Mark 10:11 Whosoever shall put away his wife...

KJV Verse: 

Mark 10:11 Whosoever shall put away his wife, and marry another, committeth adultery against her.

Greek Verse: 

Literal Alternative: 

Who, when he might release that woman of his releases and marry another defiles himself upon her.

Interesting and Hidden Aspects: 

The verb translated as "put away," means to "loosen" or "release." It also means "to set free," which was a more negative idea in the time of Jesus. The word translated as "another" has many negative connotations including "bad," "unworthy," and "wrong." The word translated as "commits adultery is in a form where the subject acts on himself, so the sense is "adulterates" or "defiles" himself.   In the Greek, it isn't clear whether the final "her" is the wife that has been divorced or the new wife, but the effect is the same.

The sense is that divorce is the equivalent of murder. In virtually every ancient culture going back to the Code of Hammurabi 1,800 years before Jesus, adultery was the equivalent of murder, punishable by death. Infidelity was a death-sentence both for men and women, though it was more often enforced against women. Ancient people were very pragmatic. They saw sexual infidelity as the destruction of an institution, marriage, on which survival depends. If a man couldn't trust his wife to bear children that were his, the whole family was at risk, not only the immediate family but the kinship ties that were the basis of economic survival for everyone.

Today's more casual attitudes about marriage and infidelity are the history exception. Throughout history, every culture that experimented with various forms of sexual license eventually fell apart. Possibly because a culture of people who cannot be trusted by their spouses cannot be trusted by anyone. Of course, this doesn't prevent new generations from thinking that they are the exception to the rule and trying the experiment again.

KJV Analysis: 

Who -- -- The word translated as "who" is a demonstrative pronoun ("this" "that"), but it often acts as a pronoun ("the one that), especially a connective pronoun ("the one that") introducing a dependent clause.

soever -- "Soever" is from the Greek word meaning "if might" indicates more of an expectation of something happening than "if" alone. This is often how we use the word "when".

shall -- This seems to indicate the verb is in the future tense, but it signifies a verb in the form of possibility. In English we would usually use "might."

put away -- The Greek verb translated as "put away" means "to loose from" "to set free", "to release", "to acquit",  and "to divorce [a wife]". 

untranslated -- - The untranslated word is the Greek definite article. The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this", "that", "these", "those"). See this article for more. 

his -- The word translated as "him" is the Greek word commonly translated as pronouns in English.  The word means "the same" when used as an adjective. In the adverbial form, it  means "just here" or "exactly there." 

wife, -- The word translated as "wife" is  the Greek word that means "woman (as opposed to man)", "wife", "spouse", "mortal woman (as opposed to a goddess)," and "female mate (among animals)." It is closer to our "female." 

and -- The Greek word translated as "and" is used as the conjunction "and", but it also is used to add emphasis ("also

marry -- The word translated as "I have married" means, for a man, "to take a wife" and for a woman, to "give yourself in marriage."  It is not the past tense, but in a tense meaning something happening at some time. 

another, "Another" is an adjective that means "another", "one besides", "of another sort", "different", "other than what is true", "as well", "besides," {with numerals: "yet", "still", "further"), "of other sort", "other than what is", "untrue", "unreal", "other than right", "wrong", "bad", "unworthy," [with an article] "the rest", "all besides," and [in series] "one...another."

committeth adultery  -- The word translated as "commit adultery" means to "defile a worman" but the form is where the subject acts upon himself so "defiles himself." Jesus uses the word translated as "adultery" more broadly than its general meaning of having sex with a person not your spouse. He uses it more generally to mean "betraying your vows" or, more simply, "betray" or, because of the verb form here, "betrays himself."

against -- The word translated as "against" means "on", "over", "upon", "against", "before", "after", "during", "by" or "on."

her. -- The word translated as "her" is the Greek word commonly translated as pronouns in English. 

