Ephesians 5:31
For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined to his wife, and they two shall be one flesh.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(31) For this cause.—In spite of much authority, it seems far simpler to consider the words “Even as the Lord . . . His bones” as parenthetical, and refer back to Ephesians 5:28-29. In exactly the same way our Lord quotes the same verse of Genesis (Genesis 2:24) to show the indissoluble character of the marriage tie. Here the similarity of connection with that of the original passage is even stronger. Because a man’s wife is as his own body, “for this cause shall a man,” &c. To connect these words with those going before is indeed possible, but somewhat too mystical even for this passage.

Shall a man leave his father . . .—The relation of parentage is one of common flesh and blood, and stands at the head of those natural relations which we do not make, but into which we are born. The relation of marriage is the most sacred of all the ties into which we are not born, and which we do make for ourselves, in accordance with a true or supposed harmony of nature. It becomes, says Holy Scripture, a relation, not of common flesh and blood, but of “one flesh.” Itself originally voluntary, it supersedes all natural ties. Our Lord therefore adds, “They are no more twain, but one flesh. What God hath joined together let not man put asunder” (Matthew 19:6). Hence it strikingly represents that unity with Christ—voluntarily initiated by Him, voluntarily accepted by us—which yet so supersedes all natural ties that it is said to oblige a man to “hate his father and mother . . . and his own life also” (Luke 14:26).

5:22-33 The duty of wives is, submission to their husbands in the Lord, which includes honouring and obeying them, from a principle of love to them. The duty of husbands is to love their wives. The love of Christ to the church is an example, which is sincere, pure, and constant, notwithstanding her failures. Christ gave himself for the church, that he might sanctify it in this world, and glorify it in the next, that he might bestow on all his members a principle of holiness, and deliver them from the guilt, the pollution, and the dominion of sin, by those influences of the Holy Spirit, of which baptismal water was the outward sign. The church and believers will not be without spot or wrinkle till they come to glory. But those only who are sanctified now, shall be glorified hereafter. The words of Adam, mentioned by the apostle, are spoken literally of marriage; but they have also a hidden sense in them, relating to the union between Christ and his church. It was a kind of type, as having resemblance. There will be failures and defects on both sides, in the present state of human nature, yet this does not alter the relation. All the duties of marriage are included in unity and love. And while we adore and rejoice in the condescending love of Christ, let husbands and wives learn hence their duties to each other. Thus the worst evils would be prevented, and many painful effects would be avoided.For this cause - Ἀντὶ τόυτου Anti toutou. This verse is a quotation from Genesis 2:24, and contains the account of the institution of marriage. The meaning of the phrase rendered "for this cause" is, "answerably to this;" or corresponding to this - that is, to what Paul had just said of the union of believers and the Redeemer. On the meaning of this verse, see the notes on Matthew 19:4. There is no evidence that the marriage connection was originally designed to symbolize or typify this union, but it may be used to illustrate that connection, and to show the strength of the attachment between the Redeemer and his people. The comparison should be confined, however, strictly to the use made of it in the New Testament. 31. For—The propagation of the Church from Christ, as that of Eve from Adam, is the foundation of the spiritual marriage. The natural marriage, wherein "a man leaves father and mother (the oldest manuscripts omit 'his') and is joined unto his wife," is not the principal thing meant here, but the spiritual marriage represented by it, and on which it rests, whereby Christ left the Father's bosom to woo to Himself the Church out of a lost world: Eph 5:32 proves this: His earthly mother as such, also, He holds in secondary account as compared with His spiritual Bride (Lu 2:48, 49; 8:19-21; 11:27, 28). He shall again leave His Father's abode to consummate the union (Mt 25:1-10; Re 19:7).

they two shall be one flesh—So the Samaritan Pentateuch, the Septuagint, &c., read (Ge 2:24), instead of "they shall be one flesh." So Mt 19:5. In natural marriage, husband and wife combine the elements of one perfect human being: the one being incomplete without the other. So Christ, as God-man, is pleased to make the Church, the body, a necessary adjunct to Himself, the Head. He is the archetype of the Church, from whom and according to whom, as the pattern, she is formed. He is her Head, as the husband is of the wife (Ro 6:5; 1Co 11:3; 15:45). Christ will never allow any power to sever Himself and His bride, indissolubly joined (Mt 19:6; Joh 10:28, 29; 13:1).

