Matthew’s Torah Quotes:
Part 1 – Genesis
Jesus is approached in Matthew 19 about divorce, is it permissible to divorce for any reason? He uses the Torah for his answer.
God created mankind (Hebrew – adam, – translates as mankind) both male (Hebrew – zacar – translates as male) and female (Hebrew – nkavah – translates as a female).
Genesis 2:24 begins with a “Therefore” so we must begin with verse 23.
This is a quote of Adam saying, “This is now bone of my bone, and flesh of my flesh; She shall be called woman (Hebrew -Ishshah – translates as woman), because she was taken out of man (Hebrew – Ish – translates as man).”
When Adam says, “she shall be called woman”, he then named the last of all the living beings, and thus completed his assignment giving everything a name. Ish was created from the earth, but Ishshah was created from Ish. There are a couple of different views on this topic. One view is that God created Ishshah out of Ish, meaning that when God caused Ish to sleep He took a part of Ish (usually referred to as a rib) from him and created Ishshah. The other view is that Ish and Ishshah were both present in the same body, meaning that the first human consisted of both Ish and Ishahah, and God separated them forming both Ish and Ishshah. The actual Hebrew says that Ishshah was taken from Ish. In either case we end up in the same place.
Therefor or because of this, (verse 24) a man (ish) shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife (Hebrew – beshto – translated as wife), and they shall become one flesh. Verse 25 tells us that they were naked before each other and were not ashamed, they were very comfortable with each other. So how do two separate people become one flesh? They become one flesh when they create another human. When the seed from the man joins the egg of his wife, the two are then joined together forming one. Keep in mind a couple can not procreate if they are physically joined together, they need to be separated. This is symbolized in the marriage ceremony under the chupah with the mixing and drinking of the wine portion.
In Matthew 19:4 and 5 Jesus has been asked a question and he quotes from these two verses to answer. The question is from an Orthodox (Pharisee) Jew from verse 23, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any reason?”ii Jesus quotes from these two Scriptures in Torah to point out that originally we were one, then separated by God into male and female, then we become one again in marriage. He implies that this is God’s design for the marriage relationship from the beginning. The two were originally joined together, then separated, so that they could be joined together again. Because this is what God had designed, we are not to put the relationship aside by divorcing. He is challenged on this by the questioner, and he address’s it in a later verse, but that is beyond the scope of this article.
Topic: Marriage in the afterlife
Jesus is approached with an complex question about marriage, and how it is affected in the afterlife. He refers to the Torah for his answer.
God establishes His covenant with Abram and his descendants continuing through his generations for an everlasting covenant, “….to be God (Hebrew; Eloheim – translates: the true Godiii) to you and your descendants after you….”.
A side topic here, would be a discussion on, who were Abram’s descendants? Where they only Issac and his offspring, or were they all of Abram’s descendant’s including Ishmael. This verse doesn’t say only the descendent’s from you and Sari, it says “your descendant’s”. In Genesis 25:1-6 the Torah tells us that Abraham married Keturah after the death of Sarah. Abraham and Keturah had 6 children. All we know is that they went off to the “Land of the East”, and it is assumed that over time they assimilated into the Ishmaelites. However later in the same chapter God explained the covenant in more detail with Abraham and He says that Abram and Sari will have a son and he to be named Issac and this covenant be through him and his descendants. However Ishmael will be blessed and will have 12 sons, and he will be a great nation.
In Exodus 3:15 is where the actual next quote comes from but this verse is established from Genesis 17:7. When God is speaking to Moses and assigning him to lead the Israelite’s out of bondage and Egypt, Moses presents the question to God, “…and the say to me, ‘What is His name?’ what shall I say to them?”. God answers him that “I Am Who I Am”, ….“tell them that ‘I Am’ has sent me to you.” Then He goes on and says, “This is what I want you to tell them, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you.” God is referring back to the covenant He had established many years before with Abram (Abraham), and His commitment to be the God of each descendant following.
The writer of Matthew 22:32iv says that Jesus uses this verse to state that God is not the God of the dead but the God of the living. However the question is about marriage relationship after the resurrection, if you were widowed during this lifetime.
To gain insight into this question you need to go to the actual question presented to him by a Sadducee. Sadducee’s were made up primarily of Levites thus they were mostly Priests. The Sadducee did not accept the Prophets and Writings, only the Torah. There entire life was centered around the Temple worship. A major difference between the Sadducee’s and Pharisee’s (Orthodox) was the resurrection. The Pharisee’s belief is that there will be a resurrection and the Sadducee’s belief was that there will not be.
The question is presented by a Sadducee, pertaining to the “resurrection” worded in a way to try and trap the one who would answer.
The question rests on a foundation from the Torah (Deu. 25:5) presenting the Levirate marriage, where the brother marries the deceased brothers widow for her to give birth and raise the child as a descendant of the deceased brother.
The next part he presents a scenario of a married couple that does not have children and the husband dies. His brother marries the widow so she can conceive and have children in the deceased brothers name. But he dies and a total of seven subsequent brothers die and the widow dies also. The Sadducee asks, “Therefore in the resurrection, whose wife of the seven will she be? For they all had her.”
My reply would be, “this is a real loaded question”, because it starts off with, a statement that Sadducee’s don’t even believe in, “Therefore in the resurrection…. but you don’t believe in the resurrection – so what resurrection? But Jesus handles this another way. He probably either knows the gentleman is a Sadducee or presumes it, He chooses to quote from the Torah, the only part of the Tanach the Sadducee will accept. It appears that he is quoting from Exodus 3:15 where God is stating to Moses that He is the God of Abraham, Issac, and Jacob has sent him. Earlier in the Torah in Gen. 17 God establishes His covenant with Abraham as the God of Abraham and his decedents forever. He continues to be the God of each generation following Abraham. When Abraham died He didn’t stop being their God – He continued with the next generation. He will do this for ever. Thus Jesus makes the statement that God is the God of the living!
This aligns with the Jewish belief to not worry ourselves with what happens after death. But rather be diligent with your life today. This can be accomplished by studying and keeping Torah.
by, Jim Behnke
iTanach – is an acronym for the Jewish Bible: Torah (the Law/Teachings), Neviim (Prophets), Chesuvim (Writings).
ii Some translations include the word “just”, between ‘for’ and ‘any’, but it isn’t in the original text.
iii Especially with the article mem at the end.
ivI say the writer of Matthew because we don’t know who the author of Matthew is.