Matthew 19:10
His disciples say unto him, If the case of the man be so with his wife, it is not good to marry.
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(10) If the case of the man.—The words seem to indicate that the laxer view of the school of Hillel was the more popular one even with those who, like the disciples, had been roused to some efforts after a righteousness higher than that of the scribes or Pharisees. They looked forward to the possible discomforts of marriage under the conditions which their Master had set before them, and drew the conclusion that they outweighed its advantages. Why entangle themselves in a union which they were no longer able to dissolve, when they got tired of it, by the short and easy method of a bill of divorcement? It is instructive to remember that one of the greatest of English writers has taken the same line of thought in dealing with the question. Milton’s Doctrine and Discipline of Divorce, and the treatises that followed it, are but an elaborate and eloquent expression of the words of the disciples, “If the case of the man be so with his wife, it is not good to marry.”

Matthew 19:10-11. His disciples say, If the case of a man be so with his wife — If the marriage-bond be thus indissoluble, and a man cannot dismiss his wife unless she break that bond by going astray, but must bear with her, whether she be quarrelsome, petulant, prodigal, foolish, barren, given to drinking, or, in a word, troublesome by numberless vices; it is not good to marry — A man had better not marry at all, since by marrying he may entangle himself in an inextricable snare, and involve himself in trials and troubles which may make him miserable all the rest of his days. But he said, All men cannot receive this saying — Namely, that it is not expedient to marry; save they to whom it is given — As a peculiar gift, to conquer those inclinations toward that state which are found in mankind in general, according to the common constitution of human nature.

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.His disciples say ... - The disciples were full of Jewish notions. They thought that the privilege of divorcing a wife when there was a quarrelsome disposition, or anything else that rendered the marriage unhappy, was a great privilege; and that in such cases to be always bound to live with a wife was a great calamity. They said, therefore, that if such was the case - such the condition on which people married - it was better not to marry. 10. His disciples say unto him, If the case of the man be so with his wife, it is not good to marry—that is, "In this view of marriage, surely it must prove a snare rather than a blessing, and had better be avoided altogether." This is a very strange saying, and discovers to us both the imperfect state of Christ’s disciples, and also the tyranny of a sinful practice grown up into a custom. The Jews had assumed a liberty of turning their wives out of doors upon every light and trivial offence or dislike; the disciples think, if this licentiousness may not be allowed it is not good to marry. So a holy institution of God, ordained for the propagation of mankind, for the restraint of extravagant lust, and for the solace and comfort of man’s life, should be despised, rather than those unquiet lusts and corruptions mortified, the mortification of which would have made those irregular separations both needless and undesirable. Surely they should rather have said, If the case of a man be so with his wife, then both husbands and wives had need to learn to deny themselves, to comply each with another, to silence their brutish and boisterous passions, that, being the same flesh, they might also have one and the same spirit, and not be like a diseased piece of flesh, where humours so quarrel that one piece need be cut off to preserve the other. But the best of men have their infirmities; and, as the Hebrews said, Spiritus Dei non semper tangit corda prophetarum, The Spirit of God was not always upon the hearts of the prophets; so it is as true, Spiritius Dei non semper et ubique tangit corda fidelium, All that the saints say is not gospel. Their flesh hath its turn to speak, as well as the Spirit in them. A sinful liberty conceded, indulged, or connived at, by the laws, or by the rulers of a church or place where we live, for a long time, is not easily restrained, and even good men may for a time be carried away with the error of it, so as they cannot discern it, be convinced of it, or be brought clear of it to a conformity to the will of God.

His disciples say unto him,.... Being surprised at this account of things, it being quite contrary to what they had been taught, and very different from the general practice and usage of their nation:

if the case of a man be so with his wife; if they are so closely joined together in marriage; if they are, as it were, one flesh, or one body, that a man's wife is himself: that the bond between them is so inviolable, that it is not to be dissolved, but in case of adultery; that if a separation be made by a bill of divorce, in any other case, and either party marry again, they are guilty of adultery; if a man cannot part with his wife lawfully, provided she be chaste, and is faithful to his bed, let her be what she will otherwise, though ever so disagreeable in her person, and troublesome in her behaviour; though she may be passionate, and a brawler; though she may be drunken, luxurious, and extravagant, and mind not the affairs of her family, yet if she is not an adulteress, must not be put away:

it is not good to marry; it would be more expedient and advisable for a man to live always a single life, than to run the risk of marrying a woman, that may prove very disagreeable and uncomfortable; to whom he must be bound all the days of his or her life, and, in such a case, not to be able to relieve and extricate himself. This they said under the prejudice of a national law and custom, which greatly prevailed, and under the influence of a carnal heart.

