The commandments (Lk 18:20-18:20)

“You know the commandments.

‘Do not commit adultery!

Do not murder!

Do not steal!

Do not bear false witness!

Honor your father

And mother!’”

 

τὰς ἐντολὰς οἶδας Μὴ μοιχεύσῃς, Μὴ φονεύσῃς, Μὴ κλέψῃς, Μὴ ψευδομαρτυρήσῃς, Τίμα τὸν πατέρα σου καὶ τὴν μητέρα.

 

Luke indicated that Jesus said to this ruler that he knew the commandments (τὰς ἐντολὰς οἶδας).  Then he listed a few that were “Do not commit adultery (Μὴ μοιχεύσῃς,)!”  “Do not murder (Μὴ φονεύσῃς)!”  “Do not steal (Μὴ κλέψῃς)!”  “Do not bear false witness (Μὴ ψευδομαρτυρήσῃς)!”  “Honor your father and your mother (Τίμα τὸν πατέρα σου καὶ τὴν μητέρα)!”  Thus, Jesus emphasized which commandments he wanted this man to keep.  This can also be found in Mark, chapter 10:19, and Matthew, chapter 19:17-19, but slightly different, since Luke and Mark are closer to each other.  Mark said that Jesus gave the classic answer for those who wanted to enter eternal life.  They knew the commandments or laws (τὰς ἐντολὰς οἶδας).  Follow them!  Mark did not have any question about which commandments to follow.  Jesus just mentioned some of the commandments.  You shall not kill or murder (Μὴ φονεύσῃς)!  You shall not commit adultery (Μὴ μοιχεύσῃς)!  You shall not steal (Μὴ κλέψῃς)!  You shall not bear false witness (Μὴ ψευδομαρτυρήσῃς)!  You shall not defraud (Μὴ ἀποστερήσῃς)!  Honor your father (Τίμα τὸν πατέρα σου)!  Honor your mother (καὶ τὴν μητέρα)!  All of these are from the Ten Commandments in Exodus, chapter 20:12-16, and Deuteronomy, chapter 5:16-20.  Mark added the comment about not defrauding others that was not in Luke.  In Matthew, this person asked Jesus which commandments (λέγει αὐτῷ Ποίας) should he follow.  Thus, Jesus responded to him (ὁ δὲ Ἰησοῦς ἔφη) directly citing which commandments.  You shall not kill or murder (ὁ δὲ Ἰησοῦς ἔφη)!  You shall not commit adultery (Οὐ μοιχεύσεις)!  You shall not steal (Οὐ κλέψεις)!  You shall not bear false witness (Οὐ ψευδομαρτυρήσεις)!  Honor your father (Τίμα τὸν πατέρα)!  Honor your mother (καὶ τὴν μητέρα)!  All of these are the same as in Mark and Luke.  However, Matthew added something not in the other two gospel stories.  This man was to love or esteem his neighbor as himself (καὶ Ἀγαπήσεις τὸν πλησίον σου ὡς σεαυτόν), that was from Leviticus, chapter 19:18.  Do you think that the Ten Commandments are important?

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Adultery (Lk 16:18-16:18)

“Anyone who divorces

His wife,

And marries another,

Commits adultery.

Whoever marries

A woman,

Divorced

From her husband,

Commits adultery.”

 

Πᾶς ὁ ἀπολύων τὴν γυναῖκα αὐτοῦ καὶ γαμῶν ἑτέραν μοιχεύει, καὶ ὁ ἀπολελυμένην ἀπὸ ἀνδρὸς γαμῶν μοιχεύει.

