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?

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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.

Fear of the Lord and wisdom (Sir 15:1-15:8)

“Whoever fears the Lord

Will do this.

Whoever holds to the law

Will obtain wisdom.

Wisdom will come to meet him

Like a mother.

She will be

Like a young bride.

She will welcome him.

She will feed him

With the bread of learning.

She will give him

The water of wisdom to drink.

He will lean on her.

He will not fall.

He will rely on her.

He will not be put to shame.

She will exalt him

Above his neighbors.

She will open his mouth

In the midst of the assembly.

He will find gladness.

He will find a crown of rejoicing.

He will inherit an everlasting name.

The foolish will not obtain her.

Sinners will not see her.

She is far from arrogance.

Liars will never think of her.”

Anyone who fears the Lord will have a chance at wisdom. They must hold firmly and follow the law in order to get wisdom. Then wisdom will come to meet them like a mother or a young bride. Clearly wisdom is feminine as a mother or wife. The food and drink of the wise person will be the bread of learning and the water of wisdom. These people can lean on wisdom so that they will not fall or be put to shame. They will be exalted above their neighbors because they will open their mouths in the assembly of the elders. They will find gladness with a rejoicing crown and an everlasting name. The foolish and the sinners cannot obtain or see wisdom. Wisdom stays away from arrogance. Liars never think about wisdom, since she is reserved for those who fear the Lord.

Money and wives (Sir 7:18-7:19)

“Do not exchange a friend for money.

Do not exchange a real brother for the gold of Ophir.

Do not dismiss a wise wife.

Do not dismiss a good wife.

Her charm is worth more than gold.”

Continuing with these sayings of Sirach, you should not exchange a friend for money. Neither should you get rid of your brother for the special gold from Ophir, the great gold mining place. You should not dismiss a wise, good, or charming wife because she is worth more than gold. This seems to indicate it might be all right to get rid of an unwise or bad wife.

Lemuel (Prov 31:1-31:1)

“The words of King Lemuel,

An oracle

That his mother taught him.”

Who is Lemuel? This is the only mention of him here. He is a lot like Agur. He may be a real person or another name for Solomon since he talks about his mother’s teaching, which would have been David’s wife Bathsheba. This is either an oracle or a king of Massa, or just like Agur, another name for Solomon.