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12. POLYGAMY IN THE BIBLE AND THE KORAN
Should a Christian man, who was a Muslim married to several wives, divorce his wives after he becomes a Christian?
Answers to a Question from Nigeria
9. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION
How the Koran has Changed God's Old Testament and New Testament Commandments on Monogamy and Polygamy
(by Salam Falaki)

g) ONE WOMAN BEING MARRIED TO SEVERAL MEN


CASE 9 - SIMULTANEOUS POLYANDRY
(one woman being married to several men)
Torah: Unknown (female prostitution condemned, but present as sin)
Gospel: Unknown (repentant prostitutes saved, prostitution forbidden)
Koran: Unknown (commercial prostitution allowed)

Here a search in the three books, Torah, Gospel and Koran provides the same result. None of them have any specific example, where one woman was legally married to more than one man. However, indecent relationships of one woman to more than one man do appear in these books. Adultery was already treated in the last section, including the illegal physical relationship of a married woman to more than one man. In addition we find another indecent, yet evidently practiced, form of simultaneous polyandry mentioned in them: female prostitution. Often this is lumped together with adultery, but in some cases female prostitution is mentioned in its own right. We therefore look at this case of female prostitution in each of the three books.

OLD TESTAMENT: Female prostitution is mentioned in the Torah and the rest of the Old Testament in dozens of verses. Some female prostitutes in the OT were famous, like the prostitute Rahab, who helped the Israelites capture the city of Jericho (Joshua 2:1 and 6:25). Another was the mother of one of the Judges of Israel, Jephtah, who was the son of a prostitute (Judges 11:1). And king Solomon is described as someone, who in baffling wisdom effectively judged between two prostitutes, who had a disagreement, and for whom there was no problem appearing before the judgment seat of the king of Israel to seek justice (1 Kings 3:16-28). -- In spite of this, prostitution was explicitly forbidden in certain cases and consistently warned against: "Do not profane your daughter by making her a prostitute, lest the land fall into prostitution and the land become full of depravity" (Leviticus 19:29). Also prostitutes are listed among the kind of women, which the priests, the sons of Aaron, should not marry: "They shall not marry a prostitute or a woman who has been defiled, neither shall they marry a woman divorced from her husband, for the priest is holy to his God" (Leviticus 21:7). Since prostitutes have illicit physical contact with men for money, even their wages are discredited in the Torah: "You shall not bring the fee of a prostitute or the wages of a dog into the house of the LORD your God in payment for any vow, for both of these are an abomination to the LORD your God" (Deuteronomy 23:18). King Solomon also warns men about frequenting prostitutes: "27 A prostitute is a deep pit; an adulteress is a narrow well. 28 She lies in wait like a robber and increases the traitors among mankind." (Proverbs 23:27) These verses show that prostitutes were viewed as unholy, defiled and on the same level as dogs. -- This spiritual and social disdain and contempt for prostitutes was used symbolically in God's prophecies against his idolatrous Israelites. Hosea was commanded to marry a prostitute in order to reveal through this act the spiritual prostitution of the Israelites: "When the LORD first spoke through Hosea, the LORD said to Hosea, 'Go, take to yourself a wife of whoredom and have children of whoredom, for the land commits great whoredom by forsaking the LORD' " (Hosea 1:2). God in Ezekiel 16 also spoke through this prophet describing the idolatry of his people with the Egyptian, Assyrian and Chaldean gods using the symbolism of prostitution in order to announce His judgment over them. Here is part of it: "You also took your beautiful jewels of my gold and my sliver, which I had given you, and made for yourself images of men, and with them played the whore" (Ezekiel 16:17). Not only Israel, but also other nations were prophesied against in the images of prostitution, e.g. the Assyrians with their capital Ninive (Nahum 3:1-7).

