Nazarene Space

A Rebuttal to Rabbi Rob Miller’s New Polygamy Doctrine


A Rebuttal to Rabbi Rob Miller’s New Polygamy Doctrine
By
James Scott Trimm

“Even worldly gentiles see polygamy as immoral.”
-Rabbi Rob Miller, 2007

Update (12-31-14):  There has been a claim made that the What Does the Word Say About Polygamy? article written by Rabbi Rob Miller and published in 2007 was actually a 2003 article (not that the date makes a huge difference).  This claim is false, as the second paragraph of the article in question reads:

"With the success of HBO’s “Big Love,” a polygamist sitcom and the manhunt and subsequent arrest of  Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints Prophet Warren Jeffs, leader of America's largest and most secretive polygamous sect, there is renewed interest concerning polygamy even amongst Torah observant Believers. Jeffs, 51, is charged with two felony counts of rape as an accomplice for having forced a religious marriage between a 14-year-old follower and her 19-year-old cousin in 2001. He’s been in jail since September 2006."

Obviously that could not have been written in in 2003.



I begin this teaching by quoting what Rabbi Rob Miller himself said in 2007:

“I am amazed that I feel the need to address this issue [polygamy] at all but several fellowships, not affiliated with our Union, have recently started the practice and others are entertaining the idea”
(What Does the Word Say About Polygamy?; Rabbi Rob Miller; 2007)

I too am amazed that I must now write a rebuttal to the new polygamy doctrine now being taught by the very same Rabbi Rob Miller who once wrote those very words.

(If that link doe snot work for you try: Part 1 and Part 2 )

This same Rabbi Miller now teaches that the Scriptures endorse polygamy:

“To be scripturally honest like the Bereans (“Now the Berean Jews were of more noble character … for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what (was) said was true.” - Acts 17:11) we are obligated to address the fact that the Scriptures also endorses and protects a more complex form of marriage which was practiced extensively by the Patriarchs. I am speaking of Plural Echad Marriage.
(Ekh•äd'; Rabbi Rob Miller, December 2014)

However in 2007 Rob Miller said: “The Torah prescribes [monogamy] as Yahweh’s perfect will concerning marriage.” Moreover he writes quite correctly:

Several prominent men in the Tanach (Old Testament) were polygamists. Abraham, Jacob, David, Solomon, and others all had multiple wives. However, where polygamy is reported, often in the same context we find the results of such relationships, namely, jealousy, strife and turmoil. It is true that the Torah does permit polygamy but does not prescribe it.
(What Does the Word Say About Polygamy?; Rabbi Rob Miller; 2007)

And in a wedding ceremony he himself composed in 2010 we Rob Miller said:

Because of this the bride is to be prepared with purity, having eyes only to please her groom. Likewise the groom comes to the bride sacrificing His own life for her, and forsaking all others in order to love her only.
(Sermon: “The Meaning of Marriage” By Rob Miller; from a 2010 wedding ceremony)



Extensively Practiced by the Patriarchs

And while it is true that polygamy was “extensively practiced by the patriarchs”, in Rob Miller’s 2007 teaching, he told us how bad polygamy worked out for them:

