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The First Polygamist

Polygamy is the practice or custom of having more than one wife or husband at the same time. According to Moses, Lamech, son of Methusael, decided to take two wives rather than one. While kings often took more than one wife to insure one of their living sons would hold on to the throne, Lamech made this decision on his own. Although Moses is silent on why Lamech made this decision, he will go down as the first polygamist on earth.

To Enoch was born Irad, and Irad was the father of Mehujael, and Mehujael the father of Methusael, and Methusael the father of Lamech. 19 And Lamech took two wives; the name of the one was Adah and of the other was Zillah, Genesis 4:18-19.

When I was in high school, my best friend Carl was a devout Mormon. One of the guys I ran cross country against, Dean, was the son of the pastor of Carl’s church. Prior to meeting Carl, Mormonism was known for its belief and practice of polygamy. My non-Mormon friends would often joke, “I’d convert if I could have two wives.” Like any book, you may have preconceived judgments before reading it, but until you open it up to experience what’s inside, you’ll never know what you’ll find to be true.

Adah bore Jabal; he was the father of those who dwell in tents and have cattle and purchase possessions. 21 His brother’s name was Jubal; he was the father of all those who play the lyre and pipe. 22 Zillah bore Tubal-cain; he was the forger of all [cutting] instruments of bronze and iron. The sister of Tubal-cain was Naamah, Genesis 4:20-22.

Moses introduces the first polygamist of the Bible in the passage above. There is no logical explanation provided, but maybe Lamech was torn between two amazing women? Whatever the reason, Lamech is a trend setter for future leaders and kings. King Solomon took this to the extremes with 700 wives and 300 concubines, but this is what happens when you allow human nature to control your thought process, Genesis 4:6-7. May the missteps in life by Cain and Lamech serve as a warning to stay committed to one spouse and one God.

by Jay Mankus


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