Thoughts about the NT, PR, & PC: Let Not Man Put Asunder

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Thoughts about the New Testament, Personal Relationship, and Private Contract:
Matthew 19.6b – Let Not Man Put Asunder

 
For this section about Matthew 19.1-12, I want to identify several pieces of critical historic information.

Importantly, as difficult as it might be for some to accept, Jesus was asked a question regarding the personal relationship and Private Contract as found within the Israelite system.

That means that Jesus was referring to information found within the Law of Moses, things found within Israelite customs (their ‘scecs’), and how the Israelites operated within that system.

Therefore, while Matthew 19.4-6 certainly contains Jesus’ famous reference to Genesis, the Christian needs to do more than simply refer to Genesis.

Why?

Because, the church prominently interprets Jesus’ reference to Genesis as the overriding principle for the personal relationship, which completely ignores the contextual Biblical narrative that unfolds after creation, completely ignores the permissions within the Law of Moses, completely ignores other Israelite customs (their ‘scecs’), and causes not only misunderstanding of Matthew 19.1-12 but misapplication as well.

Contextually, for the Israelite system, the Creation represents the beginning for understanding the personal relationship, not the totality for understanding the personal relationship.

Therefore, one needs to see more about what the Law of Moses says about the personal relationship, and one needs to see what ‘scecs’ developed within Israel, because all of that contextual information plays an important role in understanding Matthew 19.1-12.

For example, two passages from the Law of Moses Exodus 21.2-6, and Deuteronomy 21.10-14.

Both of those passages make it clear that every personal relationship and every Private Contract is not joined together by God.

That is an extremely important point that many (most?) Christians don’t even acknowledge when studying Matthew 19.1-12.

Why?

Because the church works from Jesus’ statement “What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder” (Matthew 19.6b KJV ), making the prominent assumption that God joins together each and every personal relationship.

However and importantly, Exodus 21.2-6 and Deuteronomy 21.10-14 reveal that prominent assumption to be inaccurate.

Therefore, that prominent assumption is a false presumption.

But that prominent assumption is used for declaring the permanency of each and every personal relationship.

Consider how important it is that:
Jesus said [emphasis mine], “What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.”

and how important it is that:
Exodus 21.4 KJV says “If his master have given him a wife…”
(recall that the Hebrew term ishshah is under the English term “wife”)

and how important it is that:
Deuteronomy 21.10-11 KJV says “When thou… seest among the captives a beautiful woman, and… desire… her to thy wife”
(recall that the Hebrew term ishshah is under the English term “wife”)

Therefore, each and every personal relationship is not and therefore cannot be joined together by God.

Why?

Because those two Law of Moses passages clearly reveal that some personal relationships are joined together by the flesh.

Exodus 21.2-6 reveals that a personal relationship could be arranged and joined together by human constructs.

Deuteronomy 21.10-14 reveals that a personal relationship could be sought because of personal desire.

Consequently, my research and studies reveal that God does not join together each and every relationship.

Irrespective of any potential rebuttal, that is true.

Unfortunately that reality is something that many (most?) Christians seem to bypass, and causes turmoil within some personal relationships.

In light of the reality that God does not join each and every personal relationship, Jesus’ teaching in Matthew 19.1-12 becomes somewhat easier to understand.

 
According to Matthew 19.6b, it seems clear that Jesus does not want separated the personal relationship that God has joined.

How does one know when a personal relationship is joined by God?

Consider, Adam and Eve.

They were joined together by God.

Why?

Because the Genesis narrative clearly reveals that God brought Eve to Adam, thus joining them together.

But as evidenced by Exodus 21.4 and Deuteronomy 21.14 there are times that a human joined relationship can be terminated.

Therefore, the man and woman have to truly determine for themselves if their personal relationship was joined together by God.

For example, Isaac and Rebecca.

They were joined by God.

Why?

Because of the manner in which Abraham trusted God to reveal who the bride would be (Genesis 24.1-67).

But in contrast, Jacob desired Rachel (Genesis 29.11).

But in contrast to that, in Exodus 21.5-6 ESV the servant can choose to have God bind together his personal relationship.

While those situational contexts might complicate the personal relationship to some degree, the reality is that only he and she can truly determine if their personal relationship was joined together by God.

That means no outsider really has any input into that determination.

Importantly, while Jesus does not want the personal relationship that God has joined put asunder, there is a relational reality that remains.

He and she could believe their personal relationship was joined together by God, and still choose to terminate their personal relationship, which is the basis for Matthew 19.11.

Tragic? Yes.

But permitted.

 
There is one additional thought I have about “putting asunder” and it revolves around the “bill/certificate of divorce” (Deuteronomy 24.1).

Deuteronomy 24.1 clearly states that when he no longer wants a woman to be in a personal relationship with him that he should issue to her a “bill/certificate of divorce” .

Issuing her a “bill/certificate of divorce” gives her the ethical, legal, and moral agency to enter into a personal relationship with another man.

However, if a man no longer wants her to be in a personal relationship with him, but he does not issue her a “bill/certificate of divorce” then, contractually, he has not terminated their personal relationship.

As such, he put her asunder, separating himself from her, but gave her no “bill/certificate of divorce”.

Therefore, he placed her in an ethical, legal, and moral bind.

That bind:
because he separated her from himself, he does not permit her to associate with him;

and
because he did not issue her a “bill/certificate of divorce” he did not grant her the ethical, legal, and moral status to enter into a personal contract with another man.

That historic possibility with regard to the Israelite legal code (Law of Moses) and Israelite customs (their ‘scecs’) helps explain an important application of Matthew 19.9 KJV that often goes unaddressed.

The reality of that failure to issue a “bill/certificate of divorce” so greatly affected not only their personal relationship but also her future personal relationship and makes Jesus’ teaching in Matthew 19.1-12 somewhat easier to understand.

Share