Matthew 19:5
And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh?
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(5) And said, For this cause.—In Genesis 2:24 the words appear as spoken by Adam; but words so uttered, prompted by the Holy Spirit, and stamped with the divine sanction, might well be looked on as an oracle from God, the expression of a law of His appointment.

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.

5. And said, For this cause—to follow out this divine appointment.

shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh?—Jesus here sends them back to the original constitution of man as one pair, a male and a female; to their marriage, as such, by divine appointment; and to the purpose of God, expressed by the sacred historian, that in all time one man and one woman should by marriage become one flesh—so to continue as long as both are in the flesh. This being God's constitution, let not man break it up by causeless divorces.

See Poole on "Matthew 19:6".

And said,.... Genesis 2:24 where they seem to be the words of Adam, though here they are ascribed to God, who made Adam and Eve; and as if they were spoken by him, when he brought them together; and which is easily reconciled by observing, that these words were spoken by Adam, under the direction of a divine revelation; showing, that there would be fathers, and mothers, and children; and that the latter, when grown up, would enter into a marriage state, and leave their parents, and cleave to their proper yoke fellows, which relations then were not in being: this therefore being the effect of a pure revelation from God, may be truly affirmed to be said by him. Some think they are the words of Moses the historian; and if they were, as they were delivered by divine inspiration, they may be rightly called the word of God. A note by Jarchi on this text exactly agrees herewith, which is "the holy Spirit says thus: for this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife"; and not wives: and the phrase denotes that close union between a man and his wife, which is not to be dissolved for every cause, it being stricter than that which is between parents and children; for the wife must be cleaved unto, and father and mother forsaken: not that upon this new relation between man and wife, the former relation between parents and children ceases; nor does this phrase denote an entire separation from them, so as to have the affection alienated from them, or to be disengaged from all duty and obedience to them, and care and regard for them, for the future; but a relinquishing the "house of his father and the bed of his mother", as all the three Targums on the place explain it: that is, he shall quit the house of his father, and not bed and board there, and live with him as before; but having taken a wife to himself, shall live and cohabit with her:

and they twain shall be one flesh; the word "twain" is: not in the Hebrew text in Genesis, but in the Septuagint version compiled by Jews, in the Samaritan Pentateuch, and version, and in the Targum of Jonathan ben Uzziel, who renders, it as here, "and they two shall be one flesh". This is the true sense, for neither more nor less can possibly be meant; and denotes that near conjunction, and strict union, between a man and his wife, the wife being a part of himself, and both as one flesh, and one body, and therefore not to be parted on every slight occasion; and has a particular respect to the act of carnal copulation, which only ought to be between one man and one woman, lawfully married to each other; See Gill on 1 Corinthians 6:16.

And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall {c} cleave to his wife: and they {d} twain shall be one flesh?

(c) The Greek word conveys to be glued unto, by which it signifies the union by marriage, which is between man and wife, as though they were glued together.

(d) They who were two become one as it were: and this word flesh is figuratively taken for the whole man, or the body, after the manner of the Hebrews.

Matthew 19:5. Εἶπεν] God. Comp. note on 1 Corinthians 6:16. Although, no doubt, the words of Genesis 2:24 were uttered by Adam, yet, as a rule, utterances of the Old Testament, in which God’s will is declared, are looked upon as the words of God, and that altogether irrespective of the persons speaking. Comp. Euthymius Zigabenus and Fritzsche on the passage.

ἕνεκεν τούτου] refers, in Genesis 2:24, to the formation of the woman out of the rib of the man. But this detail, which belongs to an incident assumed by Jesus to be well known, is included in the general statement of Matthew 19:4, so that He does not hesitate to generalize, somewhat freely, the particular to which the ἕνεκεν τούτου refers. Observe, at the same time, that Matthew 19:4-5 together constitute the scriptural basis, the divine premisses of what is to appear in the shape of an inference in the verse immediately following.

καταλείψει “necessitudo arctissima conjugalis, cui uni paterna et materna cedit,” Bengel.

οἱ δύο] These words are not found in the Hebrew, though they occur in the Samaritan text, as they must also have done in that which was followed by the LXX. They are a subsequent addition by way of more distinctly emphasizing the claims of monogamy. See note on 1 Corinthians 6:16. The article indicates the two particular persons in question.

εἰς σάρκα μίαν] Ethical union may also be represented by other ties; but this cannot be said of bodily unity, which consists in such a union of the sexes, that in marriage they cease to be two, and are thenceforth constituted one person. Comp. Sir 25:25 and Grimm’s note. The construction is not Greek (in which εἷναι εἰς means to refer to anything, or to serve for anything, Plat. Phil. p. 39 E; Alc. I. p. 126 A), but a rendering of the Hebrew הָיָה לְ (Vorst, Hebr. p. 680 f.).