    In ancient times, a man, as a patriarchal figure to extend his power and influence, used sex. You would multiply wives and/or concubines because in multiplying women, you would be multiplying your household, and the children would in effect be slaves from such unions. The amassing of these wives and concubines however was not to be viewed as the same kind of relationship made with the original wife and her offspring.  The original wife was not viewed as a slave and her children were heirs.
“Tell me, you who want to be under the law, are you not aware of what the law says? For it is written that Abraham had two sons, one by the slave woman and the other by the free woman. His son by the slave woman was born in the ordinary way; but his son by the free woman was born as the result of a promise. (Galatians 4:21-23)”
So Hagar, which is not her name but her status – alien woman - bore children of slavery, whereas Sarah bore Abraham a child of promise in freedom. Two forms of marriage -- one freedom and the other slavery. Abraham's household was fractured because of jealousy between Hagar and Sarah.
After the death of Sarah, Abraham legitimized Hagar and we learn her name, Keturah: "Abraham took another wife, whose name was Keturah. She bore him Zimran, Jokshan, Medan, Midian, Ishbak, and Shuah." (Genesis 25:1-2) The point of Genesis 25:6, however, is that Keturah's children and the children of Abraham's other concubines were not considered his heirs. It is interesting to note, everyone of Hagar/Keturah children’s descendents are enemies of Israel – Isaac’s descendents.
Because of the conflict polygamy caused in his family Isaac was not a  polygamist!  Isaac's wife, Rebekah, like her mother-in-law, Sarah, was barren. But Isaac did not take things into his own hands and have children by her handmaids, nor did he take a concubine. Neither did Rebekah do as Sarah had done, and resort to bringing a servant girl to Isaac to produce a son for Rebekah in her stead. Instead of using human reasoning, and taking things into his own hands, Isaac TRUSTED YAHWEH!
Because of polygamy Jacob endured spousal rivalry that kept his family in conflict. Remembering this conflict, Yahweh commands: “And you shall not take a woman as a rival to her sister, uncovering her nakedness while her sister is still alive. (Leviticus 18:18)” Interestingly enough Yahweh put a stop to the conflict that kept Rachel in a state of oppression when He took Rachel, Jacob’s second wife (Genesis 35:19), leaving only Jacob’s first and true wife Leah.
    “The earliest codes attempt in various ways to regulate the custom of polygamy. Not only Adam but also Noah, the second founder of the human race, represents monogamy, and on that account recommends it as [Yahweh’s] ordinance. It is in the line of Cain that bigamy is first represented, as though to emphasize the consequences of the Fall. (“Dictionary of the Bible,” edited by Frederick C. Grant and H.H. Rowley, Edinburgh: T&T Clark, 1965, pages 292) The first record of polygamy is committed by Lamech: “Lamech married two women, one named Adah and the other Zillah. Adah gave birth to Jabal; he was the father of those who live in tents and raise livestock. (Genesis 4:19, 20)” In a society where a man may have more than one wife they named each child, not after the father, but after the mother, because this obviously assures more precise identification. Lamech's polygamy is indirectly confirmed by the fact that Tubal Cain's other name identified him, not as the Ben Lamech, but as the son of one of his wives--by naming which wife in particular: Tubal-Cain Ben Zillu. “Zillah also had a son, Tubal-Cain, who forged all kinds of tools out of bronze and iron. (Genesis 4:22)” Tubal Cain's name identified him, not as the son of Lamech, but as the son of one of Lamech’s wives.
    Several prominent men in the Tanach (Old Testament) were polygamists. Abraham, Jacob, David, Solomon, and others all had multiple wives. However, where polygamy is reported, often in the same context we find the results of such relationships, namely, jealousy, strife and turmoil. It is true that the Torah does permit polygamy but does not prescribe it:  “If he marries another woman, he must not deprive the first one of her food, clothing and marital rights. If he does not provide her with these three things, she is to go free, without any payment of money. (Exodus 21:10, 11)”
Remembering how Jacob favored Joseph over Reuven, the firstborn son, Yahweh commands “If a man has two wives, and he loves one but not the other, and both bear him sons but the firstborn is the son of the wife he does not love, when he wills his property to his sons, he must not give the rights of the firstborn to the son of the wife he loves in preference to his actual firstborn, the son of the wife he does not love. He must acknowledge the son of his unloved wife as the firstborn by giving him a double share of all he has. That son is the first sign of his father's strength. The right of the firstborn belongs to him. (Deuteronomy 21:15-17)” So, it is allowed amongst the laity but you must not deprive the original wife nor first born. These are laws of permission and governance not prescription and favor which shows how Yahweh understands the oppression of such arrangements.
Take the story of Hannah and Peninnah, the wives of Elkanah ben Jeroham in 1 Samuel 1. Peninnah and Hannah battled one another over a lifetime for Elkanah's affections and his offspring.
“Year after year [Elkanah ben Jeroham] went up from his town to worship and sacrifice to Yahweh Almighty at Shiloh, where Hophni and Phinehas, the two sons of Eli, were priests of Yahweh. Whenever the day came for Elkanah to sacrifice, he would give portions of the meat to his wife Peninnah and to all her sons and daughters. But to Hannah he gave a double portion because he loved her, and Yahweh had closed her womb. (1 Samuel 1:3-5)”
The overly fertile Peninnah bears children in rapid succession until it almost kills her, while Hannah finds herself barren for the first years of her marriage. Hannah has all of Elkanah's love and devotion, with nothing to show for it, while Peninnah finds herself the object of Elkanah's lust . . . and mother of his growing brood of children.
“Hannah was praying in her heart, and her lips were moving but her voice was not heard. Eli thought she was drunk  and said to her, ‘How long will you keep on getting drunk? Get rid of your wine.’
‘Not so, my lord,’ Hannah replied, ‘I am a woman who is deeply troubled. I have not been drinking wine or beer; I was pouring out my soul to Yahweh. Do not take your servant for a wicked woman; I have been praying here out of my great anguish and grief.’
Eli answered, ‘Go in peace, and may the Elohim of Israel grant you what you have asked of him.’ (1 Samuel 1:14-17)”
“Early the next morning they arose and worshiped before Yahweh and then went back to their home at Ramah. Elkanah lay with Hannah his wife, and Yahweh remembered her. So in the course of time Hannah conceived and gave birth to a son. She named him Samuel, saying, ‘Because I asked Yahweh for him.’ (1 Samuel 1:19-20)”
Hannah was given a child by Yahweh, so as a righteous woman, she gave him back to Yahweh: “I prayed for this child, and Yahweh has granted me what I asked of him. So now I give him to Yahweh. For his whole life he will be given over to Yahweh.’ (1 Samuel 1:27, 28)”
“Then Elkanah went home to Ramah, but the boy ministered before Yahweh under Eli the priest. (1 Samuel 2:11)”
The two women finally iron out their differences and raised a formidable family to carry Elkanah's name for generations to come. Samuel, the most famous of them leads his people against the Philistines, rules as a wise judge over the Israelites in time of peace, and anoints Kings Sha’ul and David in his lifetime. So even in a family of pious people, polygamy is still oppressive.
(What Does the Word Say About Polygamy?; Rabbi Rob Miller; 2007)


Forced Polygamy

Rob Miller’s new Polygamy doctrine has an especially destructive side.  It allows a man to force his wife to accept a polygamous marriage, or divorce her as a “rebellious wife” who is “not echad”.  He writes:

In taking another wife, you may NOT dishonor your 1st wife!
“If a man marries another woman, he must not deprive the first one of her food, clothing and marital rights. If he does not provide her with these three things, she is to go free, without any payment of money.” (Exodus 21:10-11) However, one may facilitate a Get (certificate of divorce) where the wife is a moredes (rebellious wife) or an adulteresss according to Deuteronomy 24 laws of Zenot (because he finds something indecent about her) which YahShua agrees Matthew 5:32 which has been mistranslated to: “But I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for fornication, makes her the victim of adultery, and anyone who marries a divorced woman commits adultery.” It should be rendered: “But I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for Zenot, makes her the victim of adultery, and anyone who marries a divorced woman commits adultery.” Rebellion qualifies as zenot (immorality) which comes from the hardness of one’s heart against her husband.
(Ekh•äd'; Rabbi Rob Miller, December 2014)

