Summary: Discussion of divorce from Jesus in Matthew 19 and then give some applications to various groups (Material adapted from Andreas J. Köstenberger's book, God, Marriage, and Family)
A young man was looking for a used car when he came upon an ad for a brand new Jaguar being sold for only $50. This must be a typo he thought, but when he called the phone number he was assured that $50 was correct. The next day he went by to see the car and to his amazement found the automobile to be in excellent condition. Asking the woman why she was selling a $150,000 car for only $50 the woman said, “A year ago my husband began to go through a mid life crisis. That’s when he bought this car. About a month ago he ran off with his 23 year old secretary. A week ago he called to say he was running short on cash and asked me to sell his Jag and send him the money. So that’s exactly what I’m doing.”
A. Matthew 19:3- 6 review. About a month ago we talked about these Scriptures and we began talking about covenant marriage. Marriage is a covenant between a man and a woman instituted by and publicly entered into before God. Marriage is permanent (as long as we both shall live), sacred (more than a contract), intimate (one flesh), mutual (free self giving of one human being to another), and exclusive (no other human relationship should interfere with marriage).
We find in these verses that the Pharisees want to talk about divorce while Jesus wants to talk about God’s original design of marriage.
Notice their question in vs. 3. Two schools of thought among the rabbis about divorce at that time. One school, Shammai, taught that the only reason for divorce is impurity and/or sexual immorality in the woman. The other school, Hillel, taught that the man could divorce a woman for any and every reason. These reasons could include if a woman is a bad cook or if the man found a prettier and/or younger woman to be his wife. In that culture a woman could never divorce a man. Only a man could divorce, never a woman. Women had few rights.
Vs. 7- Pharisees want Jesus to give his view on divorce. By the way, most of the Pharisees sided with the school of Hillel on divorce. The Scripture they are referring to is in Deuteronomy 24: If a man marries a woman who becomes displeasing to him because he finds something indecent about her, and he writes her a certificate of divorce, gives it to her and sends her from his house, and if after she leaves his house she becomes the wife of another man, and her second husband dislikes her and writes her a certificate of divorce, gives it to her and sends her from his house, or if he dies, then her first husband, who divorced her, is not allowed to marry her again after she has been defiled. That would be detestable in the eyes of the LORD. Do not bring sin upon the land the LORD your God is giving you as an inheritance.
Several reasons Moses through the HS gave this Scripture:
1) Wife swopping, divorced and married another man cannot go back to original husband
2) There needed to be a procedure for divorce
3) If no procedure for divorce then violence and/or murder usually on the woman. In a way God was protecting women in this sinful world.