Biblical notion of monogamy?

It is true that Solomon had many wives and concubines. So on the face value of an initial look into the part of scripture that mentions it, it appears that the Bible does not promote a monogamous relationship “across the board” as it were, but seems to at least make exceptions.

At first look.

At first look into scripture at that recorded time in history.

Let’s go deeper.

Lets look at a later time, a time after Solomon had already built up his kingdom into the greatest of the known world of the time.

In the book of Ecclesiastes we see Solomon lamenting, and lamenting profoundly that although he had kept himself from no earthly pleasure, although Solomon has provided himself with every available pleasure of the flesh, including numerous wives and sexual partners, he had a profound emptiness from doing just that. None of it brought Solomon real happiness, or even lasting satisfaction. Solomon called it “chasing the wind”, a “folly”.

Immediately after Ecclesiastes we see one of the most sensual, romantic pieces of literature in all of history: the “Song of Solomon”, also called the “Song of Songs”. In it, instead of lamenting his choices, we see Solomon speaking of great joy and happiness.

Solomon declares his love and desire for his bride, and she declares her love and desire for Solomon, with some of the most romantic and sensual verses ever written. Their friends are also included in the Song, proclaiming what a great couple Solomon and his bride are.

Taking these two things together, we see that, far from advocating multiple partners, Solomon is one of the greatest–if not the greatest–advocate of a monogamous relationship in the history of world literature.

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From → Christianity, Love

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