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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).