NEW TESTAMENT: Jesus started his ministry in the context of the repentance movement of John the Baptist. So he focused on people, who were willing to recognize, confess and repent of their sins. The result was that the most despised parts of society, malicious tax collectors and abhorred prostitutes, were touched in their hearts. They repented, turned to God and through baptism were cleansed of their sin. Their religious leaders, however, thought they were righteous and did not need repentance. This is why Jesus, addressing "the chief priests and the elders of the people" in Jerusalem, concluded his parable on the Two Sons this way: "31 'Which of the two (sons, the declining yet obedient one or the accepting yet disobedient one) did the will of his father?' They said, 'The first.' Jesus said to them. 'Truly, I say to you, the tax collectors and the prostitutes go into the kingdom of God before you. 32 For John came to you in the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and prostitutes believed him.' …" (Matthew 21:31.32) This shows us that Jesus was against prostitution, because he regarded repentance from such abominable sin as fundamental to life in his spiritual kingdom. -- Later on, when Paul reached out with the Gospel to the Greek people in Corinth, he also had to deal with prostitutes, for this so-called oldest occupation of mankind was widespread in the Hellenistic culture there. He clearly showed that in spite of, or rather because of, the grace of forgiveness, which men, who frequented prostitutes, did receive, when they accepted the vicarious death of Christ for their sins, they should not and cannot frequent prostitutes anymore: "Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Shall I then take the members of Christ and make them members of a prostitute? Never!" (1 Corinthians 6:15) Often Paul included prostitution in the general term of "sexual immorality". This behavior tops his list of works of the flesh, which separate from Christ: "19 Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, 20 idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, 21 ... I warn you, as I warmed you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God" (Galatians 5:19-21). Like in the Old Testament, sexual immorality, which includes prostitution, is listed on a par with impurity and idolatry. -- Finally in the book of Revelation, describing the events to come at the end of days, a great prostitute (symbolizing Babylon) is described, which will seduce the whole world away from worshipping the God of the Bible alone: "1 Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls (of judgment) came and said to me, 'Come, I will show you the judgment of the great prostitute who is seated on many waters, 2 with whom the kings of the earth have committed sexual immorality, and with the wine of whose sexual immorality the dwellers on earth have become drunk." (Revelation 17:1.2) This great prostitute is later judged by God: "1 After this I heard what seemed to be the loud voice of a great multitude in heaven crying out: 'Hallelujah! Salvation and glory and power belong to our God, 2 for his judgments are true and just; for he has judged the great prostitute who corrupted the earth with her immorality, and has avenged on her the blood of his servants." (Revelation 19:2) This great prostitute symbolizes a world super power, which will persecute followers of Christ for not believing in her anti-biblical religion, but remaining faithful to Jesus. Like with the prophets in the Old Testament here again prostitution symbolizes spiritual infidelity to the true biblical God.

KORAN: Here again the Koran changed the Torah and even more the Gospel. In addition to the legalized "prostitution" in serial marriages and in the sexual use of female slaves, which we have seen above, Allah ordained the following type of commercial prostitution: "… And do not force your maids to prostitution, if they desire chastity, in order to acquire the good things of this world (through their prostitution). But if anyone compels them (to prostitution), then, after forcing them (to prostitution), Allah is forgiving and merciful" (Sura 24:33). This is a legitimization of prostitution for economic gain of the master, sanctioned by Allah himself! This runs against everything that the Torah commanded about prostitution. -- Also you can find the following verse: "And (forbidden for you are) the decent women, except (those slaves) that your right hand possesses. (This is) prescribed by Allah upon you. (But everything) has been made Lawful to you, which goes beyond that for you: that you seek with your capital, in decency and not in fornication, (other women). So (regarding) those (women), whom you have enjoyed (sexually): bring to them their wages, (which is) a duty (upon you). And there is no offence for you (if you) conclude an agreement, (which goes) beyond what is (your) duty (to pay). Truly Allah was knowing, wise." (Sura 4:24) Again Allah here allows temporary physical relations to women that are paid with wages. In spite of this, brothels are forbidden in most Muslim states today.

-- However, nowhere in the Koran do we find prostitution or sexual immorality portrayed as a symbol for infidelity to Allah. The Koran here clearly suppressed a key element of biblical teaching, because of its fundamentally different teaching on God and on marriage.

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