And:

“That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one (echad) flesh.” (Genesis 2:24)
Again our Messiah sheds more light on this facet of “echad”: “Some Pharisees came to him to test him. They asked, ‘Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any and every reason?’
‘Haven’t you read,’ he replied, ‘that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’ (Genesis 1:27) and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one (echad) flesh’ (Genesis 2:24)? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what Elohim has joined together, let no one separate.”
‘Why then,’ they asked, ‘did Moses command that a man give his wife a certificate of divorce and send her away?’
YahShua replied, ‘Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because your hearts were hard. But it was not this way from the beginning.’” (Matthew 19:3-8)
“Echad” is the truth monogamists & polygamists alike have missed when it comes to the allegory of marriage. Echad is the cure for divorce!
“Wives should submit to their husbands as they do to Adonai; because the husband is head of the wife, just as the Messiah, as head of the Messianic Community, is Himself the one who keeps the body safe. Just as the Messianic Community submits to the Messiah, so also wives should submit to their husbands in EVERYTHING.
(Ekh•äd'; Rabbi Rob Miller, December 2014)


Now obviously this new doctrine is repugnant to civilized people on the very surface, but lets examine the Scriptural reasons that this dangerous new doctrine is so wrong.

First of all the word ECHAD does not always refer to a unity of complete and perfect unity.  In Gen. 11:6 we are told that those who built the tower of Babel were “one people” but no doubt they were not in complete and perfect agreement.  

Second the unity of a husband and wife also involves submitting “one to another” (Eph. 5:21) and the husband loving the wife like his own soul (Eph. 5:25).  

But most importantly this new doctrine seeks to circumvent the very point Yeshua is making in Matthew 19.  


Yeshua’s Halacha Was Against Polygamy

In his recent (Dec. 2014) article Mr. Miller admits

“Now, since we are Netzarim, Messiah YahShua sets our halacha (doctrine) and he said, “I have not come to abolish the Torah…” (Matthew 5:17)”
(Ekh•äd'; Rabbi Rob Miller, December 2014)

So what was Yeshua’s halachah on Polygamy?

One of the halachic principles which distinguished the Essenes from the Pharisees (whom the Essenes termed “Wall Builders”) was a principle the Essenes called “Yesod HaB’riah” (The Principle/Foundation of Creation).

In his new polygamy doctrine Rob Miller teaches:

When a man especially an Elder becomes “echad” with his wife as in Matthew 19:5-6, this doesn't mean that he can't be “echad” with another woman. If Yahweh blesses him and gives him another wife he can be “echad” with his first wife, and “echad” with his second wife, and “echad” with as many women as Yahweh can bless him with. In fact, the plural wives are to be echad with one another as a composite unit with their husband. In reality, there is only ONE (Echad) wife made up of a plural unit.
(Ekh•äd'; Rabbi Rob Miller, December 2014)

But in 2007 Rob Miller was very clear on the true and historical meaning of Matthew 19:

    King Messiah YahShua said, "Haven't you read that at the beginning the Creator made them male and female, and said, 'For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh'? So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what Yahweh has joined together, let man not separate." (Matthew 19:4-6)
    The great Netzarim teacher, Tertullian, said concerning this passage: “We do not indeed forbid the union of man and woman, blest by Yahweh as the seminary of the human race, and devised for the replenishment of the earth and the furnishing of the world, and therefore permitted, yet singly. For Adam was the one husband of Eve, and Eve his one wife, one woman, one rib. (Tertullian, To His Wife)”
(What Does the Word Say About Polygamy?; Rabbi Rob Miller; 2007)

And:

    The Torah prescribes Yahweh’s perfect will concerning marriage. “Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh. (Genesis 2:24)” Man, male and female, are created in the image and likeness of Elohim who in turn gave them to each other creating the covenant relationship of marriage. Elohim then says, "Be fruitful and multiply. Let the two become one!" The act of marriage shows how the oneness is more than just a fleeting passion; it is a union of “echad”ness. It moves from just a physical sensation into a metaphysical reality when the two become one, nine months later you've got to give that "one" a name, for the child embodies the oneness of the two in union.
    Rabbi Sha’ul taught, “…each man should have his own wife (singular word), and each woman her own husband(singular word). The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband. (1 Corinthians 7:2)”
(What Does the Word Say About Polygamy?; Rabbi Rob Miller; 2007)

There have been many attempts lately to reinterpret Matthew 19 and 1Tim. 3:2 so as to excuse polygamy.  In order to do this, one must interpret these verses in a vacuum.  But these passages were not written in a vacuum.

In order to properly understand these verses we must understand them in continuity with Second Temple Era Judaism.  The relationship these passages have to the Damascus Document is beyond coincidence.  

