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Book of Matthew - Chapter 19 - Verse 3

The Pharisees also came unto him, tempting him, and saying unto him, Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife for every cause?


When the Pharisees questioned Jesus about the legality of divorce, they were trying to trap Him in a debate over religious law. In Jewish tradition, divorce was a controversial and sensitive topic, with differing opinions on when it was permissible. The Pharisees were well aware of the various interpretations and schools of thought on the matter, and they hoped to test Jesus' knowledge and provoke a response that would go against popular beliefs. By asking if a man could divorce his wife for any reason, they were trying to challenge Jesus' stance on marriage, commitment, and the sanctity of the marital bond. Jesus' response to their question not only addressed the specific issue of divorce but also highlighted the deeper principles of love, forgiveness, and fidelity in relationships. This interaction with the Pharisees serves as a reminder of the importance of sincerity, compassion, and moral integrity in addressing complex moral and ethical dilemmas.

Theological Overview

When examining the theological interpretation of the verse where the Pharisees questioned Jesus about divorce, it is crucial to understand the context and cultural background of the situation. The Pharisees were not genuinely seeking knowledge but attempting to trap Jesus in his words. The question they posed was a controversial one at the time, as the Jewish law permitted divorce under specific circumstances. However, the Pharisees were trying to test Jesus by asking if a man could divorce his wife for any reason at all, which was a topic of debate among scholars. Jesus' response, where he refers back to the creation story and emphasizes the importance of marital commitment, sheds light on the sanctity of marriage and the values that believers should uphold. Word studies on terms like "put away" and "every cause" can also provide deeper insights into the original meaning of the passage, highlighting the nuances of the language used in the biblical text.

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