Mark 10:5; Mark 10:6-8; Mark 10:9; Mark 10:10-12
10:5. Moses wrote... this Law (Deuteronomy 24:1-4 ), Jesus said, in view of their hardheartedness, their obstinate refusal to accept God's view of marriage. Moses acknowledged the presence of divorce in Israel but did not institute or authorize it.
10:6-8. Jesus then contrasted their view of marriage with God's view from the beginning of Creation (Jesus quoted both Genesis 1:27 and 2:24). God made them, the first couple, Adam and Eve, distinctly male and female yet fully complementary to each other. A man shall leave behind his parents, shall be united to his wife, and the two - man and woman - will become one flesh. As "one flesh" they form a new unit comprising a sexually intimate, all-encompassing couple just as indissoluble in God's present Creation order as a blood relationship between parent and child.
So (hoste, "so then") they are no longer two, but one (lit., "one flesh," a one-flesh unit). Marriage is not a contract of temporary convenience which can be readily broken; it is a covenant of mutual fidelity to a lifelong union made before God (cf. Proverbs 2:16-17; Malachi 2:13-16).
10:9. Jesus then added a prohibition. Therefore, in light of verses 6-8, what God has joined together as one flesh, let man not separate (chorizeto, pres. tense; cf. this Gr. verb in 1 Corinthians 7:10,15). "Man" (anthropos, probably meaning the husband) is to stop disrupting marriage through divorce. Marriage is to be a monogamous, heterosexual, permanent one-flesh relationship. Jesus indirectly confirmed John the Baptist's courageous pronouncement (cf. Mark 6:18), contradicting the Pharisees' lax views.
10:10-12. Later, when Jesus" disciples questioned Him privately about this subject in the house (cf. 7:17), He added, Anyone who divorces (apolyse "releases," same word in 15:6,9,15) his wife and marries another woman commits adultery against her, his first wife (cf. Exodus 20:14,17). According to Mark 10:12, which is unique to Mark, the same applies to a woman who divorces her husband and marries another man. These words were significant for Mark's Roman readers since under Roman law a wife could initiate divorce. Though not allowed under Jewish law such action was sometimes practiced in Palestine (e.g., Herodias, 6:17-18).
Divorce violates God's Creation ordinance, but does not dissolve it. Jesus left open the possibility of divorce for sexual immorality as demanded by Jewish law in New Testament times (10:4). But remarriage, though permitted under Rabbinic law, was here forbidden by Jesus (cf. TDNT, S.V. "gameo, gamos," 1:648-51; "moicheuo," 4:733-5). (Many interpreters believe that Jesus gave one exception to this. See comments on Matt. 5:32; 19:1-12.) God's desire for a "broken" marriage is forgiveness and reconciliation (cf. Hosea 1-3; 1 Corinthians 7:10-11).
The people acknowledged their sin (10:1-4)
10:1-4. Many people acknowledged that something had to be done about the situation. Apparently this sin had gone on and had been tolerated for some time. Children were born to some of those who had intermarried (vv. 3,44). No doubt some devout Jews were grieved because of this sin in the community. Perhaps they were afraid to speak up or had tried and were rebuffed. In any case, now that some of the leaders were joining Ezra in bemoaning the sin, these righteous people joined in the mourning and began to demand that something be done. A large crowd of Israelites gathered with Ezra and wept bitterly.
One man, Shecaniah, spoke for all the people who were weeping. He acknowledged the unfaithfulness of the nation but he felt that there was still hope for Israel. He suggested that the people covenant before... God to divorce the foreign women and send them away along with the children they had borne. This was to be done according to the Law. Shecaniah promised Ezra that the people would stand behind him in such a decision. Shecaniah was calling on the nation to do something distasteful and difficult, something that could cause bitter division between family members and friends. However, he appealed on the basis of the Law of God which was supposed to be the people's rule of life. The Law also was a safeguard for this situation, for an Israelite could marry a woman from outside the nation if she had become Jewish in faith. Perhaps that is why each marriage was investigated thoroughly (vv. 16-19) - to see if any women had become Jewish proselytes.
Though divorce was not the norm, it may have been preferable in this situation because the mixed marriages, if continued, would lead the nation away from true worship of Yahweh. Eventually they, would destroy the nation. On the other hand some Bible students believe this plan was not in accord with God's desires (cf. Malachi 2:16). Do two "wrongs" make one "right"? Perhaps Ezra wrongly followed Shecaniah's advice in requiring these divorces. However, no specific support for this view is indicated in Ezra 10 .
The Pharisees, realizing that Jesus was speaking of the permanence of the marital relationship, asked why Moses made a provision for divorce for people in his time (Matthew 19:7). The Lord's answer was that Moses granted this permission because people's hearts were hard (cf. Deuteronomy 24:1-4). "Because your hearts were hard" is literally, "toward your hardness of heart" (sklerokardian; from skleros, "hardness," comes the Eng. "sclerosis," and from kardian comes the Eng. "cardiac"). But that was not God's intention for marriage. God intended husbands and wives to live together permanently. Divorce was wrong except for marital unfaithfulness (cf. Matthew 5:32 ).
Bible scholars differ over the meaning of this "exception clause," found only in Matthew's Gospel. The word for "marital unfaithfulness" is porneia.
(1) Some feel Jesus used this as a synonym for adultery (moicheia). Therefore adultery by either partner in a marriage is the only sufficient grounds for a marriage to end in divorce. Among those holding this view, some believe remarriage is possible but others believe remarriage should never occur.
(2) Others define porneia as a sexual offense that could occur only in the betrothal period when a Jewish man and woman were considered married but had not yet consummated their coming marriage with sexual intercourse. If in this period the woman was found pregnant (as was Mary; 1:18-19), a divorce could occur in order to break the contract.
(3) Still others believe the term porneia referred to illegitimate marriages within prohibited degrees of kinship, as in Leviticus 18:6-18. If a man discovered that his wife was a near relative, he would actually be involved in an incestuous marriage. Then this would be a justifiable grounds for divorce. Some say this meaning of porneia is found in Acts 15:20,29 (cf. 1 Corinthians 5:1).