Matthew 19:6
Why they are no more two, but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man put asunder.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(6) What therefore God hath joined.—Strictly interpreted, the words go further than those of Matthew 5:32, and appear to forbid divorce under all circumstances. They are, however, rather the expression of the principle that should underlie laws, than the formulated law itself, and, as such, they assert the true ideal of marriage without making provision (such as was made before) for that which violates and annuls the ideal. It is remarkable that the essence of the marriage is made to depend, not on laws, or contracts, or religious ceremonies, but on the natural fact of union. Strictly speaking, that constitutes, or should constitute, marriage. The sin of all illicit intercourse, whether in adultery, or concubinage, or prostitution, is that it separates that union from the relations and duties which the divine order has attached to and makes. if Simply minister to the lusts of man’s lower nature. The evil of every system that multiplies facilities for divorce is that it treats as temporary what was designed to be permanent, and reduces marriage, so far as it goes, to concubinage durante bene placito. This may, in some stages of social progress, as the next verses indicate, be the least of two evils; but it does not cease to be an evil, and the efforts of all teachers and legislators should be directed to raise the standard of duty rather than to acquiesce in its debasement.

19:3-12 The Pharisees were desirous of drawing something from Jesus which they might represent as contrary to the law of Moses. Cases about marriage have been numerous, and sometimes perplexed; made so, not by the law of God, but by the lusts and follies of men; and often people fix what they will do, before they ask for advice. Jesus replied by asking whether they had not read the account of the creation, and the first example of marriage; thus pointing out that every departure therefrom was wrong. That condition is best for us, and to be chosen and kept to accordingly, which is best for our souls, and tends most to prepare us for, and preserve us to, the kingdom of heaven. When the gospel is really embraced, it makes men kind relatives and faithful friends; it teaches them to bear the burdens, and to bear with the infirmities of those with whom they are connected, to consider their peace and happiness more than their own. As to ungodly persons, it is proper that they should be restrained by laws, from breaking the peace of society. And we learn that the married state should be entered upon with great seriousness and earnest prayer.And he answered and said ... - Instead of referring to the opinions of either party, Jesus called their attention to the original design of marriage, to the authority of Moses an authority acknowledged by them both.

Have ye not read? - Genesis 1:27; Genesis 2:21-22. "And said, For this cause," etc., Genesis 2:24. That is, God, at the beginning, made but one man and one woman: their posterity should learn that the original intention of marriage was that a man should have but one wife.

Shall leave his father and mother - This means, shall bind himself more strongly to his wife than he was to his father or mother. The marriage connection is the most tender and endearing of all human relations more tender than even that bond which unites us to a parent.

And shall cleave unto his wife - The word "cleave" denotes a union of the firmest kind. It is in the original taken from gluing, and means so firmly to adhere together that nothing can separate them.

They twain shall be one flesh - That is, they two, or they that were two, shall be united as one - one in law, in feeling, in interest, in affection. They shall no longer have separate interests, but shall act in all things as if they were one - animated by one soul and one wish. The argument of Jesus here is, that since they are so intimately united as to be one, and since in the beginning God made but one woman for one man, it follows that they cannot be separated but by the authority of God. Man may not put away his wife for every cause. What God has joined together man may not put asunder. In this decision he really decided in favor of one of the parties; and it shows that when it was proper, Jesus answered questions without regard to consequences, from whatever cause they might have been proposed, and however much difficulty it might involve him in. Our Lord, in this, also showed consummate wisdom. He answered the question, not from Hillel or Shammai, their teachers, but from Moses, and thus defeated their malice.

5. And said, For this cause—to follow out this divine appointment.

shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh?—Jesus here sends them back to the original constitution of man as one pair, a male and a female; to their marriage, as such, by divine appointment; and to the purpose of God, expressed by the sacred historian, that in all time one man and one woman should by marriage become one flesh—so to continue as long as both are in the flesh. This being God's constitution, let not man break it up by causeless divorces.

Ver. 4-6. Mark, Mark 10:2-9, giveth us the same history of this discourse, differing a little in the order of the words, but nothing as to the substance of his discourse. Our Saviour answereth neither Yea nor Nay to their discourse, but gives them a fair occasion to answer themselves, and tacitly charges them with ignorance and corruption of the law of God. He refers them to the first institution of marriage, and for that to the book of Genesis, Genesis 1:27 2:24. It is as much as if our Lord had said, You own the book of Genesis, as well as the book of Deuteronomy. In the book of Genesis you read the first institution of marriage: it was instituted by God himself; he made male and female, Genesis 1:27; he made the law of marriage, Genesis 2:24, that a man (should) leave his father and mother, and cleave unto his wife, and they (should) be one flesh; from whence he concludes that the man and wife are one flesh in God’s account. From hence he leaves them to conclude, whether it was probable that Moses, whom they so reverenced, and who was so faithful in the house of God as a servant, would license them to put asunder whom God had put together; or whether they had not put an interpretation upon the law of Moses which it could not bear in consistency with the law of God. For the sense of those words, Genesis 1:27 2:24, see the notes on those places. See Poole on "Genesis 1:27". See Poole on "Genesis 2:24". Wherefore they are no more twain,.... They were two before marriage, but now no more so; not but that they remain two distinct persons,

but one flesh; or, as the Syriac, Arabic, Persic, and Ethiopic versions read, "one body": hence the wife is to beloved by the husband as his own body, as himself, as his own flesh, Ephesians 5:28.

