THE SERMONS OF JESUS

The Sermon on the Mount: The Six Antitheses
Part One (Matt. 5:21-32)
Based on the Greek Text

. INTRODUCTION

  1. The six antitheses: contra the scribes (RWP and also TDNT on grammateuV; later Matt. 6:1-18 contra the Pharisees).

  2. ”Jesus thus assumes a tone of superiority over the Mosaic regulations and proves it in each of the six examples. He goes further than the Law into the very heart” (RWP 1:44).




THE FIRST ANTITHESIS (5:21-26)

Matthew 5:21

hkousate oti erreqh toiV arcaioiV ou foneuseiV. OV d an foneushi enocoV estai thi krisei

ekousate hkousate : 1 con aor. s. act decl indic 2 plur “you heard”

errethe erreqh: 1 con aor pass no agent decl indic 3 sg eipon: “it was said”

tois archaiois toiV arcaioiV

adj used substantivally dat indir obj masc plur arcaioV, aia, ion "to the ancients":

  1. ”probably meant to refer to the original recipients of the Mosaic law” (WBC:115).

  2. ”men of ancient times, of old” (A/G:111).


ou phoneuseis ou foneuseiV imperative future s. act cohortative indic 2 sg foneuw “you will [not] murder”



enochos enocoV “shall be liable” adj pred nom masc sg enocoV, on

  1. ”It is difficult to solve the exegetical puzzle regarding whether the four references are essentially synonymous or the last two are meant to involve higher penalties . . ., and whether we move through different courts, the local, the Sanhedrin, and the divine. Jeremias, however, is probably correct when he argues that the passage simply contains ‘three expressions for the death penalty in a kind of crescendo’ (TDNT 6:975). This, however, is a rhetorical device and the differences have no literal significance (just as the offense of anger is essentially the same in the three instances. Here in both occurrences thi krisei may mean initially the judgment of the religious authorities, as in this case of the local sanhedrins (composed of twenty-three members . . .) found in larger cities, which handled murder cases. The penalty for murder was death (cf. Lev. 24:17 . . .). The sunedrion, ‘sanhedrin’ . . ., was the highest court in Jerusalem (composed of seventy-one members). The eschatological reference to ‘the Gehenna of fire’ in the fourth sentence (v 22) is undoubtedly climactic. And since the judgment of the local and main sanhedrins would have been anticipations of the final judgment, we are probably justified in hearing an echo of this in the first two references to ‘judgment.’ . . . The point in all four cases is that anger, as the root of murder, deserves in principle the same penalty” (WBC:115-116).

  2. ”mostly as a legal term liable, answerable, guilty” (A/G:267).


tei krisei thi krisei 3 dat reference fem sg krisiV, ewV, h “with reference to judgment”:


Matthew 5:22

egw de legw umin oti paV o orgizomenoV twi adelfwi autou enocoV estai thi krisei, oV d an eiphi twi adelfwi autou raka enocoV estai twi sunedriwi, oV d an eiphi mwre enocoV estai eiV thn geenan tou puroV

ego de lego humin egw de legw umin:

    ”the ’but I say to you’ element, opposes not so much the law itself but a shallow and inadequate understanding of what the commandment entails. It should be self-evident that although Matthew stresses the supreme authority of Jesus, he does not regard the antitheses as contradicting the strong statement of 5:17-19 about Jesus’ faithfulness to the law. Thus although Jesus goes against a strict interpretation of the letter of the law in the third, fourth, and fifth antitheses—i.e., indisallowing divorce, oath-taking, and just retaliation, all of which find their place in the OT . . . –it is also the case that he at the same time penetrates to the deeper spirit of the law in a quite remarkable way. What tension may exist between Jesus’ teaching and the law here, as elsewhere in the Gospel, is to be understood not as the violation of the law but as the eschatological fulfillment of the law brought about by the authoritative teaching of the Messiah. . . . Despite his affirmation of the continuity between Jesus and the law, Matthew at the same time stresses the authority of Jesus as the eschatological Messiah who in bringing the law to a new, definitive interpretation can also transcend it. Messianic transcending of the law is not understood as involving a violation of it. All commentary on this material in Matthew that attempts to avoid this necessary dialectic is less than fair to the text and thus inadequate” (WBC:112).


