He said unto them,
Moses because of the hardness of your hearts allowed you to put away your wives: but from the beginning it was not so.
Read Chapter 19
Augustine of Hippo
Gen. ad lit., ix. 19: Whereas Scripture witnesses that these words were said bythe first man, and the Lord here declares that God spake them, hence we should understand that by reason of the ecstasy which had passed upon Adam, he was enabled to speak this as a prophecy.
City of God, book xiv, ch. 22: For they are called one, either from their union, or from the derivation of the woman, who was taken out of the side of the man.
Cont. Faust., xix, 29: Behold now out of the books of Moses it is proved to the Jews that a wife may not be put away. For they thought that they were doing according to the purport of Moses’ law when they did put them away. This also we learn hence by the testimony of Christ Himself, that it was God who made it thus, and joined them male and female; which when the Manichaeans deny, they are condemned, resisting the Gospel of Christ.
For how great was that hardness? When not even the intervention of a bill of divorce, which gave room for just and prudent men to en...
Moses, because of the hardness of your hearts, permitted you Whether this was permitted in the old law, so that the man who was divorced from his wife could marry another woman, is disputed. Some think this second marriage was still unlawful, though tolerated, and not punished. At least in the new law, a divorce upon just causes may be sometimes permitted; but this does not make it lawful for the man or woman so separated to marry another. (Witham)
The latter part of this verse, of St. Paul, (Romans vii. 3,) and the constant tradition of the Church, show that the exception only refers to separation, but not to the marrying another during the life of the parties. In this place Christ restores the original condition of the marriage state, and henceforth will have it to be a perfect figure of the hypostatic union of his divine person with our human nature, as also of his nuptial union with his Church, and consequently that it should be indissoluble. (Tirinus)
But He so frames His answer as to evade their snare. He brings in the testimony of Holy Writ, and the law of nature, and opposing God’s first sentence to this second, “He answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female? "This is written in the beginning of Genesis. This teaches that second marriages are to be avoided, for He said not male and females, which was what was sought by the putting away of the first, but, male and female, implying only one tie of wedlock.
In like manner He says “his wife,” and not wives, and adds expressly, “and they twain shall be one flesh.” For it is the reward of marriage that one flesh, namely in the offspring, is made of two.
Here they reveal the cavil which they had prepared; albeit the Lord had not given sentence of Himself, but had recalled to their minds ancient history, and the commands of God.
: As the righteous Lord of all, who loves these servants so as not to despise those.
They were conducting Him forth, as the young children of a father going on afar journey. And He setting forth as a father, left them as pledges of His love the healing of their diseases, as it is said, “And he healed them.”.
It should be also observed, that the Lord is not either ever delivering doctrine, or ever working miracles, but one while does this, and again turns to that; that by His miracles faith might be given to what He said, and by His teaching might be showed the profit of those things which He wrought.
For indeed Christ so healed men, as to do good both to themselves, and through them to many other. For these men’s healing was to others the occasion of their knowledge of God; but not to the Pharisees, who were only hardened by themiracles.Whence it follows; “And the Pharisees cause to him, tempting him, and saying, Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife for every cause?”.
Nevertheless, with unspeakable wisdom he makes a defense even for these things, saying that “Moses for the hardness of your hearts” had thus made that law. And he does not let Moses remain accused, since it was he himself who had given Moses the law, but he frees him from blame and turns the whole matter onto their heads, as he does everywhere. Just as when they accused the disciples while they were gleaning grain, he showed the accusers themselves to be at fault. When they charged them with eating with unwashed hands, Jesus proved that they themselves were the transgressors; and the same happened over the sabbath. So it happened here too. The Gospel of Matthew, Homily
Nevertheless, unspeakable wisdom makes a defense even for these things, and says, Moses for the hardness of your hearts thus made the law. And not even him does He suffer to remain under accusation, forasmuch as He had Himself given him the law; but delivers him from the charge, and turns the whole upon their head, as everywhere He does.
For again when they were blaming His disciples for plucking the ears of grain, He shows themselves to be guilty; and when they were laying a transgression to their charge as to their not washing their hands, He shows themselves to be the transgressors, and touching the Sabbath also: both everywhere, and here in like manner.
Then because the saying was hard to bear, and brought on them much blame, He quickly directs back His discourse to that ancient law, saying as He had said before also, But in the beginning it was not so, that is, God by His acts at the beginning ordained the contrary. For in order that they may not say, Whence is it manifest, ...
Here then He begins to relate what He did, taught, or suffered in Judaea. Atfirst beyond Jordan eastward, afterwards on this side Jordan when He came to Jericho, Bethphage, and Jerusalem; whence it follows, “And He came into the coasts of Judaea beyond the Jordan.”.
It should be known, that the whole territory of the Israelites was called Judaea, to distinguish it from other nations. But its southern portion, inhabited by the tribes of Judah and Benjamin, was called Judaea proper, to distinguish it from other districts in the same province as Samaria, Galilee, Decapolis, and the rest. It follows, “And great multitudes followed him.”
The Apostle says that this is a mystery in Christ and the Church; for the Lord Jesus Christ left His Father when He came down from heaven to earth; and He left His mother, that is, the synagogue, because of its unbelief; and clave unto His wife, that is, the Holy Church, and they two are one flesh, that is, Christ and the Church are one body.