 

Luke indicated that Jesus said that anyone who put away or divorced his wife (Πᾶς ὁ ἀπολύων τὴν γυναῖκα αὐτοῦ), and married another woman (καὶ γαμῶν ἑτέραν), committed adultery (μοιχεύει).  Whoever married (γαμῶν) a woman, divorced from her husband (καὶ ὁ ἀπολελυμένην ἀπὸ ἀνδρὸς), committed adultery (μοιχεύει).  This response of Jesus to his disciples can be found also in Matthew, chapter 19:9, where there was also an emphasis on divorce as adultery.  Mark, chapter 10:11-12 indicated that Jesus said to his disciples (καὶ λέγει αὐτοῖς) that whoever divorced his wife (Ὃς ἂν ἀπολύσῃ τὴν γυναῖκα αὐτοῦ) and married another woman (καὶ γαμήσῃ ἄλλην), committed adultery against her (μοιχᾶται ἐπ’ αὐτήν).  Jesus had taken the stronger stance of no divorce.  There was no exception about sexual misconduct as in Matthew.  In Jewish society, women could not divorce their husbands, but in Roman society or among the gentiles, women could divorce their husbands.  Mark indicated that Jesus gave the same rebuke to the women as he given to the men.  If a woman divorced her husband (καὶ ἐὰν αὐτὴ ἀπολύσασα τὸν ἄνδρα αὐτῆς), and married someone else (γαμήσῃ ἄλλον), she committed adultery (μοιχᾶται).  There were no exceptions, not even for spousal abuse.  The new marriage was adulterous.  In Matthew, Jesus responded to the Pharisees (λέγει αὐτοῖς).  He said that Moses allowed them to divorce their wives (Ὅτι Μωϋσῆς …ἐπέτρεψεν ὑμῖν ἀπολῦσαι τὰς γυναῖκας ὑμῶν) because they were so hard-hearted, perverse, and obstinate (πρὸς τὴν σκληροκαρδίαν ὑμῶν).  However, as he had noted earlier, this was not so from the beginning (ἀπ’ ἀρχῆς δὲ οὐ γέγονεν οὕτως).  Then in a solemn proclamation (λέγω δὲ ὑμῖν) he said that whoever divorced his wife and married another woman committed adultery (ὅτι ὃς ἂν ἀπολύσῃ τὴν γυναῖκα αὐτοῦ…καὶ γαμήσῃ ἄλλην, μοιχᾶται), except for the sexual immorality or fornication (μὴ ἐπὶ πορνείᾳ) of his wife.  Jesus had taken the stronger stance of no divorce, but gave one exception, the sexual misconduct of the wife, much like some of the stricter Jewish rabbis at that time.  This exception was not in Mark or here in Luke.  Do you think that there should be exceptions for divorce?

Evil comes from the human heart (Mk 7:21-7:23)

“It is from within,

From the human heart,

That evil intentions come.

Fornication,

Theft,

Murder,

Adultery,

Avarice,

Wickedness,

Deceit,

Licentiousness,

Envy,

Slander,

Pride,

And folly,

All these evil things

Come from within.

They defile a person.”

 

ἔσωθεν γὰρ ἐκ τῆς καρδίας τῶν ἀνθρώπων οἱ διαλογισμοὶ οἱ κακοὶ ἐκπορεύονται, πορνεῖαι, κλοπαί, φόνοι,

μοιχεῖαι, πλεονεξίαι, πονηρίαι, δόλος, ἀσέλγεια, ὀφθαλμὸς πονηρός, βλασφημία, ὑπερηφανία, ἀφροσύνη·

πάντα ταῦτα τὰ πονηρὰ ἔσωθεν ἐκπορεύεται καὶ κοινοῖ τὸν ἄνθρωπον.

