|—n , pl wives|
|1.||a man's partner in marriage; a married womanRelated: uxorial|
|2.||an archaic or dialect word for woman|
|3.||take to wife to marry (a woman)|
|[Old English wīf; related to Old Norse vīf (perhaps from vīfathr veiled), Old High German wīb (German Weib)]|
The ordinance of marriage was sanctioned in Paradise (Gen. 2:24; Matt. 19:4-6). Monogamy was the original law under which man lived, but polygamy early commenced (Gen. 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 (Ex. 21:10) and her duties (Prov. 31:10-31; 1 Tim. 5:14) are specified. She could be divorced in special cases (Deut. 22:13-21), but could not divorce her husband. Divorce was restricted by our Lord to the single case of adultery (Matt. 19:3-9). The duties of husbands and wives in their relations to each other are distinctly set forth in the New Testament (1 Cor. 7:2-5; Eph. 5:22-33; Col. 3:18, 19; 1 Pet. 3:1-7).