1 Corinthians 7:10
And to the married I command, yet not I, but the Lord, Let not the wife depart from her husband:
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(10) And unto the married . . .—The Apostle has concluded his instruction to the unmarried and widows, and in 1Corinthians 7:10-11 gives his advice to those married persons who had been troubled with doubts as to whether they ought (if marriage were undesirable) to continue in that state.

I command, yet not I, but the Lord.—The contrast which is commenced here, and again brought out in 1Corinthians 7:12, is not between commands given by St. Paul as an inspired Apostle, and St. Paul as a private individual. In 1Corinthians 14:37 the Apostle expressly claims that all his commands as an Apostle should be regarded as “the commandments of the Lord,” and in 1Thessalonians 4:15 the Apostle speaks of that knowledge into which he was guided by the Holy Spirit as given “by the word of the Lord.” St. Paul must not therefore be regarded as here claiming for some of his instructions apostolic authority, and not claiming it for others. The real point of the contrast is between a subject on which our Lord Himself while on earth gave direct verbal instruction, and another subject on which He now gives His commands through His Apostle St. Paul. Christ had given directions regarding divorce (Matthew 5:31; Matthew 19:3-9; Mark 10:2-12), and the Apostle here has only to reiterate what the Lord had already commanded.

Let not the wife depart from her husband.—Better, Let her not be separated. The account of our Lord’s words given here differs in two respects from the record given of them by St. Matthew (Matthew 5:32; Matthew 19:9), where the reference is, first and more prominently, to the man putting away his wife—not, as here, to the wife separating herself from her husband—and the exception made, “except it be because of fornication,” is here omitted. The fact that St. Paul only knew from others what our Lord had said, and that the Evangelists wrote what they had heard themselves, would not sufficiently account for this difference; for surely these very Evangelists, or others who like them had heard the Lord’s words, would have been St. Paul’s informants. The reason of the variety in the two accounts is to be found, not in inaccurate knowledge on St. Paul’s part, which we have no reason to suppose, but in the particular circumstances to which the Apostle was applying the teaching of Christ; and this verbal difference is an instructive indication to us of how the Apostles understood that even in the case of the Lord Himself it was the living spirit of His teaching, and not its merely verbal form, which was of abiding and universal obligation. There was no necessity here to introduce the one exceptional cause of divorce which Christ had allowed, for the subject under consideration is a separation voluntarily made, and not as the result of sin on the part of either husband or wife; so the mention here of that ground of exception would have been inapplicable, and have tended only to confuse.

The other point of difference—viz., the mention here of the woman more prominently as separating from the husband—does not in any way affect the principle of the teaching, and indeed our Lord probably did put the case in both ways. (See Mark 10:12.) It may be also that in the letter to which St. Paul was replying the doubt had been suggested by women, who were—as their sex is often still—more anxiously scrupulous about details of what they conceived to be religious duty; and the question having been asked concerning a woman’s duty, the Apostle answers it accordingly, and adds the same instruction for the husband (1Corinthians 7:11).

