And the Pharisees came to him, and asked him, Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife? tempting him.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)And the Pharisees came to him.—See Notes on Matthew 19:3-12. We are not surprised to find St. Mark omitting the “hard saying” about the eunuchs of Matthew 19:12. It was hardly likely, even if he knew it, to commend itself to him as adapted for the Gentile readers for whom he wrote his Gospel. Probably, however, for the reason thus given, it was not part of the current teaching of the Church, and was recorded by St. Matthew as something exceptional.Matthew 19:1-12.
Mr 10:1-12. Final Departure from Galilee—Divorce. ( = Mt 19:1-12; Lu 9:51).
See on Mt 19:1-12.for every cause, that is, for any cause, unless for adultery, for so the Pharisees had interpreted the law permitting divorce, Deu 24:1, taking advantage of those words, that she find no favour in his eyes, and interpreting the term uncleanness following, of any deformity, or other cause of dislike.
and asked him, is it lawful for a man to put away his wife? that is, as Matthew adds, "for every cause"; see Gill on Matthew 19:3, for, a divorce might be lawfully made for a cause, or reason, namely, adultery, but not for any, or every cause; which is the sense of this question of the Pharisees; and, which they put, not for information, but
tempting him; trying to entangle him by opposing the authority of Moses, should he deny the lawfulness of divorces, or by objecting his former doctrine, Matthew 5:32, and so expose him as an inconsistent preacher, should he allow them to be lawful for every reason. This clause is placed in the Syriac, Arabic, and Persic versions before the question.And the Pharisees came to him, and asked him, Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife? tempting him.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)Mark 10:2-12. The question of divorce (Matthew 19:3-12).—ἀπολῦσαι: the question is put absolutely, the qualifying clause κατὰ πᾶσαν αἰτίαν in Mt. being omitted. Thus put the question presupposes knowledge of Christ’s high doctrine as to marriage, and is an attempt to bring Him into collision with the Mosaic law, as absolutely interdicting what it allowed.2. Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife] “for every cause?” as St Matthew adds (Matthew 19:3). On this point the rival schools of Hillel and Shammai were divided, the former adopting the more lax, the latter the stricter view: the one holding that any dislike, which he felt towards her, would justify a man in putting away his wife; the other, that only notorious unchastity could be a sufficient reason. It has also been suggested that the object of the question may have been to involve Him with the adulterous tetrarch, in whose territory He was.Verse 2. - And there came unto him Pharisees - the article should be omitted - and asked him - they came forward before the people, and publicly questioned him - Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife? St. Matthew (Matthew 21:3) adds to the question the words, "for every cause." There were causes for which it was lawful. They put this question to our Lord, tempting him; of course with an evil intent. This question about divorce was one which was much agitated in the time of our Lord. In the century before Christ, a learned rabbi, named Hillel, a native of Babylon, who afterwards came to Jerusalem, studied the Law with great success, and became the head of the chief school in that city. One of his disciples, named Shammai, separated from his master, and set up another school; so that in the time of our Lord the scribes and doctors of the Law were ranged in two parties, namely, the followers of Hillel, the most influential; and the followers of Shammai. These two schools differed widely on the subject of divorce. The followers of Shammai only permitted divorce in the case of moral defilement, while the followers of Hillel placed the matter entirely in the power of the husband. The object, therefore, of this artful question was to entrap our Lord, and to bring him into collision with one or other of these two opposing parties. For if he had said that it was not lawful for a man to put away his wife, he would have exposed himself to the hostility of many of the wealthy classes, who put away their wives for any cause. But if he had allowed the lawfulness of divorce at all, they would have found fault with his doctrine as imperfect and carnal, although he professed to be a spiritual Teacher of a perfect system, sent down from heaven.
See on Matthew 6:13.
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