o orgizomenoso orgizomenoV prog pres indirect middle articular ptc subj nom masc sg orgizw “everyone who is angry”

    Only passive in our literature (A/G:583).



toi adelphoi twi adelfwi “to [his] brother” 2 dat indir obj masc sg adelfoV, o:

    ”In a more general sense adelfoV in the NT denotes ‘fellow-Christians’ or ‘Christian brothers.’ . . . In Judaism, too, adelfoV means a co-religionist, who historically is identical with a compatriot. Yet the latter as such is also called . . . plhsion, and in Rabbinic writings this is sometimes explicitly distinguished from . . . = adelfoV. . . . adelfoV is one of the religious tiles of the people of Israel taken over by the Christian community. . . . Jn. 20:17 Jesus calls His hearers or disciples His brethren, and He also uses the same term to describe the relationships of the disciples to one another (Mt. 23:8; Lk. 22:32). . . . The specific relationship of brothers is that of love (1 Jn. 2 f.), agaphtoV or hgaphmenoV is thus the most common name for them, though occasionally we have pistoV (Col 4:9; 1 Tm. 6:2 . . .)” (TDNT 1:145 by von Soden).


enochos enocoV adj pred nom masc sg enocoV, on “liable, guilty”

    ”mostly as a legal term liable, answerable, guilty” (A/G:267).


tei krisei thi krisei 3 dative of reference fem sg krisiV, ewV, h "with reference to judgment"

    "board of judges, court, specif. a local court . . . he will have to answer to a (local) court" (A/G:454).


raka raka :

  1. ”an Aramaic word meaning, ‘Empty,’ a frequent word for contempt . . . ‘Raca expresses contempt for a man’s head = you stupid! . . .’ (Bruce).” (RWP 1:44).

  2. ”. . . is a transcription of the Aram. insult . . . so that enocoV estai thi krisei (Mt. 5:21b) does not mean, as commonly thought, that ‘(the murderer) is subject to local justice’ but that ‘(the murderer) comes under (capital) sentence’ . . . ‘he deserves the death sentence from the supreme court’ and enocoV estai eiV thn geennan tou puroV that ‘he deserves (to be cast) into hell.’ . . . do not refer to three different courts, the local, the supreme, and the divine (hell), but are simply three expressions for the death penalty in a kind of crescendo. . . . the first three parallel phrases in Mt. 5:22 all refer to the sin of the tongue against one’s brother, while the second three all refer to the death penalty. . . .
    Any man who is angry with his brother
    Deserves to be punished (with death).
    He who says to his brother ‘Thou blockhead!’
    Deserves to be condemned (to death) by the supreme court.
    He who says: ‘Thou idiot!’
    Deserves to suffer (death) in hell.’ . . .
    The term of the abuse which is regarded as harmless though spoken in ill-humour is an offence worthy of death. It is on the same level as murder and deserves the same and indeed a severer punishment, namely, the imposing of the death penalty by the supreme court (which obviously carries with it expulsion from the national fellowship) and even the penalty of eternal death. This paradox of unparalleled sharpness is designed to bring home to the hearers the terrible seriousness of sins of the tongue in God’s eyes and hence to saves them from having on their consciences the everyday ill feelings towards their brothers which might appear innocuous but in fact poison relationships. Membership of the coming kingdom of God and its order is demonstrated by taking sin seriously in this way” (TDNT 6:975-976 by Jeremias).

  3. ”an insult in the rabbinic literature . . . the retention of raka in a Greek document points to a Syrian provenance for the Gospel, since only there were Greeks found in an oriental milieu where the word would be understandable. The word means something like ‘blockhead’ or ‘idiot,’ but in that culture conveying a much more objectionable insult than in modern Western society. Name calling was a much more serious affair in biblical times, because of the importance attached to names” (WBC:116).


toi sunedeoi twi sunedrewi “to the Sanhedrin”:

    ”Mt. 5:21 f. . . . Since sunedrion is in the singular here, the reference is to the supreme court in the Holy City. . . . an angry word is just as bad as the deed of murder condemned by the Sanhedrin” (TDNT 7:867 by Lohse).



more mwre “fool”:

  1. ”Greek (dull, stupid) and is a fair equivalent of ‘raca’ . . . ‘More expresses contempt for his heart and character = you scoundrel’ (Bruce)” (RWP 1:44).

