1 Corinthians 6:16
What? know ye not that he which is joined to an harlot is one body? for two, saith he, shall be one flesh.
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(16) What?—As if some one might question and resent the strength of the previous words, and wish them “watered down.” “Do you not know that my strong assertion is true? It is not merely my statement; it is to be found in the Old Testament, ‘Two shall be one flesh.’” This was originally (Genesis 2:24) applied to marriage, as showing the intimacy of that sacred union, but here St. Paul applies it to one aspect of a union which, in one respect, was identical with marriage. Of course the other parts of the Apostle’s argument do not apply to marriage, the union being a sacred one; two becoming one flesh in marriage is no degradation of a member of Christ—nay, it is a sacred illustration of the complete unity of Christ and His body the Church. (Comp. 1Corinthians 11:29, and Notes there.)

6:12-20 Some among the Corinthians seem to have been ready to say, All things are lawful for me. This dangerous conceit St. Paul opposes. There is a liberty wherewith Christ has made us free, in which we must stand fast. But surely a Christian would never put himself into the power of any bodily appetite. The body is for the Lord; is to be an instrument of righteousness to holiness, therefore is never to be made an instrument of sin. It is an honour to the body, that Jesus Christ was raised from the dead; and it will be an honour to our bodies, that they will be raised. The hope of a resurrection to glory, should keep Christians from dishonouring their bodies by fleshly lusts. And if the soul be united to Christ by faith, the whole man is become a member of his spiritual body. Other vices may be conquered in fight; that here cautioned against, only by flight. And vast multitudes are cut off by this vice in its various forms and consequences. Its effects fall not only directly upon the body, but often upon the mind. Our bodies have been redeemed from deserved condemnation and hopeless slavery by the atoning sacrifice of Christ. We are to be clean, as vessels fitted for our Master's use. Being united to Christ as one spirit, and bought with a price of unspeakable value, the believer should consider himself as wholly the Lord's, by the strongest ties. May we make it our business, to the latest day and hour of our lives, to glorify God with our bodies, and with our spirits which are his.Know ye not ... - This is the third argument against licentiousness. It is, that we as Christians are united to Christ (compare the notes at John 15:1 ff); and that it is abominable to take the members of Christ and subject them to pollution and sin. Christ was pure - wholly pure. We are professedly united to him. We are bound therefore to be pure, as he was. Shall that which is a part, as it were, of the pure and holy Saviour, be prostituted to impure and unholy embraces?

God forbid! - See the note at Romans 3:4. This expresses the deep abhorrence of the apostle at the thought. It needed not argument to show it. The whole world revolted at the idea; and language could scarcely express the abomination of the very thought.

Know ye not ... - This is designed to confirm and strengthen what he had just said.

He which is joined - Who is attached to; or who is connected with.

Is one body - That is, is to he regarded as one; is closely and intimately united. Similar expressions occur in Classic writers. See Grotius and Bloomfield.

For two, saith he ... - This Paul illustrates by a reference to the formation of the marriage connection in Ger. Romans 2:14. He cannot be understood as affirming that that passage had original reference to illicit connections; but be uses it for purposes of illustration. God had declared that the man and his wife became one; in a similar sense in unlawful connections the parties became one.

16. Justification of his having called fornicators "members of an harlot" (1Co 6:15).

joined—by carnal intercourse; literally, "cemented to": cleaving to.

one body—with her.

saith he—God speaking by Adam (Ge 2:24; Mt 19:5). "He which made them at the beginning said," &c. (Eph 5:31).

The conjunction of the husband and wife, mentioned Genesis 2:24, and the conjunction of the fornicator and the harlot, differ not as to the species of the act, only as to the morality of it; the former is an honest and lawful act, the other a dishonest and filthy act. So that he that is wickedly joined to a harlot, maketh himself one flesh with her with whom he committeth that folly and lewdness, and he must needs by it separate his body from its membership with Christ, whose holiness will admit no such union.

