Marriage by the Command of God

“Behold, David and Solomon truly had many wives and concubines, which thing was abominable before me, saith the Lord.”
(Jacob 2:24)

David also received many wives and concubines, and also Solomon and Moses my servants, as also many others of my servants, from the beginning of creation until this time; and in nothing did they sin save in those things which they received not of me. David’s wives and concubines were given unto him of me, by the hand of Nathan, my servant, and others of the prophets who had the keys of this power; and in none of these things did he sin against me save in the case of Uriah and his wife; and, therefore he hath fallen from his exaltation, and received his portion; and he shall not inherit them out of the world, for I gave them unto another, saith the Lord.”
(D&C 132:38-39)

That God gave David his wives is confirmed in the original story:

“…Thus saith the Lord God of Israel, I anointed thee king over Israel, and I delivered thee out of the hand of Saul; 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 thee such and such things.
(2 Samuel 12:7-8)

Why was it that David sinned in marrying Bathsheba and not the other wives? God tells us, “in nothing did they sin save in those things which they received not of me.” This statement is very key and its sentiment is echoed in Jacob’s closing remarks on the topic:

For if I will, saith the Lord of Hosts, raise up seed unto me, I will command my people; otherwise they shall hearken unto these things.”
(Jacob 2:30)

Do you see the pattern? It is only sin when men take it upon themselves to marry wives without the command of God via one of his appointed prophets. This is what the men who Jacob addressed were doing and why he had to speak to them in such strong terms.

The Prophet Joseph explained it like this:

“So with Solomon: first he asked wisdom, and God gave it him, and with it every desire of his heart, even things which might be considered abominable to all who understand the order of heaven only in part, but which in reality were right because God gave and sanctioned by special revelation.”
(Documentary History of the Church, 5:256)

What Joseph said immediately after this is very telling:

“A parent may whip a child, and justly, too, because he stole an apple; whereas if the child had asked for the apple, and the parent had given it, the child would have eaten it with a better appetite; there would have been no stripes; all the pleasure of the apple would have been secured, all the misery of stealing lost.”

It is easy to deduce from the context of this statement that Joseph was saying that men who take wives without God’s sanction are stealing and deserve to be punished. Something else is also implied by this: if it is wrong to steal a 2nd or 3rd apple, it is also wrong to steal the first. Therefore, if a man takes even one wife without God’s sanction it is stealing and an abomination.

So then, given the gravity of the situation, you’re probably asking yourself, “How does a man know that his marriage has God’s sanction?” The passages above make it clear that when God sanctions a marriage he will give the woman to the man “by the hand of … the prophets who [have] the keys of this power.” Why would only prophets be given this power? The answer is simple, only a prophet is able to get a “special revelation” for each couple. Without that revelation a couple cannot know whether their marriage is approved of God.

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