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Matthew 19:3-9 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Grounds for Divorce

Matthew 19:3-9 – Grounds for Divorce

|| Mark 10:1-12

MT19:3 And now Pharisees approached Jesus to tempt him,[1] asking, “Is it permissible to divorce[2] a woman for any cause?”[3] MT19:4 Jesus responded to their question by saying, “Did you never read[4] that the One who created male and female[5] [Genesis 1:26, 27] from the Beginning[6] made them MT19:5 and He said:[7] ‘On account of this a man will leave behind his father and mother and he will stick[8] to his woman; and the two will become one flesh’? [Genesis 2:24] MT19:6 So, they are no longer two but one[9] flesh. Therefore, whatever The God[10] has yoked together,[11] let no person divide them.”[12] MT19:7 Now the Pharisees asked him, “So why does Moses command a paper of dismissal and divorce?”[13] [Deuteronomy 24:1-4] MT19:8 Jesus answered them, “Moses conceded the divorcing of your women because of your hardheartedness.[14] But it was not so in the Beginning. MT19:9 I tell you this: that whoever divorces his woman[15] not for the reason of sexual immorality[16] and marries another,[17] commits adultery.”

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[1] To tempt him: See Matthew 16:1 where they first test him.

[2] Is it permissible to divorce: One wonders why the Pharisees ask this question as a test of Jesus. It is possible that because there was considerable disagreement on this subject among the Jews, they had found a perplexing question very difficult to answer without offending someone (Shammai versus Hillel schools of thought). We are very interested in how Jesus will handle this. Will he compromise? Will he rationalize an answer favorable to all? The question may also be rendered: RSV: Is it lawful.

“Divorce” in Hebrew carries several meanings: Deuteronomy 22:19, “send away”; Leviticus 22:13, “drive out”; Deuteronomy 24:1, 3 “a bill of divorcement” means literally in Hebrew, “a book of cutting off.” Regarding Jewish divorce see Josephus (Jewish Antiquities, XV, 259 [vii, 10]; 4. 8. 23). Note that in Malachi 2:16 Yehowah says, “I hate divorce.”

[3] For any cause: The problem resulted from the Jewish interpretation of Deuteronomy 24:1-4. Jewish men could divorce for almost any reason. This could include, according to at least one rabbi, that if a man found a more desirable and lovely woman. Note, however, that the Law did not provide for a woman divorcing her husband. On this compare the notes on Matthew 19:9.

[4] Did you never read: This introduction has a degree of cutting sarcasm to it: these are pompous and arrogant teachers of the Law who have studied the Torah completely. Jesus is not unaware of their hidden agenda.

[5] The One who created male and female: Jesus means Yehowah in the designation “the One.” He alludes to Genesis 1:26, 27.

[6] Beginning: Jesus uses the word in relation to the creation of humankind. It is the Greek ARCHES.

[7] He said: Jesus nowhere hints that he believed this One to be himself as Jehovah. We also may draw the conclusion that Jesus believed the account of Genesis. Jesus here quotes Genesis 2:24.

[8] Stick: Or, KJV: cleave; RSV: joined. The Greek is KOLLETHESETAI. It is drawn from the root KOLLA which means to “glue.”

[9] No longer two but one: Or, NEB: it follows that they are no longer two individuals; PME: no longer two separate people, but one. We must make a note that this word “one” is taken by Trinitarians in some mystical form as if it proves their doctrine. On this issue research the text Genesis 2:24 in Nazarene Commentary as well as the Hebrew echad.

[10] The God: The Greek is HO THEOS as it is in most cases of designating the Father of Jesus, Yehowah. Research the Greek HO THEOS.

[11] Yoked together: Or, KJV: joined together. Marriage is the “yoking” of two different people. The word conveys the idea of two equal beasts of burden under the same yoke (Numbers 19:2; Deuteronomy 21:3; 1 Samuel 6:7). The Law forbade yoking animals of different strength. The Greek word-group, ZYGOS, ZEUGOS has the thought of a yoke and are rooted in ZEUGNYMI meaning “yoke; couple; join; bind; unite together.” The Greek ZEUGOS may include “a pair” or “yoke” as in Luke 2:24; 14:19, a “pair of turtledoves.” Birds such as these mate for life.

[12] Let no person divide them: Or, KJV: put asunder; TCNT: must not separate. The main “person” or “man” here would be the husband.

[13] A paper of dismissal and divorce: A reference to Deuteronomy 24:1-4. Or, KJV: a writing of divorcement; KNX: a writ of separation; TCNT: serve his wife with a notice of separation.

