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Amplified: It has also been said, Whoever divorces his wife must give her a certificate of divorce. (Amplified Bible - Lockman)
NLT: "You have heard that the law of Moses says, 'A man can divorce his wife by merely giving her a letter of divorce.' (NLT - Tyndale House)
Philips: "It also used to be said that 'Whoever divorces his wife, let him give her a certificate of divorce'. (New Testament in Modern English)
Wuest: Moreover, it was said, Whoever dismisses his wife, let him give her a bill of divorce. (Wuest: Expanded Translation: Eerdmans)
Young's Literal: 'And it was said, That whoever may put away his wife, let him give to her a writing of divorce;
IT WAS SAID, 'WHOEVER SENDS HIS WIFE AWAY LET HIM GIVE HER A CERTIFICATE OF DIVORCE: Errethe (3SAPI) de, Os an apoluse (3SAAS) ten gunaika autou, doto (3SAAM) aute apostasion (Mt 19:3,7; Deuteronomy 24:1, 2, 3, 4; Jeremiah 3:1; Mark 10:2-9)
Charles Simeon writes…
Spurgeon comments that in these passages…
It was said - Hole writes that "Eight times over does He say in this chapter, "I say unto you," and on six of these occasions the words are preceded by the word, "But," throwing His statement into contrast with what the law had previously said." (Ref)
Apoluo - 66x in 61v - Matt 1:19; 5:31f; 14:15, 22f; 15:23, 32, 39; 18:27; 19:3, 7ff; 27:15, 17, 21, 26; Mark 6:36, 45; 8:3, 9; 10:2, 4, 11f; 15:6, 9, 11, 15; Luke 2:29; 6:37; 8:38; 9:12; 13:12; 14:4; 16:18; 23:16, 18, 20, 22, 25; John 18:39; 19:10, 12; Acts 3:13; 4:21, 23; 5:40; 13:3; 15:30, 33; 16:35f; 17:9; 19:40; 23:22; 26:32; 28:18, 25; Heb 13:23. NAS renders apoluo as dismissed(1), divorce(3), divorced(2), divorces(5), freed from(1), leaving(1), let depart(1), let go(2), pardon(m)(1), pardoned(1), put away(1), release(20), released(8), send away(8), sending away(2), sends away(1), sent away(8), set free(1).
Certificate of Divorce (647) (apostasion from apo = separation of one thing from another + histemi = stand) describes a standing off from, a departure and in the present context refers to the deed or instrument of such divorce.
Jesus is quoting in part from Deuteronomy 24:1-4 where we read…
So what is the problem with what the Scribes and Pharisees had taught? The problem is that they were not good inductive Bible students and because of inadequate observation and reliance on the "commentaries" (what the rabbis had taught as "tradition"), they arrived an inaccurate interpretation of the Law and consequently, and most importantly, they prescribed inappropriate application based on their willfully inept analysis of the OT Scriptures. Their misapplication of the Law had led to a liberal attitude toward divorce (just as it had with murder, adultery, vows, retaliation and love) and so once again, Jesus call His listeners and we the readers of His sermon for allegiance to a higher standard, a righteousness that far surpasses that of the Scribes and Pharisees and which shines like a beacon of supernatural light that points men to a great and mighty supernatural "force", the Heavenly Father.
J I Packer (et al) comment that…
Barclay gives some background on the state of marriage at the time of Jesus writing that…
How is the light of Christianity shining in our modern world which is desperately in need or a stable marital standard? A study by the Barna Research Group in Ventura, Calif. (circa 2000) says that born-again Christians are more likely to go through a marital split than are non-Christians. Using statistics drawn from a nationwide survey of nearly 4,000 adults, the Barna data show that 11 percent of the adult population is currently divorced but that 25% of all adults have experienced at least one divorce during their lifetime. Among born-again Christians, 27 % are currently or have previously been divorced, compared with 24% among adults who are not born again. Surprisingly, the Barna report said, the Christian group whose adherents have the highest likelihood of getting divorced are Baptists. It said the only group to surpass Baptists were Christians associated with non-denominational Protestant churches. "Of the nation's major Christian groups, Catholics and Lutherans have the lowest percentage of divorced individuals -- 21%. People who attend mainline Protestant churches, overall, experience divorce at the national average of 25%."
