Matthew 19:1-12

Jesus teaches about when a man sends his own wife away

1 When Jesus had finished saying all these things, he went away from Galilee. He went to the part of Judea that is on the other side of the Jordan river. 2 Large crowds followed Jesus there. He made the sick people well again.

3 Some Pharisees came to talk to Jesus. They wanted to see how he would answer their question. They asked, ‘Can a man send his wife away so that she is no longer his wife? Is it right for him to do that for any reason he chooses?’

4 Jesus replied, ‘You surely have read about this in the Bible. At the start, when God made the world, he made people male and female. 5 Because of this, a man leaves his father and his mother. God joins him and his wife together. The man and the woman become like one body. 6 They are not two separate people any longer. They have come together as one person. God has put them together to be husband and wife. So nobody should make them separate.’

19:4See Genesis 2:24.

7 Then the Pharisees said to Jesus, ‘Moses said that a man could write a letter to say that he and his wife are no longer married. Then the man can send the woman away. Why did Moses say this?’

8 Jesus answered them, ‘Moses said this because you people did not want to obey God. All these things were different at the start, when God made the world. 9 But now I say to you: A man must not send his wife away and marry another woman. If he does that, it is the same as if he had sex with another man's wife. A man may only send his wife away if she has had sex with another man.’

10 Jesus' disciples said to him, ‘You say that this is what it is like for a man and his wife. Then maybe it is better if people do not marry.’

11 Jesus replied, ‘Not everyone can agree with this idea. But God has helped some people to agree with it. 12 There are several different reasons why a person may not marry. Some men cannot have sex. They were born like that. Some other people cannot have sex because people did something to them. Some people choose not to have sex. They do not marry because then they can work better for God and his kingdom. Anyone who can agree with this idea should do it.’