The Damascus Document is an Essene document found among the Dead Sea Scrolls which dates to around 100 BCE.  The relevant portion of the document is a portion that criticizes the "wall builders" (Pharisees) over what it calls the "Three Traps of Beilial". The first "trap" is said to be "fornication".  The scroll explains this as follows:

They are caught in…Fornication, by taking two wives in their lifetime although the Principle of Creation (Yesod HaBriah)is “male and female He Created them” (Gen. 1:27) and those who entered the ark “went into the ark two by two” (Gen. 7:9). Concerning the Leaders it is written “he shall not multiply wives to himself” (Dt. 17:17)
(Damascus Document 4,20-5,2)

Now about 130 years later, Yeshua is criticizing the Pharisaic position on divorce as follows:

19:3 And the P’rushim approached him, and tempted him, saying, “Is it right for a man to put away his wife for every cause?”
19:4 And he answered and said to them: "Have you not read that he who made man the beginning, 'made them male and female' (Gen. 1:27)
19:5 And said, 'Wherefore shall a man shall leave his father and his mother, and cleave to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh' (Gen. 2:24)
19:6 And now then, they are no more two but one flesh only. What therefore Elohim has joined together man cannot separate."
19:7 But they said, "And why then did Moshe then command to give a bill of divorcement, and to put her away if she was not pleasing in his sight?” (Deut. 24:1, 3)
19:8 And he answered them and said, "Because Moshe on account of the hardness of your hearts, allowed you to put away your wives,
but from the beginning it was not so.
19:9 And I tell you, every man that has put away, or shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and takes another,
commits adultery. And whoever takes the divorced also commits adultery.
(Mt. 19:3-9 HRV)

Now the connection between these two passages is uncanny:

The Dead Sea Scrolls The Ketuvim Netzarim
They are caught in…Fornication, by taking two wives in their lifetime although the Principle of Creation (Yesod HaBriah) is “male and female He Created them” (Gen. 1:27) and those who entered the ark “went into the ark two by two” (Gen. 7:9). Concerning the Leaders it is written “he shall not multiply wives to himself”
(Dt. 17:17)
(Damascus Document 4,20-5,2)
3 And the P’rushim approached him, and tempted him, saying, “Is it right for a man to put away his wife for every cause?”
4 And he answered and said to them:"Have you not read that he who made man the beginning, 'made them male and female' (Gen. 1:27)
5 And said,  'Wherefore shall a man shall leave his father and his mother, and cleave to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh' (Gen. 2:24)
6 And now then, they are no more two but one flesh only. What therefore Elohim has joined together man cannot separate."
7 But they said, "And why then did Moshe then command to give a bill of divorcement, and to put her away if she was not pleasing in his sight?” (Deut. 24:1, 3)
8 And he answered them and said,"Because Moshe on account of the hardness of your hearts, allowed you to put away your wives, but from the beginning it was not so.
9 And I tell you, every man that has put away, or shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and takes another, commits adultery. And whoever takes the divorced also commits adultery.
(Mt. 19:3-9 HRV)

2 But it is right, that an elder should be one in whom a blemish is not found, and is the husband of one woman; who [is] of a watchful mind, and sober and orderly, and loving of strangers and able to teach,
(1Tim. 3:2 HRV)


Now both documents criticize the Pharisaic position on divorce by citing Gen. 1:27 and building a rule from this passage that the "Principle of Creation" (Yesod HaBriah) is that marriage is union between one man and one woman.  Yeshua expresses this by saying "but from the beginning it was not so." But note that the older document bases this criticism of divorce on the fact that divorce (without just cause) is polygamy "because they take two wives in their lifetime" and Yeshua is making the same argument against divorce with the same proof text,  So if we are t0 understand Matthew 19:3-9 in continuity with Second Temple Era Judaism, we can see clearly that Yeshua is not just criticizing divorce in these verses, but polygamy as well. 

If we understand the statements of Yeshua and Paul in these verses in continuity with Second Temple Era Judaism, it is clear that both Yeshua and Paul were teaching in agreement with the Essene halacha against divorce and polygamy as found in the Damascus Document.


In 2007 Rob was very familiar with this concept of monogamy as YHWH’s original intent, saying:

It is not that Yahweh disallowed something He previously allowed. Yahweh is restoring marriage to His original intent. According to Genesis 2:24, polygamy was not Yahweh’s original intent. In Scripture, marriage is presented not only as a social institution, but a model, a "type," of the relationship between the Express Image of Yahweh and Israel. Marriage is characterized not only by fidelity and integrity, but also by monogamy.
(What Does the Word Say About Polygamy?; Rabbi Rob Miller; 2007)

And:

 “During the Second Temple period, monogamy was preferred even on the conceptual plane by, above all, the Dead Sea Sect (who were the exiled true Priests and their followers)whose halakhah explicitly prohibited polygamy. In the reworked version of the statutes of the king in the Temple Scroll, it is stated: "he shall not take another wife in addition to her, for she alone shall be with him all the days of her life" (LVII 17-8). In the Damascus Covenant, criticism is leveled against the 'builders of the wall' (Pharisees?) in the following terms: 'they shall be caught in fornication twice; once by taking a second wife while the first is still alive... it was known in Jewish society as represented in rabbinic literature, polygamy was not widespread in practice, especially not among the sages themselves…' [Jewish Writings of the Second Temple Period: Apocrypha, Pseudepigrapha, Qumran Sectarian Writings, Philo, Josephus. Michael E. Stone (ed.), Fortress:1984. pg. 85, 86]”
(What Does the Word Say About Polygamy?; Rabbi Rob Miller; 2007)

In fact in 2008 Rob Miller voted in favor of the following Halacha on Polygamy and Divorce, passed by the International Nazarene Beit Din:

Although polygamy is not forbidden by the Torah, it does violate the principle of Yesod HaBriah (the principle/foundation of creation) because he who made man in the beginning, 'made them male and female' (Gen. 1:27) 'Wherefore shall a man shall leave his father and his mother, and cleave to his wife, and the two shall become one
flesh' (Gen. 2:24) And now then, they are no more two but one flesh only.

