Commentary Critical and Explanatory
on the Whole Bible
Farewell to Galilee
(Mt 19:1, 2).
1. And it came to pass, that when Jesus had finished these sayings, he
departed from Galilee--This marks a very solemn period in our Lord's
public ministry. So slightly is it touched here, and in the
corresponding passage of Mark
that few readers probably note it as the Redeemer's Farewell to
Galilee, which however it was. See on the sublime statement of
which relates to the same transition stage in the progress of our
and came into the coasts--or, boundaries
of Judea beyond Jordan--that is, to the further, or east side of
the Jordan, into Perea, the dominions of Herod Antipas. But though one
might conclude from our Evangelist that our Lord went straight from the
one region to the other, we know from the other Gospels that a
considerable time elapsed between the departure from the one and the
arrival at the other, during which many of the most important events in
our Lord's public life occurred--probably a large part of what is
onward to Lu 18:15,
and part of
2. And great multitudes followed him; and he healed them there--Mark
that "as He was wont, He taught them there." What we now have on the
subject of divorce is some of that teaching.
3. Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife for every cause?--Two
rival schools (as we saw on
were divided on this question--a delicate one, as DE WETTE pertinently remarks, in the
dominions of Herod Antipas.
4. And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which
made them at the beginning made them male and female--or better,
perhaps, "He that made them made them from the beginning a male and a
5. And said, For this cause--to follow out this divine appointment.
shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and
they twain shall be one flesh?--Jesus here sends them back to the
original constitution of man as one pair, a male and a female; to their
marriage, as such, by divine appointment; and to the purpose of God,
expressed by the sacred historian, that in all time one man and one
woman should by marriage become one flesh--so to continue as long as
both are in the flesh. This being God's constitution, let not
man break it up by causeless divorces.
7. They say unto him, Why did Moses then command to give a writing of
divorcement, and to put her away?
8. He saith unto them, Moses--as a civil lawgiver.
because of--or "having respect to."
the hardness of your hearts--looking to your low moral state, and
your inability to endure the strictness of the original law.
suffered you to put away your wives--tolerated a relaxation of the
strictness of the marriage bond--not as approving of it, but to prevent
still greater evils.
But from the beginning it was not so--This is repeated, in order to
impress upon His audience the temporary and purely civil character of
this Mosaic relaxation.
9. And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife,
except, &c.--See on
10. His disciples say unto him, If the case of the man be so with his
wife, it is not good to marry--that is, "In this view of marriage,
surely it must prove a snare rather than a blessing, and had better be
11. But he said unto them, All men cannot receive this saying, save
they to whom it is given--that is, "That the unmarried state is
better, is a saying not for everyone, and indeed only for such as it is
divinely intended for." But who are these? they would naturally ask; and
this our Lord proceeds to tell them in three particulars.
12. For there are some eunuchs which were so born from their mother's
womb--persons constitutionally either incapable of or indisposed to
and there are some eunuchs which were made eunuchs of men--persons
rendered incapable by others.
and there be eunuchs which have made themselves eunuchs for the
kingdom of heaven's sake--persons who, to do God's work better,
deliberately choose this state. Such was Paul
He that is able to receive it, let him receive it--"He who feels this
to be his proper vocation, let him embrace it"; which, of course, is as
much as to say--"he only." Thus, all are left free in this matter.
For the exposition, see on
For the exposition, see on