[14] Because of your hardheartedness: The Nazarene gives the reason for divorce: the hard hearts of males. Or, KJV: the hardness of your hearts; NEB: because you were so unteachable; WMS: because of your moral perversity; PME: because you knew so little of the meaning of love.

[15] Whoever divorces his woman: This verse has come in for considerable debate and discussion because Matthew, Mark and Luke read each differently. Only Mark 10:12 adds, “…and if ever a woman, after divorcing her husband, marries another, she commits adultery.” This liberated women to seek their own divorce. However, the grounds for divorce remain the same in both cases.

[16] The reason of sexual immorality: Jesus gives only one reason. The Greek here is PORNEIA and is worthy of considerable research. The word is also rendered: RHM: unfaithfulness; RSV: unchastity; GDSP: her unfaithfulness. The root of PORNEIA is from “to buy” as in the purchase price of a prostitute and so “fornication” first became synonymous with “prostitution.” (Genesis 38:24; Exodus 34:16; Hosea 1:2; Leviticus 19:29) The word occurs about 65 times in the Bible. Most often in Hosea (17) and secondly in 1 Corinthians (11). In the Christian Bible fornication is incest (1 Corinthians 5:1), adultery (1 Thessalonians 4:3), a sin against one’s own body (1 Corinthians 6:18), “unnatural” sex (Jude 7). Paul alludes to Numbers 25:1+ and the fornication of Israelite men with Moabite women, possibly temple harlots as religious worship is associated.

  1. F. Westcott, Saint Paul’s Epistle to the Ephesians (1906, p. 76) defines PORNEIA: “This is a general term for all unlawful intercourse, (I) adultery: Hos. 2:2, 4 (LXX); Matt. 5:32; 19:9; (2) unlawful marriage, 1 Cor. 5:1; (3) fornication, the common sense as here [Eph 5:3].” Bauer’s Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament (revised by F. W. Gingrich and F. Danker, 1979, p. 693) defines PORNEIA as “prostitution, unchastity, fornication, of every kind of unlawful sexual intercourse.” “Fornication” is generally related to adultery, rape, and prostitution (Genesis 34:1, 2, 6, 7, 31; Genesis 38:24-26; Genesis 39:7-9).

The question may be raised whether sexual intercourse between two consenting persons who intend to marry is “fornication.” Some would state that it is. However, we are unable to find a single case where sex between engaged persons is considered “fornication.” Virtually every occurrence of “fornication” is limited to rape, adultery, incest, or prostitution. Indeed, the word “prostitution” could replace “fornication” in the Prophet Hosea and most of the cases elsewhere. While adulterous persons were stoned under the Law, couples (engaged or not) who had sexual intercourse were not stoned but required to marry, the male giving up divorce rights and required to pay a fine to the father of the woman (Exodus 22:16, 17; Deuteronomy 22:28, 29).

Since “fornication” is strongly prohibited to Christians it is necessary that each disciple research fornication, read and meditate on these verses and their related principles.

[17] Marries another: If one divorces and does not remarry adultery is not committed. Compare Mark 10:11, “Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery against her.” Luke 16:18, “Everyone that divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery, and he that marries a woman divorced from a husband commits adultery.”

 

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Preceding

Matthew 19:1-2 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: From Galilee to Judah

Find extra verses to think about: Matthew 19:3-9 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Grounds for Divorce – additional verses

Matthew 15:1-20 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Tradition and the Heart

CHAPTER FIFTEEN:
TRADITION AND THE HEART, GIVING CRUMBS TO PUPPIES,
FEEDING 4000

[“The Mouth and the Heart”]
(Key Word: Traditions)

