Or, as Solomon put it, “The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun.” (Eccl 1:9 KJV)
I just acquired two Dead Sea Scroll books. One is a translation into English of the biblical manuscripts found in the caves at Qumran, and the other is a translation into English of all the Dead Sea Scroll manuscripts. The two books are by different translators (see the bibliography, below).
A few weeks ago, I posted an article entitled “God’s Ideal Plan for Marriage?” in which I addressed the false concept that because God created only one woman for Adam, his ideal plan for marriage is monogamy. As it turns out, that idea is nothing new.
This is what the translator of The Dead Sea Scrolls Bible: The Oldest Known Bible Translated for the First Time into English had to say about the Qumran community’s belief concerning polygamy:
Although Genesis was not the source for legal rulings in the Qumran community (as were the next four books of the Torah), it does play a key role in a rather intriguing discussion concerning monogamy. The Damascus Document (CD) 4:19–5:1—in an obvious polemic against the polygamy of the Pharisees—argues on the basis of Genesis 1:27 (“male and female he created them”) and Genesis 7:9 (“went into the ark two by two”) that one wife was the biblical norm. (Vermes 2011, 132)
Here is the translation of the Damascus Document (CD) 4:19-5:1:
The ‘builders of the wall’ (Ezek. xiii, 10) who have followed after ‘Precept’ – ‘Precept’ was a spouter of whom it is written, They shall surely spout (Mic. ii, 6) – shall be caught in fornication twice by taking a second wife while the first is alive, whereas the principle of creation is, Male and female created He them (Gen. i, 27). V Also, those who entered the Ark went in two by two. And concerning the prince it is written, He shall not multiply wives to himself (Deut. xvii, 17); but David had not read the sealed book of the Law which was in the ark (of the Covenant), for it was not opened in Israel from the death of Eleazar and Joshua, and the elders who worshipped Ashtoreth. It was hidden and (was not) revealed until the coming of Zadok. And the deeds of David rose up, except for the murder of Uriah, and God left them to him. (Abeg and Ulrich 1999, 4)
This article will not rehash what the post referred to above discusses. But the idea that because the animals went into the Ark in pairs also supposedly begs the same erroneous conclusion has not yet been addressed, and will be discussed briefly in this post. David’s polygyny and his sin with Bathsheba will be the topic of a future post.
Actually, the answer to this argument in favor of monogamy-only is rather obvious. The reason that the animals went into the Ark in pairs is because, for the unclean animals, one male and one female was enough to repopulate the Earth with that particular type. (According to the scientists at Institute for Creation Research, a biblical type of animal is not the same as modern science’s specie of animal. See http://www.icr.org/article/speciation-animals-ark/ [opens in new window].) In the case of clean animals, seven pairs of each went into the Ark so that Noah would have enough clean animals to offer proper sacrifices to God before they would be able to reproduce in sufficient numbers to no longer be “endangered species.” The reason for taking seven pairs of each bird kind is similar; apparently, the birds’ reproduction would be slower (and/or the expected life span of birds under the conditions that prevailed following the Deluge would be shorter) than that of other air-breathing animals. (See Gen 7:1-3.) The fact that the animals went into the Ark “two by two” has absolutely nothing to do with God’s “ideal plan” for marriage.
Abeg Jr., Martin, and Eugene Ulrich, trans. 1999. The Dead Sea Scrolls Bible: The Oldest Known Bible Translated for the First Time into English. New York, NY: HarperCollins.
Vermes, Geza, trans. 2011 The Complete Dead Sea Scrolls in English. London, England: Penguin Books.