Matthew 19:7
They say to him, Why did Moses then command to give a writing of divorce, and to put her away?
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(7) They say unto him.—The question comes apparently from the advocates of the laxer school. They fell back from what would seem to them a vague abstract principle upon the letter of the Law. Was Moses, the great lawgiver, sanctioning what God had forbidden? Would the Prophet of Nazareth commit Himself to anything so bold as that?

Matthew 19:7-9. They say, Why did Moses then command to give a writing of divorcement, &c. — “If divorce be contrary to the original institution of marriage, as you affirm, how came it that Moses has commanded us to give a bill of divorce? &c. The Pharisees, by calling the law concerning divorce a command, insinuated that Moses had been so tender of their happiness that he would not suffer them to live with bad wives, though they themselves had been willing; but peremptorily enjoined, that such should be put away.” He saith, Moses, because of the hardness of your hearts — Because neither your fathers nor you could bear the more excellent way; suffered, (or permitted,) not commanded, you to put away your wives: but from the beginning it was not so — And the account which Moses himself gives of the original constitution of things, which has now been referred to, proves it to be an irregularity which must have no place under the gospel dispensation. And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication — Which is a fundamental breach of the main article of the marriage covenant, by which they are one flesh; and shall marry another, committeth adultery — Against her that was his former wife, and who continues still to be so in the sight of God. As the law of Moses allowed divorce, for the hardness of men’s hearts, and the law of Christ forbids it, we learn from hence that Christians being under a dispensation of love and liberty, tenderness of heart may justly be expected among them, and that they should not be hard-hearted like the Jews. Indeed there will be no occasion for divorces if we bear with one another, and forgive one another in love, as those that are and hope to be forgiven of God, and have found him reluctant to put us away, Isaiah 50:1. Divorces are unnecessary if husbands love their wives, and wives be obedient to their husbands, and they dwell together as heirs of the grace of life. These are the laws of Christ, and such as we find not in all the law of Moses.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.Why did Moses ... - To this they objected that Moses had allowed such divorces Deuteronomy 24:1; and if he had allowed them, they inferred that they could not be unlawful. See the notes at Matthew 5:31. 7. They say unto him, Why did Moses then command to give a writing of divorcement, and to put her away? See Poole on "Matthew 19:8". They say unto him,.... That is the Pharisees, who object the law of Moses to him, hoping hereby to ensnare him, and expose him to the resentment of the people, should he reject that, as they supposed he would;

why did Moses then command to give a writing of divorcement, and put her away? referring to Deuteronomy 24:1 which they thought to be a contradiction, and what they knew not how to reconcile to the doctrine Christ had delivered, concerning the original institution of marriage, and the close union there is between a man and his wife, by virtue of it, and which is not to be dissolved by men. Concerning a writing of divorcement and the form, and manner of it; see Gill on Matthew 5:31

{2} They say unto him, Why did Moses then command to give a writing of divorcement, and to put her away?

(2) Because political laws are adjusted to allow some things, it does not follow that God therefore approves of them.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Matthew 19:7. Supposed counter-evidence.

ἐνετείλατο] Deuteronomy 24:1, in which, indeed, there is no express command, though it may be said to contain κατὰ διάνοιαν the prescription of the bill of divorce. Mark—and in this his account is certainly more original—represents the whole reply of Jesus as beginning with the question as to the law of Moses on the matter (Matthew 10:3). Moreover, the more appropriate expression ἐπέτρεψεν, which in Matthew 19:8 is ascribed to Jesus (not so in Mark), undoubtedly betrays the influence of riper reflection.

Comp. besides, note on Matthew 5:31.Matthew 19:7-9. τί οὖν, etc.: such doctrine could not be directly gainsaid, but a difficulty might be raised by an appeal to Moses and his enactment about a bill of divorce (Deuteronomy 24:1). The Pharisees seem to have regarded Moses as a patron of the practice of putting away, rather than as one bent on mitigating its evil results. Jesus corrects this false impression.7. a writing of divorcement] See ch. Matthew 5:31-32.Matthew 19:7. Δοῦναι, to give) St Mark (Mark 10:4) has γράψαι, to write. Moses employs both expressions.—βιβλίον ἀποστασίου, a writing of divorcement) the LXX. use the same phrase.—καὶ, and) sc. thus.Verse 7. - Why did Moses then command? If, as you assert, God ordained that marriage should be indissoluble, how comes it that Moses commanded (ἐνετείλατο) us to practise divorce, and prescribed rules as to its conduct? They are referring to Deuteronomy 24:1, 2. Jesus had escaped the trap which was laid for him, and foiled them by the very words of Scripture and the plain intention of the first institution. But they see their way to opposing the authority of the great lawgiver to the dictum and interpretation of this new Teacher. It cannot be supposed, they argue, that Moses would enjoin a practice condemned by the Word of God; therefore, if you abide by your exposition, you contradict Moses. A writing of divorcement. The man who desired to divorce his wife could not effect this separation by mere word of mouth or by violent ejectment; he must have a written document formally prepared and witnessed, necessitating certain delay and publicity. In regulating the method of divorce and giving rules which prevented it from being undertaken rashly and lightly, Moses could not justly be said to have commanded it. There were also two cases in which he absolutely forbade divorce (see Deuteronomy 22:13-19; Deuteronomy 22:28, 29). Writing (βιβλίον)

Rev., bill. The word is a diminutive of βίβλος, which originally means the inner bark of the papyrus, used for writing, then a book or roll of this bark; hence a paper, bill.

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