Divorce also violates the principle of Yesod HaBriah because the divorced man has more than one wife in his lifetime. What therefore Elohim has joined together man cannot separate.
(Polygamy and Divorce Halachah of the International Nazarene Beit Din)


The Husband of One Wife

In Rob Miller’s new polygamy doctrine he teaches:

It has been said that this passage [Deut. 17:17] had been in Rabbi Sha’ul’s mind when he set the guidelines for the Elder: “Therefore an Elder must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, sober-minded, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach.” (1 Timothy 3:2) If this is the actual rendering, it would disqualify most men because today most men are divorced.
Actually what is the correct rendering of the passage: “Now the overseer is to be echad with his wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach.” Originally, in Netzarim communities, a man would not receive s'micha (ordination to any office) until he was married and in echad.
(Ekh•äd'; Rabbi Rob Miller, December 2014)

But Rabbi Rob Miller himself taught quite correctly in 2007:

Taking the example of the King, those in Netzarim leadership are to be monogamous, the “husband of one wife” in the office of elder & deacon: 1Timothy 3.2 and Titus 1.6. Polygamy disqualifies you for leadership.



“A Head Witness must be perfect, without blemish, (keep his) word, husband (of) one wife, mannerly reputation, wise (in) speech, (a) son of Adam (human) herald, accessible, not drunk, (a) developed person, educated to teach.”
    In other words, the leadership cannot build a harem on the backs of the people. The word הער rä·ä'  translated as "pastor" is a root word  meaning  "shepherd," which in Jewish metaphorical usage carried the understanding that the “Rosh Ha’aydah” (Head Witness) was in  authority, looking after the sheep, directing them, nurturing them, protecting them, and guiding and governing them. The “Rosh Ha’aydah’s” life must constantly reflect Torah values, morality, conduct, and integrity in the Community.
These leaders are told to be examples to the flock, and the Believers are told to follow the example of the apostles, disciples, and leaders. For instance, this “Rosh Ha’aydah” is supposed to be given to hospitality. But that is demanded of all Believers in 1 Peter 4:8-10.
“Join with others in following my example, brothers, and take note of those who live according to the pattern we gave you. (Philippians 3:17)”
“Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the Elohim of peace will be with you. (Philippians 4:9)’
“You became imitators of us and of Yahweh; in spite of severe suffering, you welcomed the message with the joy given by the Holy Spirit. And so you became a model to all the Believers ... (1 Thessalonians 1:6-7)”
“For you yourselves know how you ought to follow our example. (2 Thessalonians 3:7)”
    In other words, all Believers are to emulate the purity and scripturally-mandated characteristics of our elders and deacons.
(What Does the Word Say About Polygamy?; Rabbi Rob Miller; 2007)

Rob Miller’s 2014 rendering “Now the overseer is to be echad with his wife” instead of his 2007 rendering “husband of one wife” is simply without any linguistic merit, either in the Hebrew Rabbi Miller cited in 2007, nor in the Aramaic Peshitta text, nor in the Greek text.  

The Aramaic Peshitta reads והוא בעלא דחדא אנתתא “and is the husband of one woman/wife”

Here is how this is rendered by various translators:

“he should be the husband of one wife” (Murdock)
“and that he be the husband of one wife” (Ethridge)
“the husband of one wife” (Lamsa)
“and is the husband of one woman” (Bauscher)
“he should be the husband of one wife” (Roth)
“and is the husband of one woman” (HRV)

The following shows the relevant phrase from the Aramaic Peshitta ih Hebrew letters, in interlinear:



There is no word (or suffix in Aramaic) meaning “his” (i.e. “his wife”) nor is there any word or prefix meaning “with”.  The prefix ד means “of” not “with” and is prefixed to the word for “one” not the word for “wife”.  

Likewise the Greek Text reads:



And again there is are no words meaning “with” or “his” modifying wife.

Rob Miller’s new doctrines simply adds words into the text in an effort to change its plain and simple meaning.

We can see that this connection was known and understood by Paul, because where the argument in the Damascus Document (s shown above earlier) goes on to then generalize the rule against kings "multiplying wives to themselves" (Deut. 17:17) to apply it to "rulers" in general, Paul likewise makes a very similar statement that elders should be "the husband of one wife" (1Tim. 3:2).


Did Yah Bless David with Many Wives?

In his new polygamy doctrine, Rob Miller writes:

Take for instance King David’s life: “Here is what YAHWEH, the Elohim of Isra’el says: ‘I anointed you king over Isra’el. I rescued you from the power of Sha’ul. I GAVE YOU your master’s house and your master’s WIVES to embrace. I gave you the house of Isra’el and the house of Y’hudah. And if that had been too little, I would have added to you a lot more.” (2 Samuel 12:7, 8)  2 Samuel 12:8 tells us YAHWEH blessed David with the wives of David’s King, Sha’ul, along with those David took as wives. Having more than one wife is not wrong but taking another man’s wife is sin, adultery.
(Ekh•äd'; Rabbi Rob Miller, December 2014)

"And I gave thee thy master's house, and thy master's wives into thy bosom, and gave thee the house of Israel and of Judah; and if that had been too little, I would moreover have given unto thee such and such things."
2 Samuel 12:8.

A verse which they claim proves that YHWH blessed David with his multiple wives. This is a claim they would never make if they had a good understanding of Hebrew idioms. This is an idiom by which an active verb is used in connection with YHWH, not to say that He did something, but actually to say that he ALLOWED it to happen in his sovereignty over the universe. I will not give you one example of this idiom in the Scriptures, I will give you seven (the number of perfection):

“lead us not into temptation” (Mt. 6:13a) – Compare with “Let no one say when he is tempted, ‘I am tempted by Elohim’ for Elohim cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he himself tempt anyone. But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed.” (James 1:13-14) (I covered the usage of this idiom here in my HRV version Scriptures in a footnote, as well as in my Commentary to Matthew http://www.lulu.com/nazarene )

“For this cause Elohim shall send them strong delusion…” (2Thes. 2:11)

“…Elohim gave them up to uncleanness… Elohim gave them up to vile affections…” (Romans 1:24-26) – If you read the context of these verses you will see that it is an example of YHWH allowing people in his sovereignty to violate the “male and female” Yesod HaBriah (Principle of Creation) just as he allowed King David to have many wives in violation of the Yesod HaBriah.

