1 Corinthians 7:11
But and if she depart, let her remain unmarried, or be reconciled to her husband: and let not the husband put away his wife.
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(11) But and if she depart.—Better, but if she have actually separated. These words, from “but” to “husband,” are a parenthesis, and the concluding words, “and let not the husband put away his wife,” are the completion of the Lord’s command given in 1Corinthians 7:10. The Apostle, in case such a separation should already have taken place, anticipates the difficult question which might then arise by parenthetically remarking that in such a case the woman must not marry again, but ought to be reunited to her former husband.

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thing should be done to promote harmony, as far as truth and holiness will permit.But and if she depart - If she have withdrawn by a rash and foolish act; if she has attempted to dissolve the marriage vow, she is to remain unmarried, or be reconciled. She is not at liberty to marry another. This may refer, I suppose, to instances where wives, ignorant of the rule of Christ, and supposing that they had a right to separate themselves from their husbands, had rashly left them, and had supposed that the marriage contract was dissolved. Paul tells them that this was impossible; and that if they had so separated from their husbands, the pure laws of Christianity, did not recognize this right, and they must either be reconciled to their husbands, or remain alone. The marriage tie was so sacred that it could not be dissolved by the will of either party.

Let her remain unmarried - That is, let her not marry another.

Or be reconciled to her husband - Let this be done, if possible. If it cannot be, let her remain unmarried. It was a duty to be reconciled if it was possible. If not, she should not violate her vows to her husband so far as to marry another. It is evident that this rule is still binding, and that no one who has separated from her husband, whatever be the cause, unless there be a regular divorce, according to the law of Christ Matthew 5:32, can be at liberty to marry again.

And let not the husband - See the note at Matthew 5:32. This right, granted under the Jewish law, and practiced among all the pagan, was to be taken away wholly under the gospel. The marriage tie was to be regarded as sacred; and the tyranny of man over woman was to cease.

11. But and if she depart—or "be separated." If the sin of separation has been committed, that of a new marriage is not to be added (Mt 5:32).

be reconciled—by appeasing her husband's displeasure, and recovering his good will.

let not … husband put away … wife—In Mt 5:32 the only exception allowed is, "saving for the cause of fornication."

How our translators came to translate cwrisyh, which is manifestly a verb passive, if she depart, I cannot tell. It signifieth, if she be departed, and so is as well significative of a being parted from her husband by a judicial act of divorce, as of a voluntary departing. The Jews were wont to give bills of divorce to their wives for any trivial cause. The word is to be interpreted as well of any legal divorce, not according to the true meaning of the Divine law, as concerning a voluntary secession; in which case the apostle commandeth that she should marry to no other: the reason is plain, because no such cause of divorce broke the bond of marriage; she was yet the wife of her former husband in God’s eye and account, and committed adultery if she married to another, as our Saviour had determined, Matthew 5:32 19:9. But he gives her a liberty to

be reconciled to her husband. In case that a woman put away by her husband became another man’s wife, by the law, Deu 24:4, she might not (though that latter husband died) return to her former husband; but in case she remained unmarried, she might be reconciled to him.

And let not the husband put away his wife; the apostle giveth the same precept concerning husbands.

But and if she depart,.... This is said, not as allowing of such a departure, which only in case of fornication is lawful; but supposing it a fact, that a woman cannot be prevailed upon to stay with her husband, but actually forsakes him upon some difference arising between them,

let her remain unmarried: she ought not to marry another man; her departure does not make the marriage void; nor is it to be made void by any difference between them, either on religious or civil accounts, only in case of adultery; and therefore, if upon such separation she marries, she is guilty of adultery:

or be reconciled to her husband; which is rather to be chosen, than to remain separate, though unmarried; if she has given the offence, and is the cause of the separation, she ought to acknowledge it, and ask forgiveness of her husband, and return to him and live in peace with him; and if the fault is on his side, she ought to make use of all proper methods to convince him of it, bring him into good temper, forgive any injury done her, and live peaceably and comfortably together:

and let not the husband put away his wife; as the Jews were wont to do, upon every trifling occasion; See Gill on Matthew 5:31, Matthew 5:32

