Matthew 19:4
And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female,
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(4) Have ye not read . . .?—The answer to the question is found not in the words of a code of laws, but in the original facts of creation. That represented the idea of man and woman as created for a permanent relationship to each other, not as left to unite and separate as appetite or caprice might prompt.

Matthew 19:4-6. He answered, Have ye not read, &c. — It is thought by some that the chief design of the Pharisees in putting the fore-mentioned question to our Lord, was to make him contradict Moses. If so, they were much disappointed, for, instead of contradicting him, he confutes them by the very words of Moses. He who made them at the beginning — When the human race began to exist; made them male and female — Greek, αρσεν και θηλυ, which Dr. Campbell renders, a male and a female. He finds fault with our version as inaccurate and irrelative to our Lord’s argument, and thinks our translators “could not have rendered the clause differently if the original expression had been αρρενας και θηλειας εποιεσεν αυτους. Yet it is manifest, that the sense would have been different. All that this declaration would have implied is, that when God created mankind, he made people of both sexes. But what argument could have been drawn from this principle, to show that the tie of marriage was indissoluble? Or how could the conclusion annexed have been supported? For this cause shall a man leave father and mother. Besides, it was surely unnecessary to recur to the history of the creation to convince those Pharisees of what all the world knew, that the human race was composed of men and women, and consequently of two sexes. The weight of the argument, therefore,” he says, “must lie in this circumstance, that God created at first no more than a single pair, one of each sex, whom he united in the bond of marriage, and, in so doing, exhibited a standard of that union to all generations. The very words, and these two, show that it is implied in the historian’s declaration, that they were two, one male and one female, and no more. But this is by no means implied in the common version. It lets us know, indeed, that they were two sexes, but gives us no hint that these were but two persons.” And said — By the mouth of Adam, who uttered these words, For this cause — On account of his engaging in the married state; shall a man leave father and mother — When those dear relations of parental and filial tenderness shall take place, and shall cleave to his wife — With an affection more strong and steady than he feels even for those from whom, under God, he has derived his being: and they twain shall be one flesh — That is, “shall constitute only one person, in respect of the unity of their inclinations and interests, and of the mutual power which they have over each other’s bodies, 1 Corinthians 6:16; 1 Corinthians 7:4; and as long as they continue faithful to this law, they must remain undivided till death separates them.” Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh —

“From the original institution of marriage, therefore, in paradise, and from the great law thereof, declared by God himself on that occasion, it evidently appears that it is the strongest and tenderest of all friendships, a friendship supported by the divine sanction and approbation, a friendship therefore which ought to be indissoluble till death.” What therefore God hath joined together, let no man put asunder — By unreasonable divorces. Husbands and wives, being joined together by the ordinance of God, must not be put asunder by any ordinance of man: but the bond of marriage must be esteemed sacred, and incapable of being dissolved by any thing which does not make them cease to be one flesh, by making that of the one common to some third person, that is, by one of the parties committing adultery: for as, by forming at first only one man and one woman, God condemned polygamy, so, by making them one flesh, he condemned divorce.

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.And he answered and said ... - Instead of referring to the opinions of either party, Jesus called their attention to the original design of marriage, to the authority of Moses an authority acknowledged by them both.

Have ye not read? - Genesis 1:27; Genesis 2:21-22. "And said, For this cause," etc., Genesis 2:24. That is, God, at the beginning, made but one man and one woman: their posterity should learn that the original intention of marriage was that a man should have but one wife.

Shall leave his father and mother - This means, shall bind himself more strongly to his wife than he was to his father or mother. The marriage connection is the most tender and endearing of all human relations more tender than even that bond which unites us to a parent.

And shall cleave unto his wife - The word "cleave" denotes a union of the firmest kind. It is in the original taken from gluing, and means so firmly to adhere together that nothing can separate them.

They twain shall be one flesh - That is, they two, or they that were two, shall be united as one - one in law, in feeling, in interest, in affection. They shall no longer have separate interests, but shall act in all things as if they were one - animated by one soul and one wish. The argument of Jesus here is, that since they are so intimately united as to be one, and since in the beginning God made but one woman for one man, it follows that they cannot be separated but by the authority of God. Man may not put away his wife for every cause. What God has joined together man may not put asunder. In this decision he really decided in favor of one of the parties; and it shows that when it was proper, Jesus answered questions without regard to consequences, from whatever cause they might have been proposed, and however much difficulty it might involve him in. Our Lord, in this, also showed consummate wisdom. He answered the question, not from Hillel or Shammai, their teachers, but from Moses, and thus defeated their malice.

4. And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female—or better, perhaps, "He that made them made them from the beginning a male and a female." See Poole on "Matthew 19:6".

