Questions About Divorce
1 Now when#tn Grk “it happened when.” The introductory phrase ἐγένετο (egeneto, “it happened that”) is redundant in contemporary English and has not been translated. Jesus finished these sayings, he left Galilee and went to the region of Judea beyond the Jordan River.#tn “River” is not in the Greek text but is supplied for clarity. The region referred to here is sometimes known as Transjordan (i.e., “across the Jordan”). 2 Large crowds followed him, and he healed them there.
3 Then some Pharisees#tn Grk “And Pharisees.”sn See the note on Pharisees in 3:7. came to him in order to test him. They asked, “Is it lawful#tc ‡ Most mss have either ἀνθρώπῳ (anqrwpw, “for a man” [so א2 C D W Θ 087 Ë1,13 33 Ï latt]) or ἀνδρί (andri, “for a husband” [1424c pc]) before the infinitive ἀπολῦσαι (apolusai, “to divorce”). The latter reading is an assimilation to the parallel in Mark; the former reading may have been motivated by the clarification needed (especially to give the following αὐτοῦ [autou, “his”] an antecedent). But a few significant mss (א* B L Γ 579  1424* pc) have neither noun. As the harder reading, it seems to best explain the rise of the others. NA27, however, reads ἀνθρώπῳ here. to divorce a wife for any cause?”#sn The question of the Pharisees was anything but sincere; they were asking it to test him. Jesus was now in the jurisdiction of Herod Antipas (i.e., Judea and beyond the Jordan) and it is likely that the Pharisees were hoping he might answer the question of divorce in a way similar to John the Baptist and so suffer the same fate as John, i.e., death at the hands of Herod (cf. 14:1-12). Jesus answered the question not on the basis of rabbinic custom and the debate over Deut 24:1, but rather from the account of creation and God’s original design. 4 He answered, “Have you not read that from the beginning the Creator made them male and female,#sn A quotation from Gen 1:27; 5:2. 5 and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and will be united with his wife, and the two will become one flesh’?#sn A quotation from Gen 2:24. 6 So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.” 7 They said to him, “Why then did Moses command us to give a certificate of dismissal and to divorce her?”#tc ‡ Although the majority of witnesses (B C W 078 087 Ë13 33 Ï syp,h) have αὐτήν (authn, “her”) after the infinitive ἀπολῦσαι (apolusai, “to divorce”), a variant lacks the αὐτήν. This shorter reading may be due to assimilation to the Markan parallel, but since it is attested in early and diverse witnesses (א D L Z Θ Ë1 579 700 pc lat) and since the parallel verse (Mark 10:4) already departs at many points, the shorter reading seems more likely to be original. The pronoun has been included in the translation, however, for clarity. NA27 includes the word in brackets, indicating reservations regarding its authenticity.sn A quotation from Deut 24:1. The Pharisees were all in agreement that the OT permitted a man to write a certificate of dismissal and to divorce his wife (not vice-versa) and that remarriage was therefore sanctioned. But the two rabbinic schools of Shammai and Hillel differed on the grounds for divorce. Shammai was much stricter than Hillel and permitted divorce only in the case of sexual immorality. Hillel permitted divorce for almost any reason (cf. the Mishnah, m. Gittin 9.10). 8 Jesus#tc A few important mss (א Φ pc) have the name “Jesus” here, but it is probably not original. Nevertheless, this translation routinely specifies the referents of pronouns to improve clarity, so that has been done here.tn Grk “He”; the referent (Jesus) has been specified in the translation for clarity. said to them, “Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because of your hard hearts,#tn Grk “heart” (a collective singular). but from the beginning it was not this way. 9 Now I say to you that whoever divorces his wife, except for immorality, and marries another commits adultery.” 10 The#tc ‡ Some significant witnesses, along with the majority of later mss (Ì25 C D L W Z 078 Ë1,13 33 Ï lat sy samss bo), read αὐτοῦ (autou, “his”) after μαθηταί (maqhtai, “disciples”), but this looks to be a clarifying reading. Other early and important witnesses lack the pronoun (Ì71vid א B Θ e ff1 g1 sams mae), the reading adopted here. NA27 includes the pronoun in brackets, indicating doubts as to its authenticity. disciples said to him, “If this is the case of a husband with a wife, it is better not to marry!” 11 He#tn Here δέ (de) has not been translated. said to them, “Not everyone can accept this statement, except those to whom it has been given. 12 For there are some eunuchs who were that way from birth,#tn Grk “from the womb of the mother” (an idiom). and some who were made eunuchs#tn The verb εὐνουχίζω occurs twice in this verse, translated the first time as “made eunuchs” and the second time as “became eunuchs.” The term literally refers to castration. The second occurrence of the word in this verse is most likely figurative, though, referring to those who willingly maintain a life of celibacy for the furtherance of the kingdom (see W. D. Davies and D. C. Allison, Matthew [ICC], 3:23). by others,#tn Grk “people.” and some who became eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. The one who is able to accept this should accept it.”
