[b-hebrew] Leviral marriage - prepositions & grammar

Yigal Levin leviny1 at mail.biu.ac.il
Fri Oct 14 09:18:35 EDT 2005

Shalom Vadim,
I wrote:
>> The "Hebrews were monogamous"? Who said? Not just the patriarchs. 
>> Elkanah,
>> Moses (well, maybe him). The Torah makes several provisions for co-wives 
>> and their children. I admit, polygamy was probably rare, since the 
>> population is divided pretty evenly, but it certainly was not unheared 
>> of.
> Proverbs 5:18 exemplifies the attitude, and the position of rabbis is 
> similar.
> Elkanah, David, Solomon... You know the historical value of these 
> examples. Polygamy was largely reserved for kings, and even Herod 
> seemingly divorced one wife before marrying another.

I agree that most common people must have been monogamous. I also don't 
insist of reading Samuel as a historical acount. But if the author, for 
whatever reason, chose to depict Elkanah as having two wives, this must have 
been somethiong that his audience would find reasonable.
David's several wives seem quite plausible within the narrative, and 
Solomon's 1000 have just the same literary character as teh rest of the 
Solomon story.
Herod walked a fine line between Oriental despotism and Roman "rule of law". 
A Roman could only have one wife at a time, so Herod was careful to dispose 
of one before marrying anothe.

Yigal (maybe more later.)

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