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Matthew 19:5

Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

For this cause - Being created for this very purpose; that they might glorify their Maker in a matrimonial connection. A man shall leave (καταλειψαι, wholly give up) both father and mother - the matrimonial union being more intimate and binding than even paternal or filial affection; - and shall be closely united, προσκολληθησεται, shall be firmly cemented to his wife. A beautiful metaphor, which most forcibly intimates that nothing but death can separate them: as a well-glued board will break sooner in the whole wood, than in the glued joint. So also the Hebrew word דבק debak implies.

And they twain shall be one flesh? - Not only meaning, that they should be considered as one body, but also as two souls in one body, with a complete union of interests, and an indissoluble partnership of life and fortune, comfort and support, desires and inclinations, joys and sorrows. Farther, it appears to me, that the words in Genesis 2:24, אחד לבסר lebasar achad, for one flesh, which our Lord literally translates, mean also, that children, compounded as it were of both, should be the product of the matrimonial connection. Thus, they two (man and woman) shall be for the producing of one flesh, the very same kind of human creature with themselves. See the note on Genesis 2:24.

Albert Barnes
Notes on the Whole Bible
Verses 4-6

And he answered and said … - Instead of referring to the opinions of either party, Jesus called their attention to the original design of marriage, to the authority of Moses an authority acknowledged by them both.

Have ye not read? - Genesis 1:27; Genesis 2:21-22. “And said, For this cause,” etc., Genesis 2:24. That is, God, at the beginning, made but one man and one woman: their posterity should learn that the original intention of marriage was that a man should have but one wife.

Shall leave his father and mother - This means, shall bind himself more strongly to his wife than he was to his father or mother. The marriage connection is the most tender and endearing of all human relations more tender than even that bond which unites us to a parent.

And shall cleave unto his wife - The word “cleave” denotes a union of the firmest kind. It is in the original taken from gluing, and means so firmly to adhere together that nothing can separate them.

They twain shall be one flesh - That is, they two, or they that were two, shall be united as one - one in law, in feeling, in interest, in affection. They shall no longer have separate interests, but shall act in all things as if they were one - animated by one soul and one wish. The argument of Jesus here is, that since they are so intimately united as to be one, and since in the beginning God made but one woman for one man, it follows that they cannot be separated but by the authority of God. Man may not put away his wife for every cause. What God has joined together man may not put asunder. In this decision he really decided in favor of one of the parties; and it shows that when it was proper, Jesus answered questions without regard to consequences, from whatever cause they might have been proposed, and however much difficulty it might involve him in. Our Lord, in this, also showed consummate wisdom. He answered the question, not from Hillel or Shammai, their teachers, but from Moses, and thus defeated their malice.

Matthew Henry
Concise Bible Commentary
The Pharisees were desirous of drawing something from Jesus which they might represent as contrary to the law of Moses. Cases about marriage have been numerous, and sometimes perplexed; made so, not by the law of God, but by the lusts and follies of men; and often people fix what they will do, before they ask for advice. Jesus replied by asking whether they had not read the account of the creation, and the first example of marriage; thus pointing out that every departure therefrom was wrong. That condition is best for us, and to be chosen and kept to accordingly, which is best for our souls, and tends most to prepare us for, and preserve us to, the kingdom of heaven. When the gospel is really embraced, it makes men kind relatives and faithful friends; it teaches them to bear the burdens, and to bear with the infirmities of those with whom they are connected, to consider their peace and happiness more than their own. As to ungodly persons, it is proper that they should be restrained by laws, from breaking the peace of society. And we learn that the married state should be entered upon with great seriousness and earnest prayer.
Ellen G. White
The Adventist Home, 106

Though difficulties, perplexities, and discouragements may arise, let neither husband nor wife harbor the thought that their union is a mistake or a disappointment. Determine to be all that it is possible to be to each other. Continue the early attentions. In every way encourage each other in fighting the battles of life. Study to advance the happiness of each other. Let there be mutual love, mutual forbearance. Then marriage, instead of being the end of love, will be as it were the very beginning of love. The warmth of true friendship, the love that binds heart to heart, is a foretaste of the joys of heaven.5 AH 106.1

All should cultivate patience by practicing patience. By being kind and forbearing, true love may be kept warm in the heart, and qualities will be developed that Heaven will approve.6 AH 106.2

The Enemy Will Seek to Alienate—Satan is ever ready to take advantage when any matter of variance arises, and by moving upon the objectionable, hereditary traits of character in husband or wife, he will try to cause the alienation of those who have united their interests in a solemn covenant before God. In the marriage vows they have promised to be as one, the wife covenanting to love and obey her husband, the husband promising to love and cherish his wife. If the law of God is obeyed, the demon of strife will be kept out of the family, and no separation of interests will take place, no alienation of affection will be permitted.7 AH 106.3

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Ellen G. White
Testimonies on Sexual Behavior, Adultery, and Divorce, 25.3

Separate Identity of Husband and Wife—I was shown that although a couple were married, gave themselves to each other by a most solemn vow in the sight of heaven and holy angels, and the two were one, yet each had a separate identity which the marriage covenant could not destroy. Although bound to one another, yet each has an influence to exert in the world, and they should not be so selfishly engrossed with each other as to shut themselves away from society and bury their usefulness and influence.—Letter 9, 1864. TSB 25.3

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Ellen G. White
The Adventist Home, 341-7

Jesus came to our world to rectify mistakes and to restore the moral image of God in man. Wrong sentiments in regard to marriage had found a place in the minds of the teachers of Israel. They were making of none effect the sacred institution of marriage. Man was becoming so hardhearted that he would for the most trivial excuse separate from his wife, or, if he chose, he would separate her from the children and send her away. This was considered a great disgrace and was often accompanied by the most acute suffering on the part of the discarded one. AH 341.1

Christ came to correct these evils, and His first miracle was wrought on the occasion of the marriage. Thus He announced to the world that marriage when kept pure and undefiled is a sacred institution.4 AH 341.2

Counsel to One Contemplating Divorce—Your ideas in regard to the marriage relation have been erroneous. Nothing but the violation of the marriage bed can either break or annul the marriage vow. We are living in perilous times, when there is no assurance in anything save in firm, unwavering faith in Jesus Christ. There is no heart that may not be estranged from God through the devices of Satan, if one does not watch unto prayer. AH 341.3

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Ellen G. White
Thoughts From the Mount of Blessing, 63-5

Among the Jews a man was permitted to put away his wife for the most trivial offenses, and the woman was then at liberty to marry again. This practice led to great wretchedness and sin. In the Sermon on the Mount Jesus declared plainly that there could be no dissolution of the marriage tie, except for unfaithfulness to the marriage vow. “Everyone,” He said, “that putteth away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, maketh her an adulteress: and whosoever shall marry her when she is put away committeth adultery.” R.V. MB 63.1

When the Pharisees afterward questioned Him concerning the lawfulness of divorce, Jesus pointed His hearers back to the marriage institution as ordained at creation. “Because of the hardness of your hearts,” He said, Moses “suffered you to put away your wives: but from the beginning it was not so.” Matthew 19:8. He referred them to the blessed days of Eden, when God pronounced all things “very good.” Then marriage and the Sabbath had their origin, twin institutions for the glory of God in the benefit of humanity. Then, as the Creator joined the hands of the holy pair in wedlock, saying, A man shall “leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one” (Genesis 2:24), He enunciated the law of marriage for all the children of Adam to the close of time. That which the Eternal Father Himself had pronounced good was the law of highest blessing and development for man. MB 63.2

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