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Breaking Wedlock (Committing Adultery)


We have recently received the following inquiry:

I have recently purchased 3 Cephers from you. I am very concerned about Matthew 19:9 saying that he who remarries breaks wedlock. Where has this term “breaks wedlock” come from? Blessings and shalom

The verse in question as found in the Eth Cepher is as follows:

Mattithyahu 19:9

And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his woman, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, breaks wedlock: and whoso marries her which is put away breaks wedlock.

First, we have long held that the Besorah (Gospel) according to Mattithyahu (Matthew) was originally established in the Hebrew language.  We based this decision on the fragments found in the writing of Eusibeus (St. Jerome), whose foundational notes included references to the gospel according to the Hebrews.  This decision is also supported by the Aramaic Peshitta versions of the New Testament, and the gospel according to the Nazarenes (additional fragments from the same time period, namely the third and fourth centuries).  There is a great deal of evidence that Constantine gave instructions to go and seek out all Hebrew writings of the New Testament and to destroy the same.  Consequently, libraries were burned and every Hebrew scroll that was found was also burned.  Preservation was had only in Alexandria, and even those references were subject to Greek manipulation. 

In most English interpretations, the phrase in Matthew 19:9 uses the phrase “commits adultery” rather than the phrase “breaks wedlock.”  The Greek, being linear in its restatement of the concept initially set forth in Hebrew in Exodus 20 (and other places in the Torah), displaces the word na’aph with the Greek word μοιχαω moichao (Strong's Greek Dictionary 3429) which means to commit adultery.

However, the phrase “commits adultery” in the passage from Mattithyahu (Matthew) was not created from whole cloth for the first time in the New Testament.  For instance, let’s look at other English interpretations of the following:

Yekhezq’el (Ezekiel) 16:38

And I will judge thee, as women that break wedlock (na’aph) and shed blood are judged; and I will give thee blood in fury and jealousy. KJV

And I will judge you as women who break wedlock or shed blood are judged; I will bring blood upon you in fury and jealousy. NKJV

I will sentence you to the punishment of women who commit adultery and who shed blood; I will bring on you the blood vengeance of my wrath and jealous anger. NIV

Thus I will judge you like women who commit adultery or shed blood are judged; and I will bring on you the blood of wrath and jealousy. NASB

And I will judge you as women who commit adultery and shed blood are judged, and bring upon you the blood of wrath and jealousy. ESV

I will find you guilty of being an unfaithful wife and a murderer, and in my fierce anger I will sentence you to death! CSV

I will judge you, as women who break wedlock and shed blood are judged; and I will bring on you the blood of wrath and jealousy. WEB

Consider in other English translations the use of the word na’aph, as it also appears in the following:

Shemot (Exodus) 20:14; Vayiqra (Leviticus 20:10); Devariym (Deuteronomy) 5:18; Iyov (Job) 24:15; Mishlei (Proverbs) 6:32; 30:20; Yeshayahu (Isaiah) 57:3; Yermiyahu (Jeremiah) 3:8; 5:7; 7:9; 9:2; 23:10; 23:14; 29:23; Yekhezk’el (Ezekiel) 16:32; 16:38; 23:37; 23:45 Husha (Hosea) 3:1; 4:2; 4:13; 4:14; 7:4; and Mal’akiy (Malachi) 3:5.

A quick review of the edict given in Shemot (Exodus) 20:14 gives us simply two words:  לֹא תִּנְאָף 

Its transliteration: Lo ta’na’aph. 

This word na’aph (Strong's Hebrew Dictionary 5003) is a root word, and it means to apostatize; that is, to be an adulterer or adulteress, to commit adultery, or to break wedlock. 

Mattithyahu 19:9

And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his woman, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, breaks wedlock: and whoso marries her which is put away breaks wedlock.

When we review this phrase again, there is another consideration because of the use of the word fornication.  While the Greek word porneia is applicable to the translation fornication, the Hebrew word that the Greek word replaces can also be stated as whoredom.  This issue is discussed in a previous blog. 

