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“Why Does the Bible List Wives Alongside Property?”

“In the Tenth Commandment, why are wives listed with things like houses, oxen, and donkeys, which are property?”

“You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, nor his male servant, nor his female servant, nor his ox, nor his donkey, nor anything that is your neighbor’s” (Exodus 20:17).

You seem to have Christianity confused with other religions, such as Hinduism, that treat wives as mere property. The Tenth Commandment prohibits coveting (covetousness is an unlawful desire), and lists some of the items we are not to lust after. I’m sure you would agree that men tend to lust after women. So, women are included in the list. The association with other things we covet has nothing to do with their worth.

Christianity treats women with the utmost respect. In the Old Testament they were entrusted with high political offices, and Proverbs 31 shows they were given great dignity and worth. When it was considered disreputable and undignified for a man to speak to a woman in public, Jesus spoke to the woman at the well. When women were not considered reliable witnesses, Jesus chose a woman to be the first person to see Him after His resurrection. A woman was privileged to be the first to share the good news that Jesus rose from the dead. Jesus had many women followers, whom He treated with respect and compassion. While some religions don’t want women to be educated, they listened to His teaching and were valuable coworkers in the Church.

The New Testament instructs husbands to love their wives sacrificially, “just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her” (Eph. 5:25). You cannot honor someone more than that. So your inference that Christianity endorses treating women as property is unfounded.

Ray Comfort

Ray Comfort is the Founder and CEO of Living Waters, a bestselling author, and has written more than 100 books, including, The Evidence Study Bible. He cohosts the award-winning television program Way of the Master, which airs in 190 countries.

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