From: Paul S. Dixon (
Date: Wed Jan 28 1998 - 12:23:19 EST

On Wed, 28 Jan 1998 11:14:35 EST writes:
>Denny Diehl here,
>Thanks to all who participated in the discussion on the
>MOICHEUW - MOICHEUOMENH. Spiro Zodhiates comments
>on Mt 5:32 in his book What About Divorce:
>" 'MOICHATAI', therefore, must be translated "is made to
>suffer adultery". ...Elliott states: 'Turning now to verse 32,
>Jesus refers to the case of a man and his wife. He specifies
>that the woman has not been guilty of sexual sin, but her
>husband divorces her. Jesus says that when he divorces
>such a wife, a man ' POIEI AUTHN MOICEUQHNAI ', causes
>her to be adulterated,' a phrase which specifies sin on the
>husband's part but implies none at all for the wife. She has
>not committed adultery nor become an adulteress -- the
>Greek construction does not allow such meaning. The passive
>form of the infinitive indicates something done against her,
>not by her."
>Denny here again: I would like to know what you think of the
>above statement. I hope this is not beyond the bounds of b-
>greek, since I'm quoting an author who is not present to
>defend himself, etc., it so, please forgive me. I certainly
>appreciate all the contributions thus far.

Denny et al:

This is what I thought was the impetus behind the original question
regarding the significance of the passive voice, especially in Mt 5:32.
I already answered this, but will repeat it again below.

We certainly have examples in scripture where others are made or caused
to sin by the deeds of others (e.g., causing the brother to stumble, 1
Cor 8, or the severe warning of Christ against causing a little one to
sin, Mt 18:6 ff). In none of these cases, however, is the one made to
sin considered not guilty of that sin.

Rather, the point seems to be that the one who causes such things to
happen will be guilty and will receive the greater judgement. That seems
to be the case in Mt 5:32 where the passive is used to communicate that
the burden of causing the woman to commit adultery falls upon the man
who has divorced his wife PAREKTOS LOGOU PORNEIAS. It does not say, nor
imply, however, that the woman who so remarries is not guilty of

Furthermore, the final clause in Mt 5:32, KAI hOS EAN APOLELUMENHN
GAMHSHi MOICATAI, seems to argue against such an interpretation. If
personal guilt for adultery is removed from the woman here, because her
divorcing husband causes her to do it and so takes the full
responsibility upon himself, then what about the second man who marries
her? If she is not guilty of adultery upon remarriage, is he? I think
one would be forced into saying that he is not guilty of adultery, even
though the text says he commits adultery, or is he off the hook, as well,
because MOICATAI can be taken passively?

It seems the burden of proof is upon those posit the idea that the
passive voice implies non-culpability. Is there any scriptural, or
non-scriptural, support for this?

Paul Dixon

You don't need to buy Internet access to use free Internet e-mail.
Get completely free e-mail from Juno at
Or call Juno at (800) 654-JUNO [654-5866]

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.4 : Sat Apr 20 2002 - 15:39:00 EDT