1 Corinthians 7:10-11. The married I command — Greek, τοις δε γεγαμηκοσι παραγγελλω, Now those that have married I charge: so these words should be rendered, the phrase being the same with that in 1 Timothy 1:3, rendered by our translators, that thou mightest charge some. Yet not I — Only, or not I by any new revelation, nor by mere counsel, or prudential advice, as 1 Corinthians 7:25; 1 Corinthians 7:40. But the Lord — Namely, in the first institution of marriage, Genesis 2:24; and the Lord Christ also commanded the same, Matthew 5:32; Matthew 19:6; Matthew 19:9. The Lord Jesus, during his ministry on earth, delivered many precepts of his law in the hearing of his disciples. And those which he did not deliver in person, he promised to reveal to them by the Spirit, after his departure. Therefore there is a just foundation for distinguishing the commandments which the Lord delivered in person, from those which he revealed to the apostles by the Spirit, and which they made known to the world in their sermons and writings. This distinction is not only made by Paul; it is insinuated likewise by Peter and Jude, 2 Peter 3:3, Jdg 1:17, where the commandments of the apostles of the Lord and Saviour are mentioned, not as inferior in authority to the commandments of the Lord, (for they were all as really his commandments as those which he delivered in person,) but as different in the manner of their communication. And the apostle’s intention here was not, as many have imagined, to tell us in what things he was inspired, and in what not; but to show us what commandments the Lord delivered personally in his own lifetime, and what the Spirit inspired the apostles to deliver after his departure. This Paul could do with certainty; because, although he was not of the number of those who accompanied our Lord during his ministry, all the particulars of his life and doctrine were made known to him by revelation, as may be collected from 1 Corinthians 11:23; 1 Corinthians 15:3; 1 Timothy 5:18; and from many allusions to the words and actions of Christ, found in the epistles which Paul wrote before any of the gospels were published; and from his mentioning one of Christ’s sayings, not recorded by any of the evangelists, Acts 20:35. Further, that the apostle’s intention, in distinguishing the Lord’s commandments from those he calls his own, was not to show what things he spake by inspiration, and what not, is evident, from his adding certain circumstances, which prove that, in delivering his own commandments, or judgment, he was really inspired. Thus, when he asserted that a widow was at liberty to marry a second time, by adding, (1 Corinthians 7:40,) she is happier if she so abide, after (that is, according to) my judgment; and I think, or, (as δοκω rather means,) I am certain that I also have the Spirit of God, he plainly asserted that he was inspired in giving that judgment or determination. See more on this subject in Macknight. Let not the wife depart from her husband — Wilfully leave him, on account of any disagreement between them. But if she depart — Contrary to this express prohibition, assigning, perhaps, reasons apparently necessary for it, as that her life is in danger, or the like; let her remain unmarried, or — Rather, if it may be accomplished by any submission on her part, let her be reconciled to her husband — That, if possible, they may live in such a union and harmony as the relation requires. And let not the husband put away his wife — Except for the cause of adultery; because the obligations lying on husbands and wives are mutual and equal. The apostle, after saying concerning the wife, that if she departed from her husband, she must remain unmarried, or be reconciled to him, did not think it necessary to add a similar clause respecting the husband, namely, that if he put away his wife, he must remain unmarried, or be reconciled to her. This, however, is implied in what he says concerning him.7:10-16 Man and wife must not separate for any other cause than what Christ allows. Divorce, at that time, was very common among both Jews and Gentiles, on very slight pretexts. Marriage is a Divine institution; and is an engagement for life, by God's appointment. We are bound, as much as in us lies, to live peaceably with all men, Ro 12:18, therefore to promote the peace and comfort of our nearest relatives, though unbelievers. It should be the labour and study of those who are married, to make each other as easy and happy as possible. Should a Christian desert a husband or wife, when there is opportunity to give the greatest proof of love? Stay, and labour heartily for the conversion of thy relative. In every state and relation the Lord has called us to peace; and every thing should be done to promote harmony, as far as truth and holiness will permit.And unto the married - This verse commences the second subject of inquiry; to wit, whether it was proper, in the existing state of things, for those who were married to continue this relation, or whether they ought to separate. The reasons why any may have supposed that it was best to separate, may have been:

(1) That their troubles and persecutions might be such that they might judge it best that families should be broken up; and,

(2) Probably many supposed that it was unlawful for a Christian wife or husband to be connected at all with a pagan and an idolater.

I command, yet not I, but the Lord - Not I so much as the Lord. This injunction is not to be understood as adVice merely, but as a solemn, divine command, from which you are not at liberty to depart. Paul here professes to utter the language of inspiration, and demands obedience. The express command of "the Lord" to which he refers, is probably the precept recorded in Matthew 5:32, and Matthew 19:3-10. These precepts of Christ asserted that the marriage tie was sacred and inviolable.

Let not the wife depart ... - Let her not prove faithless to her marriage vows; let her not, on any pretence, desert her husband. Though she is a Christian. and he is not, yet let her not seek, on that account, to be separate from him - The law of Moses did not permit a wife to divorce herself from her husband, though it was sometimes done (compare Matthew 10:12); but the Greek and Roman laws allowed it - Grotius. But Paul here refers to a formal and legal separation before the magistrates, and not to a voluntary separation, without intending to be formally divorced. The reasons for this opinion are:

(1) That such divorces were known and practiced among both Jews and pagans.

(2) it was important to settle the question whether they were to be allowed in the Christian church.

(3) the claim would be set up, probably, that it might be done.

(4) the question whether a "voluntary separation" might not be proper, where one party was a Christian, and the other not, he discusses in the following verses, 1 Corinthians 7:12-17. Here, therefore, he solemnly repeats the law of Christ, that divorce, under the Christian economy, was not to be in the power either of the husband or wife.

10. not I, but the Lord—(Compare 1Co 7:12, 25, 40). In ordinary cases he writes on inspired apostolic authority (1Co 14:37); but here on the direct authority of the Lord Himself (Mr 10:11, 12). In both cases alike the things written are inspired by the Spirit of God "but not all for all time, nor all on the primary truths of the faith" [Alford].

