If Jesus was silent about other grounds, shouldn't we be?

Someone emailed:
Jesus in the Gospels only names one ground for divorce – 'porneia' -- which is interpreted in various ways (adultery, sexual immorality etc). But he doesn't mention abuse or abandonment which you say is taught by Ex.21.10f. If Jesus was silent about this, shouldn't we be silent as well?

Reply: Jesus didn't affirm the law of Ex.21.10f but Paul uses it as the basis of 1Cor.7 to teach the obligations in marriage included emotional support (v3-5) and material support (vv 32-35). The grounds for divorce of emotional or material neglect were based on Ex.21.10f because this says that if they are not given, the woman can go free. These were the most important verses regarding divorce in 1st C Judaism and are cited or alluded to in the early marriage certificates. The fact that Jesus is silent on this important part of the OT and Jewish law could mean that he disagreed with it but he didn't want to upset his listeners. Or it could mean that he agreed with it so he didn't need to say anything.

He didn't teach anything about there being only one God (though he assumed it), nor that rape is wrong, nor that you should marry before sleeping with someone. Does this mean that he disagreed with these OT teachings? He said lots of other things about marriage & divorce, and all of it in disagreement with a large proportion of Judaism, but in this matter where all Jews agreed (that Ex.21.10f provides grounds for divorce) he said nothing. My conclusion is that Jesus agreed with them, because if he didn't, his silence was very cowardly and totally confusing.

See more at Four Biblical Grounds for Divorce in Divorce & Remarriage in the Church


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