And Abraham Hearkened to the Voice of Sarai

The following are the comments I recently got from Mrs. Watcher. I make a few observations following her comments.

My Dear Watcher-

In studying the concept of plural marriage I went to the Book of Mormon.

A couple of things stood out in the book of Jacob.

In Jacob chapter 2 we read that because of pride, their hearts were turned towards the accumulation of gold and silver and the desire for riches.

11 Wherefore, I must tell you the truth according to the plainness of the word of God. For behold, as I inquired of the Lord, thus came the word unto me, saying: Jacob, get thou up into the temple on the morrow, and declare the word which I shall give thee unto this people.

12 And now behold, my brethren, this is the word which I declare unto you, that many of you have begun to search for gold, and for silver, and for all manner of precious ores, in the which this land, which is a land of promise unto you and to your seed, doth abound most plentifully.

13 And the hand of providence hath smiled upon you most pleasingly, that you have obtained many riches; and because some of you have obtained more abundantly than that of your brethren ye are lifted up in the pride of your hearts, and wear stiff necks and high heads because of the costliness of your apparel, and persecute your brethren because ye suppose that ye are better than they.

14 And now, my brethren, do ye suppose that God justifieth you in this thing? Behold, I say unto you, Nay. But he condemneth you, and if ye persist in these things his judgments must speedily come unto you.

Did you see where it said,”…because some of you have obtained more abundantly than that of your brethren ye are lifted up in the pride of your hearts…

Then he goes on to tell them that their involvement in polygamy is a GROSSER CRIME than their quest for riches and the inequality of trying to excel one above another;

22 And now I make an end of speaking unto you concerning this pride. And were it not that I must speak unto you concerning a grosser crime, my heart would rejoice exceedingly because of you.

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.

25 Wherefore, thus saith the Lord, I have led this people forth out of the land of Jerusalem, by the power of mine arm, that I might raise up unto me a righteous branch from the fruit of the loins of Joseph.

26 Wherefore, I the Lord God will not suffer that this people shall do like unto them of old.

27 Wherefore, my brethren, hear me, and hearken to the word of the Lord: For there shall not any man among you have save it be one wife; and concubines he shall have none;

28 For I, the Lord God, delight in the chastity of women. And whoredoms are an abomination before me; thus saith the Lord of Hosts.

29 Wherefore, this people shall keep my commandments, saith the Lord of Hosts, or cursed be the land for their sakes.

He just defined whoredoms as having “many wives and concubines“. We don’t need to look in the Webster’s or in the Strong’s Concordance to understand the proper definition of whoredoms in this particular context, because he clearly defines the word for us!

Having many wives and concubines IS abominable before God. To substantiate this point, look at Mosiah 11

1 And now it came to pass that Zeniff conferred the kingdom upon Noah, one of his sons; therefore Noah began to reign in his stead; and he did not walk in the ways of his father.

2 For behold, he did not keep the commandments of God, but he did walk after the desires of his own heart. And he had many wives and concubines. And he did cause his people to commit sin, and do that which was abominable in the sight of the Lord. Yea, and they did commit whoredoms and all manner of wickedness.

3 And he laid a tax of one fifth part of all they possessed, a fifth part of their gold and of their silver, and a fifth part of ziff, and of their copper, and of their brass and their iron; and a fifth part of their fatlings; and also a fifth part of all their grain.

4 And all this did he take to support himself, and his wives and his concubines; and also his priests, and their wives and their concubines; thus he had changed the affairs of the kingdom.

5 For he put down all the priests that had been consecrated by his father, and consecrated new ones in their stead, such as were lifted up in the pride of their hearts.

6 Yea, and thus they were supported in their laziness, and in their idolatry, and in their whoredoms, by the taxes which king Noah had put upon his people; thus did the people labor exceedingly to support iniquity.

How interesting that Mosiah provides a 2nd witness to Jacob, in defining”many wives and concubines” as being whoredoms.

Additionally, both of these holy prophets noted that those who were committing whoredoms and lusting after women, also lusted after riches.

Although the love of money is the root of all evil, it appears that sexual whoredoms is a grosser evil.

