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David's Wives and Concubines


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Hee hee.... That's an "easy" one. Read the verses before and after those two verses.

First, with Jacob it is clear that there were those trying to justify their unauthorized practices by looking to the past prophets as justification (kinda how current polygamists do today), so to be simple and direct to the point, Jacob simply made clear that in general those practices by those Prophets were abominable. Of course, later in the BOM we have clarification that the authorized practice is still okay.

Now with D&C 132, what it does is "clarify" the details of the actions of those prophets on this issue, that is that some of such was abominable, not actually "all". After all, they were prophets, and thus clearly not all of their acts would have been abominable. If you look at Jacob, it is clear that there is a serious problem occurring, so I'm just assuming that rather than trying to explain the full intellectual argument, he's just going to nip it in the bud. It is also possible that Jacob did not actually know whether "some" of those past plural marriages were authorized, and because the Lord did not reveal it to Him, he simply assumed the worse.

It is also a known phenomenon that sometimes people take a make an absolutist position or statement, when really that's not the whole truth. Let me give you a couple of examples. We are sometimes told that "gambling is a sin". But to clarify, if we just throw in a few coins for fun, are we still sinning, no. Because it's the intention or spirit thereof in us etc. We might be told we shouldn't kill, for such is sin. But to clarify, it is murder that we shouldn't do, that self defense and war for a righteous cause is allowable, thus not a sin. Or we are told to stay away from "R" movies, for such is able to harm our spirits. Does that really mean every single "R" movie? Not really, because in the spirit of the law there can be exceptions. There are likely other examples, but stuff like this sometimes happens. And I think given Jacobs situation, the law at the time was monogamy, and he was having a serious problem to deal with, so he possibly was trying to remove all excuses to get the people where they needed to be first, before they were actually ready to understand the higher law.

The fact is, is that sometimes people say an extreme thing that isn't necessarily the whole truth, thus not clarifying, possibly even using hyperbole in the emotion of the moment. And who knows, it could actually be a minor error. But, even then, the clarification makes clear that not all of what those prophets did on the issue was abominable, just some, and they lost their reward because of it. So, given that fact, it could be said it all was abominable in His eyes, kinda like a rotten apple spoiling the whole bunch..... Who knows what Jacob was thinking.... No big deal either way, cause we have the clarification.

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The FairWiki has an article on the subject:

Polygamy was not the sin David was guilty of, but murder and coveting another's wife was. David committed this murder (or rather caused it to happen) so he could have Uriah's wife as his own. In other words, David took an additional wife that the Lord did not give him. But the fact that he had plural wives was in no wise a sin.

So, the argument is that Jacob 2:24 is referring to David's unauthorized taking of Uraiah's wife.

The article doesn't explain why the Lord didn't just say this instead of referring to the general taking of "wives and concubines", or why the story of David's "murder" of Uriah would be relevant to the presumably consensual and murder-free polygamy of the Nephites.

The article also doesn't explain whether seedless polygamy is ever justified by the Lord.

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I wonder how many of Solomons 700 wives and concubines were "give to him" by the Lord and how many were taken by him because he could.Apparently , the foreign wives were the ones that led him into idol worship or some other offensive behavior.

As for Jacob, he lays it out in black and white for the consumption of his audience.

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It is a blatant contradiction that is impossible to reconcile.

Quite simple really.

No, not impossible to reconcile because the reconciliation occurs in D&C 132 and elsewhere.

Jacob was likely pissed off and that is what the Lord wanted him to say, or he simply didn't know, and because the Lord was telling "no polygamy" now, he simply assumed they were sinning. Who knows what was in his mind. He could have also been mistaken, just like some LDS leaders have been mistaken at times on an issue with certain "assumptions". It happens, even in scripture. There are lot's of contradictions, some are easily reconciled, and some take additional revelation either through another BOM verse or the D&C for example.

Let's all just be clear.... The Lord has brought additional Light and Knowledge, and His Will is known on the issue.

Do we even have the "translation" (Scribes text) on the Jacob verse? Heck, you know even the scribe could have written it down wrong, let alone the type setters etc.