 

There is something similar to this in Matthew, chapter 15:19-20.  Mark indicated that Jesus said that it is from within the heart of a person (ἔσωθεν γὰρ ἐκ τῆς καρδίας τῶν ἀνθρώπων) that evil or wicked thoughts come forth spreading out (οἱ διαλογισμοὶ οἱ κακοὶ ἐκπορεύονται).  This included such evil things as fornication or pornography (πορνεῖαι), theft (κλοπαί), murders or killings (φόνοι), adulteries (μοιχεῖαι), avarice (πλεονεξίαι), wickedness (πονηρίαι), deceit (δόλος), licentiousness or wanton sensuality (ἀσέλγεια,), envy or the evil eye (ὀφθαλμὸς πονηρός), slander, abusive language, or blasphemy (βλασφημία), pride (ὑπερηφανία), and folly or foolishness (ἀφροσύνη).  This list in Mark was longer and different than the list in Matthew.  All these evil things came from within (πάντα ταῦτα τὰ πονηρὰ ἔσωθεν).  They come forth from the person (ἐκπορεύεται).  They are the things that defile a person (καὶ κοινοῖ τὸν ἄνθρωπον).  You can clearly see what Jesus, his disciples, and the early Christian community considered as sins or defilements that made a person unclean or defiled.

The mouth speaks from the heart (Mt 15:18-15:20)

“But what comes out

Of the mouth

Proceeds from the heart.

This is what defiles a man.

Out of the heart

Come

Evil thoughts,

Murder,

Adultery,

Fornication,

Theft,

False witness,

And slander.

These are what

Defile a man.

But to eat

With unwashed hands

Does not defile a man.”

 

τὰ δὲ ἐκπορευόμενα ἐκ τοῦ στόματος ἐκ τῆς καρδίας ἐξέρχεται, κἀκεῖνα κοινοῖ τὸν ἄνθρωπον.

ἐκ γὰρ τῆς καρδίας ἐξέρχονται διαλογισμοὶ πονηροί, φόνοι, μοιχεῖαι, πορνεῖαι, κλοπαί, ψευδομαρτυρίαι, βλασφημίαι.

ταῦτά ἐστιν τὰ κοινοῦντα τὸν ἄνθρωπον· τὸ δὲ ἀνίπτοις χερσὶν φαγεῖν οὐ κοινοῖ τὸν ἄνθρωπον.

 

There is something similar to this in Mark, chapter 6:20-23.  Jesus indicated that the true defilement was what came out of a person’s mouth, not what went into it.  He clearly explained defilement.  What came out of the mouth (τὰ δὲ ἐκπορευόμενα ἐκ τοῦ στόματος) proceeded from the heart (ἐκ τῆς καρδίας ἐξέρχεται).  That is what defiled a man (κἀκεῖνα κοινοῖ τὸν ἄνθρωπον).  Out of the heart came (ἐκ γὰρ τῆς καρδίας ἐξέρχονται) such things as evil or wicked thoughts, plots or deliberations (διαλογισμοὶ πονηροί), murders or killings (φόνοι), adulteries (μοιχεῖαι), sexual immoralities, fornication or pornography (πορνεῖαι), theft (κλοπαί), false witness or false testimony (ψευδομαρτυρίαι), and slander, abusive language, or blasphemy (βλασφημίαι).  These were the things that defiled a man or person (ταῦτά ἐστιν τὰ κοινοῦντα τὸν ἄνθρωπον).  You can clearly see what Jesus, his disciples, and the early Christian community considered as sins or defilements that made a person unclean.  But to eat with unwashed hands did not defile a man (δὲ ἀνίπτοις χερσὶν φαγεῖν οὐ κοινοῖ τὸν ἄνθρωπον) or make him unclean.  Notice that there is no mention of any unclean foods as in Mark.  Perhaps the Jewish Christians around Matthew still held to Jewish dietary laws.

