Q. I just found your site and need an answer. Wonderful site!!First of all where do you find your answers?….King James Version or all of them?
My question is this. When and where did last names begin in the bible or was it afterward? You wrote in one answer to another… i.e. ( bible names: Mary Magdalene [from Magdala] What about last names for us? Also, Why did God permit men to have several wives? I read that King Solomon had several hundred wives, not counting his three hundred concubines,etc.
A. I refer mostly to the King James and the NIV, but use the original languages to verify my answers.
Last names began to emerge as the population grew and more people shared the same names. Sometimes a last name would identify a person’s home town, like Mary Magdeline, some times his or her parentage like Simon bar Jonah, “bar Jonah” meaning “son of Jonah”. In English the word son was added to the father’s name to get Johnson, Peterson, etc. Others adopted their trade as their last name like Cooper, Smith, Carpenter, Baker, Miller and such.
I believe it was always God’s intention that a man would have one wife. The concept of multiple wives was a human tradition, and always seemed to cause trouble in the Bible. God permitted plural wives when the primary wife was barren as Sarah and Rachel were, but took steps to limit the practice by the time of the wilderness wanderings. In the case of Solomon, his wives were the result of political accommodation. Neighboring kings gave their daughters to him to insure peace with the Israelites. 1 Kings 11:3 says that all 700 of them were of royal birth. And remember, Solomon’s wives were his undoing because he permitted them to worship their pagan gods and even built altars with images of them on the high places. This angered the Lord and resulted in Israel’s civil war following his death. (1 Kings 11:9-13)
Some interpret Paul’s qualification of a church leader as being a husband of but one wife as prohibiting plural marriage for believers, especially those who aspire to leadership.(1 Tim. 3:2)