Greek Study Mark 10:1-16
v1 Jesus' teaching on divorce, v1-12 is typically Markan. The form-critical classification is “scholastic dialogue” and is an example of a teaching between Jesus and the Pharisees and Jesus and his disciples.
αναστας "Jesus then left" - having arisen [from there he went to the border of Judea across the Jordan]. The participle forms a temporal clause.
τα ορια (ον) "[into] the region [of Judea]" – i.e. the border between Jewish and Gentile territory.
περαν + gen. "across [the Jordan]" - across, probably "beyond", ie. into Peraea travelling from Galilee to Jerusalem he was skirting around Samaria.
συμπορευονται (συμπορευομαι) pres. "gathered around him".
ειωθει (ειωθα) pluperf. "[as] was his custom" - ειοθα is the perfect of εθω (is accustomed) but the pluperfect takes the imperfect "as he was accustomed".
v2 προσελθοντες (προσερχομαι) aor. part. "[some Pharisees] came" - attendant circumstance expressing action accompanying the verb "were asking".
πειραζονες (πειραζω) pres. part. "tested [him]" - a purpose clause, "in order to…”.
εξεστιν "it is lawful" – literally is it permissible/allowed so it takes the form of a question.
απολυσαι (απολυω) aor. inf. "to divorce [his wife]" – here the infinitive forms a noun clause so the phrase translates; [they were asking him if] divorcing a wife is lawful [for a man]".
v3 αποκριθεις (αποκρινομαι) aor. pas. part. answering [them]; redundant.
τι "what" – an interrogative ενετειλατο (εντελλομαι) aor. "did [Moses] command" - in the sense of giving give orders or official sanction to? Jesus is now testing them as to the regulation which Moses prescribed!
v4 επετρεψεν (επιτριπω) aor. "[Moses] permitted" actually Mosaic law regulated divorce, but by his choice of the word "permitted" Jesus indicates divorce is actually more of a divine concession not a right or a normative action. We would say it is the exception, not the rule. Now, the question becomes, “what is the rule?”
γραψαι (γραφω) aor. inf. "to write" - forms an object clause expressing what Moses allowed.
απαστασιου (ον) gen. "[a certificate] of divorce" adjectival, limiting "certificate" – this document was designed to provide protection for a woman – NOT permission for a man! (Deut.24:1-4) The Divine intent was here to provide protection for the weaker of two parties in a contractual arrangement – one could argue from the Greek and the texts inferred that the concession discussed was not how to end a ‘bad marriage” or to provide license to ‘move on” but rather on now to compassionately deal with the real world effects of the sinful consequence of broken relationships. In Greek, this word meant leave ("απο" means away) one's station (στασιου) – the word explodes off the page if you look at it Biblically or from the Greek military language from where it originates, for it literally means a defection from the one ahead of you in rank. Moses gave permission to write a certificate of defection and I wonder how many sensibilities would be offended if we labeled divorce a “defection”? And let me be clear, arguing that divorce is “necessary” or “good” is the same argumwent5 used with abortion being “necessary” or “good”. Absolute prohibitions do not deal with reality, exceptions are real, but Jesus will not be distracted by ‘exceptions” – he is establishing a divine intent and norm….you have to be clear about what the baseline is from which you draw the ‘exception”. Our society has, in my option, made the exception the rule. And as he sometimes does, Jesus actually changes the law here, he makes it even more stringent. I know it is inconvenient to think like this, but as he also does in the beatitudes he makes the Law MORE STRINGENT, NOT LESS. And as we confess him to be God incarnate he is not expressing his ‘opinion” but rather clarifying a divine norm. If you look up the word “divorce” will be taken to Deuteronomy 24:1 where a man is given permission to kick out his wife if she displeases him. Jesus today calls men to a greater level of faithfulness than previous generations; men can no longer leave their wives because they displease them! And Jesus even allows a situation where a women might leave their husbands as well, which is something which unthinkable in Jewish culture. So in a sense one can argue for that he enfranchises women, yet in doing so he asks for a greater, not a lesser, commitment from them as well. And note that although the Bible's teaching about divorce shifts over time, its teaching about marriage remains the same (as it was from the beginning)! This is not about our practices…it is about the Divine expectation and norm, it is about what the church is called to teach.
v5 την σκληροκαρδιαν (α) "[your] hearts were hard" – lit. stubborn; "hard-heartedness", the inability (closer to the truth) to obey God's will. Situation that necessitate laws take into account actual sinfulness and are designed to limit and control its consequences. For example multiple sclerosis is an awful disease - the hardening of certain body parts until the person cannot move. Well, in a downward spiraling relationship, there is a hardening of the heart, until finally the person cannot love.
v6 Jesus supports his argument using two texts, i] Gen.1:27, ii] Gen.2:24, and draws a conclusion, v6-9. The argument is; "if the intention of the creator of the male and female was for them to be united into "one flesh" "so that they are no longer two, then God's will simply cannot be they divorce. Divorce is tantamount to an undoing the created order!
κτισεως (ις εως) gen. "of creation" – literally means "the sum total of everything created", so not "at the beginning of Genesis", but "from the beginning of creation". The Greek here is clearly referring to the created intent, not traditional or cultural positions.
v8 εσονται ...... εις "will become" - this unusual use of the verb to-be with the preposition "into" derives from a literal translation in the Septuagint of the Hebrew.
