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Matthew 5:31

    Matthew 5:31 Translations

    King James Version (KJV)

    It hath been said, Whosoever shall put away his wife, let him give her a writing of divorcement:

    American King James Version (AKJV)

    It has been said, Whoever shall put away his wife, let him give her a writing of divorce:

    American Standard Version (ASV)

    It was said also, Whosoever shall put away his wife, let him give her a writing of divorcement:

    Basic English Translation (BBE)

    Again, it was said, Whoever puts away his wife has to give her a statement in writing for this purpose:

    Webster's Revision

    It was said also, Whosoever shall put away his wife, let him give her a writing of divorcement:

    World English Bible

    "It was also said, 'Whoever shall put away his wife, let him give her a writing of divorce,'

    English Revised Version (ERV)

    It was said also, Whosoever shall put away his wife, let him give her a writing of divorcement:

    Definitions for Matthew 5:31

    Let - To hinder or obstruct.

    Clarke's Commentary on Matthew 5:31

    Whosoever shall put away his wife - The Jewish doctors gave great license in the matter of divorce. Among them, a man might divorce his wife if she displeased him even in the dressing of his victuals!

    Rabbi Akiba said, "If any man saw a woman handsomer than his own wife, he might put his wife away; because it is said in the law, If she find not favor in his eyes." Deuteronomy 24:1.

    Josephus, the celebrated Jewish historian, in his Life, tells us, with the utmost coolness and indifference, "About this time I put away my wife, who had borne me three children, not being pleased with her manners."

    These two cases are sufficient to show to what a scandalous and criminal excess this matter was carried among the Jews. However, it was allowed by the school of Shammai, that no man was to put away his wife unless for adultery. The school of Hillel gave much greater license.

    A writing of divorcement - The following is the common form of such a writing. See Maimonides and Lightfoot.

    "On the day of the week A. in the month B. in the year C. from the beginning of the world, according to the common computation in the province of D., I, N. the son of N. by whatever name I am called, of the city E. with entire consent of mind, and without any compulsion, have divorced, dismissed, and expelled thee - thee, I say, M. the daughter of M. by whatever name thou art called, of the city E. who wast heretofore my wife: but now I have dismissed thee - thee, I say, M. the daughter of M. by whatever name thou art called, of the city E. so as to be free, and at thine own disposal, to marry whomsoever thou pleasest, without hinderance from any one, from this day for ever. Thou art therefore free for any man. Let this be thy bill of divorce from me, a writing of separation and expulsion, according to the law of Moses and Israel.

    Reuben, son of Jacob, Witness.

    Eliezar, son of Gilead, Witness."

    God permitted this evil to prevent a greater; and, perhaps, to typify his repudiating the Jews, who were his first spouse.

    Barnes' Notes on Matthew 5:31

    It hath been said ... - That is, by Moses, Deuteronomy 24:1-2. The husband was directed, if he put his wife away, to give her a bill of divorce, that is a certificate of the fact she had been his wife, and that he had dissolved the marriage. There was considerable difference of opinion among the Jews for what causes the husband was permitted to do this. One of their famous schools maintained that it might be done for any cause, however trivial. The other maintained that adultery only could justify it. The truth was, however, that the husband exercised this right at pleasure; that he was judge in the case, and dismissed his wife when and for what cause he chose. And this seems to be agreeable to the law in Deuteronomy. Our Saviour in Mark 10:1-12, says that this was permitted on account of the hardness of their hearts, but that in the beginning it was not so. God made a single pair, and ordained marriage for life. But Moses found the people so much hardened; so long accustomed to the practice, and so rebellious, that, as a matter of civil appointment, he thought it best not to attempt any change. Our Saviour brought marriage back to its original intention, and declared that whosoever put away his wife henceforward, except for one offence, should be guilty of adultery. This is now the law of God. This was the original institution. This is the only law that is productive of peace and good morals, and that secures the respect due to a wife, and the good of children. Nor has any man or set of men - any legislature or any court, civil or ecclesiastical - a right to interfere, and declare that divorces may be granted for any other cause. They, therefore, whoever they may be, who are divorced for any cause except the single one of adultery, if they marry again, are, according to the Scriptures, living in adultery. No earthly laws can trample down the laws of God, or make that right which he has solemnly pronounced wrong.

    Wesley's Notes on Matthew 5:31

    5:31 Let him give her a writing of divorce - Which the scribes and Pharisees allowed men to do on any trifling occasion. Deut 24:1; Matt 19:7; Mark 10:2; Luke 16:18.