Matthew 19:1-9 Marriage, Divorce, And Remarriage.
Jesus and his disciples continued to travel beyond Judea, and multitudes gathered and many were healed (vv. 1-2 Cf. Mk. 10:1-12). The Pharisees then approached Jesus and asked him if it was “lawful for a man to divorce his wife for just any reason” (v. 3). “The Pharisees’ question may reflect the opinion of Hillel, a rabbi who allowed divorce for the slightest reasons on the basis of Deut. 24:1-4. He was opposed by another teacher, Shammai, who regarded only gross indecency as proper grounds. Jesus’ answer transcends this debate about Deuteronomy and returns to the order of creation by God. Jesus views divorce as a fundamental denial of God’s created order and the nature of marriage” (NGSB 1537).
It is rightly thought that some subsequent revelation alters previous legislative demands in the scriptures, but it is not always acknowledged that some subsequent legislation, in this case in the second law or Deuteronomy, as containing legislation that departed from the creation ideal, making allowance as it did for the adverse effects of the fall. Marriage, as Jesus points out, was a creation ordinance, that which God declared as very good (vv. 4-6 Cf. Gen. 1:27; 2:24, 31; 5:2; Mal. 2:14-16). Paul also reiterated this ordinance (I Cor. 6:16; 7:2; Eph. 5:31). Moses did indeed issue a command where a certificate was required (Dt. 24:1-4), but as Jesus stated, it was done because of the hardness of men’s hearts (v. 7 Cf. I Cor. 7:10).
As Matthew also pointed out earlier, not only did Jesus here return to the creation ordinance, he also modified this law as well (v. 8 Cf. 5:31-32; Mk. 10:11-12; Lk. 16:18). “Hearing Jesus’ view of marriage, the Pharisees thought they could set Him against Moses. But Jesus shows that Moses in Deut. 24:1-4 was not giving a justification for divorce, but making provisions in the event of divorce. Deut. 24:1-4 consists of a long introductory conditional statement (“and it happens”), ending with the prohibition for a man to remarry a woman he had earlier divorced. A hardness of heart with respect to marriage and divorce is specifically restrained by this case law” (NGSB 1537). Here Jesus makes allowance only for adultery (v. 9).