  2. "The mng. of mwre Mt. 5:22 is disputed. Most scholars take it, as the ancient Syrian versions did, to mean you fool . . . somet. also w. the connotation of an obstinate, godless person . . . . Fr. the time of HEGPaulus . . . . it has been held to be a transliteration of . . . rebel (Dt. 21:18, 20)" (A/G:533).

  3. ”thus mean simply ‘Fool.’ This too in that culture was much more insulting than it seems to our ears . . . . The words raka and mwre are thus roughly equivalent, with the latter involving no escalation of offense. . . . On the gravity of insulting another person, cf. 2 Enoch 44:23” (WBC:117) .

  4. 2 Enoch 4:2-3: “Whoever reviles the ruler’s face, and abhors the Lord’s face, has despised the Lord's face, and he who vents anger on any man without injury, the Lord’s great anger will cut him down, he who spits on the face of man reproachfully, will be cut down at the Lord’s great judgment. 3Blessed is the man who does not direct his heart with malice against any man, and helps the injured and condemned, and raises the broken down, and shall do charity to the needy, because on the day of the great judgment every weight, every measure and every makeweight will be as in the market, that is to say they are hung on scales and stand in the market, and every one shall learn his own measure, and according to his measure shall take his reward.”


eis ten geenana eiV thn geenan “into Gehenna”

  1. ”Gehenna is the Valley of Hinnom where the fire burned continually. Here idolatrous Jews once offered their children to Molech (I Kings 23:10). Jesus finds one cause of murder to be abusive language. Gehenna ‘should be carefully distinguished from Hades . . . which is never used for the place of punishment, but for the place of departed spirits, without reference to their moral condition’ (Vincent). The place of torment is in Hades (Luke 16:23), but so is heaven” (RWP 1:44).

  2. Gehenna, Grecized . . . Valley of teh Sons of Hinnom, a ravine south of Jerusalem. There, acc. to later Jewish popular belief, the Last Judgment was to take place. In the gospels it is the place of punishment in the next life, hell: krisiV thV g. condemnation to G" (A/G:152).

  3. Matthew refers to Gehenna seven times, more than twice as often as any other evangelist . . . The name Gehenna is from the Aramaic words . . ge hinnam, for the ‘valley of Hinnom’ (cf. Josh 15:8; 18:16), a despised place to the southwest of Jerusalem where at one time human sacrifices were offered to the god Molech (cf. 2 Kgs 23:10; Jer 7:31) and where in later times the city’s refuse was burned. The constant burning there made the valley a particularly suitable metaphor for eternal punishment (cf. 4 Ezra 7:36; Sib. Or. 1:103; 2:292; Str-B 4:2:1029-1118)” (WBC:117).


Matthew 5:23

ean oun prosferhis to dwron sou epi to qusiasthrion kakei mnhsqhis oti o adelfoV sou ecei ti kata sou



prosphereis prosferhis prog pres s. act potent subj 2 sg prosferw "if you are offering, bringing forward"

  1. "bring, offer, present of offerings, gifts, etc. . . . of sacrificial gifts" (A/G:727).

  2. "Since the NT community has no sacrificial cultus, the vocabulary of sacrifice is limited to the few passages which refer to the contemporary Jewish cultus . . . In Mt. 5:23 f. he demands that the offering be interrupted if the one who is making it comes to realise that his brother has something against him. Since in neither case is Jesus addressing a priest, the . . . ean prosferhiV (Mt. 5:23) can onlly refer to the handing of the offering to the priest, as the demand afeV to dwron sou emprosqen tou qusiasthriou also shows, 5:24" (TDNT 9:66 by K. Weiss).

  3. ”the second person singular. This may be accounted for by the illustrative nature of the material and its character as personal application [emphasis mine]” (WBC:117).


to doron to dwron 3 accus dir obj neut sg dwron, to “the gift”:

  1. ”esp. of sacrificial gifts and offerings” (A/G:210).

  2. ”a sacrifice at the altar” (WBC:117).


to thusiasterion to qusiasthrion 2 accus neut sg 1. limitation 2. to 3. "to the altar":

  1. "of the altar of burnt offering in the inner forecourt of the temple at Jerusalem" (A/G:367).