Matthew 5:32 but I say to you that everyone who divorces his wife, except for the reason of unchastity, makes her commit adultery; and whoever * marries a divorced woman commits adultery. (NASB: Lockman)
Greek: ego de lego (1SPAI) umin oti pas o apoluon (PAPMSN) ten gunaika autou parektos logou porneias poiei (3SPAI) auten moicheuthenai, (APN) kai os ean apolelumenen (RPPFSA) gamese (3SAAS) moichatai.
Amplified: But I tell you, Whoever dismisses and repudiates and divorces his wife, except on the grounds of unfaithfulness (sexual immorality), causes her to commit adultery, and whoever marries a woman who has been divorced commits adultery. (Amplified Bible - Lockman)
NLT: But I say that a man who divorces his wife, unless she has been unfaithful, causes her to commit adultery. And anyone who marries a divorced woman commits adultery. (NLT - Tyndale House)
Philips: But I say to you that whoever divorces his wife except on the ground of unfaithfulness is making her an adulteress. And whoever marries the woman who has been divorced also commits adultery. (New Testament in Modern English)
Wuest: But, as for myself, I am saying to you, Everyone who dismisses his wife except in a case of unchastity, causes her to commit adultery, and whoever marries her who has been dismissed, commits adultery. (Wuest: Expanded Translation: Eerdmans)
Young's Literal: but I -- I say to you, that whoever may put away his wife, save for the matter of whoredom, doth make her to commit adultery; and whoever may marry her who hath been put away doth commit adultery.
BUT I SAY TO YOU THAT EVERYONE WHO DIVORCES HIS WIFE, EXCEPT FOR THE REASON OF UNCHASTITY MAKES HER COMMIT ADULTERY: ego de lego (1SPAI) humin oti pas o apoluon (PAPMSN) ten gunaika autou parektos logou porneias poiei (3SPAI) auten moicheuthenai, (APN) (Mt 5:28; Luke 9:30,35)
Divorces (630) (apoluo from apó = from + luo = loose) means literally to loose from and so to free fully, relieve, release, dismiss, and in the present context to divorce.
Unchastity (4202) (porneia [word study] from porneúo = commit fornication or any sexual sin) is the idea of fornication which pertains to all kinds of sexual sins. Porneia is the most general Greek word for illicit sexual intercourse. Originally it denoted the practice of consorting with prostitutes; eventually it came to mean “habitual immorality.” Our English word pornography is derived from porneia + graph = a writing. Pornography is thus a writing (or picture) about sexual sin.
Indirectly, they are saying "I despise God's permanent design of the marriage covenant. I think less of her than God thinks of her."
What does God says about marriage in the Old Testament book of Malachi, the last book to be written, and one the scribes and Pharisees seemed to have conveniently "misplaced" in their teaching on divorce? (note: this passage is very difficult to interpret/translate and thus there is considerable variation in the various modern translations. Simply observe for those truths that are obvious, including the repeated ideas)
What was taking place in Malachi 2:13-14? Sacrifices were being offered to the Lord with tears because they were not being accepted because the Lord has born witness between them and the wife of their youth.
What did God equate divorce with three times in four verses? Dealing treacherously which means to deal with one's wife in an unfaithful, deceitful way. The priests were sinning and instead of confessing and repenting, persisted in whitewashing their sin thinking that were getting away with it. (cf they forgot the warning in Pr 28:13 that "He who conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will find compassion.")
