Wednesday, December 13, 2006

The 'Radioactive' Woman in Matthew 5:32 a Possible Explanation

In Matthew 5:32 we have a curious situation in the first clause. The 'put away' or innocent divorced wife commits adultery. No mention of adultery is made of the divorcing husband.

Mt 5:32 but I say to you that everyone who divorces his wife, except for the reason of unchastity, makes her commit adultery; and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery.

The 2nd clause states that who ever marries a divorced woman commits adultery. This is what I call the 'radioactive' woman in previous posts. Anyone who marries her commits adultery. She appears to be marked. Is she comparable to Luke's 16:18 divorced (radioactive) woman.

Lu 16:18 "Everyone who divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery, and he who marries one who is divorced from a husband commits adultery.

I commented on the possibility that Luke's 'radioactive' woman is Paul's divorcing Christian wife in 1 Co 7:10-11 on a Dec 12 post.

Some of you may have noticed that I haven't commented on Matthew's 5:32 'radioactive' woman. I struggled with this since she appears to be innocent and no sin is mention by Jesus on the divorcing man's part.

I surfed for a great while through the web for an explanation. This a message in a Biblical Greek forum for scholars:

A Rev. Powers has an alternative explanation for Mt 5:32 based on what I believe to be sound b-Greek principles:

So the meaning of Mt 5:32 is:

"But I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife other than on the ground
of sexual misbehaviour (i.e., the ground stated by Moses in Deut 24:1)
causes her to be given that stigma, that is, to be regarded as an
adulteress; and whoever were to marry her would similarly be made out to be
an adulterer."

Jesus is not condemning the wife or a second husband, but the first husband
who put his innocent wife into this situation.

Rev Dr B. Ward Powers Phone (International): 61-2-9799-7501
10 Grosvenor Crescent Phone (Australia): (02) 9799-7501
SUMMER HILL NSW 2130 email: bwpowers at

If this is true than it makes much more sense than most translations.

So no the 'radioactive' woman in Mt 5:32 is not equivalent to my hypothesis of Luke's 16:18.

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