Matthew 19:5. καὶ εἶπεν: God said, though the words as they stand in Gen. may be a continuation of Adam’s reflections, or a remark of the writer.—ἕνεκεν τούτου: connected in Gen. with the story of the woman made from the rib of the man, here with the origin of sex. The sex principle imperiously demands that all other relations and ties, however intimate and strong, shall yield to it. The cohesion this force creates is the greatest possible.—οἱ δύο: these words in the Sept[109] have nothing answering to them in the Hebrew, but they are true to the spirit of the original.—εἰς σάρκα μίαν: the reference is primarily to the physical fleshly unity. But flesh in Hebrew thought represents the entire man, and the ideal unity of marriage covers the whole nature. It is a unity of soul as well as of body: of sympathy, interest, purpose.

[109] Septuagint.

5. For this cause] The lesson of Nature is the lesson of God, “Nunquam aliud Natura aliud Sapientia dicit.” Juv. Sat. xiv. 321.

Matthew 19:5. Εἶπεν, said) sc. GOD, by Adam.—ἕνεκεν τούτου, for this cause. In wedlock, the bond is natural and moral.—καταλείψει, κ.τ.λ., shall leave, etc.) Therefore already at that time the same woman could not be both wife and mother of the same man. Such is the commencement of the prohibited degrees. The conjugal relation, to which alone the paternal and maternal yield, is the closest of all ties.—πατέρα, father) Although neither Adam had yet become a father, nor Eve a mother.—τῇ γυναικὶ αὐτοῦ, to his wife) and thus also the wife to her husband. The husband is the head of the family.—ἔσονται, shall be) one flesh while they are in the flesh.—οἱ δύο, the two[856]) Thus also Mark 10:8; 1 Corinthians 6:16; Ephesians 5:31; the Samaritan[857] Pentateuch, the Septuagint, and the Syriac[858] version of Genesis.

[856] E. V. “They twain.”—(I. B.)

[857] The Samaritans reject all the Sacred Books of the Jews, except the Pentateuch. Of this they preserve copies in the ancient Hebrew characters; which, as there has been no friendly intercourse between them and the Jews since the Babylonish captivity, must unquestionably be the same that were in use before that event, though subject to such variations as are always occasioned by frequent transcribing. Although the Samaritan Pentateuch was known to and cited by Eusebius, Cyril of Alexandria, Procopius of Gaza, Diodorus of Tarsus, Jerome, Syncellus, and other ancient Fathers, it afterwards fell into oblivion for more than a thousand years, so that its very existence began to be questioned. Joseph Scaliger was the first who drew the attention of learned men to this valuable relic of antiquity; and M. Peiresc procured a copy from Egypt, which, together with the ship that brought it, was unfortunately captured by pirates. Archbishop Usher, however, procured six copies from the East; and Father Morinus printed the Samaritan Pentateuch, for the first time, in the Paris Polyglott (which was published in 1645, in ten volumes, large folio), from another copy, procured by the French Ambassador at Constantinople. For further particulars, see Hartwell Horne in voc.—(I. B.)

[858] Considerable doubt exists as to the origin and date of the PESCHITO SYRIAC (or literal Syrian) VERSION of the Old Testament. It was printed for the first time in the Paris Polyglott. For an account of the various opinions entertained regarding the date and authorship of this celebrated Version (ranging over a period of more than a thousand years), and of the arguments by which they are supported, see Hartwell Horne in voc.—(I. B.)

Verse 5. - And said. The words that follow are assigned to Adam in Genesis 2:23, 24, but he spake by inspiration of God, as he knew nothing of "father and mother" by personal experience, and therefore they can be rightly attributed to the Creator. It was, in fact, a prophetic utterance of which Adam was the mouthpiece; as St. Augustine says, "Deus utique per hominem dixit quod homo prophetando praedixit." For this cause. Because of this Divine appointment, and especially of the peculiar creation of Eve. She was not formed separately of the dust of the earth, but directly from the substance of Adam; so she was one with her husband, nearer than all other human relations, superior to the tenderest ties of nature and birth. Shall cleave (προσκολληθήσεται, or κολληθήσεται); literally, shall be glued to; adhaerebit. The word expresses the closest possible union, stronger and higher than that towards parents. They twain shall be one flesh; the two shall become one flesh (ἔσονται οἱ δίο εἰς σάρκα μίαν). The Septuagint and Samaritan Pentateuch insert "the two," which is not in the present Hebrew text. Our Lord adopts the addition as conveying the correct sense. In marriage there is a moral and physical union, so that two persons become virtually one being. Originally, man contained woman in himself before she was separated from him; she was a corporeal unity with man; or, as others put it, man, as a race, was created male and female, the latter being implicitly contained in the former; the previous unity is thus asserted. In marriage this unity is acknowledged and continued. St. Paul quotes this text in Ephesians 5:31; and in 1 Corinthians 6:16 uses it as an argument against fornication, Matthew 19:5Shall cleave (κολληθήσεται)

Lit., shall be glued.

Shall be one flesh (ἔσονται εἰς σάρκα μίαν)

Lit., "into one flesh;" Wyc., two in one flesh.

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