Matthew 19:9

Except for fornication (parekto logou porneia). This is the marginal reading in Westcott and Hort which also adds "maketh her an adulteress" (poiei authn moiceuqhnai) and also these words: "and he that marrieth her when she is put away committeth adultery" (kai o apolelumenhn gamhsa moicatai). There seems to be a certain amount of assimilation in various manuscripts between this verse and the words in Deuteronomy 5:32 . But, whatever reading is accepted here, even the short one in Westcott and Hort (mh epi porneiai, not for fornication), it is plain that Matthew represents Jesus in both places as allowing divorce for fornication as a general term (porneia) which is technically adultery (moiceia from moicaw or moiceuw). Here, as in Deuteronomy 5:31 f., a group of scholars deny the genuineness of the exception given by Matthew alone. McNeile holds that "the addition of the saving clause is, in fact, opposed to the spirit of the whole context, and must have been made at a time when the practice of divorce for adultery had already grown up." That in my opinion is gratuitous criticism which is unwilling to accept Matthew's report because it disagrees with one's views on the subject of divorce. He adds: "It cannot be supposed that Matthew wished to represent Jesus as siding with the school of Shammai." Why not, if Shammai on this point agreed with Jesus? Those who deny Matthew's report are those who are opposed to remarriage at all. Jesus by implication, as in Deuteronomy 5:31 , does allow remarriage of the innocent party, but not of the guilty one. Certainly Jesus has lifted the whole subject of marriage and divorce to a new level, far beyond the petty contentions of the schools of Hillel and Shammai.