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Matthew 19:3-9
Marriage is a one-flesh union; breaking this union causes adultery.
Published December 26th, 2020
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Main point summary
Main point summary
The Pharisees try to trick Jesus by asking him where he stands on the divorce debate. Jesus answers by saying that scripture says that marriage is a one-flesh union and that therefore man shouldn’t separate what God joined together. The Pharisees object and point out how Moses allowed for divorce. Jesus says that this is only because of their sinful hearts; God’s complete intention is that the marriage bond should not be broken, and breaking this bond causes adultery.
Matthew 19:3-9
And Pharisees came up to him
And some Pharisees (teachers of the Mosaic law) approached Jesus
and r tested him
and sought to trip him up
by asking, s “Is it lawful to divorce one’s wife for any cause?”
by asking him, “is it against the law to divorce one’s wife for any reason (in other words, do you agree with Rabbi Hillel, who taught that divorce was permissible for any reason, or Shammai, who held a more restrictive view on divorce)?”
He answered,
Jesus answered,
t “Have you not read
Are you not familiar with the passage in scripture
that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female,
in which the creator God made Adam and Eve to be male and female,
and said,
and said that about the implications of the creation of a female to be a companion to Adam,
u ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother
‘Because God created woman to be a suitable helper for man, it is to be that a man and a man shall leave their households
and hold fast to his wife,
and join together,
and v the two shall become one flesh’?
and become one person’?
So they are no longer two
The implication of this verse is that they are no longer two people
but one flesh.
but they have been joined together as one person.
w What therefore God has joined together,
Thus, because God joins a husband and wife together,
let not man separate.”
man has no business separating them.”
They said to him,
In response they said to Jesus,
x “Why then did Moses command one to give a certificate of divorce
“If it is not lawful to divorce, why then does Moses (in Deuteronomy 24:1-4) command a husband who wishes to divorce his wife a certificate of divorce
and to send her away?”
and to send her out of his house?”
He said to them,
Jesus answered them,
“Because of your y hardness of heart
“It is because of your sinful and rebellious hearts
Moses allowed you to divorce your wives,
that Moses allowed men to get a divorce;
but from the beginning it was not so.
however, this was not God’s intention when he created woman as a helper for man and instituted marriage.
z And I say to you:
Also, to answer your original question:
whoever divorces his wife,
the man who divorces his wife,
except for sexual immorality,
except for the reason of sexual activity with others,
and marries another,
and gets married to another person,
commits adultery.” 1
commits adultery against his wife.”
See my project on Genesis 2:18-25 here:
The Pharisees tried to trick Jesus by asking him where he stood on the divorce debate.
Jesus answered them, “The answer to your question is in Genesis 1:27 and Genesis 2:24 which describes God creating man and woman and instituting marriage as a one-flesh union. The implication is that you should not separate this union that God created .”
The Pharisses: Why then did Moses give allow divorce?
Matthew 19:3-9
The Pharisees’ test Jesus about divorce
Question #1
And Pharisees came
up to him
and tested him
by asking,
“Is it lawful
to divorce one’s wife
for any cause?”
Jesus answers: marriage is permanent
The foundational teaching about marriage
He answered,
“Have you not read
who created them
from the beginning
that he ... made them male
Content #1
and female,
and said,
Content #2
‘Therefore a man shall leave his father
Content #2a
and his mother
and hold fast
Content #2b
to his wife,
and the two shall become one flesh’?
no longer two
So they are ... but one flesh.
What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.”
The Pharisees object
Question #2
They said to him,
“Why then did Moses command one
to give a certificate
Content #1
of divorce
and to send her away?”
Content #2
Jesus answers their objection
Moses’s allowance doesn’t change God’s intent
He said
to them,
“Because of your hardness
of heart
Moses allowed you
to divorce your wives,
but from the beginning it was not so.
Fuller teaching about divorce
And I say
to you:
except for sexual immorality,
whoever divorces his wife, ... and marries another, commits adultery.”
Disclaimer: The opinions and conclusions expressed on this page are those of the author and may or may not accord with the positions of Biblearc or Bethlehem College & Seminary.