|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
7:36-40 The apostle is thought to give advice here about the disposal of children in marriage. In this view, the general meaning is plain. Children should seek and follow the directions of their parents as to marriage. And parents should consult their children's wishes; and not reckon they have power to do with them, and dictate just as they please, without reason. The whole is closed with advice to widows. Second marriages are not unlawful, so that it is kept in mind, to marry in the Lord. In our choice of relations, and change of conditions, we should always be guided by the fear of God, and the laws of God, and act in dependence on the providence of God. Change of condition ought only to be made after careful consideration, and on probable grounds, that it will be to advantage in our spiritual concerns.
Verse 36. - Uncomely. If any father thinks, by keeping his virgin daughter unmarried, he is acting in a way which may cause sin or scandal, then let him permit her to marry her suitor. The word "uncomeliness" is terribly illustrated in Romans 1:27. (For "comely," see 1 Corinthians 7:35; 1 Corinthians 12:24.) His virgin. Obviously a daughter or ward. Pass the flower of her age. If she be more than twenty years old, which the ancients regarded as the acme of the woman's life. And need so require. If there be some moral obligation or necessity in the case. Let them marry. The "them" means the virgin and her unmarried lover.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
But if any man think,.... This some understand of a man that is engaged, or betrothed to a virgin, and protracts marriage, who may use his prudence in consummating it, if he pleases, for any thing the apostle has said to the contrary: but it is better to understand it of a parent, or one that has the care and guardianship of virgins; if such an one is of opinion,
that he behaveth himself uncomely towards his virgin: by exposing her to contempt and reproach, in retaining her at home, and not giving her in marriage when at proper age for such a state; it being reckoned reproachful to be at, or past the age of marriage, or to be in years, and not married; or by so doing lay her under temptation to do that which is uncomely, to commit fornication, which would be uncomely, both to him, and to her; and such a tendency has living in a single state, contrary to inclination. The apostle may have respect to a Jewish tradition founded upon the supposed sense of Leviticus 19:29 "do not prostitute thy daughter to cause her to be a whore" (s).
"Says R. Eliezer, this is he who marries his daughter to an old man. Says R. Akiba, (who was contemporary with the apostle,) this is he who detains his daughter at home when she is marriageable.''
If she pass the flower of her age; that is, one that is arrived to years of maturity, is ripe for marriage, and is what the Jewish doctors call who, according to them, was one of twelve years and a half old (t), at which age virgins were judged fit to marry: hence that saying of theirs (u).
"if thy daughter, "is ripe", or come to the flower of her age, make thy servant free and give her to him.''
Moreover, according to their canons, such an one was no longer under her father's power; for so runs the canon (w),
"hrgbv Nwyk "when she is at the flower of her age", she is no more under her father's power:''
her father cannot make void her vows, though a husband can (x):
and need so require: that she be given in marriage to a man; if she has not the gift of continence; if she is in danger of falling into the sin of fornication, and the father or guardian are sensible of this:
let him do what he will, he sinneth not; he is under no obligation by what the apostle had said to detain her in a single life; he may give her in marriage if he pleases: he may
do what she will, as it may be rendered; comply with her inclination and desire in marrying her to some person; in doing which, neither he nor she will break any law of God, and so not sin therein:
let them marry; let parents marry their children when this is the case; let the young men and young women marry who are so disposed; there is no reason why they should not; there is nothing contrary to it in the word of God, nor in the advice of the apostle; nay, according to him, it was much better to marry than to burn, or to be exposed to any snare and temptation.
(s) T. Bab. Sanhedrin, fol. 76. 1.((t) Maimon. Hilchot Ishot, c. 2. sect. 2.((u) T. Bab. Pesach. fol. 113. 1.((w) Misn. Nidda, c. 5. sect. 7. (x) Misn. Nedarim, c. 10. sect. 2. T. Bab. Nedarim, fol. 70. 2. Maimon. Hilch. Nedarim, c. 11, sect. 7.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
36. behaveth … uncomely—is not treating his daughter well in leaving her unmarried beyond the flower of her age, and thus debarring her from the lawful gratification of her natural feeling as a marriageable woman.
need so require—if the exigencies of the case require it; namely, regard to the feelings and welfare of his daughter. Opposed to "having no necessity" (1Co 7:37).
let them marry—the daughter and her suitor.
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