Re: Matthew 5:31-32 (Divorce)

From: dixonps@juno.com
Date: Wed Feb 23 2000 - 18:41:35 EST


On Wed, 23 Feb 2000 15:50:20 "Jason Hare" <parousia_occ@yahoo.com>
writes:
> {31} ERREQH DE: hOS AN APOLUSHi THN GUNAIKA AUTOU, DOTW AUTHi
> APOSTASION.
> {32} EGW DE LEGW hUMIN hOTI PAS hO APOLUWN THN GUNAIKA AUTOU
> PAREKTOS LOGOU
> PORNEIAS POIEI AUTHN MOICEUQHNAI, KAI hOS EAN APOLELUMENHN GAMHSHi,
> MOICATAI.
>
> Can someone give help on the meaning of PAREKTOS LOGOU PORNEIAS?

The safest way to take this is simply to view it as saying,
excepting the cause of fornication for which nothing is being said.
It parallels the idea in Mt 19:9 where MH EPI is often erroneously
taken to mean or to imply more than it says, to wit, that the
negation of the conditional idea is being implied: if she commits
fornication, and her husband puts her away and he remarries,
then he does not commit adultery.

The only place in the NT where interpreters translate MH
as "except" is in Mt 19:9. Furthermore, if such a translation
suggests the negation, then it should be avoided. Perhaps
it could better be paraphrased as "not for (excluding the
case of) immorality (for which nothing is here said)."
>
> PAREKTOS = except, besides (from what I can tell)
>
> Does this mean that the divorcee has been noted as commiting
> adultery or the one divorcing her/him?

It would make no sense to refer the clause to the
man doing the divorcing. It has to refer to the woman
being divorced.

>Does it mean that if a man commits
> adultery, he
> has the right to divorce his wife (for her sake) or that if she
> commits
> adultery, he is free to divorce her.

It means only that the man who divorces his wife for any
reason, other than her immorality (for which nothing is said,
or implied), then he causes her to commit adultery and
whoever subsequently marries her commits adultery.
In other words, if your wife does not commit adultery but
you divorce her, then you cause her to commit adultery,
and the guy who later marries her commits adultery.

>
> It seems that if someone divorces their spouse, it indicates that
> they
> cause him/her to commit adultery, but if that divorcee has already
> commited
> adultery by their own choice it is no longer the cause of the one
> putting
> an end to the marriage.

It is possible, perhaps even likely (but not proveable here), that
the man who divorces his wife because of her immorality,
does not subsequently cause her to commit adultery, nor
that the one who marries her commits adultery.

But, the text does not say, nor necessarily imply it. We have to
look elsewhere for that.

Paul Dixon

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