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I have a theory: God hates what many wives and concubines represents, just like He hated the behavior of pharaoh toward the Israelites. But it was all meant to be anyway. David didn't sin, but that doesn't mean God likes the behavior of having many wives and concubines. God can will things He hates as a means to an end, and apparently, David was meant to have his harem. Interestingly, the BoMormon mentions why God wills it, which is to "raise up seed" unto Him, which is only about the end. This suggests it's not good in itself but only good as a means to an end.

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Another idea is that the BofM was written (assembled) before Joseph Smith started seriously considering the idea of multiple wives so he was good with the statement in Jacob. Then, Joseph Smith decided the multiple wife idea would be advantageous so he assembled D&C 132.

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The FairWiki has an article on the subject:

So, the argument is that Jacob 2:24 is referring to David's unauthorized taking of Uraiah's wife.

The article doesn't explain why the Lord didn't just say this instead of referring to the general taking of "wives and concubines", or why the story of David's "murder" of Uriah would be relevant to the presumably consensual and murder-free polygamy of the Nephites.

The article also doesn't explain whether seedless polygamy is ever justified by the Lord.

Thanks for the link. I have read the article three times, each time hoping that I simply have missed the "ah-ha" explanation, but still come up empty handed. My rendering of the argument is along the same lines as you have suggested. It seems that Michael Fordham's argument really rests on his final statement:

"Their plural wives and concubines were an abomination in that not all of them were approved by the Lord."

That is simply in my estimation....well....weak. The contradiction in D&C132 still exists.

Ben McGuire insight is interesting and helpful. He seems to be saying that Jacob is (mis)construing the OT laws regarding Plural wives in way to provide basis for a strict prohibition of it. Again, this still doesn't address the lingering contradiction of D&C132.

I appreciate all of your attempted explanations. But it seems the plain and unobscure wording forces us to exercise a great deal of conjecture. There obviously is something missing.

Even the beloved "what is right in one instance may be wrong in another" catch all is not applicable here. :P

Anyone else want to take a shot at it?

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Jacob also gives us this bit of information:

34 And now behold, my brethren, ye know that these commandments were given to our father, Lehi;

Early on it is indicated that Lehi received special instructions concerning this prohibition. Perhaps at the time he was commanded to go back and obtain wives for his sons.

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Another idea is that the BofM was written (assembled) before Joseph Smith started seriously considering the idea of multiple wives so he was good with the statement in Jacob. Then, Joseph Smith decided the multiple wife idea would be advantageous so he assembled D&C 132.

Doesn't seem to be the case because of Jacob 2:30. Such a verse is not needed because of other Bible verses and examples such as 2 Samuel 12:7-11. Such reasoning therefore is cynical.

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I have a theory:

A good theory explains all of the known phenomena. Yours fails on this account. It seems to be nothing more than an assertion that justifies your point of view.

God hates what many wives and concubines represents, just like He hated the behavior of pharaoh toward the Israelites.

He cannot hate "what many wives represents" (whatever that is, for I surely do not know). If He did, He would have said so on as many occasions as He told us about His distaste for what Pharaoh did. But there is not one verse, nor indeed, not one clause in biblical scripture that condemns the plurality of wives. Quite the contrary, there are a myriad of passages where He carefully explains exactly how to treat plural wives, and why a man is commanded to have at least a second wife in certain situations. There is at least one place where we learn that God gave an already married man additional wives and said He'd have given him yet more, had he only asked.

Your "theory" is woefully inadequate.

David didn't sin, but that doesn't mean God likes the behavior of having many wives and concubines.

Then why did He never say so?

God can will things He hates as a means to an end, and apparently, David was meant to have his harem.

So God hates something, then commands and participates in making that very thin come to pass? Utterly incomprehensible.

Interestingly, the BoMormon mentions why God wills it, which is to "raise up seed" unto Him, which is only about the end. This suggests it's not good in itself but only good as a means to an end.

There is very little that is "good in itself". Nearly everything is "only good as a means to an end." However, that still does not explain why God, were His only goal for plural marriage, didn't simply have an alternative that would achieve the desired end, but avoid something he hates.

