I know that Solomon was a king, but why doesn't the Bible describe his polygamy as sinful? Was he allowed to commit sins others could not because he was a king? I thought God showed no partiality.

3 Answers 3


Although the narrator in Kings and Chronicles may not say so, Deuteronomy does say it was a sin, in Deuteronomy 17:15-17

[15] you shall surely set a king over you whom the Lord your God chooses; one from among your brethren you shall set as king over you; you may not set a foreigner over you, who is not your brother. [16] But he shall not multiply horses for himself, nor cause the people to return to Egypt to multiply horses, for the Lord has said to you, ‘You shall not return that way again.’ [17] Neither shall he multiply wives for himself, lest his heart turn away; nor shall he greatly multiply silver and gold for himself. (NKJV)

Solomon broke all these provisions, multiplying horses, wives, and gold and silver.

All King Solomon’s drinking vessels were gold, and all the vessels of the House of the Forest of Lebanon were pure gold. Not one was silver, for this was accounted as nothing in the days of Solomon. (1 Kings 10:21 NKJV)

Accounted as nothing because he had so much of it.

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    According to Deuteronomy, how many wives was he allowed to have? Jul 9, 2014 at 16:02
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    So you're saying that this passage you quoted here, which ONLY relates to kings, means that a king can only have ONE piece of silver, ONE piece of gold, and only ONE horse to rule an entire kingdom with? Jul 10, 2014 at 17:46
  • @The Duke Of Marshall, Uh, no. But you'd be hard pressed to find a modern scholarly commentary on Deut that doesn't argue that this passage was written by the Deuteronomists after Solomon's reign in order to check the abuses Solomon was guilty of, or an older (like 1800s) commentary that doesn't take the position that this was written beforehand to check the kinds of abuses Solomon was later guilty of. Jul 11, 2014 at 1:56
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    @gideonmarx some number less than 700, to be sure!
    – Andrew
    Jul 11, 2014 at 2:57
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    @TheDukeOfMarshall great point. To "multiply horses" presumably means to have more horses than are reasonably necessary, e.g. extra horses kept for selfish or prideful purposes. If the section on wives is of the same type, then presumably it means that a king must not have extra wives beyond the number that he reasonably needs. How many wives a king can be said to reasonably need is an entirely different can of worms. Apr 11, 2017 at 1:49

The Bible never says Solomon's multiple wives was not a sin. It was actually the reason he lost his kingdom. In 1 Kings 11:4 his multiple wives drew him away from his full devotion to The Lord and eventually to other gods. In 1 Kings 11:11, The Lord tells Solomon that because he did not keep God's covenant, He would take away Solomon's kingdom and give it to one of his subordinates - which ended up being his son. We are told this is for the sake of David in v. 12.

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    I think this needs to be clarified. Are you saying he lost his kingdom because he had multiple wives or because those wives drew away his devotion to the Lord? 1 Kings 1-2 says his wives were "women of the Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Zidonians, and Hittites" who the Lord said "Ye shall not go in to them, neither shall they come in unto you" because "they will turn away your heart after their gods". That was Solomon's sin, not purely his polygamy.
    – Calvin
    Jul 9, 2014 at 4:07
  • I didn't say it was purely his polygamy. His polygamy turned him to their gods, as mentioned above.
    – Jesse
    Jul 9, 2014 at 12:37
  • It was the marriage to foreign women that turned him to other gods. Not polygamy. Abraham, Moses, Jacob, etc had multiple wives and kept the faith, but were not sinful because they had more than one wife. Jul 10, 2014 at 17:49
  • not sinful? Having more wives and then concubines on top of that is not sinful. So, why having concubines are considered sinful in christianity now?
    – user4951
    Mar 28, 2015 at 9:29

The simple and quick answer is because plural marriage (i.e. polygamy) isn't a sin according to Scripture. Solomon was instructed not to take foreign wives because they would lead his heart away to other gods. THAT was the sin that Solomon committed. It's not a sin for a man to be married to more than one woman.

  • Mod notice @Jesse et all: Comments are not the place to engage in debate over theological issues. Criticizing a point in a post in hopes that it can be improved is fine, but leave it at that. Either the OP edits to fix or they don't. If you think an answer is just wrong and can't be easily fixed, provide a better one yourself. DV if you think it's not helpful to the question. If you want to chat, take it to Christianity Chat, but long debate threads in comments are not helpful to the site.
    – Caleb
    Jul 10, 2014 at 19:38
  • In keeping with Caleb's comment, I'm shortening this to simply say: This answer should say "Old Testament" rather than "Scripture" in order to be in line with the Christian position (Mt 5, Mt 19), since as stated it takes a Jewish position on the canon basically (that the OT alone is scripture). Jul 11, 2014 at 2:04
  • Old testament is a Christian position as well. Jul 11, 2014 at 2:14

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