American slaveholders were similarly sure that the practice of slavery in biblical times proved the Bible's approval of slavery (Sawyer 1858), the same way Muslim slaveholders applied the Qur'an (Gordon 1989:xi; B. Some husbands today twist biblical teachings to justify abusing their wives (see, for example, Alsdurf and Alsdurf 1989).And some churches use Jesus' words in this very passage-words that may have been meant to protect an innocent Jewish wife from being wrongfully divorced by her husband (Kysar and Kysar 19; France 190; M. Human nature has changed very little in two millennia.Although his opponents claim Scripture for their purposes, Jesus challenges their actual knowledge of Scripture by showing that they are proof texting rather than reading it in light of God's whole plan: Haven't you read . Jesus responds that Moses permitted this merely as a concession to Israel's hard hearts, implying that his questioners who exploit this concession also have hard hearts.Thus in Matthew (in contrast to Mark) the Pharisees even exploit Moses' concession as a command (Gundry 190).When Matthew speaks of this exception, his readers very probably would have understood this as a legal charge (as in Quint. Julius 6, 74), hence as referring to unfaithfulness; thus, for example, the wife's adultery exempted the husband from returning her funds to her (Safrai 1974-1976b:790). I believe that most other views of porneia in this text fail to treat Matthew's specific cultural setting adequately (taking into account the "charge") beyond their own proposal.Jewish and Roman law both required divorce for these grounds (Safrai 1974-1976b:762; see comment on ). Most of these views also give porneia ("immorality," "infidelity") a more restricted meaning than it normally bears unless explicitly qualified, which it is not here (as noted by many commentators, such as Hagner 194).
Responding to this objection, Jesus replied that some would indeed be better off not marrying; perhaps because of the intensity of their calling, it would be difficult for them to find a compatible spouse who would share their commitment (this is not only an ancient situation).
Parents arranged marriages, and in Galilee at least prospective spouses could not spend time alone until after the wedding (Safrai 1974-1976b:756-57; Finkelstein 1962:).