ωστε "so that” - a consecutive clause expressing result, "And the two will become so completely one that they will no longer be two persons but one".
v9 Given the divine will for the integral unity of marriage, evident in the creation, Jesus issues an absolute decree on the issue of divorce using the conclusive Greek word: ουν "therefore" - expressing a logical conclusion.
συνεζευξεν (συζευγνιμι) aor. "has yoked together".
μη + pres. imp. "not" - construction commands the cessation of an action already in progress; so; "husbands must stop removing their wives!”
v10 Jesus now instructs the disciples on the issue of divorce, v10-12.
εις την οικιαν "when they were back home again"
επηρωτων (επερωταω) "[the disciples] asked" περι + gen. "about [this]"
v11 The lack of the exception for divorce, (except for adultery in Matt.19:9) expresses the absolute nature of this kingdom law. In fact, the exception clause in Matthew is more difficult to explain in light of the unforgiving Greek wording of this command and so is likely a later addition to the text!
ος αν + subj. "anyone who" - an indefinite relative clause establishing a hypothetical condition, 3rd class, "whoever, as may be the case.... then ".
επι + acc. "[commits adultery] against [her]" - spacial in the sense of "up against”; also possibly "with respect to" a wife's right to not have a third party intrude on the "one flesh" relationship she has with her husband. Mark's "against her" highlights the force of Jesus' pronouncement. Under rabbinic law a man may commit adultery against another man by bedding that man's wife or a wife may commit adultery against her husband by bedding another man, but it was inconceivable that a man, by bedding another woman, has in this act committed adultery against his own wife! And that is a loophole big enough to drive a truck through!
v12 Given that a Jewish wife could not divorce her husband it is argued that this is an explanatory inclusion for Gentile readers (given that under Roman law a wife could divorce her husband). While there is some second century evidence that in some Jewish circles a women did have the right to divorce her husband, either way the statement reinforces the absolute nature of Jesus' words.
απολυσασα (απολυω) "divorces [her husband]" attendant circumstance participle expressing action accompanying the verb "marries"; "divorces and marries". Some suggest that this active participle is the consequence of wrongly reading an Aramaic passive participle so giving a translation in agreement with Luke 16:18b; " if she who has been divorced by her husband marries another, he commits adultery".
v13 Thankfully now, leaving divorce behind, Jesus welcomes little children, v13-16. Confronted by the absolute demands of the law we are reminded that there has only ever been one way to secure covenant compliance and that is through God’s mercy. Jesus uses the coming and blessing of children for to illustrate this. And it should not be lost that in the previous teaching on divorce; Jesus is protecting the legally weaker of two parties in the covenantal agreement (the wife). By welcoming παιδια (ον) "little children" which literally means to those too young to vote, provide a career or to legally hold property, therefore in society’s eyes not yet of value, he emphasizes that the values of God’s Kingdom are radically different than the values of any lesser Kingdom - including the USA, (God bless America). He calls disciples to be loyal to and to teach the values of God’s kingdom and not a lesser one!
ινα + subj. "in order that" a purpose clause.
αυτων gen. "[touch] them" - Genitive after a verb of touching- in the sense of laying hands upon for the conferring of a blessing.
επετιμησαν (επιτιμαω) aor. "rebuked" - the disciples told the people to stop bothering him
v14 ιδων (ειδον) aor. part. "when [Jesus] saw this" - participle is adverbial forming a temporal clause.
ηγανακτησεν (αγανακτεω) aor. "he was indignant" - against what they judged to be wrong.
ερχεσθαι (ερχομαι) aor. inf. "[let the little children] come [to me]" - "Children" is the object of the imperative verb "allow", the infinitive is complementary in that it completes the sense of the verb "allow" so "you must allow the children to come to me".
μη + pres. "not" a negation with the pres. imp. commands the secession of action in progress; "stop forbidding them."
του θεου (ος) gen. "[the kingdom] of God" - The genitive is interesting. Does the kingdom belong to God (possessive), proceed from God (ablative), is enacted by God subjective), or is it simply, in general terms, God-like (adjectival, descriptive)? The mystery of the genitive.
των .. τοιουτων "[belongs to] such as these" This statement is not an item in a doctrinal discussion on the innocence of children or on the age of accountability, but a proclamation on the nature of the kingdom. Inclusion is a matter of God's grace not rights or efforts.
v15 αμην λεω υϑμιν "truly I tell you" underlining the words ος αν + subj. "whoever” see above for a conditional clause μη δεξηται (δεχομαι) aor. subj. "does not receive" – here Jesus, exegetes the nature of God's reign, i.e. those who do not come and receive as these children came and received will have no part in God's righteous rule.
ως "as [a child]" - a comparison.
ου μη + subj. "[will] never [enter it]" – a subjunctive of emphatic negation.
v16 εναγκαλισαμενος (εναγκαλιζομαι) aor. part. "he took [the children] into his arms" - attendant circumstance participle expressing action accompanying the main verb "he blesses".
τιθεις (τιθημι) pres. part. "put [his hands]" - participle is modal expressing the manner of blessing, or possibly the means, "by laying on of hands” a blessing of OT precedence (Gen.48:14-18).
κατευλογει (κατευλογεω) imperf. "and blessed them" – a hapax legomenon, the imperfect may be expressing durative action - the prefix is intensifying, so "he kept on fervently/tenderly/ warmly/lovingly blessing them." He is making a point here.