Mark 10:11-12 says:
“So He said to them, “Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery against her. And if a woman divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery.”
We will begin by looking at the first statement. Mark 10:11 says:
“Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery against her.”
This verse harmonizes with Matthew 5:31a and Matthew 19:9a. When a man unlawfully divorces his wife to go and marry another, he commits adultery against her because he is making her the victim of his sin by separating what God has joined together. The woman he is committing adultery against is not the future spouse, but the woman he unlawfully divorced.
This is identical to Matthew 5:32a. Once again, the only difference is that this assumes a remarriage where Matthew 5:32a shows that one is guilty of committing adultery against their spouse when they divorce unlawfully even if they don’t remarry because the sin takes place in the unlawful divorce.
Therefore, a good paraphrase reading would be:
“Whoever divorces his wife unlawfully to marry someone else makes his ex-wife the victim of his adultery.”
Mark 10:12 says:
“And if a woman divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery.”
Jesus here is putting the emphasis on the woman who unlawfully divorces her husband. This harmonizes with Matthew 5:32b and the Matthew 19:b variant text. A good paraphrase would be:
“And if a woman divorces her husband unlawfully in order to marry another man, she commits adultery.”
Just as a man who divorces unlawfully is guilty, so is a woman who divorces unlawfully.
The final passage is Luke 16:18:
“Anyone who divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery, and the man who marries a divorced woman commits adultery.”
Luke 16:18a says:
Anyone who divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery,
This is identical to Matthew 5:32a, Matthew 19:9a and Mark 10:11. When a man divorces unlawfully to go and marry another, he is guilty of adultery
“and whoever marries her who is divorced from her husband commits adultery.”
As with the rest of the marital teachings of Jesus, this harmonizes with Matthew 5:32b, Matthew 19:9b and Mark 10:12. This woman’s divorcing could be seen as the middle voice in the Greek. This is an action she is doing. She divorced her husband unlawfully and the man for whom she divorced her husband is also guilty, as well, since he is the beneficiary/catalyst of the unlawful divorce.
– Kevin Pendergrass
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