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Matthew 19:3-9

Context

19:3 Then some Pharisees 1  came to him in order to test him. They asked, “Is it lawful 2  to divorce a wife for any cause?” 3  19:4 He answered, “Have you not read that from the beginning the Creator made them male and female, 4  19:5 and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and will be united with his wife, and the two will become one flesh’? 5  19:6 So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.” 19:7 They said to him, “Why then did Moses command us to give a certificate of dismissal and to divorce her?” 6  19:8 Jesus 7  said to them, “Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because of your hard hearts, 8  but from the beginning it was not this way. 19:9 Now I say to you that whoever divorces his wife, except for immorality, and marries another commits adultery.”

1 tn Grk “And Pharisees.”

sn See the note on Pharisees in 3:7.

2 tc ‡ Most mss have either ἀνθρώπῳ (anqrwpw, “for a man” [so א2 C D W Θ 087 Ë1,13 33 Ï latt]) or ἀνδρί (andri, “for a husband” [1424c pc]) before the infinitive ἀπολῦσαι (apolusai, “to divorce”). The latter reading is an assimilation to the parallel in Mark; the former reading may have been motivated by the clarification needed (especially to give the following αὐτοῦ [autou, “his”] an antecedent). But a few significant mss (א* B L Γ 579 [700] 1424* pc) have neither noun. As the harder reading, it seems to best explain the rise of the others. NA27, however, reads ἀνθρώπῳ here.

3 sn The question of the Pharisees was anything but sincere; they were asking it to test him. Jesus was now in the jurisdiction of Herod Antipas (i.e., Judea and beyond the Jordan) and it is likely that the Pharisees were hoping he might answer the question of divorce in a way similar to John the Baptist and so suffer the same fate as John, i.e., death at the hands of Herod (cf. 14:1-12). Jesus answered the question not on the basis of rabbinic custom and the debate over Deut 24:1, but rather from the account of creation and God’s original design.

4 sn A quotation from Gen 1:27; 5:2.

5 sn A quotation from Gen 2:24.

6 tc ‡ Although the majority of witnesses (B C W 078 087 Ë13 33 Ï syp,h) have αὐτήν (authn, “her”) after the infinitive ἀπολῦσαι (apolusai, “to divorce”), a variant lacks the αὐτήν. This shorter reading may be due to assimilation to the Markan parallel, but since it is attested in early and diverse witnesses (א D L Z Θ Ë1 579 700 pc lat) and since the parallel verse (Mark 10:4) already departs at many points, the shorter reading seems more likely to be original. The pronoun has been included in the translation, however, for clarity. NA27 includes the word in brackets, indicating reservations regarding its authenticity.

sn A quotation from Deut 24:1. The Pharisees were all in agreement that the OT permitted a man to write a certificate of dismissal and to divorce his wife (not vice-versa) and that remarriage was therefore sanctioned. But the two rabbinic schools of Shammai and Hillel differed on the grounds for divorce. Shammai was much stricter than Hillel and permitted divorce only in the case of sexual immorality. Hillel permitted divorce for almost any reason (cf. the Mishnah, m. Gittin 9.10).

7 tc A few important mss (א Φ pc) have the name “Jesus” here, but it is probably not original. Nevertheless, this translation routinely specifies the referents of pronouns to improve clarity, so that has been done here.

tn Grk “He”; the referent (Jesus) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

8 tn Grk “heart” (a collective singular).



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