Why marry? (Mt 19:10-19:10)

“The disciples said to Jesus.

‘If such is the case

Of a man

With his wife,

It is better not to marry.’”

 

λέγουσιν αὐτῷ οἱ μαθηταί Εἰ οὕτως ἐστὶν ἡ αἰτία τοῦ ἀνθρώπου μετὰ τῆς γυναικός, οὐ συμφέρει γαμῆσαι.

 

This section about eunuchs, celibacy, and marriage is unique to Matthew.  The disciples raised the question (λέγουσιν αὐτῷ οἱ μαθηταί) about a man with his wife (Εἰ οὕτως ἐστὶν ἡ αἰτία τοῦ ἀνθρώπου μετὰ τῆς γυναικός), no divorce in marriage, would it not be better to not marry at all (οὐ συμφέρει γαμῆσαι).  They though that this restriction about marriage and divorce was too harsh or difficult.

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The importance of marriage (Mt 19:4-19:6)

“Jesus answered.

‘Have you not read

That the one who made them

At the beginning

Made them male

And female?

He said.

‘For this reason,

A man shall leave

His father

And mother.

He shall be joined

To his wife.

The two shall become

One flesh’

Thus,

They are no longer two

But one flesh.

Therefore,

What God has joined together,

Let no one separate.’”

 

ὁ δὲ ἀποκριθεὶς εἶπεν Οὐκ ἀνέγνωτε ὅτι ὁ κτίσας ἀπ’ ἀρχῆς ἄρσεν καὶ θῆλυ ἐποίησεν αὐτοὺς

καὶ εἶπεν Ἕνεκα τούτου καταλείψει ἄνθρωπος τὸν πατέρα καὶ τὴν μητέρα καὶ κολληθήσεται τῇ γυναικὶ αὐτοῦ, καὶ ἔσονται οἱ δύο εἰς σάρκα μίαν;

ὥστε οὐκέτι εἰσὶν δύο ἀλλὰ σὰρξ μία. ὃ οὖν ὁ Θεὸς συνέζευξεν, ἄνθρωπος μὴ χωριζέτω.

 

This saying of Jesus that points to the importance and indissolubility of marriage can also be found in Mark, chapter 10:6-9, almost word for word.  Jesus used the creation story of Genesis to emphasize his point.  Jesus answered them (ὁ δὲ ἀποκριθεὶς εἶπεν) by asking them if they not read or know Genesis, chapters 1:27 and 2:24 (Οὐκ ἀνέγνωτε).  Jesus noted that from the beginning God had made humans male and female (ὅτι ὁ κτίσας ἀπ’ ἀρχῆς ἄρσεν καὶ θῆλυ ἐποίησεν αὐτοὺς).  At the pinnacle of creation, God created humans in his image.  Both men and women were created equal in God’s image.  Jesus continued that a man leaves his father and mother (Ἕνεκα τούτου καταλείψει ἄνθρωπος τὸν πατέρα καὶ τὴν μητέρα), so that he could become joined to his wife (καὶ κολληθήσεται τῇ γυναικὶ αὐτοῦ).  The two of them will become one flesh (καὶ ἔσονται οἱ δύο εἰς σάρκα μίαν), so that they are no longer two but one flesh (ὥστε οὐκέτι εἰσὶν δύο ἀλλὰ σὰρξ).  The conclusion was that what God has joined together (ὃ οὖν ὁ Θεὸς συνέζευξεν), no one should separate (ἄνθρωπος μὴ χωριζέτω).

Pharisees question him about divorce (Mt 19:3-19:3)

“Some Pharisees

Came to Jesus.

They tested him.

They asked.

‘Is it lawful

For a man

To divorce

His wife

For any cause?’”

 

Καὶ προσῆλθον αὐτῷ Φαρισαῖοι πειράζοντες αὐτὸν καὶ λέγοντες Εἰ ἔξεστιν ἀπολῦσαι τὴν γυναῖκα αὐτοῦ κατὰ πᾶσαν αἰτίαν;

 

This questioning of the Pharisees about divorce can also be found in Mark, chapter 10:2, almost word for word, with some minor changes.  Once again, some Pharisees show up on the scene (Καὶ προσῆλθον αὐτῷ Φαρισαῖοι) testing or tempting Jesus (πειράζοντες αὐτὸν).  The Pharisees were a political party, a social movement, and a religious school of thought that followed the Law of Moses, but with a number of oral traditions.  They had they own expert explanations of Jewish law that sometimes appeared to be hypocritical or arrogant, with a form of Judaism that extended beyond the Temple.  They asked Jesus if it was lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any cause (καὶ λέγοντες Εἰ ἔξεστιν ἀπολῦσαι τὴν γυναῖκα αὐτοῦ κατὰ πᾶσαν αἰτίαν), since this was a disputed question among many Jewish rabbis.

The servant slave owed ten thousand talents (Mt 18:24-18:25)

“When he began

The reckoning,

The one who owed him

Ten thousand talents

Was brought to him.

He could not pay it.

His lord ordered him

To be sold,

With his wife

And children,

With all his possessions.

Thus,

Some payment

Would be made.”

