What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder – Mark 10:9
Meaning of Mark 10:9
The meaning of the verse, “What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder” is that once a man and woman are joined together by God in marriage and should not be separated under any circumstances. It also implies that Christianity does not allow divorce. The speaker of the verse is Jesus. The term “joined together” comes from the Greek root word ‘syzeugnymi’ which stands for harnessing two people to one yoke. According to Jesus, a man needs to separate from his birth family but not his wife. The phrase “let not man asunder” might mean that individuals like lawyers, possible lovers and judges are forbidden from leading to or legalizing divorce. Hence, once a man and woman are joined together through God, it is meant to stay forever.
Interpretations of Mark 10:9
The verse of Mark 10:9 is a commonly quoted verse in Churches and Christian groups. However, the verse is also widely misinterpreted. Here are some interpretations.
Interpretation #1 Man has to leave his family after marriage
The first interpretation of the verse, “What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder” is that Man should leave his family after marriage. The verse of Genesis 2:24 says that a man should leave his mother and father and is united to his wife. The reader believes that a husband should leave and forego his birth family in order to go and stay with his wife after marriage. This is important so that no one can break apart the couple, and they can stay happily married and faithful to each other. However, a few readers also understand that the parents are not meant to be part of the family once the son or daughter starts their own family, which is not approved by the churches.
Interpretation #2 Marriage is essential to God
The meaning of the verse, “What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder” is that marriage is important to God. The reader believes that the Bible contains numerous instances and verses where people are repeatedly encouraged to get married. In a few cases, it is also suggested that a person does not indulge in sins pertaining to lust and adultery. Additionally, God also believed that a marriage rooted in God’s word is a blessing to the family and to the Church. Hence, the reader understands that marriage is important in God’s sight.
Interpretation #3 The verse is applicable to that period
In this interpretation of the verse, “What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder” the reader believes that the verse was applicable to the kingdom and citizens who belonged to that period or at least until atheism was born. The reader believes that during the time Jesus was on earth, it was common in Jewish culture for a man to be responsible for his own divorce. It is also believed that it was the husband who allowed himself to harden toward his wife. Hence, at that time, divorces and separations were common and frequent. Therefore, the reader understands that the verse was meant for people in the ancient period rather than now as people in the post-modern era are educated and independent. Also, the current generation does not believe in marriage institution compared to the era before WW2.
Interpretation #4 God encourages couples to be faithful to each other
The final interpretation of the verse, “What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder” is that God wants couples to stay faithful to each other in their marriage. The importance of marriage and staying together is repeatedly mentioned in the Bible. It is also preached widely in Churches that Family is very important to God. Hence, the reader understands that once a man and woman are joined together by God, a third person should be allowed to come in between the couple’s affairs. As such, interference may destroy their relationships. This includes infidelity, partners turning away from each other, etc. Additionally, loyalty in marriage is also stressed as God condemns adultery and unfaithfulness in the Bible.
Historical background of Mark 10:9
The book of Mark is the second of the four gospels. These gospels consist of the narration of Jesus’ birth, ministry, death and resurrection. The gospel of Mark is believed to have been written around 66-74 AD and was written by Mark, one of the twelve disciples of Jesus. The tenth chapter talks about divorce, little children, Jesus predicting His death, etc. The ninth chapter in particular talks about the sanctity of marriage and how no one is allowed to separate a man and woman.
Literary Devices of Mark 10:9
Mark 10:9 is commonly quoted in Churches and Christian groups to stress the sanctity and importance of marriage. The verse also consists of some important literary devices. Here are some examples.
Consonance – The verse has repeated consonant sounds, including two in quick succession. For example, the sound of /d/, the sound of /r/, the son of /t/, and the sound of /n/, ‘What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder’.
Assonance – The verse Mark 10:9 also has two repeated vowel sounds, which are not in quick succession. For example, the sound of /au/ and the sound of /e/ in ‘God hath joined together, let not man put asunder’.
Themes – The major themes of Mark 10:9 includes marriage, purity, and unity.
Ethos – The verse Mark 10:9 is a good example of ethos, a rhetorical device as Jesus uses a religion-based logic and ethic to encourage the reader to stay committed to their marriage.