Thursday, August 12, 2010


1. Let not man separate: The man here is the husband not some third party like a judge. In Judaism marriage was a contract, which could be broken by the male partner. Such a case is envisioned in Duet 24: 1

2. Moses command: The Pharisees take Deut 24:1 as the positive commandment, whereas Jesus in 19:8 understood it as merely a concession because of people’s hardness of heart. He contrasts this concession with God’s original will for men and women expressed in the creation story.

3. The third member of the eunuch saying supplies the proper motivation for celibacy – dedication to the kingdom of heaven. For the negative attitude towards the practice of castration see Deut 23:1 Lev 22: 24. The unusual character of this teaching is underscored by the concluding comment “whoever can accept it”

4. Is it lawful? It was common to consult great teachers on points of controversy; but this question was not asked honestly. They were tempting him, seeking to entangle him and bring him in collision with one or the other two great schools.

· Herod Antipas, the ruler himself was living an immoral life.

· The famous Hillel had taught that divorce was allowable for any cause

· Shammai: Divorce is lawful only in the case of adultery. The Lord had taught the strict view of marriage in his sermon on Mount; would he dare to maintain the same doctrine in the dominion of Herod.

5. Jesus talks about those who have made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of God. We must be quite clear that this is not to be taken literally. Some people like Origen took the text literally and castrated themselves whereas people like Clement of Alexandria come nearer to it. He says: The true eunuch is not he who cannot, but he who will not indulge in fleshly pleasures.’ The world would be a poorer place were it not for those who accept the challenge to travel alone for the sake of the work of Christ.

Today the understanding of marriage, divorce and celibacy is getting newer meanings and newer orientations. The generation of today find difficult to accept the concept of marriage as a life time commitment. When people think that the relationship does not work, they opt for divorce as the easy way out. Live –in relationship is attracting the youth of today as it appear very pragmatic and convenient. To bring back forcefully the message of Jesus Christ would be the challenge for the parents, Church authorities and other responsible adults.


The Pulpit Commentary

Sacra Pagina Series

William Barclay’s Commentary

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