Mark 10:5 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Mark 10:5, NIV: It was because your hearts were hard that Moses wrote you this law,' Jesus replied.

Mark 10:5, ESV: And Jesus said to them, “Because of your hardness of heart he wrote you this commandment.

Mark 10:5, KJV: And Jesus answered and said unto them, For the hardness of your heart he wrote you this precept.

Mark 10:5, NASB: But Jesus said to them, 'Because of your hardness of heart he wrote you this commandment.

Mark 10:5, NLT: But Jesus responded, 'He wrote this commandment only as a concession to your hard hearts.

Mark 10:5, CSB: But Jesus told them, "He wrote this command for you because of the hardness of your hearts.

What does Mark 10:5 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

A "hardened heart" is an attitude that is stubbornly self-centered. The Old Testament uses the term "stiff-necked," describing someone who refuses to look around. Hardheartedness is always directed at God and His will. The sin of the men who treat their wives unfairly started with the sin of not valuing God's Word and His plan for humanity (Mark 10:7–9).

Many of the laws in the Old Testament are designed to mitigate the hardship sin caused others. Men in the Old Testament era had cultural authority which, if they chose to abuse it, could devastate women. Malachi 2:16 is often translated "'For I hate divorce,' says the LORD." An extremely literal translation is "I hate [when men] send away [their wives]." But Jewish scribes twisted the meaning and translated it, "if you hate her, divorce her."

Malachi, the last of God's prophets, records God's condemnation of the Israelites for dishonoring their wives (Malachi 2:13–16). God intended the wife to be a companion, a covenant-holder, a partner in raising godly offspring. To be married is to have "a portion of the Spirit in their union" (Malachi 2:15). Instead, we see an attitude like that of the disciples who, when faced with the charge to either remain faithful or divorce and remain celibate, complain it would be "better not to marry" (Matthew 19:10). It is a hard heart that would choose not to marry specifically because they aren't given a built-in escape plan. That's very different from those who choose nobler reasons to remain single (1 Corinthians 7:36–37).

In Matthew's account, Jesus is more specific. He says, "Because of your hardness of heart Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so" (Matthew 19:8). He then goes on to say that if a man divorces his wife for anything short of adultery and marries another, he commits adultery. So, God allowed divorce if the wife committed adultery, but it was not mandatory: it was permitted, not required We see this when Mary became pregnant and Joseph, thinking she had slept with another, "being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly" (Matthew 1:19).