what therefore God hath joined together; or, by the first institution of marriage, has declared to be so closely united together, as to be, as it were, one flesh, and one body, as husband and wife are;

let no man put asunder; break the bond of union, dissolve the relation, and separate them from each other, for every trivial thing, upon any slight occasion, or for anything; but what is hereafter mentioned. The sense is, that the bond of marriage being made by God himself, is so sacred and inviolable, as that it ought not to be dissolved by any man; not by the husband himself, or any other for him; nor by any state or government, by any prince or potentate, by any legislator whatever; no, not by Moses himself, who is, at least, included, if not chiefly designed here, though not named, to avoid offence: and God and man being opposed in this passage, shows, that marriage is an institution and appointment of God, and therefore not to be changed and altered by man at his pleasure; this not merely a civil, but a sacred affair, in which God is concerned.

Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath {e} joined together, let not man put asunder.

(e) Has made them yokefellows, as the marriage itself is called a yoke, by a borrowed kind of speech.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Matthew 19:6. Οὐκέτι] after this union, Matthew 19:5.

εἰσί] are they, that is, the two of Matthew 19:5.

] quod, “ut non tanquam de duobus, sed tanquam de uno corpore loqueretur,” Maldonatus.

ὁ θεός] through what is said in Matthew 19:5. Observe the contrast to ἄνθρωπος.

Having regard, therefore, to the specific nature of marriage as a divine institution, Jesus utterly condemns divorce generally as being a putting asunder on the part of man of what, in a very special way, God has joined together. With regard to the exception, by which, in fact, the essential idea of marriage as a divine institution is already practically destroyed, see Matthew 19:9, and comp. note on Matthew 5:32.Matthew 19:6. ὥστε with indicative, expressing actual result as Christ views the matter. They are no longer two, but one flesh, one spirit, one person.—ὃ οὖν: inference from God’s will to man’s duty. The creation of sex, and the high doctrine as to the cohesion it produces between man and woman, laid down in Gen., interdict separation. Let the Divine Syzygy be held sacredel How small the Pharisaic disputants must have felt in presence of such holy teaching, which soars above the partisan views of contemporary controversialists into the serene region of ideal, universal, eternal truth!Matthew 19:6. οὐκ ἔτι εἰσὶ, they are no more) They are now no longer two, as they were before.—δύο, two) We should not understand σάρκες, fleshes (carnes): for in Matthew 19:5 we find οἱ δύο (the two, they twain).—, that which (quod), not , those which (quae): for they are now one flesh.—συνέζευεξεν, hath joined together) hath made one.—ἄνθρωπος, man) see Matthew 19:3.—μὴ, κ.τ.λ., let not, etc.) The principle here involved admits of a widely extended application: what GOD hath separated, commanded, conceded, prohibited, blessed, praised, loosed, bound, etc., let not Man join together, prohibit, forbid, command, curse, blame, bind, loose, etc., not even in his own case; see Acts 10:15; Numbers 23:8; Romans 14:3; Romans 14:20.—χωριζέτω, put asunder) In every case of sexual connection, either God hath joined the two, or He hath not joined them: if He hath not joined them, their connection is unlawful; if He hath joined them, why are they separated?Verse 6. - Wherefore (ὥστε); so that. This follows from the quotation just given. Our Lord explains and confirms the original dictum by an assertion of his own and a general law. What God hath joined together. The institution of marriage is God's appointment. Christ says ο{, what, neuter singular, not "those whom," plural and concrete, that he may make it clear that he is here speaking in the abstract, not specially of Adam and Eve. What he enunciates is true of all wedlock, not simply of the case of our first parents. Let not man put asunder. Man does thus infringe the primitive rule when he divorces his with. Herein he opposes God and acts against nature. He and his wife are one; they can no more separate from one another than they can from themselves. If we regard our Lord's language in this passage without prejudice, and not reading into it modern notions, we must consider that he here decrees the indissolubility of the marriage tie. His hearers plainly understood him so to speak, as we see from the objection which they urged. What (ὃ)

Not those. Christ is contemplating, not the individuals, but the unity which God cemented; and so Wyc., that thing that God enjoined; i.e., knit together. The aorist tense (denoting the occurrence of an event at some past time, considered as a momentary act) seems to refer to the original ordinance of God at the creation (Matthew 19:4).

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