For this cause; because the woman was formed of the flesh and bones of the man. He refers to Adam’s words, Genesis 2:24.

Shall a man leave his father and mother; as to cohabitation, and domestic conversation; or, let a inan rather leave his father and mother than not cleave to his wife. The apostle doth not cancel the obligations of other relations, but prefers this before them.

They two shall be one flesh; i.e. one body, or one man, viz. by the marriage bond, whereby each hath power over the other’s body, 1 Corinthians 7:4. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother,.... These words contain the law of marriage, and are cited from Genesis 2:24; and declare what ought to be, and are a prophecy of what should be; and are observed against polygamy, and to stir up mutual affection; See Gill on Matthew 19:5. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall {r} be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh.

(r) See Geneva Mt 19:5

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Ephesians 5:31. Not a citation from Genesis 2:24, but (comp. Ephesians 6:2) Paul makes these words of Scripture, which as such were well known to the readers, his own, while the deviations from the LXX. are unimportant and make no difference to the sense. What, however, is spoken, Gen. l.c., of the union of husband and wife, Paul applies by typical interpretation to the coming (future: καταλείψει κ.τ.λ.) union of Christ with the church (see Ephesians 5:32), a union which shall take place at the Parousia, up to which time the church is the bride of Christ, and at which it is then nuptially joined with Him (see on Ephesians 5:27),—and so the apostle expresses this antitype of the conjugal union in the hallowed words of Scripture, in which the type, the marriage union in the proper sense, is expressed. We have accordingly to explain it thus: For this reason, because we are Christ’s members, of His flesh and of His bone, shall a man (i.e. antitypically, Christ, at the Parousia) leave father and mother (i.e., according to the mystic interpretation of the apostle: He will leave His seat at the right hand of God) and be united with his wife (with the church), and (and then) the two (the man and the wife, i.e. Christ who has descended and the church) shall be one flesh (form one ethical person, as married persons by virtue of bodily union become a physical unity). Those expositors who, in keeping with the original sense of Gen. l.c., take the words of actual marriage (so most expositors, including Matthies, Meier, Schenkel, Bleek, Rückert[287]), have against them as well the ἈΝΤῚ ΤΟΎΤΟΥ, which cannot be referred without arbitrariness to anything else than what immediately precedes, as also the future expression, which (as also in Gen. l.c.) must denote something yet to come; and not less the statement of Paul himself, Ephesians 5:32, according to which ἄνθρωπος must be interpreted of Christ, and τὴν γυναῖκα of the church, not merely perhaps (Reiche) is to be so interpreted. Hofmann likewise, II. 2, p. 139, understands it of real marriage, and sees all difficulties vanish if we more closely connect Ephesians 5:32 with Ephesians 5:31, so that τὸ μυστήριον τοῦτο sums up the Old Testament passage itself and makes this the subject, and then the sense is: “That, as the passage affirms, the marriage communion is the most intimate of all communions for this reason, because the wife proceeds from the husband—this mystery, which was foreign to the Gentiles, is great. It is a highly significant mystery of the order laid down by the creation, a most important revelation of the divine counsel in this domain, which the apostle interprets as applying to Christ and the church, because marriage in this respect has its higher counterpart in the domain of redemption, but without excluding its validity also for the married as regards their relation regulated by the creation.” This view is incorrect, for the very reason that to make τὸ μυστήριον be said in reference to the Gentiles is quite foreign to, and remote from, the connection; because, further, Paul must have written ἐγὼ δὲ νῦν λέγω; because ΛΈΓΩ does not mean “I say of it,” but “I say it,” i.e. I interpret it; because ἀντὶ τούτου would remain entirely out of connection with that which precedes, and thus the passage of Scripture would make its appearance quite abruptly; because, if the reader was to understand the whole passage of Scripture as the subject, summed up in ΤῸ ΜΥΣΤΉΡ. ΤΟῦΤΟ, of what follows, the apostle must have indicated this, in order to be intelligible, by something like ΤῸ ΔῈ ἈΝΤῚ ΤΟΎΤΟΥ Κ.Τ.Λ., ΜΥΣΤΉΡΙΟΝ ΜΈΓΑ ἘΣΤΊΝ; and because, finally, the validity of the fundamental law of marriage, Ephesians 5:31, for married persons is so entirely self-evident, that a quite unsuitable thought (“but without excluding,” etc.) is attributed to the ΠΛΉΝ of Ephesians 5:33.

