At the end of last week’s Blog, I asked the question, ‘Is this what the Torah is really about….how to relate to God and to other human beings, in a functional, life enhancing way ….??’
The second illustration that Jesus gives in Matthew 5.27-32 suggests that this is exactly what the Torah is about:
You have heard that it was said to those of old,'You shall not commit adultery'
But I say to you that
1. whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.
2. If your right eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell.
3. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell.
Furthermore it has been said,
‘Whoever abandons his wife, let him give her a certificate of divorce.’
But I say to you that
1. whoever abandons his wife for any reason except sexual immorality causes her to commit adultery; and
2. whoever marries a woman who is abandoned (but not formally divorced) commits adultery.
There is a parallel passage in Matthew 19.8-9:
…Moses, because of the hardness of your hearts, permitted you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so.
I say to you,
1. whoever abandons his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery; and
2. whoever marries her who is abandoned (but not formally divorced) commits adultery.
You will see that the translation above is different from all translations of the New Testament. This is because the translators made a tragic, and damaging mistake. They failed to differentiate between ‘divorce’, formalized by the giving of a certificate of divorce, and ‘abandonment’, emotionally, physically, and in relationship…..WITHOUT formalizing the split by giving a certificate of divorce.
The effect of this ‘abandonment’ locks the abandoned wife into a prison in which she cannot rebuild her life with another because she is still married to the one who abandoned her.
This second illustration of ‘righteousness’ that Jesus gives explains what the Torah is really about, particularly in the sexual relationships between men and women.
His teaching on ‘adultery’, ‘divorce’, and ‘abandonment’ explains how to relate to each other in a functional, life enhancing way…….rather than locking each other in prisons of resentment, bitterness, and hatred.
Until next week….