What? know ye not that he which is joined to an harlot,.... Not in marriage, but in carnal copulation, and unclean embraces, is one body with her

for two ("saith he", Adam, or Moses, or God, or the Scripture, or as R. Sol. Jarchi says, the Holy Spirit, Genesis 2:24)

shall be one flesh; what is originally said of copulation in lawful marriage, in which man and wife, legally coupled together, become one flesh, is applied to the unlawful copulation of a man with an harlot, by which act they also become one body, one flesh; and which is made use of by the apostle, to deter the members of Christ from the commission of this sin, which makes a member of Christ one body and flesh with an harlot, than which nothing is more monstrous and detestable. The apostle here directs to the true sense of the phrase in Genesis, "and they shall be one flesh"; that is, man and wife shall only have carnal knowledge of, and copulation with each other. Some Jewish (k) writers interpret this phrase, "on account of the foetus", which is formed by the means of them both, and which becomes "their one flesh": others (l), thus as if they were, or because they are, like as if they were one flesh; but others (m), in more agreement with the apostle, think that this has respect , "to that conjunction", by which the fixing of the species is completed; and others (n) expressly thus, "they two shall be one flesh", , "that is, in the place where both of them make one flesh": which is equally done by unlawful copulation with an harlot, as with a man's own wife.

(k) Tzeror Hammor, fol. 6. 3. Jarchi in Gen. ii. 24. (l) Aben Ezra in ib. (m) R. Levi ben Gersom in ib. (n) Bereshit Rabba, sect. 18. fol. 15. 3. T. Hieros. Kiddushin, fol. 58. 3.

{12} What? know ye not that he which is joined to an harlot is one body? for {i} two, saith he, shall be one flesh.

(12) A proof of the same argument: a harlot and Christ are completely contrary, so are the flesh and the Spirit. Therefore he that is one with a harlot (which is done by sexual intercourse with their bodies) cannot be one with Christ, which unity is pure and spiritual.

(i) Moses does not speak these words about fornication, but about marriage: but seeing that fornication is the corruption of marriage, and both of them are a carnal and fleshly copulation, we cannot say that the apostle abuses his testimony. Again, Moses does not have this word two, but it is very well expressed both here and in Mt 19:5, because he speaks only of man and wife: whereupon the opinion of those that vouch it to be lawful to have many wives is overthrown: for he that companies with many, is broken as it were into many parts.

1 Corinthians 6:16. Ἤ οὐκ οἴδατε] “Or if this μὴ γένοιτο (conveying, as it does, a negative to that question) still appears to you to admit of doubt, even after the statement of the nature of the case given in 1 Corinthians 6:15, then ye must be ignorant that,” etc. This ἤ οὐκ οἴδατε cannot correspond with the οὐκ οἴδατε of 1 Corinthians 6:15 (Hofmann: “either the one or the other they must be ignorant of,” etc.), for ὅτι ὁ κολλώμ. κ.τ.λ[986] manifestly refers to the conclusion from the preceding expressed in ἌΡΑς ΟὖΝ, and therefore is subordinated to the question answered shudderingly with ΜῊ ΓΈΝΟΙΤΟ. In 1 Corinthians 6:19, too, the Ἤ ΟὐΚ ΟἼΔΑΤΕ refers to what has just before been said.

ΚΟΛΛΏΜ.] who joins himself to (דָּבַק), indicating the union in licentious intercourse. Comp Sir 19:2; Genesis 2:24; Ezra 4:20.

Τῇ ΠΌΡΝῌ] the harlot with whom he deals (article).

ἛΝ ΣῶΜΆ ἘΣΤΙΝ] is a single body; previous to the κολλᾶσθαι he and the person concerned were two bodies, but he who is joined to the harlot—an united subject—is one body.

ἔσονται γὰρ Κ.Τ.Λ[988]] Genesis 2:24 (quoted from the LXX.) speaks, indeed, of wedded, not unwedded, intercourse; but Theodoret rightly points out the paritas rationis: ἓν γὰρ καὶ τοῦτο κἀκεῖνο τῇ φύσει τοῦ πράγματος.

φησίν] Who it is that says it, is self-evident, namely, God; the utterances of the Scripture being His words, even when they may be spoken through another, as Genesis 2:24 was through Adam. Comp on Matthew 19:5. Similarly Galatians 3:16; Ephesians 4:8; Hebrews 8:5; 1 Corinthians 15:27. Ἡ γραφή, which is what is usually supplied here, would need to be suggested by the context, as in Romans 15:10. Rückert arbitrarily prefers τὸ πνεῦμα.[990]

οἱ δύο] the two in question. The words are wanting in the Hebrew text, but are always quoted with it in the N. T. (Matthew 19:5; Mark 10:8; Ephesians 5:31) after the LXX., and also by the Rabbins (e.g. Beresh. Rabb. 18); an addition of later date in the interests of monogamy, which, although not expressly enjoined in the law, came by degrees to prevail, in accordance with its adumbration from the first in the history of the creation (Ewald, Alterth. p. 260 f.).