Those, further, who explain it of Christ and the church, as Hunnius, Balduin, Grotius, Bengel, Michaelis, and others, are mistaken in believing the connection with Christ already existing in the present αἰών as that which is meant; inasmuch as in the ΚΑΤΑΛΕΊΨΕΙ ΤῸΝ ΠΑΤ. Κ. Τ. ΜΗΤ. they think of the incarnation (“etiam Christus patrem quasi reliquit,” Bengel), or generally of the fact that “Christus nihil tam carum habuit, quod non nostri causa abdicaverit” (Grotius), or even of the separation of Christ from His nation (Michaelis) or from the synagogue (Bisping); while Harless and Olshausen pass over καταλείψει τὸν πατέρα κ.τ.λ. without more precise explanation, as unessential to the connection and aim, and regard only ΚΑῚ ἜΣΟΝΤΑΙ ΟἹ Δ. ΕἸς Σ. Μ. as the main point, explaining it of the Lord’s Supper.[288] But the whole reference to the already present connection with Christ is incorrect, because this connection was just before expressed in the present form by μέλη ἐσμὲν κ.τ.λ., but now upon this present relation is based the setting in of a future one (ΚΑΤΑΛΕΊΨΕΙ Κ.Τ.Λ.; observe the future forms), and that by ἀντὶ τούτου, quite as in Genesis 2:24 by means of ἝΝΕΚΕΝ ΤΟΎΤΟΥ the future relation of marriage is deduced from the then existing relation of Adam and Eve. These expositors, besides, overlook the fact that in the αἰὼν οὗτος Christ is not yet husband, but until the Parousia still bridegroom of the church (Ephesians 5:27), which He only at the Parousia presents to Himself as a purified and sanctified bride for nuptial union. Moreover, the setting aside of the whole portion καταλείψει ἄνθρωπος τὸν πατ. κ.τ.λ., on the part of Harless and Olshausen, is a purely arbitrary proceeding.

ἈΝΤῚ ΤΟΎΤΟΥ] See Winer, p. 326 [E. T. 456]. It is distinguished from the ἝΝΕΚΕΝ ΤΟΎΤΟΥ in the LXX. only by its placing the cause and the fact thereby conditioned in comparison with each other according to the conception of requital (for this). Comp. ἀνθʼ ὧν, and see Matthiae, p. 1327; Ellendt, Lex. Soph. I. p. 170. The reference of ἀντὶ τούτου, with regard to which many are entirely silent, can be found only in Ephesians 5:30 : because our relation to Christ is this. See above. Other references, as those of Estius: “quia mulier formata est ex ossibus et came viri,” and Holzhausen: “because the man, in loving his wife, loves himself” (comp. Meier and Matthies), are forced just because of their taking Ephesians 5:31 not according to its mystic reference, but of real marriage.

ἄνθρωπος] a human being, i.e. according to the context, a man (without on that account ἄνθρωπος standing for ἈΝΉΡ, see Fritzsche, ad Matt. p. 593), by which, however, according to the mystical interpretation of the apostle, Christ is antitypically to be understood.

καὶ τὴν μητέρα] is doubtless taken up along with the rest as a constituent part of the words of Adam, but is not destined for a special exposition in the typical reference of the passage to Christ, since καταλείψει τὸν πατέρα αὐτοῦ can, in accordance with that typical reference, only apply to the descending of Christ from the right hand of God, which will ensue at the Parousia. Then the σύνθρονος of the Father comes down to earth, to wed Himself (Matthew 25:1) to the church, the bride, 2 Corinthians 11:2.

