Matthew 5:32

New Testament

30 If your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away! It is better to lose one of your members than to have your whole body go into hell. 31 “It was said, ‘Whoever divorces his wife must give her a legal document.’ 32 But I say to you that everyone who divorces his wife, except for immorality, makes her commit adultery, and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery. 33 “Again, you have heard that it was said to an older generation, ‘Do not break an oath, but fulfill your vows to the Lord.’ 34 But I say to you, do not take oaths at all—not by heaven, because it is the throne of God,

Mishnah Nedarim 11


Initially the Sages would say that three women are divorced even against their husbands’ will, and nevertheless they receive payment of what is due to them according to their marriage contract. The first is the wife of a priest who says to her husband: I am defiled to you, i.e., she claims that she had been raped, so that she is now forbidden to her husband. The second is a woman who says to her husband: Heaven is between me and you, i.e., she declares that he is impotent, a claim she cannot prove, as the truth of it is known only to God. And the third is a woman who takes a vow, stating: I am removed from the Jews, i.e., benefit from sexual intercourse with any Jew, including my husband, is forbidden to me. They subsequently retracted their words and said that in order that a married woman should not cast her eyes on another man and to that end ruin her relationship with her husband and still receive payment of her marriage contract, these halakhot were modified as follows: A priest’s wife who says to her husband: I am defiled to you, must bring proof for her words that she was raped. As for a woman who says: Heaven is between me and you, the court must act and deal with the matter by way of a request, rather than force the husband to divorce his wife. And with regard to a woman who says: I am removed from the Jews, her husband must nullify his part, i.e., the aspect of the vow that concerns him, so that she should be permitted to him, and she may engage in sexual intercourse with him, but she is removed from all other Jews, so that if he divorces her she is forbidden to all.

 Notes and References

"... Unchastity (Gk “porneia”; see 19.3–9; compare Mk 10.2–12; Lk 16.18; 1 Cor 7.11–13), encompasses more than adultery, e.g., marriages viewed by Leviticus (18.6–18) as incestuous. Jesus’ sexual ethics are stricter than found in most other branches of early Judaism, but see 11QTemple 57.17–19; CD 4.12–5.14; m. Ned. 11.12; b. Sanh. 22a. ..."

Levine, Amy-Jill & Brettler, Marc Zvi The Jewish Annotated New Testament (p. 12) Oxford University Press, 2011

 User Comments

Do you have questions or comments about these texts? Please submit them here.