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B'resheet/Genesis 4:19 Lemekh took for himself two wives
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The Midrash tells us that in the generations before the flood, men would take two wives: one for bearing children, the other for pleasure. While the wife for pleasure was pampered and petted, the wife for children was scorned and treated more like a slave. This is hinted at in the names of Lemekh's wives: one is called 'Adah', which in Aramaic means 'removed', while the other is called 'Tzilah' which in Hebrew is related to the word 'tzeyl' meaning shadow, so the Rabbis taught that Tzilah always lived in Lemekh's shadow (B'resheet Rabbah 23:2).
Can you see a connection to some words that Yeshua spoke? "No servant can be slave to two masters, for he will either hate the first and love the second, or scorn the second and be loyal to the first" (Luke 16:13, CJB). While Yeshua goes on to apply that observation to 'G-d and money', the Scriptures show us that it applies very clearly to a husband that takes more than one wife. Look at the tsuris between Ya'akov's two wives, Le'ah and Rachel. Although the Talmud sanctions polygamy, "A man may marry as many wives as he pleases" (Yevamot 65a), generally it is recognised that a husband had only one wife, for example: "A man's home is his wife" (Yoma I.1), and polygamy was formally banned in a rabbinic decree issued by Rabbi Gershon in the early Middle Ages.
Yeshua's words warn us of the difficulties we will encounter if we have split or divided loyalties and in particular if we are divided between something and G-d. Anything that competes for our attention with G-d is an idol: something that sometimes, even if not often, comes before Him in our favour, time and devotion. Many people struggle with this issue; for some it is money, for others football or golf, for yet others some consuming hobby like stamp collecting or cross-stitching. Whenever we devote our time, energy, attention and money to anything other than the L-rd, we run the risk of making it into an idol and it becoming a snare for us. Remember that "the L-rd your G-d is a consuming fire, a jealous G-d" (D'varim 4:24, NASB. He will not share our affections.
Further Study: 2 Kings 18:1-4; 2 Timothy 2:14-18
Application: Look at your life today and see if there is something that is competing with G-d for your best attention and favour. Has some habit or pursuit eaten into your time and devotion to the L-rd?
© Jonathan Allen, 2007
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