Divorce is adultery (Mk 10:11-10:11)

Jesus said to them.

‘Whoever divorces

His wife

And marries another,

Commits adultery

Against her.’”

 

καὶ λέγει αὐτοῖς Ὃς ἂν ἀπολύσῃ τὴν γυναῖκα αὐτοῦ καὶ γαμήσῃ ἄλλην, μοιχᾶται ἐπ’ αὐτήν·

 

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 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.  However, here there was no exception about sexual misconduct compared to Matthew.

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Male and female become one flesh (Mk 10:6-10:8)

“But from the beginning

Of creation,

‘God made them

Male

And female.

For this reason,

A man shall leave

His father

And his mother.

He shall be joined

To his wife.

The two shall become

One flesh.’

Thus,

They are no longer two,

But one flesh.”

 

ἀπὸ δὲ ἀρχῆς κτίσεως ἄρσεν καὶ θῆλυ ἐποίησεν αὐτούς·

ἕνεκεν τούτου καταλείψει ἄνθρωπος τὸν πατέρα αὐτοῦ καὶ τὴν μητέρα,

καὶ ἔσονται οἱ δύο εἰς σάρκα μίαν· ὥστε οὐκέτι εἰσὶν δύο ἀλλὰ μία σάρξ.

 

This saying of Jesus that points to the importance and indissolubility of marriage can also be found in Matthew, chapter 19:4-6.  Mark indicates that Jesus used the creation story of Genesis, chapters 1:27 and 2:24, to emphasize his point.  He noted that from the beginning of creation (ἀπὸ δὲ ἀρχῆς κτίσεως) God had made humans male and female (ἄρσεν καὶ θῆλυ ἐποίησεν αὐτοὺς).  At the pinnacle of creation, God created humans in his image, as both men and women were created equal in God’s image.  Jesus continued that a man leaves his father and mother (ἕνεκεν τούτου καταλείψει ἄνθρωπος τὸν πατέρα αὐτοῦ καὶ τὴν μητέρα).  Some Orthodox texts have the phrase about being joined to his wife (καὶ προσκολληθήσεται πρὸς τὴν γυναῖκα αὐτοῦ).  The two of them then 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 μία σὰρξ).  Obviously, this has become part of many marriage ceremonial rituals.

The test about divorce (Mk 10:2-10:2)

“Some Pharisees

Came to test him.

They asked.

‘Is it lawful

For a man

To divorce

His wife?’”

Καὶ προσελθόντες Φαρισαῖοι ἐπηρώτων αὐτὸν εἰ ἔξεστιν ἀνδρὶ γυναῖκα ἀπολῦσαι, πειράζοντες αὐτόν

 

This questioning of the Pharisees about divorce can also be found in Matthew, chapter 19:3, with some minor changes.  Once again, some Pharisees approached Jesus (Καὶ προσελθόντες Φαρισαῖοι).  They wanted to interrogate, test, or question him (ἐπηρώτων 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 were testing or tempting Jesus (πειράζοντες αὐτόν).  They wanted to know if it was lawful for a man to divorce his wife (εἰ ἔξεστιν ἀνδρὶ γυναῖκα ἀπολῦσαι), since this was a disputed question among many Jewish rabbis.

Who is the husband in the resurrection? (Mt 22:28-22:28)

“In the resurrection,

Then,

Whose wife

Of the seven brothers

Will she be?

All of them

Had married her.”

 

ἐν τῇ ἀναστάσει οὖν τίνος τῶν ἑπτὰ ἔσται γυνή; πάντες γὰρ ἔσχον αὐτήν.

 

This kicker question of the Sadducees can also be found in Mark, chapter 12:23, and in Luke, chapter 20:33, almost word for word.  This story with the 7 brothers married to one woman was the set up for this question about the afterlife.  Whose wife would she be among these 7 brothers?  They were testing Jesus and questioning the concept of the resurrection after death.  In the resurrection (ἐν τῇ ἀναστάσει οὖν), whose wife of the 7 brothers would she be (τίνος τῶν ἑπτὰ ἔσται γυνή).  All 7 of them had married her (πάντες γὰρ ἔσχον αὐτήν).  They assumed that the afterlife would be a continuation of this present earthly life.  How was Jesus going to answer their tricky question?

Traditional divorce (Mt 5:31-5:31)

“It was said also.

‘Whoever divorces

His wife,

Let him

Give her

A certificate

Of divorce.’”

 

Ἐρρέθη δέ Ὃς ἂν ἀπολύσῃ τὴν γυναῖκα αὐτοῦ, δότω αὐτῇ ἀποστάσιον.

 

Jesus, via Matthew, recognized that they had heard it was said (Ἐρρέθη δέ) that whoever divorced his wife (Ὃς ἂν ἀπολύσῃ τὴν γυναῖκα αὐτοῦ), had to give her a certificate or letter of divorce (δότω αὐτῇ ἀποστάσιον).  This was based on Deuteronomy, chapter 24:1-4, where divorce for the man was okay, as long as he gave her certificate of divorce, the Hebrew “get.”

Yahweh hates divorces (Mal 2:14-2:16)

“You ask.

‘Why does he not?’

Because Yahweh was

A witness

Between you

And the wife of your youth.

You have been faithless

To her.

She is your companion.

She is your wife by covenant.

Did not one God make her?

Both flesh and spirit are his.

What does the one God desire?

Godly offspring.

Thus,

Look to yourselves

Do not let anyone

Be faithless

To the wife of his youth!

I hate divorce.’

Says Yahweh,

The God of Israel.

‘Do not cover

One’s garment

With violence!’

Says Yahweh of hosts.

‘Thus,

Take heed to yourselves!

Do not be faithless!’”

Yahweh warned them that he was a witness to the marriage of an Israelite to the bride of his youth.  If he was not faithful to her, Yahweh would not accept his sacrifices.  The bride of his youth was his companion and wife, since God made her, both flesh and spirit.  God’s desire was offspring.  He reminded the Israelites to look at themselves.  They should be faithful to the bride of their youth.  Yahweh hated divorce.  They should not cover their garment or wife in violence.  They were to remain faithful to God and their wife.

Numerical saying (Sir 26:5-26:6)

“Of three things,

My heart is frightened.

I am in great fear of a fourth.

The three are

Slander in the city,

The gathering of a mob,

And false accusations.

All these are worse

Than death.

But it is heartache.

It is a sorrow

When a wife

Is jealous of a rival.

A tongue-lashing

Makes it known to all.”

Sirach once again imitates the numerical sayings of Proverbs. Sirach was frightened of three things, (1) slander in the city, (2) a gathering mob, and (3) false accusations. All of these 3 were worse than death itself. However, the greatest fear was the heartache and sorrow of a wife who was jealous of a rival. This may be a reference to polygamy where one wife was jealous of another wife. Apparently, this became known to everybody when the wife issued a tongue-lashing.