I’ve also been researching polygamy amongst the patriarchs and have found some interesting things;

Sarai (before she was named Sarah) gave Abram her maid. “And Abram hearkened to the voice of Sarai“(Genesis 16:2) This does not sound like God was commanding it. It sounds similar to when Adam and Eve were in the Garden of Eden. (no changes were made to this in the JST)

Moses 4: 23 And unto Adam, I, the Lord God, said: Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the fruit of the tree of which I commanded thee, saying—Thou shalt not eat of it, cursed shall be the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life. (Cursed and sorrow seem to be the same idea of polygamy)

Then I wondered, well, maybe the Lord had the patriarchs live polygamy to make many nations. Then I found out when Rebekah was barren,” Isaac intreated the Lord for his wife and the Lord was intreated of him, and Rebekah his wife conceived”.(Genesis 25:21)

Instead of the wife taking matters into her own hand her husband intreated the Lord and made it where the wife was not barren.

Fascinating scenario!

Then I read that multiple wives are not required to have multiple nations-

Within Rebekah’s womb, “Two nations are in thy womb, and two manner of people shall be separated from thy bowels”.

So, you don’t have to have another wife from another nation in order to have multiple nations come from you.

Wow!

I then wondered if the blessing of Abraham might include polygamy so I was led to finding out what the blessing of Abraham is and found this definition in the scriptures. Jacob is given the blessing of Abraham, “And God Almighty bless thee, and make thee fruitful, and multiply thee, that thou mayest be a multitude of people;

4 And give thee the blessing of Abraham, to thee, and to thy seed with thee; that thou mayest inherit the land wherein thou art a stranger, which God gave unto Abraham.”

It appears to me that the blessing of Abraham and his seed includes the land covenant over in America, in “the land wherein thou art a stranger”.

Next we go to Jacob. I remembered Jacob was tricked into marrying Leah. So he gets two wives. Remember, this is not by command. Then we read that Rachel is barren. The Lord allows Leah to bear children.

In Genesis 30 we read that Rachel wants a child, even if it is her maid that bears it, and Jacob does what his wife wants, again, the Lord has not commanded it.

“And when Rachel saw that she bare Jacob no children, Rachel envied her sister; and said unto Jacob, Give me children, or else I die.

2 And Jacob’s anger was kindled against Rachel: and he said, Am I in God’s’s stead, who hath withheld from thee the fruit of the womb?

3 And she said, Behold my maid Bilhah, go in unto her; and she shall bear upon my knees, that I may also have children by her.

4 And she gave him Bilhah her handmaid to wife: and Jacob went in unto her.

5 And Bilhah conceived, and bare Jacob a son.”

Next, Leah, not to be outdone:

9 When Leah saw that she had left bearing, she took Zilpah her maid, and gave her Jacob to wife.

10 And Zilpah Leah’s maid bare Jacob a son.

So, summing up we find that there is not a command to live polygamy. They don’t appear to be more blessed, indeed it is a cursing when you read about the envy , jealousy, etc. that is experienced.

In every place I could find, it was to “raise up seed” when the woman was barren and when the women took having children into their own hands and did not intreat the Lord through their husbands, instead they commanded their husbands.

This whole scenario gives new meaning to the term, henpecked!

COMMENTS BY MR. WATCHER

Holy shamolly Mrs Watcher, you are at the top of your game today!

how you used two witnesses in establishing the Book of Mormon definition of whoredoms as “many wives and concubines”

how you noticed that many wives and concubines is a grosser crime than the love of money!

how you used the following key words “hearkened” and “voice” to draw the comparison of Adam hearkening to Eve vs Abraham hearkening to Sarai. In both instances, even though what they were doing was outwardly wrong, and they should have hearkened to God instead of to their wives, God used it for his own purposes. Praise God

your subtle but profound observation that Sarai and Abram showed their lack of faith and took matters into their own hands BEFORE they repented and got their new names and begat the true seed many years later.

how you pointed out from Gods word that multiple nations can come from one woman.

I really loved how you showed that Isaac and Rebecca chose to “intreat the Lord” instead of using a handmaid.

It is interesting how God continues to work with his servants even when they are in apostasy. In Section 124 God informs the Saints that they are practicing abominations before him, yet he is still talking to Joseph and giving instructions on how the Saints can come out of apostasy and regain the fulness of the priesthood which had been lost.