“These are they whom YHWH has sent to and fro through the earth.” (Zech. 1:10b) (The “they” in context are horses which represent the 70 year Babylonian captivity (see Zech. 1:8-12).

Surely You [YHWH] have greatly deceived this people…” (Jer. 4:10)

“I [YHWH] will harden his heart” (Ex. 4:21) - In Rom. 9:17-18 Paul refers to Elohim's sovereignty when he hardened Pharaoh's heart. Paul here quotes Ex. 9:16 and is referring to the material in Ex. 9:15-17. The Calvinist misunderstanding here comes from a lack of understanding the idiom Biblical Hebrew.

In the case of Pharaoh we have a man who was not a believer (Ex. 5:2) and who hardened his own heart (Ex. 8:11, 15, 28; 9:7). Paul simply refers to this story to show that Elohim had the sovereign right to allow Pharaoh to harden his own heart of his own freewill. This concept is also taught in the Talmud:

In the way in which a man wishes to walk he is guided.
(b.Mak. 10b)

If one goes to defile himself, openings are made for him;
and if he goes to purify himself, help is afforded him.
(b.Shabb. 104a)

If a man defiles himself a little, he becomes much defiled:
[if he defile himself] below, he becomes defiled from above;
if he defile himself in this world,
he becomes defiled in the world to come.
Our Rabbis taught: Sanctify yourselves,
therefore, and be ye holy:
If a man sanctify himself a little,
he becomes much sanctified.
[If he sanctify himself] below,
he becomes sanctified from above;
if he sanctify himself in this world,
he becomes sanctified in the world to come.
(b.Yoma 39a)

Elohim, has the sovereign right to further harden the heart of the man who has chosen himself to harden his heart. This does not conflict with freewill, it is an amplification of freewill.


“And again the anger of YHWH was kindled against Israel, and he moved David against them to say, Go, number Israel and Judah.” (2Sam. 24:1) - I have saved the best example for last… here was are also dealing with David and told that YHWH moved David to number Israel… but wait, the parallel passage in 1Chon. 21:1 says “And Satan stood up against Israel, and provoked David to number Israel.” Atheists and Muslims claim this is a “contradiction” in the Bible, but it is just another example of the idiom, YHWH in his sovereignty ALLOWED Satan to provoke David.

In 2Sam. 12:8 YHWH is speaking through Nathan to remind David, that in his sovereignty (despite the instruction for Kings not to multiply wives to themselves Deut. 17:17) ALLOWED David to multiply wives to himself. This idiom is nothing new, I have discussed it over the years in several of my books. These men err in that they do not understand the Scriptures.

In fact Rabbi Miller should know well that David’s many wives were not a blessing, but a curse, in fact Rabbi Miller laid this out in detail in 2007 when he taught:

