Tuesday, August 9, 2022

Handout - Matthew Chapter 5 - Divorce, Oaths and Retribution

Matthew 5:31-32 - Divorce

Verse 31 is a reference to Deu 24:1-4. The teaching of the Pharisees regarding divorce was for the man to write a "certificate of divorce", which was designed to absolve the man of guilt. Jesus addressed the first part of verse 32 by stating that a man who divorces his wife for anything except sexual immorality (fornication) would make the woman a victim of adultery Mat 19:4-6. Jesus corrected their thinking by saying that it was the man who was the adulterer, certificate or otherwise, and it was the man's actions that were having the negative effect on the woman Mat 19:7-9. The scholar William F. Luck helps us to understand this further in this paper: (https://bible.org/seriespage/6-teachings-jesus-divorce-matthew-531-32a). Malachi also sheds some light on this topic in an allegory Mal 2:10-16. Mat 19:3-12 has a lot more to say about this topic, and will be explored in more depth when we get to that passage. For now, we should recognize that the Pharisees were trying to interpret the Mosaic Law regarding divorce to give the man the benefit, and Jesus was correcting this by showing the law was in place to protect the woman.

Matthew 5:33-37 - Oaths

Oath making had degenerated into making a false show of sincerity and arrogance. These passages speaking of false oaths warn against saying things that cannot or will not be lived up to Lev 19:12, Num 30:2, Deu 23:21, 23. Jesus names 4 things that oaths were made against. Dr. Ed Glasscock - "An oath was a binding agreement and to swear against a someone or something called that person or thing into account.". Man has no authority to call these 4 things into account for his broken oath. Jesus made it clear that they should avoid making oaths at all. Oath taking implies without an oath, our yes is not our yes and our no is not our no. But our yes and no should require an oath to be of value, it should be a part of our character, who we are. This sort of oath is not to be confused with wedding vows, which are not calling anyone or thing to account for broken oaths. The account of Jephthah's Vow shows how oaths can be misused, and the tragedy that can result Jdg 11:29-40.

Matthew 5:38-42 - Retribution

The context of the following passages is guidelines to be exercised in a court of law, however, the Pharisees had twisted the meaning to be that of personal interactions Exo 21:22-25, Lev 24:19-20, Deu 19:21. Jesus teaches that we should not seek revenge to avenge injured pride. Jesus was not advocating for pacifism and that we should allow evil to go unchecked through civil society, rather He was saying that avenging our pride is not righteous, but defending our selves and others is not wrong. He was teaching against vigilantism, not against civil justice. We see in the example of Christ, when others were being treated unjustly, He was a lion, but when He was being treated unjustly personally, He was a Lamb Joh 2:13-15, Mar 14:55-61, 1Pe 2:20-23.

This same type of attitude should accompany us in the treatment of possessions, time and money. The idea here is that these things belong to God, we are just stewards. We should have a generous heart. Implied here, and taught throughout scripture is having wisdom as well. Sometimes giving away money can be to the detriment of others, and what they are going to use the money for comes into play 1Jn 3:17-18. Paul placed special emphasis on caring for ones family 1Ti 5:8. The Bible provides teaching to guide those who are asking for money as well Eph 4:28, 2Th 3:10-12. God loves a cheerful giver 2Co 9:6-8.

There is great promise for those who have an attitude of joy when property is confiscated. The promise is in the future, a future we should be 100% confident is ours Heb 10:32-35.

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