Do not withhold food, clothing, and sexual relations from your wife

The Literal Commandment

If he takes to himself another woman, he may not reduce her [his first wife's] food, her clothing, or her conjugal rights. (Exodus 21:10)

 

The literal commandment is that a man should not reduce his first wife's food, clothing, or conjugal rights if he takes another wife.

 

Messiah Says

Messiah implicitly affirmed this commandment when He spoke about the Law:

"Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill. For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished. Whoever then annuls one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever keeps and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 5:17-19)

 

Pictures of Messiah

This commandment to not withhold food, clothing, and conjugal rights from a wife pictures the ongoing blessing and spiritual intimacy we have with G-d in spite of Messiah being physically absent from the world.

 

How Messiah Fulfilled

No evidence is given in Scripture that Messiah literally fulfilled this command: He never married a woman. Since He did not marry then He did not violate this command to not withhold food, clothing, and conjugal intimacy.

 

Traditional Observance

The traditional understanding of this commandment is that it applies to all marital circumstances, not just those where a husband takes a second wife.

 

Other Notes

We are able to fulfill this commandment today and a man should not withhold food, clothing, or conjugal intimacy from his wife.

 

As Peter stated:

You husbands in the same way, live with your wives in an understanding way, as with someone weaker, since she is a woman; and show her honor as a fellow heir of the grace of life, so that your prayers will not be hindered. (1 Peter 3:7)

 

Why would a man's prayer be hindered?

He who turns away his ear from listening to the Torah, Even his prayer is an abomination. (Proverbs 28:9)

 

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Commandment Details

  • Mishneh Torah # 124
  • Mishneh Torah Book # 4
  • Mishneh Torah Book Women
  • Mishneh Torah Category 20- Marriage
  • Reference Exodus 21:10
  • Scripture Book Exodus
  • Chapter 21
  • Verse 10
  • English If he takes to himself another woman, he may not reduce her food, her clothing, or her conjugal rights.
  • Hebrew י אִם-אַחֶרֶת, יִקַּח-לוֹ--שְׁאֵרָהּ כְּסוּתָהּ וְעֹנָתָהּ, לֹא יִגְרָע.
  • Greek 10 ἐὰν δὲ ἄλλην λάβῃ ἑαυτῷ, τὰ δέοντα καὶ τὸν ἱματισμὸν καὶ τὴν ὁμιλίαν αὐτῆς οὐκ ἀποστερήσει.
  • Parashah 18- Mishpatim
  • Positive/Negative Negative
  • Sefer Hachinuch # 46
  • Sef. Hach. Command Not to withhold from one's wife her rightful due
  • Category Marriage and Family
  • We can fullfill today Yes

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