The Sermon on the Mount

Matthew had 3 chapters devoted to Jesus and his preaching on the mount or hill.  This Sermon on the Mount is a collection of sayings and teachings of Jesus that emphasize his moral teaching, the first of his 5 discourses. early in the ministry of Jesus.  Luke had something similar in his sermon on the plain.  This sermon is the longest continuous section of Jesus speaking in the New Testament, containing the central tenets of Christian discipleship.  Thus, it had become the most widely quoted and best known of the teachings of Jesus, with the Beatitudes and the Lord’s Prayer.  These Jesus sayings echo the highest ideals of Jesus’ teachings on spirituality and compassion with acts of mercy, providing both temporal and spiritual benefits.  Jesus also used many metaphors in his sermon.  He reinterpreted the Ten Commandments, particularly about lying, killing and adultery.  The teachings of this sermon have been a key element of Christian ethics with its demanding high moral standards.  Christians were to be perfect with a Christian righteousness.  There have been many different interpretations of this demanding ethical life.  Was this only for clergy and monks?  Is it only an impossible ideal?  Should we take this literally?  Is this only an interim ethic or a future ethic?  Is this the basis of the social gospel and Christian existentialism?  What value do these ideals have for our lives today?

The divorced woman (Mt 5:32-5:32)

“But I say to you!

‘That everyone

Who divorces his wife,

Except on the ground

Of sexual immorality,

Makes her an adulteress.

Whoever marries

A divorced woman

Commits adultery.’”

 

ἐγὼ δὲ λέγω ὑμῖν ὅτι πᾶς ὁ ἀπολύων τὴν γυναῖκα αὐτοῦ παρεκτὸς λόγου πορνείας ποιεῖ αὐτὴν μοιχευθῆναι, καὶ ὃς ἐὰν ἀπολελυμένην γαμήσῃ μοιχᾶται.

 

Jesus, via Matthew has a higher standard for his followers.  Matthew has this as a solemn statement of Jesus (ἐγὼ δὲ λέγω ὑμῖν).  Not only that, he repeated the same statement later in chapter 19:3-9, based on Mark, chapter 10:2-12.  Luke also had this same statement in chapter 16:18.  There was only one ground for divorce, the unchaste sexual immoral women (ὅτι πᾶς ὁ ἀπολύων τὴν γυναῖκα αὐτοῦ παρεκτὸς λόγου πορνείας).  This immorality, “πορνείας” included all kinds of sexual perversity, not just adultery.  Otherwise, that divorced women would become an adulteress, committing adultery (ποιεῖ αὐτὴν μοιχευθῆναι).  If anyone married a divorced woman, they were also committing adultery (καὶ ὃς ἐὰν ἀπολελυμένην γαμήσῃ μοιχᾶται.).  Thus, the reasons for divorce were explicitly limited to sexual perversity.  However, there was no indication that a woman could divorce her husband for any sexual cruelty or perversity.

Adultery (Mt 5:27-5:28)

“You have heard

That it was said.

‘You shall not

Commit adultery.’

But I say to you

That everyone

Who looks at a woman

With lust

Has already committed adultery

With her

In his heart.’”

 

Ἠκούσατε ὅτι ἐρρέθη Οὐ μοιχεύσεις.

γὼ δὲ λέγω ὑμῖν ὅτι πᾶς ὁ βλέπων γυναῖκα πρὸς τὸ ἐπιθυμῆσαι αὐτὴν ἤδη ἐμοίχευσεν αὐτὴν ἐν τῇ καρδίᾳ αὐτοῦ.

 

Once again, Matthew alone mentions one of the 10 Commandments from Exodus, chapter 20:14.  This was something all the Jewish people knew, since they had heard it said often (Ἠκούσατε ὅτι ἐρρέθη).  Everyone knew that they should not commit adultery (Οὐ μοιχεύσεις), having sex with a married woman who was not your wife.  However, Matthew has this solemn statement of Jesus (γὼ δὲ λέγω ὑμῖν) that he was demanding more.  Everyone who looked at a woman lustfully (ὅτι πᾶς ὁ βλέπων γυναῖκα πρὸς τὸ ἐπιθυμῆσαι αὐτὴν), has already committed adultery with her in his heart (ἤδη ἐμοίχευσεν αὐτὴν ἐν τῇ καρδίᾳ αὐτοῦ).  This was a much higher standard, not merely the act of adultery, but the planning to do so was wrong.  This was adultery of the heart.