 

ἀρξαμένου δὲ αὐτοῦ συναίρειν προσήχθη εἷς αὐτῷ ὀφειλέτης μυρίων ταλάντων.

μὴ ἔχοντος δὲ αὐτοῦ ἀποδοῦναι ἐκέλευσεν αὐτὸν ὁ κύριος πραθῆναι καὶ τὴν γυναῖκα καὶ τὰ τέκνα καὶ πάντα ὅσα ἔχει, καὶ ἀποδοθῆναι.

 

This parable about the unforgiving servant slave is unique to Matthew.  This king began to settle his accounts (ἀρξαμένου δὲ αὐτοῦ συναίρειν).  This first servant or slave owed the king 10,000 talents (προσήχθη εἷς αὐτῷ ὀφειλέτης μυρίων ταλάντων), an unbelievable sum.  A talent was about 60 mina, 10,000 denarii, or 3,000 shekels.  Thus, in current money that would be about $1,500 for a talent.  The amount owed would have been approximately $15,000,000.00, that’s right 15 million dollars.  There was no way that he could have acquired that much in debt, and certainly no way to repay it (μὴ ἔχοντος δὲ αὐτοῦ ἀποδοῦναι).  Thus, it is called a parable story.  This lordly king decided and commanded that the best way to get this debt off his books was sell him, his wife, his children, and all their possessions (ἐκέλευσεν αὐτὸν ὁ κύριος πραθῆναι καὶ τὴν γυναῖκα καὶ τὰ τέκνα καὶ πάντα ὅσα ἔχει,).  This would make a small payment (καὶ ἀποδοθῆναι) to this enormous debt, but not very much.  Things did not look good for this servant slave with the large debt.

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.

Another dream for Joseph (Mt 2:13-2:13)

“Now after the Magi

Had left,

An angel of the Lord

Appeared to Joseph

In a dream.

He said.

‘Get up!

Take the child

With his mother!

Flee to Egypt!

Remain there

Until I tell you!

Herod is about

To search for the child.

He wants to destroy him.’”

 

Ἀναχωρησάντων δὲ αὐτῶν, ἰδοὺ ἄγγελος κυρίου φαίνεται κατ’ ὄναρ τῷ Ἰωσὴφ λέγων Ἐγερθεὶς παράλαβε τὸ παιδίον καὶ τὴν μητέρα αὐτοῦ καὶ φεῦγε εἰς Αἴγυπτον, καὶ ἴσθι ἐκεῖ ἕως ἂν εἴπω σοι· μέλλει γὰρ Ἡρῴδης ζητεῖν τὸ παιδίον τοῦ ἀπολέσαι αὐτό.

 

After the magi had departed (Ἀναχωρησάντων δὲ αὐτῶν), once again, the angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream (ἰδοὺ ἄγγελος κυρίου φαίνεται κατ’ ὄναρ τῷ Ἰωσὴφ), just like he had before when Joseph accepted Mary as his wife in chapter 1:20-24.  This time, the angel told Joseph to get up (λέγων Ἐγερθεὶς).  He was to take his child with the child’s mother (παράλαβε τὸ παιδίον καὶ τὴν μητέρα αὐτοῦ) in order to flee to Egypt (φεῦγε εἰς Αἴγυπτον), the typical place in the Old Testament, where people fled to avoid problems.  They were supposed to stay there in Egypt (ἐκεῖ ἕως ἂν εἴπω σοι), until this angel of the Lord told them it was okay to return.  The main reason for this trip to Egypt, without saying a specific place, was to avoid King Herod who was trying to find and destroy Joseph’s child (μέλλει γὰρ Ἡρῴδης ζητεῖν τὸ παιδίον τοῦ ἀπολέσαι αὐτό).  Just like the infant Moses, in Exodus, chapters 1:15-2-10, Jesus would be saved from death as an infant also.

Joseph wakes up from his dream (Mt 1:24-1:24)

“When Joseph awoke

From his sleep,

He did

As the angel of the Lord

Commanded him.

He accepted Mary

As his wife.”

 

ἐγερθεὶς δὲ ὁ Ἰωσὴφ ἀπὸ τοῦ ὕπνου ἐποίησεν ὡς προσέταξεν αὐτῷ ὁ ἄγγελος Κυρίου, καὶ παρέλαβεν τὴν γυναῖκα αὐτοῦ·

 

Joseph woke up from his sleep (ἐγερθεὶς δὲ ὁ Ἰωσὴφ ἀπὸ τοῦ ὕπνου), when he had this dream about the angel of the Lord. Then he did (ἐποίησεν) what the angel of the Lord (ὁ ἄγγελος Κυρίου) had told him or commanded him (ὡς προσέταξεν αὐτῷ) to do. Joseph took the word of the Lord’s messenger angel very seriously. He saw it as a command, something that he must do. Thus, he changed his mind about his future engaged wife. He was going to receive or accept Mary as his wife (παρέλαβεν τὴν γυναῖκα αὐτοῦ), despite his previous misgivings. Clearly, Joseph was a man of faith who trusted in the words of the unnamed angel of the Lord that he had heard in his dream.