“Not Do Divide” (Mt. 19:6)

By Timothy Sparks


Many English versions of Mt. 19:6 have a reading similar to “So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.” A word-for-word translation of the Greek text is “So no more are they two, but one flesh. What therefore the God united, a human not do divide.”

Briefly addressing the Greek phrase μὴ χωριζέτω (“not do divide,” Mt. 19:6b) we have: μὴ (“not”) which negates the imperative χωριζέτω (“do divide”). So how do we translate and interpret “a human not do divide”? Does it mean: (1) a human has the ability to divide what God united but should not or (2) a human has neither the implied ability nor God’s sanction to attempt to do so?

Based on “So they are continuously never again two, but they are continuously one flesh” (please see https://timothysparks.com/2016/03/22/jesus-one-flesh-argument-mt-196) Jesus has already shown the impossibility of becoming two again. The two united into one will never be two again.

In view of what Jesus says, it is impossible to divide “what” (neuter gender, referring to “male” and “female”) God united back into the original two [please see What Is the “What” (Mt. 19:6)?, https://timothysparks.com/2016/03/25/what-is-the-what-mt-196/]. Therefore, Jesus is not merely saying “let not man divide” (as though Jesus may imply human ability to divide what God has united). Jesus does not imply that humans are able to accomplish a successful and approved severance of what God united. “What therefore God united, a human cannot divide.”

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