Some Bible scholars contend that Abram was in a state of apostasy when he and Sarai took matters into their own hands and that,

Thirteen years passed between chapters 16 and 17. Abram was 99 years

old when God spoke to him again. 17:1 The God who appeared to Abram was El-Shaddai, the Almighty God. He said, “Walk before me and be blameless.” This was a call to Abram to repent… Abram fell face down before God in repentance. God changed Abram’s name; he renewed his covenant with Abram; he commanded Abram to seal that covenant with circumcision.”

They suggest that after making the decision to raise up seed from a handmaid brought grief to their household, Sarai complained to Abram about the cursed state of affairs she found herself in. They point out that Abrams response was that it was Sarai’s idea and Sarai’s handmaid, hence it was her problem to deal with,

After Hagar became pregnant, she became proud and began to look down on her mistress, Sarai. When Sarai complained to Abram, he said, “She’s your servant; do what ever you think best.” Abram did not try to mediate between two women. He restored spiritual order in his home, and made it clear that his wife Sarai was the mistress of the home. So Sarai treated Hagar harshly, and Hagar fled into the desert.”

Bible scholars also point out that Abraham WAS NOT A POLYGAMIST.

Hagar was not a wife, she was his wife’s handmaid. Sarai was simply using her to bear offspring in behalf of herself. There was no marriage ceremony nor is she ever referred to as a wife by God, Abraham or Sarah.

The Narator does mention Hagar as a wife once, however, this is what one commentator has to say about it,

Even after the agreement between Sarai and Abram (v.2), Hagar is still considered her maidservant (v.3). The language is important. It is not Abram who takes Hagar into his tent, but Sarai gives Hagar to Abram. Sarai is in charge. After Abram slept with Hagar and conceived, not only Sarai (v.5) but also Abram still talks about Hagar as Sarai’s servant (v.6), not as his (new) wife. Furthermore, the narrator continues to call Sarai “her mistress” (v.4).

The phrase “to be his wife” in verse 3 is merely a euphemism for sexual intercourse. That is clear from the phrase that immediately follows it as well as from the original request (v.2). The context makes it clear that Hagar remained the slave not of Abraham, but of Sarai.

All throughout Genesis we find Sarai addressed as Abraham’s wife many times (11:29,31; 12:5,17,18,20; 13:1; 16:1,3; 17:15,19; 18:9,10; 20:2,7,11,12,14,18; 23:3,19) by the narrator, by Abraham, or by God himself. Hagar is never called the wife of Abraham, whether by Abraham, or by Sarah, or by God and only once by the narrator in the above discussed verse 16:3.

Hagar herself speaks to the angel about “my mistress Sarai” She does not question her status as a servant of Sarai. It is not the status but mistreatment by Sarai which is the issue.

More importantly, when the angel of the LORD appears to her he addresses her as “Hagar, servant of Sarai”, not as “Hagar, wife of Abram”. The messenger from God surely knows her proper title and position. And the angel gives her the command, “Go back to your mistress and submit to her”.

Abraham married Keturah AFTER the death of Sarah, and although she was a wife, she was considered his concubine (Gen. 25: 1, 4).

According to Websters, a concubine is,

“A wife of inferior condition; a lawful wife, but not united to the man by the usual ceremonies, and of inferior condition.” Such were Hagar and Keturah, the concubines of Abraham; and such concubines were allowed by the Roman laws.

This is yet another reason why the first verse of section 132 is so problematic. Abraham didn’t have “many wives”. He probably only had two, and not at the same time. But even if we did consider Hagar to be a legal wife, Abraham never had more than two living wives at a time.

Additionally, he did not have “many concubines”, he only had two, if you can even consider Hagar to be a concubine.

The 1828 Websters defines many as more than two,

“Numerous; comprising a great number of individuals.”

Lastly, Abram gets the new name Abraham and Sarai gets the new name Sarah but Hagar the handmaid and Keturah the concubine of Abraham’s old age, don’t get new names… because they are not even part of the promise God made to Abraham.

Abram means “exiled father”, Abraham means “father of multitudes”. Sarai means princess, Sarah means “mother of nations”.

