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In Mathew 5:32 it says if a man divorces his wife except for the cause of fornication he will make her adulterer. (So in this context the adulterer will be the woman and the man who marries her after the divorce). In Mathew 19፡9 it says if he divorces his wife except for the cause of fornication and marry another, he will commit adultery (so in this context the adulterer will be the husband and the one who will marry the divorced wife. The woman is free) Which one did really Jesus spoke?

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  • Why can't it be both?
    – curiousdannii
    Mar 6, 2022 at 8:00
  • It means the same thing. Sin of divorce and remarriage here should be understood as doing imperfect or not living the perfect life. Also the deliberate faulthy divorce is necesarily a sin.
    – Michael16
    Mar 6, 2022 at 8:51
  • I think the crux of it relates to the scripture that Jesus spoke, "what God has joined together, let not man put asunder". Adulterate means to make impure. So adultery in this case means any impurity added to what God originally joined together. And this is probably because God does not unjoin them because one, the other, or both, have a problem. This joining together was meant to be permanent, and that close joining comes from the fact that they were originally one flesh in the garden, when God took the Rib from the side of Adam, and fashioned Eve from it. Aug 7, 2022 at 18:26
  • I personally believe that God also took some of Adam's spirit, and put that into Eve so that they would need each other, complement each other, and fit together perfectly. Since the fall, they do not fit together as perfectly. Aug 7, 2022 at 18:27

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For the sake of this discussion, let us denote the original couple/marriage as consisting of Man A and Woman A which we denote as MA+WA. When they get divorced, and marry others we will have two different couples, namely, MA+WB and MB+WA.

Now to the two occasions in Matthew where Jesus records His teaching about marriage.

Matt 5:32 - But I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, brings adultery upon her. And he who marries a divorced woman commits adultery.

From this verse we discover that in the absence of sexual immorality:

  • If MA divorces his wife, WA, this causes his ex-wife, WA, to commit adultery because in Jesus' day, it was almost impossible for a woman to live alone; therefore when her husband divorced her she faced an invidious choice - prostitution or remarriage - both made her guilty of adultery.
  • When MB marries WA, MB also commits adultery.
  • This says nothing about whether MA is guilty of adultery of not.

Matt 19:9 - Now I tell you that whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another woman, commits adultery.”

From this verse we discover the following in the absence of sexual immorality:

  • When MA divorces divorces his wife, WA, and marries WB, MA commits adultery.
  • This says nothing about whether WA or MB commits adultery or not.

Since these two discuss the two sides of the remarriage, they do not conflict. However, the combination of the two says that it is NOT the divorce that is the problem (consistent with Paul's teaching in 1 Cor 7:10, 11, see appendix below), but the remarriage after the divorce.

Again, Matt 5:32 and Matt 19:9 do not conflict because each addresses different parts of the same problem.

APPENDIX - 1 Cor 7:10, 11

A wife must not separate from her husband. But if she does, she must remain unmarried or else be reconciled to her husband. And a husband must not divorce his wife.

Note that both Jesus and Paul say that it is not the divorce itself that is the primary problem (bad as that is when a marriage collapses) but the remarriage after the divorce that creates the adultery.

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