Jesus on divorce in Matthew and Mark

Wed, 30/08/2006 - 10:19 -- James Oakley

I've just noticed the really obvious.

It isn't just the lack of an exception clause that makes Mark 10 different from Matthew 19. The question Jesus is recorded as being asked is different too.

Matthew 19: Is divorce lawful for any reason?
Mark 10: Is divorce lawful?

Matthew 19: Except for unfaithfulness (notwithstanding the debate about how to translate that word)
Mark 10: Yes - but not that way from the beginning.

The difference in the question helps a lot with the difference in the answer. Matthew has focussed on the precise nature of the exception. Mark has focussed on the intended permanence of marriage which makes any premature ending a tragedy. Because that is Mark's focus, he doesn't appear to preclude exceptions - whether there are exceptions is not his interest.

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