Greek Vocabulary: 

 Ὃς (pron sg masc nom) "Who-" is hos, which means "this", "that", "he", "she", "which", "what", "who", "whosoever", "where", "for which reason," and many similar meanings.

ἂν  (conj) "-soever" is ean, which is a conditional particle (derived from ei (if)and an (might)) which makes reference to a time and experience in the future that introduces but does not determine an event.

ἀπολύσῃ (verb 3rd sg aor subj act) "Shall put away" might be from apolyo which means "to loose from" "to set free", "to release", "to acquit", "to divorce [a wife]", "to do away with," and "to begin to count." In the passive, it means "to be released", "to be separated [combatants]," "to be brought forth [a child]," and "to be delivered [of a mother]," and "to be undone."

τὴν (article)  Untranslated is the Greek definite article, hos, ("the"), which usually precedes a noun and, without a noun, takes the meaning of "the one" or, in the plural, "the ones."

γυναῖκα () "Wife" is gyne, which means "woman (as opposed to man)", "wife", "spouse", "mortal woman (as opposed to a goddess)," and "female mate (among animals)."

αὐτοῦ (adj sg masc gen) "His"  is autos, which means "the same," and the reflexive pronouns, "myself", "yourself", "himself", "herself", "itself," or the oblique case of the pronouns, "him", "her," and "it." It also means "one's true self," that is, "the soul" as opposed to the body and "of one's own accord." In the adverbial form, it  means "just here" or "exactly there."

καὶ (conj/adv) "And" is kai, which is the conjunction joining phrases and clauses, "and," or "but." After words implying sameness, "as" (the same opinion as you). Used in series, joins positive with negative "Not only...but also." Also used to give emphasis, "even", "also," and "just."

γαμήσῃ ( verb 3rd sg aor subj act ) "Marry" is from gameo, which mean "to marry" and "to take a wife." For a woman, it means "to give yourself in marriage." It can also mean to "take a lover.

ἄλλην ( adj sg fem acc ) "Another" is allos, which means "another", "one besides", "of another sort", "different", "other than what is true", "as well", "besides," {with numerals: "yet", "still", "further"), "of other sort", "other than what is", "untrue", "unreal", "other than right", "wrong", "bad", "unworthy," [with an article] "the rest", "all besides," and [in series] "one...another."

μοιχᾶται ( verb 3rd sg pres ind mp ) "Commit adultery" is moicheuo, which means "commit adultery with a woman, " "to debauch a woman," and generally, "to commit adultery with anyone." It is a metaphor for "worshiping idolatrously."

ἐπ᾽ (prep) "Against" is epi, which means "on", "over",  "upon", "at", "by", "before", "across," "after" in position, "during", and "against."

αὐτήν, (adj sg masc acc) "Her" is autos, which means "the same," and the reflexive pronouns, "myself", "yourself", "himself", "herself", "itself," or the oblique case of the pronouns, "him", "her," and "it." It also means "one's true self," that is, "the soul" as opposed to the body and "of one's own accord." In the adverbial form, it  means "just here" or "exactly there."

Related Verses: 

Possible Symbolic Meaning: 

However, many cultures, such as the Jews, allowed divorce that allows a specific marriage to be dissolved while preserving the institution itself. Divorce was a socially acceptable an alternative to infidelity. However, Jesus saw it as a cheat, the type of formal legalism which his entire teaching is directed against. The purpose of the body, the mind, and our relationships is to transform us, to bring us back to our spiritual nature (discussion of Christ's tranformation cycle here). Our purpose is not merely to seek gratification in this life: physical gratification, mental gratification, or even gratification from our relationships. If we get stuck on any of these things, we lose track of the fact that our current lives our temporary, part of an eternal purpose. From the perspective of that purpose, rejecting a relationship that isn't gratifying misses the point of our existence. The challenges we face--physical, mental, and emotional--are designed to perfect us. Running away from those challenges is both unlikely to make us any more happy in this life and, in the larger sense, a denial of our eternal nature.

Front Page Date: 

Oct 4 2019