a reply to: SevenThunders
You wrote QUOTE "Context is everything for this passage. At that time the teachers of the law and the scribes were using the Moses divorce clause to
toss away their old wives and marry trophy wives. Jesus called that practice adultery, calling them out on their hypocrisy...." UNQUOTE
Just to clarify things a little (and this is really addressed to everyone on this thread) since it seems some people involved in the discussion of
Jesus stance on Divorce seem to be confusing 'fornication' with 'adultery' etc. especially in the context of Matt 5:32/19:9:
Here is a quick rundown on the terms, with a focus on the difference between 'fornication' (pre-marital, illicit sex) and 'adultery' (post-marital sex
outside of the marriage).
We read in the first canonical Greek gospel of 'Matthew' a brief 'exception' to Jesus normal stance on Divorce (see Matt 5:32, Matt 19:9); this
exception is not found anywhere else in the canonical Greek Gospels, and may have been an insertion by later church theologians.
Matthew 5 :32
"But I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for [fornication], makes her the victim of adultery, and anyone who marries a divorced woman
λέγω δὲ ὑμῖν ὅτι ὃς ἂν ἀπολύσῃ τὴν γυναῖκα αὐτοῦ μὴ ἐπὶ πορνείᾳ καὶ
γαμήσῃ ἄλλην μοιχᾶται ‹καὶ ὁ ἀπολελυμένην γαμήσας μοιχᾶται› &tc.
cf: Matt 19:9
"Amen I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for [fornication] and marries another woman commits adultery.”
So...what is 'fornication' exactly?
Fornication (Gk πορνεία = porneia = 'harlotry' = Heb. זְנוּת Zanuth = 'whoredom')
Porneia πορνεία is used 32 times in the Greek New Testament and conveys many different shades of meaning - including incest.
The word appears quite commonly in writings attributed to Saul of Tarsus (Paul), who (for some reason) seemed to have fixated a great deal on sexual
The New King James Bible renders πορνεία “fornication” as “sexual immorality.” The NIV renders it as “marital infidelity.” Other
translations offer such attempts as 'sexual infidelity' or 'sexual uncleanliness', etc.
It is possible that the issue of Dam Bethulim (בְּתוּלִים דָם "virginal blood") is at the bottom of the exception in Matthew 5:32 =
Deuteronomy 22:13ff = The blood-stained sheet (bətûlîm) was the primary evidence brought in defense of virginity.
In Deut 22:13-21 relates how a a father is able to present evidence that his daughter was a virgin on her wedding night by showing the elders her
"tokens of virginity" which involved a cloth which must be stained with the blood of the hymen to prove viriginity on the wedding night. It refers to
the custom of retaining a blood-stained sheet or cloth from the bed where a marriage is consummated. The blood (dam betulim) is said to “prove”
the bride’s virginity as it evidences breaking of the hymen.
Here is the fuller English text of Deut 22:13ff:
"If any man takes a wife, and then has sexual intercourse with her then detests her, and charges her with shameful conduct...and says, 'I took this
woman, and when I came to her I found she was not a virgin,' then the father and mother of the young woman shall take and bring out the evidence of
the woman's virginity to the elders of the city at the gate. And the young woman's father shall say to the elders, 'I gave my daughter to this man as
wife, and he detests her. 'Now he has charged her with shameful conduct, saying, "I found your daughter was not a virgin," and yet these are the
evidences of my daughter's virginity.' And they shall spread the cloth before the elders of the city. .... And she shall be his wife; he cannot
divorce her all his days. But if the thing is true, and evidences of virginity are not found for the young woman, then they shall bring out the young
woman to the door of her father's house, and the men of her city shall stone her to death with stones..."
So it could be that if the 'tokens of virginity' could not be produced, R. Yehoshua might have stipulated (?) that a divorce was acceptable in that
case alone (the implied fornication arising from not being found by proof of being a virgin on the wedding night) , or at any rate what would
constitute a sort of post coital annulment.
The 'Book of Revelation' condemns two of the churches of Asia Minor for dabbling in 'the fornication of idolatry' = זרה הניאוף של
עבודה =see Rev 2:14, 2:20 and also makes a reference to the Great Harlot of the end times, “with whom the kings of the earth committed
fornication, and the inhabitants of the earth were made drunk with the wine of her fornication” = πορνεία see Rev 17:1-2
The Hebrew prophets (see below) often use the term 'taznuth' ('whoredom') meaning lusting after other gods, i.e. figuratively, for idolatry :
וַתַּרְבִּי אֶת-תַּזְנוּתֵךְ ' you have multiplied harlotry'
Adultery, on the other hand, is a little more straightforward in that it consistently refers to the sexual sin of married people with someone other
than their spouse, and the word is used in the Hebrew scriptures both literally and figuratively.
Adultery (Heb ניאוף = na'aph = 'breaking wedlock') is mentioned in the list of apodeictic restrictions ('thou shalt not') in the Decalogue (Ten
Commandments) placed into the mouth of YHWH as לא תנאף = Lo Tinef = 'you will not commit adultery' = and is generally translated as
μοιχεία (moixeia) in Greek = Δεν θελεις μοιχεύσεις = referring to illicit sex outside of an existing marriage -
The punishment for this was death for both married person and the one whom he or she was having sex see Deut 22:22.
The Yahwistic contempt of Israel's idolatry led some of the writers of the Hebrew scriptures to use the metaphor of a wanton woman who went “whoring
after” other gods which mix the idea of fornication and adultery
see Hezekiel 6:9 "I have been anguished with their straying heart [לב תעייה] which has departed from me, and with their eyes, which are gone
astray after their idols.."
Lev 20:5 "...and I will cut him off, and all that go a whoring after him = וְהִכְרַתִּי אֹתוֹ וְאֵת כָּל-הַזֹּנִים
אַחֲרָיו , to commit whoredom with Molech = לִזְנוֹת אַחֲרֵי הַמֹּלֶךְ
Numbers 25:1 And the people began to commit whoredom with the daughters of Moab. וַיָּחֶל = הָעָם, לִזְנוֹת אֶל-בְּנוֹת
Jer 3:9 For [Yisro'el] has committed adultery with stones and with sticks = וַתִּנְאַף אֶת-הָאֶבֶן, וְאֶת-הָעֵץ
Just a little background is all...
edit on 30-1-2016 by Sigismundus because: stutteringggg computtterrr keyyboarddddd