Matthew 5:31-32 – 3. The Nazarene’s Commentary on Deuteronomy 24:1
MT5:31 “But, it was said: ‘Whoever releases his woman, let him give her a divorce certificate.’ [Deuteronomy 24:1] MT5:32 But, I tell you: Any man who divorces his woman except on account of fornication causes her to commit adultery. Any who marry the divorced woman commit adultery.
 Give her a divorce certificate: For the second time the context deals with women and the attitude of men toward them. This is a revolutionary idea (Matthew 2:14-16; Mark 10:11, 12; Luke 16:18; 1 Corinthians 7:10, 11). Much of the Nazarene’s teachings lead to the emancipation of women. In Mark’s account (Mark 10:12) women are included in this matter of divorce. Female divorce was not covered in the Law of Moses nor in most legislation of nations. Compare the response of the male disciples of the Nazarene at Matthew 19:3-12 where they suggest its better not to marry at all if the only grounds for divorce was adultery. Note Paul’s encouragement of celibacy without condemning marriage (1 Corinthians ch 7).
 Fornication: This is the Greek PORNEIAS which is rooted in “to buy” and first implies prostitution but later includes all forms of sexual improprieties which one might “buy” from a harlot. In the Law of Moses engaged couples who had intercourse were not stoned to death, but the male had to marry the girl, pay a price to her father, and give up his rights of divorce. PORNEIA is the root of “pornography.” The word occurs three times in Matthew (Matthew 5:32, 15:19, 19:9) and occurs once in Mark 7:21. The Apostolic Body warns the Non-Jews of it at Acts 15:20, 29. Paul uses the word most often in seven of his letters. The glorified Christ warns of it in his letters to the “angels” at Revelation 2:14, 20. Revelation 21:8 and 22:15 may infer “fornication” occurs during the 1,000 years, outside of the New Jerusalem. The Nazarene teaches that “fornication” is one of those things which ‘defile’ a person (Matthew 15:9; Mark 7:21). “Fornication” may include unnatural sexual practices as shown by Jude 6, 7.
Next: Matthew 5:33-37 – 4. The Nazarene’s Commentary on Numbers 30:3
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