And he answered and said unto them,.... Not by replying directly to the question, but by referring them to the original creation of man, and to the first institution of marriage, previous to the law of Moses;

have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning, made them male and female? This may be read in Genesis 1:27 and from thence this sense of things collected; that God, who in the beginning of time, or of the creation, as Mark expresses it, made all things, the heavens, and the earth, and all that is therein, and particularly "man", as the Vulgate Latin, and Munster's Hebrew Gospel supply it here, made the first parents of mankind, male and female; not male and females, but one male, and one female; first, one male, and then, of him one female, who, upon her creation, was brought and married to him; so that in this original constitution, no provision was made for divorce, or polygamy. Adam could not marry more wives than one, nor could he put away Eve for every cause, and marry another: now either the Pharisees had read this account, or they had not; if they had not, they were guilty of great negligence and sloth; if they had, they either understood it or not; if they did not understand it, it was greatly to their reproach, who pretended to great knowledge of the Scriptures, and to be able to explain them to others; and if they did understand it, there was no need for this question, which therefore must be put with an evil design.

And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female,
Matthew 19:4. Αὐτούς] δηλαδὴ τοὺς ἀνθρώπους· τουτὶ μὲν οὖν τὸ ῥητὸν ἐν τῇ βίβλῳ τῆς γενέσεως (Matthew 1:27) γέγραπται, Euthymius Zigabenus. The following αὐτούς should be understood after ὁ ποιήσας, as the object of the succeeding verb has often to be supplied after the participle (Krüger’s note on Xen. Anab. i. 8. 11). For ποιεῖν, to create, comp. Plat. Tim. p. 76 C; Hesiod, Theog. 110, 127 (γένος ἀνθρώπων).

ἀπʼ ἀρχῆς] does not belong to ὁ ποιήσας (as usually explained), in which case it would be superfluous, but to what follows (Fritzsche, Bleek), where great stress is laid on the expression, “since the very beginning” (Matthew 19:8).

ἄρσεν κ. θῆλυ] as male and female, as a pair consisting of one of each sex.

ἐποίησεν] after ὁ ποίησας the same verb. See Kühner, ad Xen. Mem. iv. 2. 21, and Gramm. II. 2, p. 656.

Matthew 19:4. οὐκ ἀνέγνωτε: the words quoted are to be found in Genesis 1:27; Genesis 2:24.—ὁ κτίσας: the participle with article used substantively = the Creator.—ἀπʼ ἀρχῆς goes along with what follows, Christ’s purpose being to emphasise the primitive state of things. From the beginning God made man, male and female; suited to each other, needing each other.—ἄρσεν καὶ θῆλυ: “one male and one female, so that the one should have the one; for if He had wished that the male should dismiss one and marry another He would have made more females at the first,” Euthy.

4. at the beginning] An appeal from the law of Moses to a higher and absolute law, which has outlived the law of Moses.

Matthew 19:4. Ὁ ποιήσας, He who made) sc. them; with this construction, He who made them in the beginning, made them male and female. ὁ ποιήσας, ἐποίησεν (He who made, made), is a striking example of Ploce.[855]—ἀπʼ ἀρχῆς, at the beginning) In every discussion or interpretation recourse should be had to the origin of a Divine institution; see Matthew 19:8 and Acts 15:7.

[855] See Explanation of Technical Terms in Appendix.—(I. B.)

Verse 4. - He answered and said. Our Lord does not directly reply in the negative, but refers to the original institution of marriage. All his auditors agreed in holding the legality of divorce, though they differed in their estimation of the causes that warranted separation. It was quite a new idea to find the propriety of divorce questioned, and to have their captious question met by an appeal to Scripture which they could not gainsay, and an enunciation of a high ideal of matrimony which their glosses and laxity had miserably perverted or obscured. He which made them. Manuscripts vary between ὁ ποιήσας and ὁ κτίσας. The latter is approved by Westcott and Hort. It is best translated, the Creator. The Vulgate gives, qui fecit hominem. At the beginning (ἀπ ἀρχῆς). These words should be joined to the following verb made (ἐποίησεν), and not with the preceding participle, as it is intended to show the primordial design in the creation of man and woman. God made the first members of the human family a male and a female, not a male and females. The lower animals were created separately, male and female; "mankind was created in one person in Adam, and when there was found no help meet for Adam, no companion in body, soul, or spirit, fit for him, then God, instead of creating a wholly new thing, made Eve out of Adam" (Sadler). Two individuals of opposite sexes were thus formed for each other; one was the complement of the other, and the union was perfect and lasted, as long as life. There was in this original institution no room for polygamy, no room for divorce. It was a concrete example of the way in which God unites man and wife. Matthew 19:4
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