[287] Who, however, here too despairs of more precise explanation, as the passage stands forth in an abrupt form merely as a hint thrown out for the more initiated.

[288] What in marriage the fleshly union is, that in the connection of the church with Christ the substantial union by means of the Supper is alleged to be! “As man and wife are indeed always one in love, but in the elements of conjugal union, in which the specific nature of marriage consists, become in a special sense one flesh; so is also the church as a whole, and each congregation, like each soul in it, always one spirit with Christ, the Head of the body; but in the elements of the sacred Supper the believing soul celebrates in a very special sense the union with its Saviour, in that it takes up into itself His flesh and blood, and therewith the germ of the immortal body.” This fanciful view of Olshausen is without any warrant in the context, and at variance with the future καταλείψει, which must—and that indeed according to Genesis 2—express something not yet accomplished, but only to be expected in the future. Moreover, the “leaving,” etc., does not at all suit the conception of the communion of Christ with believers in the Supper, and least of all the orthodox Lutheran conception of ubiquity. Nevertheless Kahnis (Abendm. p. 144) has entirely acceded to the view of Olshausen. He objects to the explanation of the union of Christ with the church at the Parousia, that this union cannot possibly be thought of as “a sacrificial renunciation, on the part of Christ, of His heavenly glory.” But the matter is neither so thought of nor so represented. That which is meant by καταλείψει, the coming again of Christ from heaven, will—and this was well known to the believing consciousness of every reader—take place not without His heavenly glory, but with that glory; and by the union, which is expressed in the typical representation προσκολληθήσεται κ.τ.λ., the συνδοξασθῆναι of the believers will then be accomplished. Comp. Colossians 3:4.Ephesians 5:31. ἀντὶ τούτου καταλείψει ἄνθρωπος [τὸν] πατέρα [αὐτοῦ] καὶ [τὴν] μητέρα: for this cause shall a man leave [his] father and mother. Lachm. and Tregelles omit τόν and τήν; which are bracketed by WH. The αὐτοῦ is omitted by LTTrWHRV, as not supported by [689] [690] [691] [692]*[693], 17, Vulg., Arm., etc. It is found in [694]3[695] [696]3[697] [698] [699], Syr.-P., Boh., etc. These words, whether Paul gives them professedly as a quotation in a free form, or uses them directly, making them his own (Mey.), are substantially those which in Genesis 2:24 follow the statement regarding Eve as bone of Adam’s bone and flesh of his flesh. ἀντὶ τούτου corresponds to the ἕνεκεν τούτου of Genesis 2:24; ἀντί, the prep. of exchange and succession, being used also, like the Hebrew תַּחַת אֲשֶׁר, in the sense of “for that,” and occasionally as = “wherefore”; cf. ἀνθʼ ὧν, Luke 12:3; cf. Blass, Gram. of N. T. Greek, p. 125; Win.-Moult., p. 456. Thus ἀντὶ τούτου may refer either to the immediately preceding statement regarding our being members of Christ’s body (so Mey.), or to the leading idea of the previous verses, viz., the husband’s duty to love, nourish, and cherish the wife even as Christ loves, nourishes, and cherishes the Church. The former connection leads, as in Meyer’s case, to an allegorising interpretation. The latter is to be preferred as in harmony with a simpler and more natural view of what follows. Another turn is given to the phrase, e.g., by Von Soden, who makes it = “instead of this,” supposing the point to be that in place of hating, as mentioned in Ephesians 5:29, the husband ought to love and cleave to his wife. But this is far-fetched. The καταλείψει, especially in view of its application in the OT passage cited or used, must be taken here as the ethical future, the future expressing what should, can, or must be, as, e.g., in Matthew 7:26; Luke 22:49; John 6:68; Romans 10:14, etc.; cf. Win.-Moult., p. 348; Donaldson, Greek Gram., p. 407. Meyer insists on its being a pure future, and refers it to what is to take place at the Parousia. The verse as used here has been strangely handled by many commentators, who have found secondary, mystical meanings in the words. Not a few of the Fathers (Chrys., Theod., Theophyl., Jerome, etc.) interpreted it of the Incarnation; and late exegetes expounded it as referring in one way or other to Christ’s present connection with the Church (Grot., Beng., etc.); some understanding Christ’s separation from His nation (Mich.), or from the synagogue, to be indicated by the phrase “leave His Father,” and others even explaining it of the Lord’s Supper (Harl., Olsh.). Alford applies it mystically to “that past, present, and future which constitutes Christ’s Union to His Bride, the Church—His leaving the Father’s bosom, which is past—His gradual preparation of the Union, which is present—His full consummation of it, which is future”. Even Meyer puts a forced, allegorical sense upon it, taking it to be used typically of the perfect union which takes place between Christ and the Church only at His Second Coming, before which time He is not Husband, but Bridegroom. So the ἄνθρωπος becomes Christ, at the Parousia; the leaving father and mother becomes mystically Christ’s leaving His seat at the right hand of God; the two becoming one flesh is the descending, returning Christ making one ethical person with the Church, etc. But all this is in the highest degree unnatural. When Paul allegorises he gives intimation of the fact (ἅτινά ἐστιν ἀλληγορούμενα, Galatians 4:24), and certainly there is no such allegory as this would be anywhere else in the Pauline writings. Its incongruities condemn it. What is to be made, e.g., of the leaving of the mother, which Jerome, e.g., is driven to say means the leaving of the heavenly Jerusalem? We take the verse, therefore, in its simple and obvious sense, as referring to the direct and ruling idea of the paragraph, viz., the natural marriage relation and the duty of husbands to wives; and we read it as an enforcement of that duty based upon the natural identity of the wife with the husband, as stated in the narrative of Creation and illustrated in its highest ideal in the Church’s relation to Christ.—καὶ προσκολληθήσεται πρὸς τὴν γυναῖκα αὐτοῦ καὶ οἱ δύο ἔσονται εἰς σάρκα μίαν: and shall cleave unto his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. “Cleave to” represents very well the force of the verb προσκολλάω, the Sept. representative of דָבַק, to glue to, stick to. For πρὸς τὴν γυναῖκα, the reading of TR, with [700] [701]3[702]3[703] [704] [705], Orig., etc., τῇ γυναικί is given in [706] [707] [708] [709]*[710], etc., and is preferred by LTTr, while WH place it in the margin. The αὐτοῦ is omitted by T with [711]1, etc. For προσκολληθήσεται there is also the variant κολληθήσεται in [712]3[713]1[714], etc.

