f) Gen 2:24: Here Moses inserted an editorial comment regarding the covenant commitment of marriage:[1]

He wrote, “For this reason a man shall forsake (azav) his father and his mother and shall cling to his wife.”

To forsake someone strongly implies abandonment, as in Ps 22:1.[2] Thus, when a man marries, he must sever one set of loyalties to begin another.[3]

In traditional societies like Israel’s, honoring parents was just below the obligation to revere God (Exod 20:1–12), making this remark about forsaking them quite shocking.

The word “cling” (davaq) often occurs in the context of maintaining a covenant relationship, as it does here (Deut 4:4; Deut 10:20; Deut 11:22–3).[4]

Thus, the one-flesh union goes beyond sexuality or even the spiritual and emotional relationship which develops as newlyweds form a new household. Just as a person’s blood relatives are considered the same “flesh and blood,” so is one’s spouse.[5]

Israel exempted a newly-married man from military service and other duties which would take him away from home for one year in order that “he will bring joy to his wife” (Deut 24:5).

The biblical pattern for establishing a couple’s own home contrasts with what occurs in many cultures even today.

Jesus quoted this verse to emphasize the permanence of the marriage bond, which is to be dissolved only due to adultery, desertion, or abuse (Matt 19:4–6).[6]

Image via Wikimedia Commons

 

Read Gen 2:24. In what ways are men to leave their parents and become one with their wives when they marry?

 

 

 

 

Go to Marital Separation

 

[Related posts include Not Good! (Gen 2:18); A Parade of Animals (Gen 2:19–20); An Equal and Adequate Partner (Gen 2:21–23); Naked and Not Ashamed (Gen 2:25); Eve Acquires a Man (Gen 4:1); It is Good Not to Touch (1 Cor 7:1‒5); Marital Separation (1 Cor 7:10–11); Concerning Mixed Marriages (1 Cor 7:12–13); Contagious Holiness (1 Cor 7:14); and Dissolution of Marriage (1 Cor 7:15–16)]

 

[Click here to go to Women and Marriage Throughout Redemptive History; or to Chapter 5: A View from the Ground (Genesis 2:4–25)]

 

[1] Waltke and Fredricks, Genesis, A Commentary, 90.

[2]Robert L. Alden, “ azav,” NIDOTTE, 3:364–5.

[3] Hamilton, Genesis, Chapters 1–17, 181.

[4]Hamilton, The Book of Genesis, Chapters 1–17, 181.

[5] Wenham, Genesis 1–15, 71.

[6]20th General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church of America, 1992, “Report of the Ad-Interim Committee on Divorce and Remarriage,” 190, http://www.pcahistory.org/pca/divorce-remarriage.pdf.