Jesus and Little Children
13 Then little children were brought to him for him to lay his hands on them and pray.#tn Grk “so that he would lay his hands on them and pray.” But the disciples scolded those who brought them.#tn Grk “the disciples scolded them.” In the translation the referent has been specified as “those who brought them,” since otherwise the statement could be understood to mean that the disciples scolded the children rather than their parents who brought them. 14 But Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me and do not try to stop them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”#sn The kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these. Children are a picture of those whose simple trust illustrates what faith is all about. The remark illustrates how everyone is important to God, even those whom others regard as insignificant. 15 And he placed his hands on them and went on his way.#tn Grk “went from there.”
The Rich Young Man
16 Now#tn Grk “And behold one came.” The Greek word ἰδού (idou) has not been translated because it has no exact English equivalent here, but adds interest and emphasis (BDAG 468 s.v. 1). Here καί (kai) has been translated as “now” to indicate the transition to a new topic. someone came up to him and said, “Teacher, what good thing must I do to gain eternal life?” 17 He said to him, “Why do you ask me about what is good? There is only one who is good. But if you want to enter into life, keep the commandments.” 18 “Which ones?” he asked. Jesus replied, “Do not murder, do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not give false testimony, 19 honor your father and mother,#sn A quotation from Exod 20:12-16; Deut 5:16-20. and love your neighbor as yourself.”#sn A quotation from Lev 19:18. 20 The young man said to him, “I have wholeheartedly obeyed#tn Grk “kept.” The implication of this verb is that the man has obeyed the commandments without fail, so the adverb “wholeheartedly” has been added to the translation to bring out this nuance. all these laws.#tn Grk “these things.” The referent of the pronoun (the laws mentioned by Jesus) has been specified in the translation for clarity.sn While the rich man was probably being sincere when he insisted I have wholeheartedly obeyed all these laws, he had confined his righteousness to external obedience. The rich man’s response to Jesus’ command – to give away all he had – revealed that internally he loved money more than God. What do I still lack?” 21 Jesus said to him, “If you wish to be perfect, go sell your possessions and give the money#tn The words “the money” are not in the Greek text, but are implied. Direct objects were often omitted in Greek when clear from the context. to the poor, and you will have treasure#sn The call for sacrifice comes with a promise of eternal reward: You will have treasure in heaven. Jesus’ call is a test to see how responsive the man is to God’s direction through him. Will he walk the path God’s agent calls him to walk? For a rich person who got it right, see Zacchaeus in Luke 19:1-10. in heaven. Then come, follow me.” 22 But when the young man heard this he went away sorrowful, for he was very rich.#tn Grk “he had many possessions.” This term (κτῆμα, kthma) is often used for land as a possession.
23 Then Jesus said to his disciples, “I tell you the truth,#tn Grk “Truly (ἀμήν, amhn), I say to you.” it will be hard for a rich person to enter the kingdom of heaven! 24 Again I say,#tn Grk “I say to you.” it is easier for a camel#tc A few late witnesses (579 1424 pc) read κάμιλον (kamilon, “rope”) for κάμηλον (kamhlon, “camel”), either through accidental misreading of the text or intentionally so as to soften Jesus’ words. to go through the eye of a needle#sn The eye of a needle refers to a sewing needle. (The gate in Jerusalem known as “The Needle’s Eye” was built during the middle ages and was not in existence in Jesus’ day.) Jesus was saying rhetorically that it is impossible for a rich person to enter God’s kingdom, unless God (v. 26) intervenes. than for a rich person to enter into the kingdom of God.” 25 The#tn Here δέ (de) has not been translated. disciples were greatly astonished when they heard this and said, “Then who can be saved?”#sn The assumption is that the rich are blessed, so if they risk exclusion, who is left to be saved? 26 Jesus#tn Here δέ (de) has not been translated. looked at them and replied, “This is impossible for mere humans,#tn The plural Greek term ἄνθρωποις (anqrwpois) is used here in a generic sense, referring to both men and women (cf. NASB 1995 update, “people”). Because of the contrast here between mere mortals and God (“impossible for men, but for God all things are possible”) the phrase “mere humans” has been used in the translation. There may also be a slight wordplay with “the Son of Man” in v. 28. but for God all things are possible.” 27 Then Peter said#tn Grk “Then answering, Peter said.” This construction is somewhat redundant in contemporary English and has been simplified in the translation. to him, “Look,#sn Peter wants reassurance that the disciples’ response and sacrifice have been noticed. we have left everything to follow you!#tn Grk “We have left everything and followed you.” Koine Greek often used paratactic structure when hypotactic was implied. What then will there be for us?” 28 Jesus#tn Here δέ (de) has not been translated. said to them, “I tell you the truth:#tn Grk “Truly (ἀμήν, amhn), I say to you.” In the age when all things are renewed,#sn The Greek term translated the age when all things are renewed (παλιγγενεσία, palingenesia) is understood as a reference to the Messianic age, the time when all things are renewed and restored (cf. Rev 21:5). when the Son of Man sits on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging#sn The statement you…will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel looks at the future authority the Twelve will have when Jesus returns. They will share in Israel’s judgment. the twelve tribes of Israel. 29 And whoever has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times as much#sn Jesus reassures his disciples with a promise that (1) much benefit in this life (a hundred times as much) and (2) eternal life will be given. and will inherit eternal life. 30 But many who are first will be last, and the last first.