Easton's Bible Dictionary
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 3:18,19
; 1 Peter 3:1-7
These dictionary topics are from M.G. Easton M.A., D.D., Illustrated Bible Dictionary, Third Edition, published by Thomas Nelson, 1897. Public Domain.
Easton, Matthew George. Entry for 'Wife'. Easton's Bible Dictionary. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/eng/ebd/w/wife.html. 1897.