His disciples say unto him, If the {i} case of the man be so with his wife, it is not good to marry.

(i) If the matter stands in this way between man and wife, or in marriage.

Matthew 19:10. This conversation is to be understood as having taken place privatim, in a house (Mark 10:10), or elsewhere.

εἰ οὕτως ἐστὶν ἡ αἰτία, κ.τ.λ.] ἡ αἰτία means causa, but not in the sense of res or relation (Grotius): “si ita res se habet hoininis cum uxore” (Grimm), which is at variance with the Greek usage, and would be tantamount to a Latin idiom; nor is it to be understood in the sense imported by Fritzsche: “causa, qua aliquis cum uxore versari cogatur.” According to the text, ἡ αἰτία can only be taken as referring back to the question concerning divorce, κατὰ πᾶσαν αἰτίαν, Matthew 19:3. The correct interpretation, therefore, must be as follows: If it stands thus with regard to the reason in question, which the man must have in relation to his wife (in order, namely, to her divorce). The Lord had, in fact, declared the πορνεία of the wife to be such an αἰτία as the disciples had inquired about, and that, moreover, the sole one. This also leads me to withdraw my former interpretation of αἰτία in the sense of guilt, that, namely, which was understood to be expressed by the μοιχᾶται. The correct view is given by Hilgenfeld in his Zeitschr. 1868, p. 24, and, in the main, by so early an expositor as Euthymius Zigabenus: ἐὰν μία μόνη ἐστὶν ἡ αἰτία ἡ μέσον τοῦ ἀνδρὸς κ. τῆς γυναικὸς ἡ διαζευγνύουσα.

οὐ συμφ. γαμ.] because one cannot be released again, but, with the exception of adultery alone, must put up with all the woman’s other vices.

Matthew 19:10-12. Subsequent conversation with the disciples.—Christ’s doctrine on marriage not only separated Him totacœlo from Pharisaic opinions of all shades, but was too high even for the Twelve. It was indeed far in advance of all previous or contemporary theory and practice in Israel. Probably no one before Him had found as much in what is said on the subject in Gen. It was a new reading of old texts by one who brought to them a new view of man’s worth, and still more of woman’s. The Jews had very low views of woman, and therefore of marriage. A wife was bought, regarded as property, used as a household drudge, and dismissed at pleasure—vide Benzinger, Heb. Arch., pp. 138–146.

10. If the case of the man be so with his wife] If these are the conditions of marriage.

it is not good to marry] Nothing could prove more clearly the revolution in thought brought to pass by Christ than this. Even the disciples feel that such a principle would make the yoke of marriage unbearable.

Matthew 19:10. Τοῦ ἀνθρώπουμετὰ τῆς γυναικὸς, of the man—with the woman) The nouns are used generically.

Verse 10. - His disciples say unto him. Our Lord appears to have repeated privately to the disciples what he had said publicly to the Pharisees. If the case (ἡ αἰτία) of the man be so with his wife. Some commentators take αἰτία to signify guilt: "if such guilt appertains to the married state." But the meaning is plain enough anyway, and the word, as here used, corresponds to the Latin causa, and the Hebrew dibrah, which may denote "case," "condition," etc. The disciples reflect the feeling of their day. Marriage without any possibility of essential release (for they see that this is Christ's law) seems to them a severe and unbearable connection. It were better never to marry at all than to fetter one's self with such an inexorable obligation. Such a doctrine was entirely novel in that age, and most unpalatable; and even the apostles receive it with wonder and hesitation. They have not yet leaned that in Messiah's kingdom grace conquers natural inclination, and strengthens the weak will so that it rises superior to custom, prejudice, and the promptings of the flesh. Matthew 19:10The case (αἰτία)

Not the relation of the man to his wife, nor the circumstances, the state of the case. Αἰτία refers to cause (Matthew 19:3), and the meaning is, if the matter stands thus with reference to the cause which the man must have for putting away his wife.

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