 

 

 

Lastly, Isaiah 51 actually defines the “righteous”  that “seek the Lord” as those who come from Sarah- the other offspring of Abraham is not even mentioned!!!!!!!

 Hearken to me, ye that follow after righteousness, ye that seek the Lord: look unto the rock whence ye are hewn, and to the hole of the pit whence ye are digged.

  Look unto Abraham your father, and unto Sarah that bare you: for I called him alone, and blessed him, and increased him.

 For the Lord shall comfort Zion: he will comfort all her waste places; and he will make her wilderness like Eden, and her desert like the garden of the Lord; joy and gladness shall be found therein, thanksgiving, and the voice of melody.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

PS


In part 8 of the Morley Farm paper I talk about the differentiation between the Gospel of Christ (covenant of Christ) and the Gospel of Abraham (covenant of Abraham). Note the statement of Paul,

For it is written, that Abraham had two sons, the one by a bondmaid, the other by a freewoman. But he who was of the bondwoman was born after the flesh; but he of the freewoman was by promise. Which things are an allegory: for these are the two covenants; the one from the mount Sinai, which gendereth to bondage, which is Agar. For this Agar is mount Sinai in Arabia, and answereth to Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children. But Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother of us all. (Galatians 4:22-31)



Advertisements

5 Responses to And Abraham Hearkened to the Voice of Sarai

  1. Malachi says:

    To poligamy or not to poligamy is that still the question?

    Have we now separated poligamy from the Gospel of Abraham?

    Does poligamy have any religious basis or is it completly a law of man?

    Under what authority did the Children of Israel live poligamy? Was it that God just allowed the Children of Israel to live poligamy and is therefore just a law of man allowed by God.

    Is the law of Moses part of the Gospel of Abraham?

  2. NEPT says:

    I’m going to ask you to dig into your archives, Watcher, and find where William Marks claimed that Joseph approached him in the road one night, possibly a few weeks before the martyrdom, and exclaimed that he had been “deceived” about plural marriage.

    Joseph had previously claimed that the armed messenger who brought him the doctrine of plural marriage (now section 132, sort of) was not a false messenger, did he not? Given this, I was always inclined to think that polygamy could somehow fit into the restoration, and your essay on the gospel of Abraham seemed to be a vehicle to do so.

    HOWEVER,

    Malachi’s comment jogged my memory of Mark’s contention that Joseph claimed to be deceived, and if so, then polygamy doesn’t even have to be a part of the gospel of Abraham. If you can find the source of that quote, Watcher, maybe we can figure out if Joseph came to a realization that the messenger and his doctrine actually was false.

  3. Interesting observation NEPT

    I still think it is important to differentiate between biblical polygamy and the spiritual wife doctrine.

    In my opinion there is no basis for the spiritual wife doctrine.

    If that is true, then the question is was Joseph only deceived about the spiritual wife doctrine or was he deceived about polygamy altogether… assuming that Marks statement is accurate?

    Here is the statement,

    Former Nauvoo Stake President William Marks wrote in July 1853 that he met with the prophet a short time before his death. Joseph told him at this time:

    “We are a ruined people. This doctrine of polygamy, or spiritual wife-system, that has been taught and practiced among us, will prove our destruction and overthrow. I have been deceived…it is wrong; it is a curse to mankind, and we shall have to leave the United States soon, unless it can be put down, and its practice stopped in the Church. Now Brother Marks, you have not received this doctrine, and I want you to go into the high council, and I will have charges preferred against all who practice this doctrine; and I want you to try them by the laws of the Church, and cut them off, it they will not repent, and cease the practice of this doctrine…I will go into the stand and preach against it with all my might, and in this way, we may rid the Church of this damnable heresy.” (Zion’s Harbinger and Baneemy’s Organ, Vol. 3 (July 1853), pp. 52-53)

  4. stockoneder says:

    You forgot to point out that Isaac was not a polygamist AT ALL when you were referring to him, as he had only one wife, Rebekah, and NO concubines. Yet Section 132 falsely accuses him of “having many wives and concubines—” in verse 1 and then again in 37. Scriptures shouldn’t lie.

  5. Very interesting.

    I have not researched that in depth. If that is correct, and I assume it is based on your input, it adds just one more very important piece of evidence that is very important.

    Thank you for pointing that out.

%d bloggers like this: