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Matthew 19:1-30

Last Updated 9/10/00

CHAPTER 19:1-30 TEXT:

And it came to pass, that when Jesus had finished these sayings, he departed from Galilee, and came into the coasts of Judaea beyond Jordan; And great multitudes followed him; and he healed them there. 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? And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female, And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh? Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder. They say unto him, Why did Moses then command to give a writing of divorcement, and to put her away? He saith unto them, Moses because of the hardness of your hearts suffered you to put away your wives: but from the beginning it was not so. And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery.  His disciples say unto him, If the case of the man be so with his wife, it is not good to marry.  But he said unto them, All men cannot receive this saying, save they to whom it is given.  For there are some eunuchs, which were so born from their mother's womb: and there are some eunuchs, which were made eunuchs of men: and there be eunuchs, which have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven's sake. He that is able to receive it, let him receive it.  Then were there brought unto him little children, that he should put his hands on them, and pray: and the disciples rebuked them.   But Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven.  And he laid his hands on them, and departed thence.  And, behold, one came and said unto him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life?  And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.  He saith unto him, Which? Jesus said, Thou shalt do no murder, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Honour thy father and thy mother: and, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. The young man saith unto him, All these things have I kept from my youth up: what lack I yet? Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me. But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful: for he had great possessions. Then said Jesus unto his disciples, Verily I say unto you, That a rich man shall hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven. And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God. When his disciples heard it, they were exceedingly amazed, saying, Who then can be saved? But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible. Then answered Peter and said unto him, Behold, we have forsaken all, and followed thee; what shall we have therefore? And Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That ye which have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. And every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name's sake, shall receive an hundredfold, and shall inherit everlasting life. But many that are first shall be last; and the last shall be first.


4  Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female,

As mentioned earlier, "man" was made in the image of God - which is male and female:

Genesis 1:27 - So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.

"Unity" is an important subject in the Scriptures. At this time, creation is not in a state of unity. This will return fully when the Kingdom is established. Until that time, those who follow God are to work toward the "repair" (tikkun) of creation, bringing healing and peace into the lives of all we meet (as well as in their personal relationships with God).

The commandments of God, given in the Torah, are geared toward tikkun, at both physical and spiritual levels. Divorce goes against this principle of tikkun, therefore it is not the will of God.

8  Moses because of the hardness of your hearts suffered you to put away your wives: but from the beginning it was not so.

An interesting subject here, if divorce is wrong in God's sight, why did He allow for divorce in the Torah? (which is of course His revelation to us). One could also ask, why did God allow for multiple wives? Or, why did God allow for slavery? Also, why does he give instructions for soldiers when at war?

Although the Torah does not speak in favor or divorce, polygamy, slavery or war, it does set up "rules" for how to deal with these things. Why is this?

The answer lies in the principle that the Torah was given because of sin. The Torah is dealing with a sin situation that has been in effect for quite some time. Recognizing that man has an evil inclination (called the yetzer hara in Hebrew), and is going to sin, the Torah on its most "basic level," keeps man "in check," so that he doesn't go too far from God's ways.

The Talmud says of this:

Kiddushin 21b - The Torah is only speaking against the yetzer hara.

God, who understands our weaknesses, knows that an outright "No" can provoke our desire to sin, hence the Torah commands "regulating" certain issues. However, continued study into the deeper meanings of the Torah will then show man that although God "allows" for these things, they are not reflective of His perfect character.

One of the things Messiah was/is promised to do (in Judaism) is to reveal these deeper meanings of the Torah so that God's people can better conform themselves to the image of God and work as His "partners" toward tikkun. We saw Yeshua do this in chapters 5 through 7 of this gospel. Here, He continues to do the same.

9  Whosoever shall put away his wife,

There were two main schools of thought regarding divorce at this time. The school of Rabbi Hillel allowed for multiple reasons that a man could divorce his wife. The school of Rabbi Shammai, rules that divorce was only an option in case of fornication. Here, Yeshua sides with Shammai's view. (Both of these rabbis lived a couple generations before Yeshua began teaching.)

12  which have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven's sake

More than likely, the term "eunuch" is an incorrect translation. The word for "eunuch" in the Aramaic manuscripts of this passage is M'HAIMNA, which can also mean "believer," or "faithful one." This would make better sense.

17  if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.

Many attempts have been made to explain away Yeshua's direct answer. He did not say "accept me into your heart," or some similar statement. He made it clear that obedience to Torah was key. However, we know from both the Tenakh and the "New Testament," that once cannot "earn" their way into heaven by keeping the commandments outside of faith. God wants us to put our entire trust in Him first, then to learn and walk in His ways. The two are inseparable.

20  All these things have I kept from my youth up: what lack I yet?

Yeshua points out (to all that are listening to this discussion) that God is interested in commitment first and challenges this man on the aspect of trust.

28  ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones,

An allusion to the Kingdom in Revelation 21:14.

30  But many that are first shall be last; and the last shall be first.

This is a Hebrew idiom that has to do with "evening things out," not necessarily reversing the actual order of something. This is seen in the next section of this study (Matthew 20:16).


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