Matthew 15:1-20 – Tradition and the Heart

|| Mark 7:1-23

MT15:1 Now scribes[1] and Pharisees from Jerusalem[2] approached Jesus, saying, “Why do your disciples[3] transgress the traditions of the Ancients?[4] MT15:2 For they do not wash their hands[5] when eating bread.” MT15:3 Jesus responded to them, asking, MT15:4 “For The God said, ‘Honor your father and mother.’[6] [Exodus 20:12] And also, ‘Let the person who says a bad word against[7] father or mother be put to death.’ [Leviticus 20:9] MT15:5 But you teach, ‘Whatever I have to help[8] my father or mother is a Temple-offering consecrated to God’[9] – MT15:6 such a person does not honor[10] father at all. You have invalidated the Word[11] of The God by your own tradition. MT15:7 Hypocrites, Isaiah gave a good prophecy[12] about you when he said, MT15:8 ‘This people honors Me with their lips but their heart is distant. MT15:9 Their worship is worthless[13] because they teach human commandments as doctrine.’” [Isaiah 29:13] MT15:10 Now Jesus called the crowd to gather close, telling them, “Listen carefully and understand:[14] MT15:11 Not what enters the mouth defiles a person,[15] but what pours out of the mouth defiles a person.” MT15:12 Now the disciples approached Jesus, telling him, “Do you know you offended the Pharisees[16] by what they heard you say?” MT15:13 Jesus answered them, “Every plant[17] not planted by my Father will be pulled out by the roots. MT15:14 Leave them alone.[18] They are blind guides.[19] So, if someone blind guides another blind person, they will both fall into a pit.” MT15:15 Peter responded to Jesus, “Make the parable clear to us.” MT15:16 Jesus told them, “Are you still without understanding?[20] MT15:17 Are you unaware that everything entering the mouth passes through the belly[21] and is expelled into a sewer?[22] MT15:18 But the words pouring out of the mouth originate from the heart.[23] Those are the things which defile a person. MT15:19 For it is from the heart these originate:[24] evil dialogue,[25] murders, adulteries,[26] fornications,[27] thieveries,[28] perjuries and slander,[29] abusive speech.[30] MT15:20 These are the things defiling a person. Eating with unwashed hands does not defile a person.”

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[1] Scribes: BECK: Bible scholars.

[2] From Jerusalem: Over 100 miles.

[3] Your disciples: They do not accuse Jesus. Had these Jews witnessed some habit of the disciples not to ceremonial wash their hands before eating? Or, is this a rumor?

[4] Transgress the traditions of the Ancients: Or, GDSP: break the rules handed down by our ancestors; KJV: elders.

[5] Wash their hands: Or, AMP: for they do not practice [ceremonially] washing. Compare 2 Kings 3:11. “The Pharisees and all the Jews do not eat unless they wash their hands up to the elbow.” (Mark 7:2-5) The Babylonian Talmud (Sotah 4b) places eating with unwashed hands equal to intercourse with a prostitute.

[6] Honor your father and mother: From the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:12; 21:17). Paul also quotes the “first commandment with a promise.” (Ephesians 6:2) The English word “honor” is from the Greek TIMA from which the name Timothy comes.

[7] Says a bad word against: Or, KJV: curseth; ASV: speaketh evil of; NWT: reviles. Jesus quotes Leviticus 20:9. Compare Leviticus 20:9; Deuteronomy 27:16.

[8] Whatever I have to help: ASV: that wherewith thou mightest have been profited by me; RIEU: all the support you might have; RSV: what you would have gained from me; GDSP: anything of mine that might have been of use to you.

[9] Is a Temple-offering consecrated to God: ASV: is given to God; RIEU: temple-offering. The New Jerusalem Bible footnote explains: “Property thus made over by vow assumes a sacred character.… Such a vow in fact was only a legal fiction.… Though the rabbis acknowledged its impiety they sustained its validity.”

[10] Does not honor: Jesus infers this “honor” is of a material kind not a mere matter of respect. The children who do not care for elderly parents dishonor them and violate the commandment. Compare 1 Timothy 5:4, 8. The Greek word TIME means honor, esteem, value, or preciousness. The verb TIMAO also means “set a price on” (Matthew 27:9); the noun TIME caries the sense of price or value (Matthew 27:6; Acts 4:34); and the adjective TIMIOS means esteemed, dear, or valuable (Acts 5:34; 20:24; 1 Corinthians 3:12).

[11] You have invalidated the Word: Or, MOF: you have repealed the law of God; GDSP: you have nullified what God has said; PME: empties the commandment.

[12] Isaiah gave a good prophecy: The quote is of Isaiah 29:13. The context in Isaiah is also referenced by Romans 11:9; Colossians 2:22; 1 Corinthians 1:19. Or, KJV: well did Esaias prophesy; MOF: it was indeed of you that Isaiah prophesied; PME: Isaiah described you beautifully; RIEU: how right Isaiah was.

[13] Their worship is worthless: Or, WMS: their worship of me is an empty show.

[14] Listen carefully and understand: Or, KNX: listen to this, and grasp what it means.

[15] Defiles a person: Or, PME: makes him common or unclean.

[16] You offended the Pharisees: Or, ME: are deeply offended; GDSP: were shocked to hear you. The disciples seem concerned by Jesus did not come to please everyone. The Greek word here is ESCANDALISTHESAN: they thought what he said scandalous.

