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A Command, NOT an Exhortation

03 Aug

Matthew 19:4-6
4  And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female,
5  And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh?
6  Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.

In the Greek, we have a verbal mood called a Subjunctive.  It’s the verb which carries the “may, might, or shoulds.”  An example of a Subjunctive is, “I might arrive on time,” or, “they should obey the laws.”  Dana and Mantey refer to it as the mood of mild contingency or the mood of probability. (Manual Grammar of the Greek New Testament, MacMillan Publishing, New York. paragraph #163.)

A Hortatory Subjunctive is a Subjunctive Verb, in the 1st Person Plural, used when one exhorts others to participate with him in any act or condition (ibid. #163(1)).  An example is, “let us hold fast our profession” (Hebrews 4:14).  In the English, this sense of mild contingency is brought out with the word, “let.”

In Matthew 19, The Pharisees came to Jesus and confronted Him on his views of divorce.  During this time, a man could divorce his wife for any reason.  If she did not please him, he could divorce her.  If she burnt the toast and boiled the coffee too long, the man could divorce her.  The Pharisees, wanting an edge on Jesus, confronted Him on what HIS views were.  After some bantering about on what Moses said, Jesus brings the whole matter to a head.

Matthew 19:4-6
4  And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female,
5  And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh?
6  Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.

In this Jesus points out several important factors: 1.) Marriage belongs to God (and not to man); and 2.)  when a man and woman (not a man to a man or a woman to a woman), they become one flesh.  But one other factor is brought in, where the English does not bring out.  It is found in verse 6:

Matthew 19:6
6  … What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.

In the English, we would read this as a Hortatory Subjunctive, where Jesus might be exhorting us or encouraging us to not divorce.  But the Greek has it completely different!  Let me show you.

ὥστε οὐκέτι εἰσὶ δύο, ἀλλὰ σὰρξ μία· ὃ οὖν ὁ θεὸς συνέζευξεν ἄνθρωπος μὴ χωριζέτω. (Mat 19:6 SCR)

Granted, some of you might not be fluent in Koine Greek.  I place this in here to be accountable to hose who do have such a working knowledge.  The whole point is that this Greek verb (χωριζέτω) is not a Hortatory Subjunctive, but an Imperative (or a command).

The correct English is, “do not allow man to put asunder.

This is not some exhortation or encouragement, but a command from the lips of our Lord and King Jesus Christ,

ANY Christian who allows, or justifies unScriptural divorce and remarriage* is in direct conflict with God’s Word and our Lord.

May God have mercy on them.

 

* God’s Word does allow for certain cases of divorce:  1.) reasons of fornication (Matt. 5:32; Matt. 19:9) and 2.) the departing of an unbeliever (1 Cor. 7:15).  But it is critical to note, that while He allows such, it does not mean that He commands it.

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Posted by on 3-August-2011 in Uncategorized

 

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