Let not the wife depart—literally, "be separated from." Probably the separation on either side, whether owing to the husband or to the wife, is forbidden.

The apostle had spoke to the married before, but in another case, he now returneth in his discourse to them again, speaking to another case, which it should seem they had put to him; what it was is not plainly expressed, but it may easily be gathered from 1 Corinthians 7:12,13, as also from the apostle’s determination in this verse: or it was this: Whether it was lawful for the husband to depart from his wife, or the wife from her husband, unless it were in the case of adultery; for though here be nothing spoken as to that case, yet it plainly must be excepted, as determined before by our Saviour; but as the Jews, so the heathens amongst whom these Corinthians lived, had entertained much too mean thoughts about the marriage bond, indulging themselves in a liberty to break it for every slight cause; and it should seem by 1 Corinthians 7:12,13, it was judged by them a sufficient cause, if one of them were not converted to the faith of Christ. Now in this case, saith the apostle,

I command, and what I tell you is the will of God; it is not I alone who command it, but you are to look upon it as the will of God concerning you, though revealed to you by me that am the minister of God to you.

Let not the wife depart from her husband; she may be divorced from her husband in case of fornication, but let her not for any other cause make a voluntary secession. And unto the married I command,.... To the unmarried and widows he spoke by permission, or only gave advice and counsel to remain unmarried, provided they could contain; but if not, it was advisable to marry; but to persons already in a married state, what he has to say to them is by commandment, enjoining what they are under obligation to observe, not being at liberty to do as they will:

yet not I, but the Lord; not as if he took upon him the dominion over them, to make laws for them, and, in an imperious authoritative way, oblige them to obedience to them; no; what he was about to deliver, was not a law of his own enacting and obtruding, but what their Lord, their Creator, head, husband, and Redeemer, had ordered and enjoined; and this grave solemn way of speaking he makes use of, to excite their attention, command awe and reverence, make the greater impression upon their minds, and show the obligation they were under to regard what was said:

let not the wife depart from her husband; for the same law that obliges a man to cleave to his wife, obliges the wife to cleave to her husband, Genesis 2:24 and those words of Christ, "what God hath joined together, let no man put asunder", Matthew 19:6 regard the one as well as the other; and the rules he has given, forbidding divorces only in case of adultery, Matthew 5:32 are as binding upon the wife as upon the husband. The wife therefore should not depart from her husband upon every slight occasion; not on account of any quarrel, or disagreement that may arise between them; or for every instance of moroseness and inhumanity; or because of diseases and infirmities; nor even on the score of difference in religion which, by what follows, seems to be greatly the case in view. The apostle observes this, in opposition to some rules and customs which obtained among Jews and Gentiles, divorcing and separating from one another upon various accounts; not only husbands put away their wives, but wives also left their husbands: for women to put away, or leave their husbands, were not in former times allowed of among the Jews, but from other nations crept in among them; indeed if a man married one under age, and she did not like him for her husband, she might refuse him, and go away without a bill of divorce; the manner of refusal was, by saying before two witnesses, I do not like such an one for my husband, or I do not like the espousals, with which my mother or my brother espoused me, or in such like words; and sometimes a written form of refusal was given (m); but otherwise where marriage was consummated, such a departure of the wife was not allowed. Salome, the sister of Herod, is thought to be the first that introduced it, who sent a bill of divorce to Costobarus (n) her husband; and in this she was followed by Herodias, the daughter of Aristobulus, who left her husband, and married Herod Antipas (o); and it seems certain, that this practice prevailed in Christ's time, since not only such a case is supposed, Mark 10:12 but a very flagrant instance is given in the woman of Samaria, John 4:18 who had had five husbands, not in a lawful regular manner, one after another upon their respective deaths, but she had married them, and put them away one after another: and as for the Gentiles, the account the Jews (p) give of them is, that though they had

"no divorces in form, they put away one another; R. Jochanan says, , "a man's wife might put him away", and give him the dowry:''

though, according to other accounts, they had divorces in form, which, when a man put away a woman, were called , "letters of dismission"; and when a woman left her husband, , "letters of dereliction", such as Hipparchia the wife of Alcibiades gave to him (q); and Justin Martyr (r) gives us an instance of a Christian woman, who gave her husband what the Roman senate called a divorce.

