Re: Matthew 19:9, mng of PORNEIA

Date: Fri Oct 15 1999 - 13:43:40 EDT

On Fri, 15 Oct 1999 11:47:03 EDT writes:

> You have missed the Jerusalem Bible which someone cited earlier,
> which seems to say that not only is porneia adultery, but also
remarriage after
> divorce.

How do we get that PORNEIA here is adultery? A case can be made for
its meaning being other than that. Lawfully, and that is the question
(EI EXESTIN), adultery was punishable by death by stoning. Therefore,
it would not have been lawful to divorce a wife for adultery.

The backdrop appears to be Deut 24:1ff where Moses suffered
(not commanded, as pointed out by Christ) a man to put away his
wife for some uncleanness, indecency (literally, nakedness of a
thing). Surely, the question of the Pharisees pertained to the
interpretation of this uncleanness. If so, then PORNEIA in this
context (v. 9) refers to something less than adultery. Such case
is brought up by the Pharisees in verse 7 and answered by
Christ in verse 8.

The upshot is that PORNEIA in v. 9 here does not mean or include
adultery. Thus, what Christ is saying is that divorce and
remarriage, excluding the case of sexual indecency of the
wife as per Deut 24 and already discussed here, results in
adultery on the part of the husband. This apparently includes
the case where the wife had committed adultery.

Paul Dixon


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