King David had eight wives (Michal, the second daughter of King Sha’ul; Ahinoam bet Ahimaaz of Jezreel who was captured by David while he was at war with King Sha’ul; Abigail, previously wife of the evil Nabal; Maachah daughter of Talmai, King of Geshur; Haggith; Abital; Eglah; and Bathsheba bat Eliam, previously the wife of Uriah the Hittite) and numerous concubines in direct opposition to the Torah. David's last concubine was Abisag from Sunam. Polygamy was a curse in David’s family.  
David married Michal, Sha’ul’s daughter.  Then when David was exiled by King  Sha’ul, he gives Michal as a wife to Phaltiel of Laish, and David takes several other wives including Abigail.
Despite an apparent prohibition in Deuteronomy 24:1-4 on re-marrying a previous spouse who has subsequently remarried, David remarries Michal after he is crowned in Judah following Sha’ul's death. Phaltiel follows her weeping but is powerless to prevent her from leaving him.
“And David sent messengers to Ishbosheth, Sha’ul's son, saying, 'Deliver me my wife Michal, which I espoused to me for an hundred foreskins of the Philistines.'
And Ishbosheth sent, and took her from her husband, even from Phaltiel the son of Laish.
And her husband went with her along weeping behind her to Bahurim. Then said Abner unto him, 'Go, return.' and he returned.  (II Samuel 3:14-16)”
David put away Michal, Sha’ul’s daughter because she laughed at him when he danced, partially nude in public, before Yahweh in a religious procession and kept her under palace arrest and made sure that she produced no grandchildren to Sha’ul’s House.
Yahweh directly says to David, “...I gave you...your master’s wives into your keeping...” (2 Samuel 12:7-8). These women were given “...into your care...” There is no indication either in Scripture or in history that David married King  Sha’ul’s harem.
Among his eight wives was a woman named Maacah, who bore King David a son named Absalom and a beautiful daughter named Tamar.
Now Amnon, the son from one of David's other wife, Ahinoam of Jezreel, lusted after Tamar. Faking an illness to get Tamar in his room, he then raped his own half-sister causing her to lose her mind. Absalom found out about the rape and later murdered his half-brother Amnon.
“David trampled down the first and the best law of nature … and for his trouble he spent all his after-days in a hell upon earth. David's palace was a perfect pandemonium of suspicion, and intrigue, and jealousy, and hatred—all breaking out, now into incest and now into murder...
A little ring of jealous and scheming parasites, all hateful and hating one another, collected round each one of David's wives. And it was in one of the worst of those wicked rings that Absalom grew and got his education.” (Alexander Whyte)
It was polygamy that allowed David to commit the tremendous sin of taking Bathsheba and having her husband murdered. “Now, therefore, the sword will never depart from your house, because you despised me and took the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be your own… Out of your own household I am going to bring calamity upon you. Before your very eyes I will take your wives and give them to one who is close to you, and he will lie with your wives in broad daylight. You did it in secret, but I will do this thing in broad daylight before all Israel. (2 Samuel 12:10-12)”
What calamity? Yahweh said the “sword will never depart” from David’s house -- his family. This calamity was done publicly by David’s own son Absalom when he lay with David’s concubines:
“Ahithophel answered, ‘Lie with your father's concubines whom he left to take care of the palace. Then all Israel will hear that you have made yourself a stench in your father's nostrils, and the hands of everyone with you will be strengthened.’ So they pitched a tent for Absalom on the roof, and he lay with his father's concubines in the sight of all Israel. (2 Samuel 16:21-22)”
Absalom ultimately mounted an attempted coup but was put down and killed.  David repented. “Then David said to Nathan, ‘I have sinned against Yahweh.’
Nathan replied, ‘Yahweh has taken away your sin. You are not going to die.’ (2 Samuel
12:13)”
However, the son to be born of this adultery did die. Yahweh took all David’s wives except Bathsheba. The reason for this, I believe was two fold: (1) by living the rest of his days with Bathsheba, David had to stay in a state of repentance and (2) she, as a fruit of repentance had to mother of Solomon, through whom Yahweh kept His unconditional, dynastic, promise to David -- a forefather of King Messiah YahShua
“When David returned to his palace in Jerusalem, he took the ten concubines he had left to take care of the palace and put them in a house under guard. He provided for them, but did not lie with them. They were kept in confinement till the day of their death, living as widows. (2 Samuel 20:3)”
David practiced polygamy no more.
The consequence of polygamy kept destroying David’s family even after his death. Adonijah, the fourth son of David, after the death of his elder brothers, Amnon, and Absalom, became heir-apparent to the throne. But Solomon, a younger brother, was preferred to him. Adonijah, however, when his father was dying, caused himself to be proclaimed king. But Nathan and Bathsheba induced David to give orders that Solomon should be proclaimed King immediately, and admitted to the throne.
Adonijah fled and took refuge at the altar, and received a pardon for his conduct from Solomon on the condition that he show himself "a worthy man" (1 Kings 1:5-13.) Adonijah afterwards made a second attempt to gain the throne, by trying to marry David's last concubine, Abisag from Sunam, but Solomon denied authorization for such an engagement, even if Bathsheba now pleaded on Adonijah's behalf. He was then seized and put to death (1 Kings 2:13-25.)
(What Does the Word Say About Polygamy?; Rabbi Rob Miller; 2007)

And:

“Neither (shall) he multiply women nor torment his heart, nor (shall) he multiply money (or) gold extremely.”
Sha’ul, Israel's first king, disobeyed this command and Yahweh took the Kingdom from his family. David started out in polygamy, but Yahweh punished him and he repented. Solomon committed polygamy which led to idolatry, and Yahweh punished him by ripping the Kingdom away from his son, Rehoboam (who had 18 wives and 60 concubines) which caused the division and scattering of Israel.
Even in Messiah YahShua’s time, King Herod the not-so-Great had ten wives. Now, he didn’t have them all at once because he murdered two of them, but he had several at a time.
(What Does the Word Say About Polygamy?; Rabbi Rob Miller; 2007)


Did the Original Followers of Yeshua Practice Polygamy?

In Rob’s new polygamy doctrine we are told that yes they did:

So, when was plural marriage banned?
Christian clergy, theologians and doctrinarians with a perverted perspective following in the Roman societal tradition have tremendous difficulty with plural echad marriage. This very point shows to what extent the Roman church is not a continuation of Torah to include the Netzarim Faith (the original sect of Messiah Yahshua), society and morality, but rather the continuation of Greco-Roman pagan traditions, society and morality and has put pressure on our communities. People, with a Christian mind-set, think that there is something basically immoral about having more than one wife, and the few situations where it is allowed are considered strange and suspect.
(Ekh•äd'; Rabbi Rob Miller, December 2014)

But in the past Rabbi Miller has admitted that they did not:

Polygamy was never a practice of the Netzarim, however, it was a practice of the apostate Gnostics. Irenaeus condemned the Gnostics for their polygamy lumping it up as a sex sin: "Others, again, following upon Basilides and Carpocrates, have introduced promiscuous intercourse and a plurality of wives..."
(What Does the Word Say About Polygamy?; Rabbi Rob Miller; 2007)


Is YHWH a Polygamist?