  2. "According to Mt. 5:23 f.; 23:18 ff. the altar and sacrifices are accepted factors in the traditional worship of God. . . . It is also true that in His sayings concerning the temple in Mt. 12:6; 26:61, cf. 27:40; Jn. 2:19; 4:21 ff. . . . Jesus makes it clear that sacrifices are of secondary value and are doomed to perish. Yet this is not because of their cultic or ritual character. It is because they belong to the old order which He has come to replace as God's plenipotentiary" (TDNT 3:184 by Behm).

  3. “So important is the issue of anger towards a member of the community and so urgent is the need for reconciliation before one’s offering to God can be acceptable that one is to interrupt the act, ‘leave the gift there before the altar,’ and immediately seek reconciliation” (WBC:117).


Matthew 5:24

afeV ekei to dwron sou emprosqen tou qusiasthriou kai upage prwton diallaghqi twi adelfwi sou kai tote elqwn prosfere to dwron sou

diallagethi diallaghqi 2 con aor s. act imper comm 2 sg diallaomai:

  1. become reconciled tini to someone” (A/G: 185).

  2. Ingressive aorist—“take the initiative . . . A prodigal son, Longinus, writes to his mother Nilus: ‘I beseech thee, mother, be reconciled (dialageti) with me.’ The boy is a poor speller, but with a broken heart he uses the identical firm that Jesus does. ‘The verb denotes mutual concession after mutual hostility . . .’ (Lightfoot)” (RWP 1:4).


Matthew 5:25

isqi eunown twi antidikwi sou tacu ewV otou ei met autou en thi odwi mhpote se paradwi o antidikoV twi krithi kai o krithV twi uphrethi kai eiV fulakhn blhqhshi

“The second illustration of the main statement in v22a is added here apparently because of the reconciliation theme . . ., although the utilitarian conclusion (v26) seems to complicate rather than clarify the main point of the pericope” (WBC:117).

isthi isqi prog pres . . . imper comm 2 sg eimi “be”:



eunoon eunown prog pres s act ptc nom masc sg eunoew present periphrastic (so RWP 1:45):

  1. “be well-disposed, make friends tini to or with someone . . . make friends quickly with your opponent (A/G:323).

  2. present periphrastic active imperative. “The verb is from eunoos (friendly, kindly disposed). . . . Compromise is better than prison where no principle is involved, but only personal interest. It is so easy to see principle where pride is involved” (RWP 1:45).



antidikos o antidikoV 2 subj nom masc sg antidikoV:

  1. opponent in a lawsuit” (A/G:73).

  2. ”The antidikoV, ‘adversary,’ is some kind of opponent (to whom money is owed; cf. v 26) who is apparently in a position to take legal action, but no further specific information is given” (WBC:117).



en tei hodon en thi odon:

    ”is also not specific but makes obvious the emphasis on the urgency of a reconciliation. Without the latter, the legal process is set in motion, wherein the judge passes sentence and hands the person over to the officer, who in turn casts the person into prison (the background here seems to be non-Jewish since the Jews did not imprison for debt)” (WBC:117).


toi kritei twi krithi 1 dat indir obj masc sg kriths, o

    one who reaches a decision, passes judgment . . . a judge . . . of men” (A/G:454).


toi huperetei twi uphrethi 1 dat indir obj masc sg uphreths, o:

  1. servant, helper, assistant, one who serves a master or a superior . . . of the Sanhedrin” (A/G:850).

  2. ”The word means ‘under rower’ on the ship with several ranks of rowers, the bottom rower (hupo under and eresso, to row), the galley-slave, then any servant, the attendant in the synagogue (Luke 4:20). Luke so describes John Mark in his relation to Barnabas and Saul (Acts 13:5). Then it is applied to the ‘ministers’ of the word’ (Luke 1:2)” (RWP 1:45).


eis phulaken eiV fulakhn 1 accus fem sg fulakh, h: prison (A/G:875).