εἰς σάρκα μίαν] לְבָשָׂר אֶחַד. See on Matthew 19:5.

[986] .τ.λ. καὶ τὰ λοιπά.

[988] .τ.λ. καὶ τὰ λοιπά.

[990] To take it impersonally: “it is said,” as in 2 Corinthians 10:10, according to the well-known usage in the classics, would be without warrant from any other instance of Paul’s quotations from Scripture. Comp. Winer, Gr. p. 486 [E. T. 656]; Buttmann, neut. Gr. p. 117 [E. T. 134].

1 Corinthians 6:16 justifies the strong expression πόρνης μέλη (1 Corinthians 6:15), implying that the alliance is a kind of incorporation: “Or (if you object to my putting it in this way), do you not know that he who cleaves to the harlot is one body (with her)?” ὁ κολλώμενος (see parls.), qui agglutinatur scorto (Bz[984]), indicates that sexual union constitutes a permanent bond between the parties. What has been done lives, morally, in both; neither is henceforth free of the other. The Divine sentence (uttered prophetically by Adam) which the Ap. quotes to this effect was pronounced upon the first wedded pair, and holds of every such union, whether lawful or unlawful—honourably true (1 Corinthians 7:4, Hebrews 13:4), or shamefully. In Ephesians 5:31 the same Scripture is cited at length, where the Ap. is making out the correspondence between wedlock and Christ’s union with the Church: in that place the spiritual union is treated as parl[985] to the natural union, where this follows the Divine order; here it stands out as prohibitory to a natural union which violates that order. Here only Paul uses the parenthetical φησίν (“says He,” sc. God) in citing Scripture; it is common in Philo, and in the Ep. of Barnabas.—ἔσονταιεἰς (Hebraism) = γενήσονται.

[984] Beza’s Nov. Testamentum: Interpretatio et Annotationes (Cantab., 1642).

[985] parallel.

16. for two, saith he, shall be one flesh] No words could more plainly shew than these and the preceding, what a monstrous perversion the sin here mentioned is of the mysterious union between the sexes sanctified by God in Holy Matrimony. No words could more strongly imply than those which follow, that he who is ‘joined to a harlot’ thereby separates himself from the Lord.

1 Corinthians 6:16. Ὁ κολλώμενος τῇ πόρνῃ, he who is joined to a harlot) A syllepsis,[54] i.e. [by this figure, there being mentally understood] the harlot and he who is joined to her; for so the predicate, is one body, appropriately is in accordance [with such a double subject]; and the expression, these two [οἱ δύο], agrees with this view.—ἜΣΟΝΤΑΙ, they shall be) This is said in the first instance of husbands and wives; and, by parity of reasoning, is applied to those, who become one flesh without a conjugal covenant. By covenant the woman becomes the wife of the husband before the husband is joined (carnally) to her; and the reason, why their union is indissoluble, chiefly rests on this circumstance; otherwise even the union of men with harlots would also be indissoluble.

[54] See Appendix.

Verse 16. - What, know ye not, etc.? The clause is used to explain and justify the strong expression which he had used in the previous verse. It involves an argument against the sin which is the most original and impressive which could have been used. To this passage especially is due the tone taken by Christians as to these sins, which differed so totally from that taken by heathen. They two. The words do not occur in Genesis 2:24, but are always so quoted in the New Testament (Matthew 19:5; Mark 10:8; Ephesians 5:31). Saith he. This is a vague Jewish formula of quotation, adopted to avoid the needless introduction of the sacred Name. "He" is "God" in Scripture. Shall be one flesh; rather, shall become. This appeal to Genesis 2:24 (Matthew 19:5) is equivalent to the rule that no intercourse between the sexes is free from sin except under the sanction of marriage. 1 Corinthians 6:16He that is joined (ὁ κολλώμενος)

See on Luke 15:15. Compare Aeschylus: "The family has been glued (κεκόλληται) to misfortune" ("Agamemnon," 1543). The verb is used Genesis 2:24, Sept., of the relation of husband and wife: shall cleave. In Deuteronomy 10:20; Deuteronomy 11:22; Jeremiah 13:11, of man's cleaving to God.

To a harlot (τῇ πόρνῃ)

Lit., the harlot. The article is significant: his harlot, or that one with whom he is sinning at the time.

Shall be one flesh (ἔσονται εἰς σάρκα μίαν)

Lit., shall be unto one flesh: i.e., from being two, shall pass into one. Hence Rev., rightly, shall become. Compare Ephesians 2:15.

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