Nazarene Space

Yeshua's Halacha Against Polygamy (The Truth about Matthew 19)



Yeshua's Halacha Against Polygamy
(The Truth About Matthew 19)
by
James Scott Trimm


There have been many attempts lately to reinterpret Matthew 19 and 1Tin. 2:3 so as to excuse polygamy.  In order to do this, one must interpret these verses in a vacuum.  But these passages were not written in a vacuum.

In order to properly understand these verses we must understand them in continuity with Second Temple Era Judaism.  The relationship these passages have to the Damascus Document is beyond coincidence.  

The Damscus Document is an Essene document found among the Dead Sea Scrolls which dates to around 100 BCE.  The relevant portion of the document is a portion that criticizes the "wall builders" (Pharisees) over what it calls the "Three Traps of Beilial". The first "trap" is said to be "fornication".  The scroll explains this as follows:

They are caught in…Fornication, by taking two wives in their lifetime although the Principle of Creation (Yesod HaBriah)is “male and female He Created them” (Gen. 1:27) and those who entered the ark “went into the ark two by two” (Gen. 7:9). Concerning the Leaders it is written “he shall not multiply wives to himself” (Dt. 17:17)
(Damascus Document 4,20-5,2)

Now about 130 years later, Yeshua is criticizing the Pharisaic position on divorce as follows:

19:3 And the P’rushim approached him, and tempted him, saying, “Is it right for a man to put away his wife for every cause?”
19:4 And he answered and said to them: "Have you not read that he who made man the beginning, 'made them male and female' (Gen. 1:27)
19:5 And said, 'Wherefore shall a man shall leave his father and his mother, and cleave to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh' (Gen. 2:24)
19:6 And now then, they are no more two but one flesh only. What therefore Elohim has joined together man cannot separate."
19:7 But they said, "And why then did Moshe then command to give a bill of divorcement, and to put her away if she was not pleasing in his sight?” (Deut. 24:1, 3)
19:8 And he answered them and said, "Because Moshe on account of the hardness of your hearts, allowed you to put away your wives,
but from the beginning it was not so.
19:9 And I tell you, every man that has put away, or shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and takes another,
commits adultery. And whoever takes the divorced also commits adultery.
(Mt. 19:3-9 HRV)

Now the connection between these two passages is uncanny:

The Dead Sea Scrolls The Ketuvim Netzarim
They are caught in…Fornication, by taking two wives in their lifetime although the Principle of Creation (Yesod HaBriah) is “male and female He Created them” (Gen. 1:27) and those who entered the ark “went into the ark two by two” (Gen. 7:9). Concerning the Leaders it is written “he shall not multiply wives to himself”
(Dt. 17:17)
(Damascus Document 4,20-5,2)
3 And the P’rushim approached him, and tempted him, saying, “Is it right for a man to put away his wife for every cause?”
4 And he answered and said to them:"Have you not read that he who made man the beginning, 'made them male and female' (Gen. 1:27)
5 And said,  'Wherefore shall a man shall leave his father and his mother, and cleave to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh' (Gen. 2:24)
6 And now then, they are no more two but one flesh only. What therefore Elohim has joined together man cannot separate."
7 But they said, "And why then did Moshe then command to give a bill of divorcement, and to put her away if she was not pleasing in his sight?” (Deut. 24:1, 3)
8 And he answered them and said,"Because Moshe on account of the hardness of your hearts, allowed you to put away your wives, but from the beginning it was not so.
9 And I tell you, every man that has put away, or shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and takes another, commits adultery. And whoever takes the divorced also commits adultery.
(Mt. 19:3-9 HRV)

2 But it is right, that an elder should be one in whom a blemish is not found, and is the husband of one woman; who [is] of a watchful mind, and sober and orderly, and loving of strangers and able to teach,
(1Tim. 2:3 HRV)


Now both documents criticize the Pharisaic position on divorce by citing Gen. 1:27 and building a rule from this passage that the "Principle of Creation" (Yesod HaBriah) is that marriage is union between one man and one woman.  Yeshua expresses this by saying "but from the beginning it was not so." But note that the older document bases this criticism of divorce on the fact that divorce (without just cause) is polygamy "because they take two wives in their lifetime" and Yeshua is making the same argument against divorce with the same proof text,  So if we are t0 understand Matthew 19:3-9 in continuity with Second Temple Era Judaism, we can see clearly that Yeshua is not just criticizing divorce in these verses, but polygamy as well. 

We can see that this connection was known and understood by Paul, because where the argument in the Damascus Document goes on to then generalize the rule against kings "multiplying wives to themselves" (Deut. 17:17) to apply it to "rulers" in general, Paul likewise makes a very similar statement that elders should be "the husband of one wife" (1Tim. 2:3).

If we understand the statements of Yeshua and Paul in these verses in continuity with Second Temple Era Judaism, it is clear that both Yeshua and Paul were teaching in agreement with the Essene halacha against divorce and polygamy as found in the Damascus Document.

I recently contacted you to tell you that we ended November under budget.

As a result we are now facing a budget shortfall in December, we have bills due, and no money with which to pay them.

I am asking you, if this ministry has ever benefited you, to strongly consider stepping up to the plate and supporting this work today.

Please help us bring the message of Messiah and Torah to a lost world and create Scripture study materials for believers.
You can donate by going to the pay-pal counter at
http://www.nazarenespace.com or donations can be sent by paypal to donations@wnae.org.


Donations can also be made out to “Nazarene Judaism” and sent to:

Nazarene Judaism
PO Box 471
Hurst, TX 76053

Views: 481

Comment by Ayina Qeren on December 23, 2014 at 11:51am

 "the husband of one wife" (1Tim. 2:3).

The statement above they(polygamy activists) like to pull apart and say that in the Greek it originally meant "Husband to FIRST wife." 

Comment by David Brigham on December 26, 2014 at 3:46pm

The Greek has _mia_ which means "only one", never "first"-- cp. http://lexiconcordance.com/greek/3391.html

Comment by Ayina Qeren on December 27, 2014 at 1:32pm

Agreed David.

Comment

You need to be a member of Nazarene Space to add comments!

Join Nazarene Space

 

 

 

















 

LINKS

 

 

 

 

Badge

Loading…

© 2019   Created by James Trimm.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service