Matthew 5:26

amhn lego soi ou mh exelqhiV ekeiqen ewV apodwiV ton escaton kodranthn

apodois apodwiV 2 con aor potent subj 2 sg apodidwmi (so A/G:89):

  1. Pay back a debt” (A/G:90).

  2. ”The point of v 20, emphasized with the amhn legw soi, ‘I say to you,’ formula, is that full punishment will be exacted once the sentence has been passed” (WBC:117-118).


kodranten kodranthn 1 accus dir obj fem sg kodranthV, o:

  1. ”(Lat. Loanw., ‘quadrans’; also in rabb.; actually one quarter of an ‘as’. . . .) quadrans, penny = two lepta Mk. 12:42. Its value was approximately one quarter of a cent in normal times. ewV an apodwiV ton eschaton k. until you have paid the last cent” (A/G:438).

  2. quadrans, ¼ of an as (assarion) or two mites (Mark 12:42), a vivid picture of inevitable punishment for debt. This is emphasized by the strong double negative ou me with the aorist subjunctive” (RWP 1:45).

  3. ”’quarter-penny,’ is from a Latin word . . ., found also in the rabbinic literature. From Mark 1:42 we know that one kodranthV equals two lepta (thus the Lukan parallel with its single lepton refers to an eighth of a penny . . .). Probably the illustration of these two verses provides some practical wisdom that the evangelist deems appropriate to his argument against anger. It is a mistake to allegorize the details and to identify the adversary or the judge with God. At the same time, however, since God’s judgment is in view in vv 21-22, it is impossible to avoid at least the suggestion of the same in the present passage . . . the need to overcome the effects of anger requires a certain urgency” (WBC:118).


THE SECOND ANTITHESIS (5:27-30)

Matthew 5:27

hkousate oti erreqh ou moiceuseiV.

moicheuseis moiceuseiV: imperative future s. act cohortative indic 2 sg moiceuw ”do [not] commit adultery":

  1. "from the Decalogue (Ex. 20 and Deut. 5) are from the Septuagint . . ." (RWP 1:45).

  2. "A mark of the ancient view of marriage [in Greco-Roman paganism] is that unconditoinal fidelity is demanded of the wife alone. The married man is not forbidden to have intercourse with an unmarried woman. In Gk. law moixeia is simply 'secet sexual intercourse with a free woman without the consent of her kurioV' [Late, 2446]. . . . A mark of the NT is the sharp intensifying of the concept of adultery. The right of a man to sexual freedom is denied. Like the wife, the husband is under an obligation of fidelity. The wife is exalted to the same dignity as the husband. Marriage (-> gamew, I, 648 ff.) is a life-long fellowship of the partners. Onlly thus does it actualises the ideal intended in creation (Mt. 5:32; 19:8). On this gruond Jesus rejects the provisions of the Law and the scribes concerning divorce of the wife under the legal form of a bill of divorcement (Dt. 24:1 . . .). . . . . For this reason the remarriage of a man after divorcing his wife, or the remarrying of the divorced woman, is tantamount to adultery (Mt. 5:32 19:9 . . .) . . . adultery does not consist merely in physical intercourse with a strange woman; it is present already in the desire which negates fidelity (Mt. 5:28). In distinction from the scribes, who as lawyers give definitions and relativise the divine commandment by assimilating it to the actualities of life, Jesus as a religious teacher tries to make men realise how absolute is the divine requirement. . . . He grants the guilty woman a pardon which does not sap the moral command because it presupposes repentance (cf. Mt. 21:31 f.). He preserves the unconditional validity of the sacred command of God by adding the warning to sin no more (Jn. 8:11).

    The apostolic preaching presupposes the holy seriousness of Jesus in the assessment of adultery. Christian determination was the more significant at this point in view of the degeneration of sexual morality in the Hellenistic world, which regarded offences in this sphere as quite natural (1 C. 5:2) and accepted quasimarital relations as no less ethically possible than marriage (->732). . . . According to the absolute judgment of Paul, adultery excludes from God's kingdom (1 C. 6:9). Marital fidelity is to be maintained intact (h koith amiantoV Hb. 13:4), even though there are no human witnesses. . . . The OT prohibition of adultery is not confined to the negative avoidance of the sinful act. It finds its true fulfilment only in the love of spouses who are joined together by God (R. 13:9)" [TDNT 4:732-734].