[17] Every plant: He infers the scribes and Pharisees.

[18] Leave them alone: Or, KNX: let them say what they will.

[19] Blind guides: Or, KJV: blind leaders. Knowing what he has already said was offensive, the Nazarene comes back with an even more direct inference.

[20] Are you still without understanding: Or, RHM: without discernment; GDSP: have even you no understanding; BAS: are you, like them, still without wisdom; RIEU: You too? Still so dull? Jesus is not caring one twit whose toes he steps on: either the clergy or his own disciples. Raised to respect the clergy, it is possible the disciples do not yet discern the gulf which exists between Jesus and the religious hierarchy.

[21] Passes through the belly: Or, WEY: stomach; NWT: intestines.

[22] Expelled into a sewer: WEY: afterwards ejected from the body; NWT: discharged into the sewer.

[23] Originate from the heart: NEB: has its origins in the heart; PME: comes from his heart and mind. Compare James 1:14, 15.

[24] These originate: Mark 7:20, 21 adds several characteristics: “injurious reasonings issue forth: fornications, thieveries, murders, adulteries, covetings, acts of wickedness, deceit, loose conduct, an envious eye, blasphemy, haughtiness, unreasonableness.” (NWT)

[25] Evil dialogue: The Greek is DIALOGISMOI PONEROI. Or, KJV: evil thoughts; KNX: wicked designs.

[26] Adulteries: Or, BAS: broken faith between the married.

[27] Fornications: The Greek is PORNEIAI and is drawn from “prostitution.” Or, MOF: sexual vice; GDSP: immorality; BAS: unclean desires of the flesh.

[28] Thieveries: MOF: stealing.

[29] Perjuries and slander: Or, KJV: false witness; NWT: false testimonies.

[30] Abusive speech: The Greek is BLASPHEMIAI. Or, KJV: blasphemies; ASV: railings; RHM: profane speaking; WEY: slander.

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Preceding

Matthew 14:35-36 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: If They Might Just Touch Him

Matthew 15 An argument with the Scribes – Teachers and traditions

Matthew 15 Calvin’s view

Matthew 15 Spurgeon’s view

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Related

  1. Matthew 15, defilement from within, the faith of the Caananite woman, Jesus feeds the four thousand.
  2. When What to Eat is More Important Than What to Say
  3. Matthew 15丨C. H. Spurgeon
  4. “Why do your disciples play fast and loose with the rules?” ~Religious scholars to Jesus
  5. unclean
  6. Out of The Mouth
  7. “Frauds!” ~Jesus
  8. Doctrine vs. Tradition
  9. Hypocrisy — Its Expression through Insincere Motives
  10. Hypocrisy — What happens when my deeds do not match my words?
  11. False Doctrine — Is it of human origin and not from Jesus the Messiah?

Matthew 5:31-32 – 3. The Nazarene’s Commentary on Deuteronomy 24:1

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.’[1] [Deuteronomy 24:1] MT5:32 But, I tell you: Any man who divorces his woman[2] except on account of fornication[3] causes her to commit adultery. Any who marry the divorced woman commit adultery.

[1] 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).

[2] Woman: The Greek is GYNAIKA and like many languages there is no word for “wife” and the married woman is implied by the context.

[3] 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.

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Preceding:

Nazarene Commentary Matthew 5:27-30 – 2. The Nazarene’s Commentary on Exodus 20:14

Object of first woe

Hebraic Roots Bible 1 Corinthians 6:15-20 – Flee fornication and be joined to our Master

Next: Matthew 5:33-37 – 4. The Nazarene’s Commentary on Numbers 30:3

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Additional reading

  1. Being religious has benefits even in this life
  2. The 1st Adam in the Hebrew Scriptures #3 With his partner
  3. Marriage of Jesus 3 Listening women
  4. Marriage of Jesus 8 Wife of Yahweh
  5. What Does The Bible Say About….Fornication?
  6. Relationships and Sexuality Awareness Day
  7. Manifests for believers #2 Changing celibacy requirement
  8. Different assessment criteria and a new language to be found for communicating the faith
  9. Bible Guidelines for a happy marriage
  10. Youngsters, parents and the search to root in life
  11. Forced marriage and Islam
  12. Parenting in changing times
  13. Two synods and life in the church community
  14. A Synod to speak freely and to listen without reservations
  15. 72 Synod Fathers on the topic “The vocation and mission of the family in the Church and the contemporary world”
  16. The Catholic synod on the family and abortion
  17. In marriage not wounding each other

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