Thursday, January 04, 2007

Divorce and Mosaic Law in the OT and NT

As mentioned in my previous posts (1, 2, 3, 4) a cursory reading of Matthew 5:32, 19:9, Mark 10:11-12, and Luke 16:18 seems to indicate that Jesus abrogates all grounds for divorce except for adultery in Matthew.

I have numerous posts on David Instone-Brewer's exegesis that asserts that Jesus was condemning only the Hillel "any matter' divorce and not valid forms of divorce. The principles for these 'valid' divorces are outlined in Mosaic Law in Deuteronomy 24:1-4, and Exodus 21:10-11. Malachi 2:13-16 also forms part of Instone-Brewer's exegesis.

As part of his Sermon on the Mount Jesus seems to affirm Mosaic Law in Matthew 5:17-20.
  • Mt 5:17 (NAS) "Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill. 18 "For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished.
This would add to Instone-Brewer's hypothesis that Mosaic Law at least parts in which Jesus is silent are still part of Christian principles. Part of the Jewish bedrock of Christianity.

However in John 8:1-11 Jesus prevents the stoning of an adulteress caught in the act by a group of Law-abiding Pharisees, see Deuteronomy 17:7 and 22:22. Clearly He interferes with the administration of Mosaic Law. In verse 11 Jesus does recognize the sin of the adulteress but:
  • John 8:11 She said, "No one, Lord." And Jesus said, "I do not condemn you, either. Go. From now on sin no more."
Jesus recognizes the sin, an affirmation of Mosaic Law, but tempers it with Christian forgiveness.

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