Malachi 2:14: How does God describe marriage? He was a witness The wife of their covenant, the most solemn binding agreement that could be made by two parties, a commitment to be kept & to break it was punishable by death (cf 1Sa 20:15-16, Jer 34:18-20, 1Cor 11:25-30) (see study of Covenant: As It Relates to Marriage)
Malachi 2:15: Why were they dealing treacherously? They had a problem with their "spirit". They needed to examine the spiritual condition of their hearts (cf the reason God allowed a "certificate of divorce" was because of the hardness of their heart in Mt 19:8, Mark 10:5). Here in Malachi, God said twice "take heed… to your spirit" and "do not deal treacherously". In Galatians 5:16-note Paul gives a command NT husbands need to heed lest they fall into the same trap:
So if you are walking by the Spirit we are less likely to deal with our wife treacherously. Remember that God's attitude regarding the sending away of the wife of one's youth is that He hates divorce. Be careful! Do not "invert" Gal 5:16! That is don't "try" to do the second part of the verse and think that is tantamount to walking in the Spirit! It will only put you under the Law and in fact will surely quench the Spirit!
AND WHOEVER MARRIES A DIVORCED WOMAN COMMITS ADULTERY: kai os ean apolelumenen (RPPFSA) gamese (3SAAS) moichatai (Mt 19:8,9; Malachi 2:14, 15, 16; Mark 10:5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12; Luke 16:18; Romans 7:3; 1Corinthians 7:4,10,11)
Commits adultery (3431) (moicheuo [word study] from moichos = an adulterer) means to be unfaithful to one's marriage vows speaking of sexual intercourse with someone who is married to another. In some uses moicheuo can also be a figure of speech (Re 2:22) as in the Old Testament where "adultery" described unfaithfulness to God especially through the practice of idolatry (which in the NT equates with greed and in essence is anything that comes between you and God).
The second mention "commits adultery" is the verb moichao which is similar in meaning to moicheuo - to have unlawful intercourse with another's wife, to commit adultery with
How does Jesus correct the Pharisees' perverted application of the OT passage on a "certificate of divorce"? He gives only one valid reason for divorce - unchastity and explains that if one divorces a wife it makes her commit adultery and that whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery.
In Luke 16:18 Jesus adds one other detail regarding divorce explaining that the sender himself also commits adultery if he marries another woman.
Luke 16:18 "Everyone who divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery; and he who marries one who is divorced from a husband commits adultery.
What is the heart of the problem Jesus is addressing? The heart has always been the problem (cf Jer 17:9, Gen 8:21) and in Matthew 19 God says it reflects a hardening of the heart. From the beginning, from the creation of Adam and Eve, God's design was that marriage was a permanent covenant.
Mt 19:7 They said to Him, "Why then did Moses command to GIVE HER A CERTIFICATE OF DIVORCE AND SEND her AWAY?" He said to them, "Because of your hardness of heart (sklerokardia = skleros = hard, not soft and tender but harsh, severe + kardia = heart), Moses permitted (made a concession with regard to God's intention that marriage be lifelong and monogamous) you to divorce (apoluo from apo = marker of dissociation, implying a rupture from a former association + luo = loose) your wives; but from the beginning ("For this cause a man shall leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave [Hebrew means in essence "stick like glue"] to his wife; and they shall become one flesh." Genesis 2:24) it has not been this way. And I say to you, whoever divorces his wife, except for immorality (porneia), and marries another woman commits adultery."
Please note, this brief exposition is not meant to be an exhaustive treatment of divorce and remarriage, which can be a very emotional and controversial subject. See the Precept Ministries International inductive study entitled Marriage Without Regrets. Perhaps you might just want to listen to the audio messages from this course that pertain to Divorce and Remarriage. There are 2 messages in the Marriage Without Regrets course that address the topic of Divorce and those audio tapes (or compact discs) correspond to Lesson 11 and Lesson 12 (see table below). Each separate tape or CD is $4. They are available for purchase from Precept Ministries International at 1-800-763-8280. There are 2 messages by Kay Arthur and 2 messages by Wayne Barber. The item numbers are listed below for your convenience…