[689] Codex Vaticanus (sæc. iv.), published in photographic facsimile in 1889 under the care of the Abbate Cozza-Luzi.

[690] Autograph of the original scribe of א.

[691] Autograph of the original scribe of א.

[692] Codex Claromontanus (sæc. vi.), a Græco-Latin MS. at Paris, edited by Tischendorf in 1852.

[693] Codex Boernerianus (sæc. ix.), a Græco-Latin MS., at Dresden, edited by Matthæi in 1791. Written by an Irish scribe, it once formed part of the same volume as Codex Sangallensis (δ) of the Gospels. The Latin text, g, is based on the O.L. translation.

[694] Codex Sinaiticus (sæc. iv.), now at St. Petersburg, published in facsimile type by its discoverer, Tischendorf, in 1862.

[695] Codex Alexandrinus (sæc. v.), at the British Museum, published in photographic facsimile by Sir E. M. Thompson (1879).

[696] Codex Claromontanus (sæc. vi.), a Græco-Latin MS. at Paris, edited by Tischendorf in 1852.

[697] Codex Mosquensis (sæc. ix.), edited by Matthæi in 1782.

[698] Codex Angelicus (sæc. ix.), at Rome, collated by Tischendorf and others.

[699] Codex Porphyrianus (sæc. ix.), at St. Petersburg, collated by Tischendorf. Its text is deficient for chap. Ephesians 2:13-16.