(m) Maimon. Hilch. Gerushim, c. 11. 1. 8. 11. & Ishot, c. 4. sect. 3.((n) Joseph. Antiqu. l. 15. c. 7. sect. 10. (o) lb. l. 18. c. 6. sect. 1.((p) Bereshit Rabba, sect. 18. fol. 15. 3.((q) Plutarch. in Alcibiade. (r) Apolog. 1. p. 41, 42.

{7} And unto the married I command, yet not I, but the Lord, Let not the wife depart from her husband:

(7) Seventhly, he forbids contentions and the granting of divorces (for he speaks not here of the fault of whoredom, which was then death even by the law of the Romans also) by which he affirms that the band of marriage is not dissolved, and that from Christ's mouth.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
1 Corinthians 7:10. But to those who have married; this is opposed to the γαμησάτωσαν, which referred to future marriages. Accordingly, just as γαμησάτ. applied only to Christians of both sexes leading a single life, so γεγαμηκόσι, too, refers exclusively to married persons both of whom were Christians. It is perfectly correct, therefore, to designate the married persons, where one party in the union was not a Christian, by τοῖς λοιποῖς, 1 Corinthians 7:12; for, apart from the cases discussed down to 1 Corinthians 7:12, there are no others remaining to be spoken of except those living in mixed marriage. Rückert understands τοῖς γεγαμηκόσι to mean specially the newly married people; Paul, he holds, has a particular case in view, in which a single man perhaps had married a widow, which had been disapproved of by some; and, because the apostles had given an opinion in 1 Corinthians 7:8 unfavourable to such marriages, he must now forbid the dissolution of a union of that sort when once formed. But the fact of the ἀγάμοι and the widows being coupled together in 1 Corinthians 7:8 lends no support whatever to this, for ἀγάμοις applies to both sexes. Moreover, were the perfect participle, which is the present of the completed action, meant here to convey the notion of “newly married,” this would need to be indicated either by some addition (such as νεωστί), or undoubtedly at least by the context. The fact, again, that Paul speaks first and chiefly of the wife (which Rückert explains on the ground of the wife having desired a separation), may very reasonably be accounted for, without supposing any special design, in this way, that the cases in which a wife separated herself from her husband presented to the Christian consciousness the most anomalous phenomenon in this sphere, and notwithstanding might not unfrequently occur in the wanton city of Corinth even within the Christian society.[1103] This is quite sufficient, without there being any need for assuming that the apostle had been questioned about some case of this kind (Hofmann), particularly as the passage itself gives no sign of any such interrogation, but simply disposes of the point in the evenly course of the discussion regarding marriage, and with a view to its completeness.

οὐκ ἐγὼ, ἀλλʼ ὁ Κύριος] The negation is absolute. Paul knew from the living voice of tradition what commands Christ had given concerning divorce, Matthew 5:31 f., Matthew 19:3-9; Mark 10:2-12; Luke 16:18. Hence ὁ Κύριος, sc[1104] παραγγέλλει, for the authority of Christ lives on in His commands (against Baur, who infers from the present, which is to be supplied here, that Paul means the will of Christ made known to him by inspiration). It is otherwise in 1 Thessalonians 4:15. As regards the ἐγώ, again, Paul was conscious (1 Corinthians 7:40) that his individuality was under the influence of the Holy Spirit. He distinguishes, therefore, here and in 1 Corinthians 7:12; 1 Corinthians 7:25, not between his own and inspired commands, but between those which proceeded from his own (God-inspired) subjectivity and those which Christ Himself supplied by His objective word. Since, now, the πνεῦμα Θεοῦ in no way differs from the πνεῦμα Χριστοῦ (Romans 8:9-11), Κυρίου ἐντολαί (1 Corinthians 14:37 according to the Text. recept.) could be predicated of the former class of precepts also, although neither in the same sense as of the latter, in which Paul’s own subjectivity had no share whatever, nor with the same force of absolute obligation; but, on the contrary, only in so far as the other party recognises them as ἐντολὰς Κυρίου (1 Corinthians 14:37).

μὴ χωρισθῆναι] let her not be separated, which, however, is not purely passive here (as in Polybius xxxii. 12. 7), but means: let her not separate herself. Isae. viii. 36, p. 73. For the rest, 1 Corinthians 7:13; 1 Corinthians 7:15 prove that this phrase and μὴ ἀφιέναι in 1 Corinthians 7:11 are not so different, that the former can be used only of the wife and the latter only of the husband.

