Archive for March 3rd, 2012

March 3rd, 2012

Jesus and Divorce

by Max Andrews

It seems that the only provision Jesus allows for divorce, or at least was recorded, was for sexual immorality. Due to the exception clause found in 19.9 the issue of concern is what Jesus means by his use of πορνείᾳ (porneia).  The Matthew passage (except for indecency, μὴ ἐπὶ πορνείᾳ, [epiporneia]) raises many questions, mainly what does Jesus specifically mean by πορνείᾳ, as it carries a broad range of terms.  The LXX (Septuagint) uses πορνείᾳ to translate the Hebrew זנות, zenut, which is used for immorality and also specifically for incestuous marriages and other illegitimate forms of marriage.[1]  However, many scholars concede that וחנז does not always mean an illegitimate marriage but a full range of sexual immorality.[2]  Deuteronomy 14.1 [Jesus’ reference to Moses in 19.8] contains the words ךבד צרות, “indecent matter.” צרות literally means “nakedness” and the sexual immorality involved in Jesus’ use of πορνείᾳ is physical adultery.