á¼œÎ½Î¿Ï‡Î¿Ï‚ (Mt 5, 21-22) and the Jurisprudence of Heaven
as well as an (ironically) temporary stay in GÃªhÃ®nom (5, 26)21 which need
not be postponed to the End Time. This beings us to divorce, where the
law of Moses is notoriously inadequate.
Admitting that uncleanness on the part of the wife is an acceptable
reason for divorcing her, the arguments between Pharisees as to the other
grounds for the husband to exercise his undoubted right22 are futile when
one practical reason for divorce was the wifeâ€™s barrenness and another what
we call wife-swapping, which non-Jews did without shame. Moreover the
issue of a divorce certificate (get) could be said to be a mechanical device
not touching the marriage itself (Mt 19,4-6). Dt 24,1 offers an expedient
(Mt 19,7-9) available in cases where the marriage is contaminated by
sin. The court of Heaven regards divorce in all other cases as potentially
incidental to a Î¼Î¿Î¹Ï‡Îµá½·Î± against the divorcer himself! That court might
hold the husband (or even a bet din ordering him to give a get) innocent,
but Jesus does not refer to this possibility, perhaps because it would be
unusual. Marriage and finance are intertwined.
The fourth Antithesis (Mt 5,33-37), about oaths and vows (which
can overlap [m. Å ev. III.4]) is the most intriguing of our material. Our
knowledge of the Korban problem links with it23. There are oaths enabling
one to take property, and oaths to avoid liability, rash oaths and vain oaths
(ibid. III.8-9). There are pentateuchal oaths and rabbinical oaths. There
are oaths regarding the past, the present, and the future; and there are
oaths of testimony. The complexity and volume of material is astounding.
Many aspects were controversial even as late as the Mishna (ibid. III. 5-6).
Learning can depend on extensions of scripture (III. 5). Tricks to avoid
liability for false oaths were many, also to avoid paying for an offering or
to avoid flogging. In respect of such tricks rabbis later partly agreed with
Jesus. Euphemisms are pointless (IV. 13). What matters is the intention.
The most fascinating part of the casuistry relates to persons suspected
(ïƒºÄsÃ»d) of being unfit to swear24. These coincide with the list of persons
Ibid., 1043-5, 1051-2, 1057-8, 1059-60, 1063-4. Mt 5,29-30 is ambiguous.
Mt 19,30. SB I, 313-20. Mal 2,16 is mocked: ibid. I, 805 (2).
Mk 7,10-13. J.D.M. Derret, â€œÎšÎ¿ÏÎ²á¾¶Î½ á½… á¼ÏƒÏ„á½·Î½ Î´á¿¶ÏÎ¿Î½â€, in Studies in the New Testament
I (Leiden 1977) 112-17.
b. Å ev 32b, 46b-47a. Maimonides, Mishneh Torah XIII.IV. 2,1, trans. J. J. Rabinowitz,
The Code of Maimonides. Book Thirteen. The Book of Civil Laws (New Haven 1949) 196.
Billerbeck, rich elsewhere, overlooks this aspect at I, 321-5. Bonsirven has some detail at