In this instance, the phrase breaks wedlock means the joining of a man and a woman in wedlock under YAH is such that it cannot be broken.  If a man puts away (divorces) his woman for a reason other than fornication/whoredom, then he breaks wedlock, which violates the commandment (mitzvah) given in Shemot (Exodus) 20:14 – lo na’aph (no breaking wedlock).  Additionally, the scripture states that if a man joins a woman in wedlock who was put away (divorced) for a reason other than fornication/whoredom (porneia), then he too breaks her actual wedlock to her first man, who is still lawfully her man. 

You might then ask the question: what is breaking wedlock?  And, in pure Socratic form, we might respond: what is committing adultery?  The best answers are found in the scriptural citations above, but the short answer is: that which breaks the joining of two to become one flesh.

Bere’shiyth (Genesis) 2:24

Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his woman: and they shall be one flesh.

Mattithyahu (Matthew) 19:4-6

And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female, 5 And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his woman: and they twain shall be one flesh? 6 Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What את (eth) therefore ELOHIYM has joined together, let not man put asunder.

Let’s take a look at a couple of other Hebrew words in regard to this institution we call wedlock, or marriage, as it may be referenced in scripture:

First, there is the word דָּבַק dabaq (Strong's Hebrew Dictionary 1692), which is interpreted as meaning to cleave.  However, its application also means to impinge, i.e. cling or adhere; figuratively, to catch by pursuit: to abide fast, cleave (fast together), follow close (hard after), or to be joined together.

Shemot (Exodus) 21:10

If he take him another woman; her food, her raiment, and her duty of marriage, shall he not diminish.

The word used here and interpreted as marriage is the Hebrew word is עוֹנָה `ownah (Strong’s 5772), which means to dwell together; sexual (cohabitation), which is construed as the duty of marriage.  Does it mean marriage as a stand-alone concept? Maybe, although the word appears to be limited to the concept of dwelling together, and sexual cohabitation.  Is this the extent of marriage?

Tehilliym (Psalms) 78:63

The fire consumed their young men; and their maidens were not given to marriage.

Here, the word used for marriage is הָלַל halal (Strong's 1984).  However, in every other place where this word is found, the translation is praise or glory.  HalaluYAH, for example. It means to shine; hence, to make a show, to boast; and thus to be (clamorously) foolish; to rave; causatively, to celebrate; also to stultify:—(make) boast (self), celebrate, commend, (deal, make), fool(-ish, -ly), glory, give (light), be (make, feign self) mad (against), (sing, be worthy of) praise, rage, renowned, and shine. And in one instance, to give in marriage.

This has its own beauty, does it not?  That YAH shines when given in marriage.  Another way of stating the meaning of the word HalaluYAH is our glory / shining is in the joining to YAH

However, the word halal means the giving in marriage, not necessarily marriage itself.  

We can also rely on the Greek word γαμος gamos (Strong's Greek Dictionary 1062), which in most cases means the wedding, not necessarily marriage.  

So this puts us at a bit of a quandary, doesn’t it?  Isn’t the best word for marriage the Hebrew word דָּבַק dabaq (meaning to cleave)?  Take a look at the tedusha of this word.  We have three letters, kof, which means behind; beit, which means the house, and dalet, which means the door.  So, the sod (secret) meaning of the word dabaq is behind the door to the house.  

Let’s take a look at a couple of other examples using this word dabaq (to cleave):

Bemidbar (Numbers) 36:7

So shall not the inheritance of the children of Yisra’el remove from tribe to tribe: for everyone of the children of Yisra’el shall keep himself (dabaq) to the inheritance of the tribe of his fathers.

Or how about this example:

Devariym (Deuteronomy) 10:20

You shall fear את eth-YAHUAH your ELOHIYM; him shall you serve, and to him shall you cleave (dabaq), and swear by his name.

Therefore, to break wedlock means to no longer cling to or adhere to; to no longer abide fast to, to no longer follow closely, or to no longer be joined together. And yes, to break wedlock also means to no longer dwell together, and to no longer be in sexual cohabitation. 

Let’s look at our passage one more time:

Mattithyahu 19:9

And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his woman, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, breaks wedlock: and whoso marries her which is put away breaks wedlock.

He who puts away his woman, and marries another, no longer clings to his woman, he no longer is joined together with her, he no longer dwells with her, nor is he in sexual cohabitation, and he who marries her who is not lawfully divorced, breaks her unity with her man. 

I pray this answers the question. 

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