The ordinance of marriage was sanctioned in Paradise ( Genesis 2:24 ; Matthew 19:4-6 ). Monogamy was the original law under which man lived, but polygamy early commenced ( Genesis 4:19 ), and continued to prevail all down through Jewish history. The law of Moses regulated but did not prohibit polygamy. A man might have a plurality of wives, but a wife could have only one husband. A wife's legal rights ( Exodus 21:10 ) and her duties ( Proverbs 31:10-31 ; 1 Timothy 5:14 ) are specified. She could be divorced in special cases ( Deuteronomy 22:13-21 ), but could not divorce her husband. Divorce was restricted by our Lord to the single case of adultery ( Matthew 19:3-9 ). The duties of husbands and wives in their relations to each other are distinctly set forth in the New Testament ( 1 Corinthians 7:2-5 ; Ephesians 5:22-33 ; Colossians 3:18 Colossians 3:19 ; 1 Peter 3:1-7 ).
M.G. Easton M.A., D.D., Illustrated Bible Dictionary, Third Edition,
published by Thomas Nelson, 1897. Public Domain, copy freely.
[N] indicates this entry was also found in Nave's Topical Bible
[B] indicates this entry was also found in Baker's Evangelical Dictionary
[S] indicates this entry was also found in Smith's Bible Dictionary
Bibliography InformationEaston, Matthew George. "Entry for Wife". "Easton's Bible Dictionary".