Lehi

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Thanks for the link. I have read the article three times, each time hoping that I simply have missed the "ah-ha" explanation, but still come up empty handed.

That's my experience as well.

I'm glad I don't feel burdened to reconcile the two; it would drive me nuts.

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I don't think they can be reconciled. I think you can explain what is going on though. I am not sure there is a need to reconcile two scriptural separated by a couple thousand years either.

The passage from Jacob 2 seems to me to be a fairly clear reference to Deuteronomy 17:17 (and the kingship code as a bit larger entity). There we read this (NIV):

"He [the king] must not take many wives, or his heart will be led astray. He must not accumulate large amounts of silver and gold."

And so, when the Nephites raise David and Solomon as righteous examples of polygamy, Jacob responds with this:

23 But the word of God burdens me because of your grosser crimes. For behold, thus saith the Lord: This people begin to wax in iniquity; they understand not the scriptures, for they seek to excuse themselves in committing whoredoms, because of the things which were written concerning David, and Solomon his son.

24 Behold, David and Solomon truly had many wives and concubines, which thing was abominable before me, saith the Lord.

Historically, the Kingship Code in Deuteronomy has been seen as problematic since it places some guilt on David and Solomon. There is a text in the Dead Sea Scrolls dealing with some interpretation (about Noah IIRC), which sidetracks on to the question of why David and Solomon could have so many wives. The answer? Deuteronomy (the text) was hidden, and wasn't discovered until the return from captivity when they cleansed the temple. This wouldn't have worked for the Nephites of course.

Under this understanding, the real debate going on isn't so much about polygamy per se as it is about who has the right to reveal doctrine to the Nephites. Does Lehi (he is the originator of the commandment to only be monogamous) supercede Moses? That seems to be the part of the question here, as well as the notion of David and Solomon as examples.

While there is conflict, the Nephite understanding of a text written by Moses and so circumscribing the actions of David and Solomon is thrust up against a modern understanding of a text written after the fact, and largely in response to the excesses of Solomon.

Ben M.

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I don't think they can be reconciled. I think you can explain what is going on though. I am not sure there is a need to reconcile two scriptural separated by a couple thousand years either.

Interesting.

Thanks Ben. I appreciate you jumping in and expanding on this a bit.

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He cannot hate "what many wives represents" (whatever that is, for I surely do not know). If He did, He would have said so on as many occasions as He told us about His distaste for what Pharaoh did.

Joseph Smith said that there are many commandments that we don't know of. He doesn't always tell us His will.

But there is not one verse, nor indeed, not one clause in biblical scripture that condemns the plurality of wives.

He doesn't condemn it, because it's useful, I suspect. It's for "raising up seed" unto Himself.

Quite the contrary, there are a myriad of passages where He carefully explains exactly how to treat plural wives, and why a man is commanded to have at least a second wife in certain situations. There is at least one place where we learn that God gave an already married man additional wives and said He'd have given him yet more, had he only asked.

A second wife is not MANY wives and concubines.

Your "theory" is woefully inadequate.

I don't think so. The passages seem to contradict at first glance. They have to be reconciled somehow, and my explanation results in them being reconciled.

So God hates something, then commands and participates in making that very thin come to pass? Utterly incomprehensible.

It was part of God's plan that Jesus be crucified as well, lining everything up, like having Judas be one of the apostles. It's very comprehensible, as it apparently has happened.

There is very little that is "good in itself". Nearly everything is "only good as a means to an end." However, that still does not explain why God, were His only goal for plural marriage, didn't simply have an alternative that would achieve the desired end, but avoid something he hates.

He didn't avoid the crucifiction.

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That's my experience as well.

I'm glad I don't feel burdened to reconcile the two; it would drive me nuts.

May I ask which narcotic you take that makes it so you don't feel the burden?

I still don't understand how anyone at all, knowing the scriptures on the subject, can see a conflict there.

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Ummmmmm....

Never mind. :P

Are you not the one that claimed a contradition? Then you wanted BC Space to enlighted us?

Ummmm.... Yeah.....

In unreleated news everytime I see your user name I think of Bob Bennett.

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