Matthew 5:28

egw de legw umin oti paV o blepwn qunaika proV to epithumhsai authn hdh emoiceusen authn en thi kardiai autou

  1. "The sin of adultery, like other sins, finds its root in a person's inner thoughts. Thus, to look deliberately at a woman lustfully, i.e., desiring or imagining a sexual relationship with her, is to commit adultery in one's heart and thus to voilate the deepest intention of the law as now revealed by Jesus. The idea of sinning in the heart through one's desires . . . is already contained in the ten commandments. where one is forbidden to covet, among other things, the wife of a neighbor . . . . in the present passage gunaika is probably to be understood more broadly to mean any 'woman' and not simply the wife of another" (WBC:120).


Matthew 5:29-30

ei de o ofqalmoV sou o dexioV skandalizei se exele auton kai bale apo sou. sumferei gar soi ina apolhtai en twn melwn sou kai mh olon to swma sou blhqhi eiV geenan. kai ei h dexia sou ceir skandalizei se ekkoyan authn kai bale apo sou sumferei gar soi ina apolhtai en twn melwn sou kai mh ohon to swma sou eiV geenan apelqhi.

o dexios o dexioV "the right":

  1. "The specification of the 'right . . . eye' and 'right hand' is probably meant to indicate that which is preferred or more skilled and, therefore, themost valuable (the left eye can lust as well as the right can). The right eye is to be plucked out . . ., the right hand to be cut off . . ., if they are the cause of stumbling. . . . Because of the importance of obeying God's standard of righteousness, radical action should be taken to avoid teh cause of the temptation. The discipleship of the kingdom sometimes requires drastic measure. The literal plucking out of an eye or cutting off of a hand, however, will not at all necessarily rid one of the problem. The culprit lies elsewhere, in the heart, the inner person. This is the language of hyperbole (contra Gundry) used to make a significant point" (WBC:120-121).

  2. The "right" being favored is seen in that Christ places the sheep on His right, and Christ sits at the right hand of the Father.


skandalizei skandalizei prog pres s. act potential indicative 3 sg :

  1. "setting a trap or snare for one. The substantive (skandalon . . . ) means the stick in the trap that springs and closes the trap when the animal touches it. Pluck out the eye when it is a snare, cuff off the hand, even the right hand. . . . powerfully plead for self-mastery. . . . It is not mutilating of the body that Christ enjoins, but control of the body against sin. The man who plays with fire will get burnt. Modern surgery finely illustrates the teaching of Jesus. The tonsils, the teeth, the appendix, to go no further, if left diseased, will destroy the whole body. Cut them out in time and the life will be saved" (RWP 1:46).

  2. "skandalon . . . still has quite clearly the sense of 'trap,' eps. when used with nets, gins, snares etc. as a metaphor for the devices of the wicked Y 139:6; 140:9. A trap for me, obviously a military strategem and perhaps a kind of wolf-pit, is a skandalon in Jdt. 5:1" (TDNT 7:341). . . .It is worth noting that he two terms are almost always used by NT authors whose roots are in Judaism. . . . A point particularly worth nothing is that Mt. alone has all the relevant sayings of Jesus [using skandalon kai skandalizw] and many of them alone . . . Luke even avoids sayings which focus on skandalizein and which were probably known to him (esp. Mt. 5:29 f. . . .) . . . The skandalon is an obstacle in coming to faith and a cause of going astray in it. As in the OT it is the cause of both transgression and destruction (-> 342, 28 ff.), for a fall in faith is a fall in the absolute sense. The force of the verb skandalizw is even stronger than that of the noun skandalon in the NT. Whereas skandalon is only an 'occasion of falling' which might lead to a fall or not, skandalizw is the causing of a fall and skandalizomai the actual taking place of the fall" (TDNT 7:344-345).


Matthew 5:31-32

erreqh de oV an apolushi thn gunaika autou dotw authi apostasion. egw de legw umin oti paV o apoluwn thn gunaika autou parektoV logou porneiaV poiei authn moiceuqhnai kai oV ean apolelumenhn gamhshi moicatai.

errethe erreqh 1 con aor pass no agent [God or Moses assumed} decl indic 3 sg eipon (so A/G:225).


apolusei apolushi 1 con aor s. act potent subj 3 sg apoluw:

    "he disallows divorce on the ground that it causes adultery, first on the part of the divorced woman and secondly on the part of any man who marries her. The latter idea, of a man committing adultery by marrying a divorced woman, seems to have been an innovation in that era. . . . The bald antithesis here . . . is that, whereas Moses allowed divorce, Jesus disallows it . . . . parektoV logou porneiaV . . ., the equivalent of which is found also in 19:9 . . . . These exception clauses are unique to Matthew" (WBC:123-124).

