On the web site www.christianpolygamy.com, it states that Christianity had always been practicing polygamy until the dawn of Catholicism. The Holy Book of Isaiah 4:1 is apparently the only verse that Christian polygamists use to support their position. How does the Orthodox Church interpret this verse and how can we refute the argument of polygamy?
The Holy Book of Isaiah 4:1 by no means encourages polygamy but describes it as a punishment for the proud people of Jerusalem. This verse was a prophecy of the punishment God was about to inflict upon the people. As a result, so many men were to die in the war and only women would be left. Therefore polygamy was not to be practiced under normal circumstances but as a punishment from God because of the scarcity of men.
The once proud women of Jerusalem would have to beg for a man. Most of the men of Jerusalem would have died in the process of defending the city (Isa 3:25). Whereas women naturally hate to come in sharers with others, seven should now, by consent, become the wives of one man, -- and that by law the husband was obliged to provide food and raiment for his wife (Ex 21:10). The terms were very unreasonable terms: those women would be bound to support themselves, eat bread of their own earning, wear apparel of their own working, and the man they court would not be burdened with any expenses except to be called husband to his wives, who were desperate to remove the stigma of being reproachfully labeled single In those troublesome days it was an act of kindness on the menís sides to take those women as wives just for the sake of protecting them.