First, please allow me to apologize for taking so long to get back to you. Sometimes life jumps right in and changes your plans.
Now, let’s take a look at each of these one at a time:
1. Genesis 2:24
For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh.
In support of this first verse given in your graphic I would also refer you to Genesis 1:27-28. Also, see Matthew 19:4-6 in which Jesus reiterates Genesis 2:24
And He answered and said, “Have you not read that He who created 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’? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate.”
In these verses you have God’s design for marriage.
2. Man + Wives + Concubines = Marriage
The second part of your graphic then list a number of biblical characters that had wives and concubines and essentially states that this is the basis for marriage. But there is nothing to suggest that such behavior is “God approved”. Abraham was a liar, Noah a drunk, Moses an egomaniac, David a murderer, Solomon an idolater, etc. and just because these people behaved this way is in no way to suggest that God condoned this behavior.
Just because the Bible recognizes that a certain behavior exists does not mean that it condones that behavior.
3. Man + Woman + Woman’s Property (Slave) = Marriage (Genesis 16)
Genesis 16 doesn’t say this. What it does say is that Sarah took her servant Hagar to her husband Abraham so that Abraham could have sex with her so that Hagar could do what Sarah had been unable to do (up till that time) which was to give Abraham a child.
There is nothing to indicate that this is God’s idea for marriage.
What is described here is a custom that existed in Abraham’s day in which a man could conceive an heir when his own wife in unable to provide him with one.
4. Man + Woman + Woman + Woman…(Polygamy) = Marriage
Once again your graphic list a bunch of biblical characters that were polygamists as evidence that polygamy is endorsed by the Bible. But, once again, just because the Bible recognized something doesn’t mean that the Bible condones especially in light of Genesis 2:24 & Matthew 19:4-6.
The Bible also recognized that lying, murder, bestiality, rape and the devil all exist but it would be ludicrous to conclude from that then that God condones of such things.
5. Man + Brother’s Widow (Levirate Marriage)
Now Judah took a wife for Er his firstborn, and her name wasTamar. But Er, Judah’s firstborn, was evil in the sight of theLord, so the Lord took his life. Then Judah said to Onan, “Go in to your brother’s wife, and perform your duty as a brother-in-law to her, and raise up [a]offspring for your brother.” Onan knew that the [b]offspring would not be his; so when he went in to his brother’s wife, he wasted his seed on the ground in order not to give offspring to his brother. But what he did was displeasing in the sight of the Lord; so He took his life also.
This stems from…
When brothers live together and one of them dies and has no son, the wife of the deceased shall not be married outside the family to a strange man. Her husband’s brother shall go in to her and take her to himself as wife and perform the duty of a husband’s brother to her. It shall be that the firstborn whom she bears shall [a]assume the name of his dead brother, so that his name will not be blotted out from Israel.
Now, no one has explained what the complaint with this law is so I’m not sure how to respond? Do you think that it means if a man has a wife and his brother dies he must take another wife? There is nothing here to indicate that the (living) brother was married to begin with. Of course, there is nothing here to indicate that he wasn’t either so it’s a bit unclear?
What I do know is that there is a lot of concern given to widows in the Bible. The reason for this is that in biblical days if a woman was widowed and had no sons then she had no one to care for her in her old age. To provide a widow with a son was to provide for her when she became too old to care for herself.
Regardless, help me out here. What is the complaint?
6. Rapist + Victim = Marriage
If a man finds a girl who is a virgin, who is not engaged, and seizes her and lies with her and they are discovered, then the man who lay with her shall give to the girl’s father fifty shekels of silver, and she shall become his wife because he has violated her; he cannot divorce her all his days.
This was a law placed into effect to provide for a woman if she had been raped. In Israel, if a woman was raped outside a settlement she was presumed innocent of consensual sex (as that would result in her being stoned to death--see verse 21) as she would have been too far away for her to cry for help (inside the settlement her cries for help would have been heard by someone deterring the rape).
I suspect I find this as abhorrent as you do but this was a different time and culture. Fortunately, the Levitical laws no longer apply.
But this law was--in part--a punishment of the rapist. I hardly think anyone would argue this was God’s design for marriage. Obviously, two people involved in a rape are never going to enjoy any type of real relationship.
7. Male Soldiers + Prisoners of War = Marriage
Well, yea. After the war with the Midians, the virgins girls were spared slaughter and could be taken as wives. It doesn’t say anything about forced marriages, rape, or anything else--only that the virgins could be spared.
While hardly what you or I may think of as prime dating circumstances it certainly, once again, does not imply forced marriages, rape, etc.
and see among the captives a beautiful woman, and have a desire for her and would take her as a wife for yourself, then you shall bring her home to your house, and she shall shave her head and trim her nails. She shall also remove the clothes of her captivity and shall remain in your house, and mourn her father and mother a full month; and after that you may go in to her and be her husband and she shall be your wife. It shall be, if you are not pleased with her, then you shall let her go wherever she wishes; but you shall certainly not sell her for money, you shall not mistreat her, because you have humbled her.
See above. Once again, there is nothing here to suggest the marriage is forced, we’re not talking about rape or slavery.
Believe it or not such laws were put in place to protect women…not harm them.
8. Male Slave + Female Slave = Marriage
If his master gives him a wife, and she bears him sons or daughters, the wife and her children shall belong to her master, and he shall go out alone.
All this--and the surrounding verses say--is that if a man is a slave and is married, when he is freed his wife will be freed with him.
If a man is a slave and he is given a wife during his time is slavery, when he is set free the “wife” remains with the master as does any children. The wife and children remain the responsibility of the master. All slaves remained in servitude for six years and were set free on the seventh year…including women. After her time in servitude, she too, would be set free (to re-join her husband, I suspect).
In any event, how does this not fit with the one man + one woman = marriage scenario?
Your graphic does a lot to confuse the issue about God’s design for marriage but falls apart under scrutiny. God’s design was defined in Genesis 2 and reaffirmed by Christ in Matthew 19 and calls for one man and one woman.
Any variation is simply an example of man’s hard-heartedness against God.