[700] Codex Vaticanus (sæc. iv.), published in photographic facsimile in 1889 under the care of the Abbate Cozza-Luzi.

[701] Codex Sinaiticus (sæc. iv.), now at St. Petersburg, published in facsimile type by its discoverer, Tischendorf, in 1862.

[702] Codex Ephraemi (sæc. v.), the Paris palimpsest, edited by Tischendorf in 1843.

[703] Codex Claromontanus (sæc. vi.), a Græco-Latin MS. at Paris, edited by Tischendorf in 1852.

[704] Codex Mosquensis (sæc. ix.), edited by Matthæi in 1782.

[705] Codex Angelicus (sæc. ix.), at Rome, collated by Tischendorf and others.

[706] Autograph of the original scribe of א.

[707] Autograph of the original scribe of א.

[708] Codex Alexandrinus (sæc. v.), at the British Museum, published in photographic facsimile by Sir E. M. Thompson (1879).

[709] Codex Claromontanus (sæc. vi.), a Græco-Latin MS. at Paris, edited by Tischendorf in 1852.

[710] Codex Boernerianus (sæc. ix.), a Græco-Latin MS., at Dresden, edited by Matthæi in 1791. Written by an Irish scribe, it once formed part of the same volume as Codex Sangallensis (δ) of the Gospels. The Latin text, g, is based on the O.L. translation.

[711] Codex Sinaiticus (sæc. iv.), now at St. Petersburg, published in facsimile type by its discoverer, Tischendorf, in 1862.

[712] Codex Sinaiticus (sæc. iv.), now at St. Petersburg, published in facsimile type by its discoverer, Tischendorf, in 1862.

[713] Codex Claromontanus (sæc. vi.), a Græco-Latin MS. at Paris, edited by Tischendorf in 1852.

[714] Codex Augiensis (sæc. ix.), a Græco-Latin MS., at Trinity College, Cambridge, edited by Scrivener in 1859. Its Greek text is almost identical with that of G, and it is therefore not cited save where it differs from that MS. Its Latin version, f, presents the Vulgate text with some modifications.31. For this cause, &c.] The Gr. in this verse is practically identical with that of Genesis 2:24. We may reverently infer that the Apostle was guided to see in that verse a Divine parable of the Coming Forth of the Lord, the Man of Men, from the Father, and His present and eternal mystical Union with the true Church, His Bride.

For this cause:”—the cause of His (covenanted and foreseen) Union with us as Incarnate, Sacrificed, and Risen; in order to realize that Divine Idea.

joined] A kindred word is used in a kindred passage, full of importance here, 1 Corinthians 6:17.Ephesians 5:31. Καταλείψει, shall leave) Ephesians 5:30 presupposes a Protasis, viz. in regard to natural marriage, [to be supplied] out of Moses; it expresses the Apodosis, viz. respecting the spiritual marriage; now, in turn, vice versa, Ephesians 5:31 here expresses the Protasis, and allows the Apodosis to be supplied: comp. Ephesians 5:32, in the middle. Christ also, so to speak, left the Father, and was joined to the Church.—προσκολληθήσεται, shall be joined) by matrimonial unity.—εἰς σάρκα μίαν, shall pass into [shall be as] one flesh) not only as formerly, in respect of origin, but in respect of the new relationship.Verse 31. - For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife, and they two shall come to be one flesh. Quoted in substance from Genesis 2:24. It seems to be introduced simply to show the closeness of the relation between man and wife; it is such as in a sense to supersede that between parent and child. The apostle (as appears from the next verse) has in view, at the same time, the parallel truth - the closeness of the relation between Christ and the Church; it too in a sense supersedes the relations of nature (comp. Luke 14:26; Matthew 12:50). Shall be joined (προσκολληθήσεται)

Only here; and Mark 10:7. See on Luke 15:15. The compound verb denotes most intimate union.

Shall be one flesh (ἔσονται εἰς σάρκα μίαν)

The A.V. overlooks the force of εἰς unto. Lit., shall be unto one flesh. Rev., shall become.

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