Rogue husbands or loyal followers?

Jun 25 2020

We must not neglect the wives of Jesus’ disciples. Neglect, you ask? Those men are on the road with Jesus!

In Jesus’ experience, loyalty to the Torah was authoritative. And the Torah warned against neglecting one’s wife.

If a man [who is already married] marries another woman, he may not neglect [his first wife’s] food, her clothing, or her conjugal rights. (Exodus 21.10)

This particular regulation seems obscure within the larger body of Law, but it apparently caught the attention of the Rabbis and is therefore worthy of our notice.

In the Mishnah, the discussion concerning conjugal rights prohibits lengthy absences by the husband as follows:

Disciples may go to Torah study without their wife’s consent for thirty days.Workers go out for one week. . . . Sailors for six months. . . (Ketuboth 5.6)

Paul echoes the Torah’s concern for conjugal integrity in his letter to the Corinthians.

The husband should fulfill his wife’s conjugal needs and the wife her husband’s. (1 Corinthians 7.3)

It would seem lawful of Jesus to respect the schedules of the disciples who were married (see Mark 1:30; 1 Corinthians 9:5). And that affects how we schedule Jesus’ experience.

Jesus was not under the Mishnah. The Mishnah simply gives us a context in which to form our own assumptions.

In other words, expect during the SpendaYearwithJesus story for the married disciples to break off from the group to visit their families. And don’t be surprised if Jesus stops praying, teaching, and healing to honor his mother every once in a while.

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