But and if she depart, let her remain unmarried or be reconciled to her husband: and let not the husband put away his wife.
1 Corinthians 7:11. From ἐάν to καταλλ. is a parenthesis pure and simple, disjoined from the rest of the sentence which continues with καὶ ἄνδρα. But in case she should perhaps (ἐὰν δέ) even (καί, i.e. in fact, actually; see Hartung, Partikell. I. p. 132 f.) be separated (have separated herself); in this Paul is not granting something in the way of exception, as though the preceding injunction were not to be taken too strictly (which is set aside at once by οὐκ ἐγὼ, ἀλλʼ ὁ Κύρ., 1 Corinthians 7:10), but he supposes a future case, which will possibly arise notwithstanding the commandment of the Lord’s just adduced. The ἐὰν καί therefore, with the δέ of antithesis, introduces, as in 1 Corinthians 7:28, an occurrence which will possibly be realized in the experience of the future (Hermann, a[1105] Viger. p. 834; Winer, p. 275 [E. T. 367]). This in opposition to Rückert, who maintains that the words refer to that specific case (see on 1 Corinthians 7:10), and mean: if, however, she should perhaps have already separated herself before receiving this decision; and likewise to Hofmann, who renders: if such a separation has actually already taken place within the church, thereby presupposing that such a thing will henceforth never take place there again.

μενέτω ἄγαμος] assumes that her marriage is not to be looked upon as really dissolved; hence she would be guilty of adultery should she contract another union. Comp Matthew 19:9.

] or else; comp on 1 Corinthians 9:15.

καταλλαγήτω] passive, leaving it undefined as to who was the active subject in the case (see Buttmann, I. p. 368; Winer, p. 245 [E. T. 328]): let her be reconciled, be friendly again with her husband. The voluntary separation of the wife from her husband is, in fact, just the cancelling of her peaceful relation to him, which is to be restored again.

καὶ ἄνδρα γυν. μὴ ἀφιέναι] and that a husband put not away a wife, send her from him, separate himself from her. Comp Herod. v. 29: ἀπέντα ταύτην τὴν γυναῖκα. The clause added by Christ (in accordance with Schamai’s doctrine): παρεκτὸς λόγου πορνειάς, Matthew 5:32; Matthew 19:9, does not occur in Luke 16:18 or Mark 10:11. We are not warranted in supposing that Paul was not aware of this exception having been recognised by Christ, or that he had perhaps never heard of it at all, for the simple reason, that the validity of this ground of divorce was self-evident. Comp on Matthew 5:32.

[1105] d refers to the note of the commentator or editor named on the particular passage.

11. but and if she depart] Literally, be separated, as above. There were great facilities for divorce, both under the law of Greece and Rome, in St Paul’s day, but the facilities were greater for the husband than for the wife. At Athens the husband could dismiss his wife at will. At Sparta failure of issue was regarded as a sufficient reason. Thus the Ephors, we are told by Herodotus (1 Corinthians 7:39) sent for Anaxandrides and urged him, lest the race of Eurysthenes should be extinct, to put away his wife. Something similar is related by the same historian (vi. 61–3) of Ariston. So in Roman law, the husband had originally the full disposal of the wife’s person and liberty, but this harsh regulation was resented by the wives, and in the days of the empire the wife also obtained the power of divorce. Cicero and Cæsar both divorced their wives. Juvenal (Sat. vi. 229, 230) speaks of the fatal facility of divorce, possessed by the wives in his day: the then accepted theory being that whatever put an end to conjugal affection was sufficient to dissolve marriage. See Art. Divortium in Smith’s Dictionary of Antiquities, and Merivale’s History of Rome, Vol. iv. The Jewish law of divorce was also very lax. See St Matthew 5:31-32; Deuteronomy 24:1.

1 Corinthians 7:11. Ἐὰν, if) This word also at the end of this verse is to be understood of the husband.—καὶ χωρισθῇ, she even be separated [be put away: not ‘depart,’ as if of herself, Engl. Vers.]) contrary to the commandment.

Verse 11. - If she depart. The reference throughout the verse is to separation due to incompatibility of temper, etc.; not to legal divorce. 1 Corinthians 7:11
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