The Book of Matthew-Chapter 19

(1) And it came about that when Yeshua had finished these words, he departed from Galilee, and came into the region of Judea beyond the Jordan (2) and great multitudes followed him, and he healed them there. (3) And Pharisees (probably from the school of Shammai according to the question they ask here) came to him, testing him, and saying, “Is it lawful to divorce his wife for any cause at all (Pharisees from the school of Hillel, the school Paul came from, believed this, but Shammai did not)?” (4) And he answered and said, “Have you not read, that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, (5) and said, ‘For this cause a man shall leave his father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh (monogamy)’? (6) Consequently they are no more two, but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate (When God created, there was unity, and anything that goes against that is not in the plan of God. However, creation is not in unity right now because of sin. The commandments in the Torah were given to promote unity and divorce is allowed by the Lord at this time. When the marriage covenant is broken, that is sin and that is where unity breaks down).” (7) They said to him, “Why then did Moses (the Torah) command (he did not command it, but it was allowed) to give her a certificate and divorce her?” (8) He said to them, “Because of your hardness of heart, Moses permitted (not commanded) you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it has not been this way (or what God intended at the start). (9) And I say to you, whoever divorces his wife, except for immorality (uncleanness, that which makes the marriage impossible and could lead to abuses) and marries another commits adultery (Yeshua regarded divorce as necessary sometimes because of sin. God divorced Israel, for instance. Divorce is divinely instituted and a way of ending that which has been irretrievably lost. This verse is not about a divorced persons right to remarry, all agreed they could (Deut 24.1-4). The debate here is over the legal grounds for divorce. A Jewish divorce allowed remarriage, but divorce law restricted the grounds. Now, divorce, war, slavery and polygamy were allowed but there were rules to guide one along in the way and how it was done. This does not reflect on the perfect character of God. Now, the word for immorality in v 9 is “porneia” in Greek, and “ervah” in Hebrew which means indecency and improper behavior, which did not include any of the infractions in Lev 18, which were punishable by death. Also, adultery was not a cause for divorce because it demanded the death penalty. Ervah means something that makes their life together impossible. It leads to cruelty and abuse eventually. Yeshua is freeing these verses from all the false interpretations of the Pharisees). (10 The talmidim said to him, “If the relationship of the man with his wife is like this, it is better not to marry (and avoid all the trouble to begin with).” (11) But he said to them, “Not all men can accept this statement (of yours in v 10), but only those to whom it has been given (to have the ability not to marry). (12) For there are eunuchs who were born that way from their mothers womb; and there are eunuchs who were made eunuchs by men; and there are also eunuchs who made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. He who is able to accept this, let him accept it.” (13) Then some children were brought to him so that he might lay his hands on them and pray; and the talmidim were drawing them away (not the children, but those bringing them. Whatever was going on, it drew Yeshua’s attention). (14) But Yeshua said, “Let the children alone, and do not hinder them from coming to me; for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” (15) And after laying his hands on them, he departed from there. (16) And behold, one came to him and said, “Teacher (rabbi), what good thing shall I do that I may obtain eternal life?” (17) And he said to him, “Why are you asking me about what is good? There is only one who is good, but if you wish to enter into life, keep the commandments (notice he doesn’t say “Accept me into your heart. He made it clear the obedience to the Torah is essential, not earning salvation, but it is part of it).” (18) He said to him, “Which ones?” And Yeshua said, “You shall not commit murder; you shall not commit adultery; you shall not steal; you shall not bear false witness; and you shall love your neighbor as yourself.” (20) The young man said to him, “All these things I have kept, what am I still lacking?” (21) And Yeshua said, “If you wish to be complete (wholehearted), go and sell your possessions and give to the poor and you shall have treasure in heaven, and come, follow me (he basically gave this answer to others, not just this young man-Luke 14.33) (22) But when the young man heard this statement, he went away grieved; for he was one who owned much property (the truth was, he had no compassion for the poor which was the heart of the Torah-Deut 15.7). (23) And Yeshua said to his talmidim, “Truly I say to you, it is hard (riches are a distraction, it’s “hard” but not impossible) for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven (you need God’s help). (24) And again I say to you, it is easier for a camel (this word can mean “large rope” but his meaning here is the improbability of it) to go through the eye of a needle (this was a common Hebrew idiom for the impossible. For instance, two rabbis were arguing and one suggests that the other is speaking impossible things by saying he is trying to “make an elephant pass through the eye of a needle”-Babylonian Talmud, Bava Mezia 38b. In another case, to show impossibility or unlikelihood concerning what men dream, it is said “They do not show a man a palm tree of gold, nor an elephant going through the eye of a needle”-Babylonian Talmud, Berakot 55b) , than for a rich man to enter to enter the kingdom of God.” (25) And when the talmidim heard this, they were astonished and said, “Then who can be saved (they thought that prosperity was a sign of blessing from God. The talmidim left everything behind and had nothing, so they didn’t think God’s blessing was on them at all, and therefore, how could they be saved)?” (26) And looking upon them Yeshua said to them, “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” (27) Then Peter answered and said to him, “Behold, we have left everything and followed you; what then will there be for us?” (28) And Yeshua said to them, “Truly I say to you, that you who have followed me, in the regeneration (the Messianic Kingdom) when the Son of Man (a messianic title from Dan 7.13 meaning “bar Enosh” not “ben Adam’) will sit on his glorious throne, you also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel (alluding to Rev 21.14). (29) And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or farms for my name’s sake, shall receive many times as much and inherit eternal life. (30) But many who are first will be last; and the last first (this is an example of a simple chaistic structure in Hebrew poetry and an idiom for “reversing the order of things, to even things out when all is said and done. It is also an allusion to the Jews (who are first) and the Gentiles (who are last) having those positions reversed. The next parable in Chapter 20.1-16 illustrates this).

Posted in Articles, Idioms, Phrases and Concepts, Understanding the New Testament, Verse-by-Verse Bible Studies

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