    Jesus introduces the new and shocking idea that even properly divorced people who marry a second time may be thought of as committing adultery. The OT, allowing divorce, does not regard those who remarry as committing adultery. . . . . the absolute prohibition of divorce by Jesus. Marraige was meant to establish a permanent relationship between a man and awoman, and divorce should therefore not be considered an option for the disciples of teh kingdom. As will appear in 19:3-12, the original ideal for man and woman was one of permanent marriage. . . . Divorce is therefore to be shunned. The ethics of the kingdom do not blak at the idealism of such a standard (cf. 5:48) (WBC:125)..

    The conclusion is drawn by some interpreters that while divorce may be allowable for the Christian, on the basis of this passage remarriage is prohibited because it involves adultery. A divorce without the possibility of remarriage is, however, in the context of this discussion really only a separation and not a divroce" (WBC: 125).



ten gunaika thn gunaika 3 accus dir obj fem sg gunh, aikoV, h:


apostasion apostasion 2 accus dir obj neut sg apostasion, to:

  1. "'a written notice of divorce' (Weymouth). . . . The papyri use suggraphe apostasiou in commercial transactions as 'a bond of release' . . . . The written notice (biblion) was a protection to the wife against an angry whim of the husband who might send her away with no paper to show for it" (RWP 1:46-47).
  2. "a legal t.t. found as early as Lysias, Hyperid. . . . and Demosth., , , , in the sense of relinquishment of property after sale, abandonment, etc. The consequence giving up of one's own claim explains the meaning which the word acquires in Jewish circles: dounai biblion apostasiou (Jer 3:8) give (one's wife) a certificate of divorce Mt 19:7. didonai apostasion, w. the same mng. 5:31" (A/G:97).


porneias porneiaV

    parektoV logou porneiaV in Mt. 5:32 and mh epi porneiai in 19:9 occur neither in Mk. nor in Lk. It is mostly assumed that the simple form represents the older tradition and that in both passages the clauses may be traced back to the author of Mt. . . . The later radicalising which may be observed in some verses of the special Lucan material (cf. Lk. 6:20 f.; 12:3; 14:33 etc.) and the stricter practice of the Church (cf. Herm. m., 4, 1, 4-8) at a later time, are also arguments aginst a late date for these clauses. . . . In so doing He expressly sets aside the Jewish practice (-> 589, 26 ff.) which ascribes to the husband the one-side and arbitrary right to divorce and which simply requires that he give his wife a bill of divorce which will enable her to marry again if she so chooses. (LXX aschmon pragma) as a ground of divorce. logoV porneiaV in Mt. 5:32 is perhaps modelled linguistically on the Heb. formula, -> IV, 105, 9 ff. Shammai and his school laid stress on . . . and saw therein a ref. to what is morally objectionable. Hillel laid the accent on . . . and took this to mean 'any cause' (of offence), e.g., letting food burn. [Str.-B., I, 313-315. Acc. to Blau, I, 17-20 . . . is a tt. for a man taking a sexual dislike to his wife and thus being unwilling to continue living with her, Dt. 2:13; 21:15; Gn. 29-31 . . . By means of the exception in 5:32 Mt. is telling his Jewish Christian readers that if a man puts away his wife except for her infidelity, in which case he is compelled to do so by existing statues, he is driving her into an adulterous relations should she remarry. In another version the point is the same in Mt. 19:9. In both verses pornei refers to extra-marital intercourse on the part of the wife, which in practice is adultery, cf. Sir. 23:23 . . . . The drift of the clauses, then, is not that the Christian husband, should his wife be unfaithful, is permitted to divorce her, but that if he is legally forced to do this he should not beopen to criticism if by her conduct his wife has made the continuation of the marriage quite impossible" (TDNT 6:591-592 by Hauck/Schulz).