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Ferrar Fenton Bible: Matthew 19

Marriage and Divorce

Then it occurred that when Jesus had finished these discourses, He removed from Galilee, and went into the borders of Judea, across the Jordan; and great crowds following Him, He cured them there. And the Pharisees came to put Him to the test; and they asked Him, "Is it legal for a man to divorce his wife for any fault?"

In reply to them He asked: "Have you not read that the One Who made them, made them from the beginning male and female, and said, For this REASON A MAN SHALL LEAVE HIS FATHER AND MOTHER, AND SHALL CLING TO HIS WIFE, AND THEY TWO SHALL BECOME AS ONE PERSON?1 They are therefore no longer two, but a single body. What then God has united, let it not be separated by man."

"Why then," they asked, "did Moses order the giving of a decree of divorce and separation?"

"Moses," He answered them, "having regard to the grossness of your natures, allowed you to divorce your wives; but it was not so from the beginning. I therefore tell you that if any one dismisses his wife, unless for fornication, and marries another, he commits adultery."2

His own disciples then remarked, "If this is the condition of the husband and wife, marriage would not be bearable."

Proceeding, however, He told them: "All cannot accept this doctrine; indeed none but those to whom it is granted. Still there are single-beders who were born so from their mothers; and there are single-beders who havo been made so by men; while there are others who keep themselves single for the Kingdom of Heaven's sake. The one who can avail himself of it, let him do so."

Welcoming the Children

Then children were brought to Him, in order that He might lay His hands upon them and pray; but the disciples forbade them. Jesus, however, said, "Allow the little ones, and do not prevent their coming to Me; for of such is the Kingdom of Heaven." And having laid His hands upon them, He went away.

The Rich Young Man

Now, it happened that one approached Him, and said, "Teacher! What beneficent act shall I do, in order that I may secure everlasting life?"

"Why," He said in reply to him, "have you asked Me about beneficence? — beneficence is single! There is but One alone Who is beneficent. But if you would enter into life, keep the commands."

"How many?" he asked.

Jesus replied, Do not murder; do not commit adultery; do not steal; Do not commit perjury; Honour your father and mother; and, Love your neighbour as your own self.3 "All these," said the young man in reply to Him, "I have observed from my childhood: what more do I need?"

"If you wish to be perfect," Jesus then said to him, "go away, sell all your possessions, and hand over to the poor, and you will secure a treasure in heaven; and then become a follower of Mine!"

Having heard that advice, however, the young man departed, greatly grieved; for he was the owner of vast possessions.

The Barrier of Wealth

Then Jesus said to His disciples, "I tell you indeed, that the wealthy will enter into the Kingdom of Heaven with difficulty I can tell you more: it is easier for a camel to pass through a narrow doorway, than for a wealthy man to gain admittance to the Kingdom of God!"

When the disciples heard this, they were profoundly astonished, exclaiming, "Who then can be saved?"

Jesus, however, fixing His eyes upon them, replied, "By human power this is impossible; but by Divine power all is possible."

"Why," remarked Peter, in reply, "we have left all, and followed You; what then will be for us?"

"I tell you indeed," said Jesus to them, that you who followed Me, in the new birth when the Son of Man will sit upon the throne of His majesty, shall then sit upon twelve thrones, reigning over the twelve tribes of Israel. And all who forsake houses, or brothers, or sisters, or father, or mother, or children, or lands, on account of My Name, will receive a hundred times more; and shall inherit everlasting life. But many of the first will be last, and the last first.


  1. Gen. 2:24.
  2. Note.—I omit the clause, "And he who marries the divorced woman commits adultery," because it is only a comment of an ancient transcriber, as proved by the oldest MSS. of the Gospel. See Bishop Westcott and Hort's Greek Testament.—F. F.
  3. Exod. 20:12-17

Transcribed by Mark Hicks on 12-31-2014