In his new polygamy teaching Rob Miller illustrates Yahweh as a polygamist:

“Yahweh cannot marry the two sisters until they are no longer hostile to one another and the reason for the hostility in reality is because of the hostility for the ordinances of Torah!”
(Ekh•äd'; Rabbi Rob Miller, December 2014)

But in 2007 Rob stated plainly that YHWH is not a polygamist:

Yahweh is no polygamist.  “Hosea and other prophets constantly dwell upon the thought of a monogamous marriage as being a symbol of the union between [Yahweh] and His people; and they denounce idolatry as unfaithfulness to this spiritual marriage-life.” (“Dictionary of the Bible,” edited by Frederick C. Grant and H.H. Rowley, Edinburgh: T&T Clark, 1965, pages 292)
There are those that claim Israel has a covenant and so does the Church.  This is called “dual covenant” theology.  This would make Yahweh a polygamist if he marries Israel and the Church.  Others claim the Church replaced Israel but the churches are many -- Roman Catholic, Greek Orthodox Catholic, hundreds of Protestant churches. Is the Messiah, as the express image of Yahweh, going to marry each one of these? Messiah is not a POLYGAMIST! He has only one bride!
“Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory! For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready. (Revelation 19:7)”
(What Does the Word Say About Polygamy?; Rabbi Rob Miller; 2007)

Before closing allow me to quote the following from Rabbi Miller's 2007 teaching against polygamy:

There are over 30,000 people practicing polygamy in the US mainly in Utah, Idaho, Montana and Arizona, who either regard themselves as preserving the original Mormon beliefs and customs, or have merely adopted polygamy as a desired way of life and may or may not be a part of the teachings of any organization.
I don’t think we want to be linked with such cults.
(What Does the Word Say About Polygamy?; Rabbi Rob Miller; 2007)


Polygamy is not good for society. The Rabbis of the Talmud said that four wives was the allowed maximum for a man, so that he could devote the proper amount of time for sexual relations with each of them. If you legalize polygamy, “out of 100 men and 100 women, 25 men will have an average of 4 wives that means 75 out of 100 men will never have wives.  If all men who can only have 2 wives then 50 men will never have wives. If only half the married men have 2 wives and the others have one then 33 men will never have wives. If the ratio of number of wives varies between 1 and 4 then a significant portion of the male population can only have sex with each other or must resort to rape…as is the case of homosexuality among unmarried Muslims or blame is placed on the victim as is the case with rape in Muslim countries or groups of Muslims.” (in response by Tim Hof to the article “Female Desire and Islamic Trauma”)
(What Does the Word Say About Polygamy?; Rabbi Rob Miller; 2007)


The Scripture says:

The refining pot is for silver,
and the furnace for gold:
but YHWH tries the hearts.
(Proverbs 17:2 HRV)

We have entered a time of refinement. Just as metal must be refined before it can move to a stage where it can be shaped to the will of the artisan, so must this movement be refined so that the Great Artisan can shape us to His will.  The dross will float to the top and be removed, be not dismayed, as this must be.

(See my Follow Up to this article by clicking HERE)



The fact is that this movement is moving forward in some amazing ways in coming months. This ministry (The Worldwide Nazarene Assembly of Elohim) has always been on the cutting edge of the movement, and there are exciting times ahead.

So when you see the refinement, realize that this refinement must occur, the dross must be removed for us to be prepared to conform to the will of YHWH as we move forward.

I recently contacted you to tell you that we ended November under budget.

As a result we are now facing a budget shortfall in December, we have bills due, and no money with which to pay them.

I am asking you, if this ministry has ever benefited you, to strongly consider stepping up to the plate and supporting this work today.

Please help us bring the message of Messiah and Torah to a lost world and create Scripture study materials for believers.
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Views: 2917

Comment by Ayina Qeren on December 24, 2014 at 6:37pm

This solidifies the fact that it actually says: husband to one woman instead of Husband to the first woman.  Todah!!

Comment by William Anthony Dlubak on December 24, 2014 at 9:57pm

Yeshua made it very clear in the New Covenant...Shalom Aleikhem...

Comment by Ayina Qeren on December 25, 2014 at 6:15am

Agreed but they like to dive into semantics and meanings of Greek and Hebrew words and twist them. To make their point more meaningful.  

The icing on the cake?

They also make the bold statement that Monogamy is Satanic....yep Satanic... 

Comment by William Anthony Dlubak on December 25, 2014 at 7:05am

Ayina, That shows us that its NOT the Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirit) speaking! Blessings and Shalom!

Comment by Ayina Qeren on December 25, 2014 at 4:59pm

That is right William!  lol  Shalom Aleichem to you.

Comment by James Trimm on December 26, 2014 at 4:48pm

From another thread:

Comment by David Brigham 1 hour ago Delete Comment

The Greek has _mia_ which means "only one", never "first"-- cp. http://lexiconcordance.com/greek/3391.html

Comment by Ginny wilkerson on December 28, 2014 at 9:57am

Thank you so much for this article. There is a woman on FB who advocates polygamy..a "head-covered" woman of "purity", as she appears on FB, arguing with mostly men, who don't believe in polygamy. go figure. It's weird. We all know  how hard it must have been for Solomon to make all his wives happy. If you  have a reasonably kind husband, you would get your portion and would be treated right. Otherwise, it would suck for that one wife who wasn't favored by her husband.

Also I've seen somewhere that polygamy is an example of a man who is trying to "be like God". Israel is God's bride/wife who is composed of many individuals. Only God, who is omnipotent, omniscient and omnipresent can fill those shoes. Men cannot be like God in this respect. They can't handle it!

Shalom

Comment by Rick on January 6, 2015 at 8:36am

James, as you know I know Rob Miller,  I would like to say I did not see this coming . This is just one of the problems within the Messianic movement , too many " teachers "  going off the reservation for their own belief  and bringing confusion to the body of Messiah .I for one am very proud of you James for standing up and taking a stand !! also for being there for the congregation in Temple Texas Great job .

Comment by James Trimm on January 6, 2015 at 10:36pm
Comment by James Trimm on January 16, 2015 at 12:03am

False:  No one is directed to practice polygamy.  The brother is given the choice of marrying the widow or simply performing the Halizah ceremony (which is performed routinely in Rabbinic Judaism).  So the Yesod HaBriah stands as valid,

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