[1103] That we are to ascribe the tendency to such separation precisely to devout enthusiasm on the part of Corinthian wives leading them to shrink from matrimonial intercourse (de Wette, comp. Hofmann, p. 146), is a view which is inadmissible for this reason, that Paul, having before him such a mere error of feeling and judgment, would have made a disproportionate concession to it by saying μενέτω ἄγαμος. The state of morals at Corinth is explanation enough, more especially in connection with the easy and frivolous way in which divorces took place in Greek social life generally (Hermann, Privatalterth. § xxx. 14–16), not merely by dismissal on the part of the husband (ἀποπέμπειν), but also by desertion on the part of the wife (ἀπολείπειν); comp. Bremi, ad Dem. I. p. 92.

[1104] c. scilicet.1 Corinthians 7:10-16. § 21. PROHIBITION OF DIVORCE. Pagan sentiment and law, while condoning fornication, were exceedingly lax in permitting divorce (see Hermann-Stark, Griech. Privat-alterthümer, §§ 30. 15, 17), as Jewish practice was on the side of the husband (Matthew 5:31 f., Matthew 19:7 ff.); and marriages were often contracted without affection. Unfit unions became irksome in the extreme, with the stricter ethics and high ideal of the new faith; in many cases one of the partners remained a heathen (1 Corinthians 7:12 f.). It was asked whether Christians were really “bound” (δεδουλωμένοι, 1 Corinthians 7:15) by the ties of the old life formed under unholy conditions, and whether it was right for man and wife to live together while one was in the kingdom of God and the other in that of Satan. These questions, propounded in the letter from Cor[1030], Paul has now to answer—(a) as respects Christian couples (1 Corinthians 7:10 f.), (b) as respects married pairs divided in religion (1 Corinthians 7:12-16).

[1030] Corinth, Corinthian or Corinthians.10–16. Mutual obligations of Married Persons

10. yet not I, but the Lord] The Apostle is quoting our Lord’s words in St Mark 10:11-12. No distinction is intended between what he, as a private individual enjoined, and what God commanded. “He never wrote of himself, being a vessel of the Holy Ghost, Who ever spoke by him to the Church.” Dean Alford.

Let not the wife depart from her husband] Literally, be separated, but not implying that the separation took place without her consent. The Apostle would seem here to be speaking of voluntary separations, not of such violations of the fundamental principle of marriage (see ch. 1 Corinthians 6:15-18) as are glanced at in St Matthew 19:9. So St Chrysostom on 1 Corinthians 7:12 : “Here there is hope that the lost member may be saved through the marriage, but in the other case the marriage is already dissolved.” Such voluntary separations were contrary to the command of Christ, and could only be allowed (see 1 Corinthians 7:15) under very exceptional circumstances.1 Corinthians 7:10.[58] ΠΑΡΑΓΓΈΛΛΩ, ΟὐΚ ἘΓῺ, I command, yet not I) a similar zeugma to, I live, yet not I, Galatians 2:20. The force of the word, I command, is affirmatively connected with the Lord.—ὁ Κύριος, the Lord) Christ, who had given instructions on this subject, Matthew 5:32; Matthew 19:4-5; or even spoke to Paul respecting this matter; comp. 1 Corinthians 7:12.—μὴ χωρισθῆναι, not to be separated) The less noble party, the wife is separated; the more noble, the husband, puts away; then in a converse point of view the believing wife also is said to put away, and the unbelieving husband to be separated, 1 Corinthians 7:13; 1 Corinthians 7:15.

[58] Τοῖςγεγαμηκόσι, to the married) when both husband and wife are among the number of believers. The antithesis is τοῖς λοιποῖς, ver. 12; when one or other of the parties is an unbeliever.—V.g.Verse 10. - And; rather, but. Unto the married; to Christians who have already married. I command. This is an injunction, not a mere permission as in ver. 6. Not I, but the Lord. Because the rule had been laid down by Christ himself (Mark 10:11, 12; Matthew 5:32; Matthew 19:6; Luke 16:18). Let not the wife depart. By divorce or otherwise. The wife is mentioned, perhaps, because the Christian wife, in the new sense of dignity and sacredness which Christianity had bestowed upon her, might be led to claim this spurious freedom; or perhaps the Christian women of Corinth had been more impressed than their husbands by the Essene notions of purity. The exception of divorce being permissible in case of fornication is assumed (Matthew 5:32; Matthew 19:9). Not I, but the Lord

Referring to Christ's declarations respecting divorce, Matthew 5:31, Matthew 5:32; Matthew 19:3-12. Not a distinction between an inspired and an uninspired saying. Paul means that his readers had no need to apply to him for instruction in the matter of divorce, since they had the words of Christ himself.

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