Some of the laws relating to marrying foreign wives (e.g., Deuteronomy 21:10-14) and laws assuming multiple wives (e.g., Deuteronomy 21:15-17) make necessary a reminder about some truths about the law. First, we know that the laws of God are good (Psalm 19:7-8) and that to denigrate the importance of any of God’s commandments diminishes the accomplishments of Jesus (Matthew 5:17-18). At the same time, we also know that God gave certain laws to make concession for sin prevalent in Israel (Matthew 19:8), and not because the assumption of the laws themselves reflects God’s perfect plans for our lives. Instead, Jesus tells us that certain commands are meant to keep Israel from egregious evil. Lastly, the law was a guardian protecting and preparing us for Jesus (Galatians 3:24-25) and for the law written now on our hearts by the Spirit of Christ (Hebrews 10:16).

God’s laws in the Torah do not always reflect the notion that He approves of that which necessitates the laws’ existence (i.e., sin), but they do reflect God’s desire to protect Israel from polluting His earth with increasingly great evil, such as the polygamy that was commonly practiced. Keep this in mind as you read and make sense of various laws that seem to allow what later teachings in the Bible forbid.