Matthew 1:19
Parallel Verses
English Standard Version
And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly.

King James Bible
Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a publick example, was minded to put her away privily.

American Standard Version
And Joseph her husband, being a righteous man, and not willing to make her a public example, was minded to put her away privily.

Douay-Rheims Bible
Whereupon Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing publicly to expose her, was minded to put her away privately.

English Revised Version
And Joseph her husband, being a righteous man, and not willing to make her a public example, was minded to put her away privily.

Webster's Bible Translation
Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a public example, purposed to put her away privately.

Weymouth New Testament
But Joseph her husband, being a kind-hearted man and unwilling publicly to disgrace her, had determined to release her privately from the betrothal.

Matthew 1:19 Parallel
Vincent's Word Studies

Not willing (μὴ θέλων) - was minded (ἐβουλήθη)

These two words, describing the working of Joseph's mind, and evidently intended to express different phases of thought, open the question of their distinctive meanings in the New Testament, where they frequently occur (θέλω much oftener than βούλομαι), and where the rendering, in so many eases by the same words, furnishes no clue to the distinction. The original words are often used synonymously in eases where no distinction is emphasized; but their use in other eases reveals a radical and recognized difference. An interchange is inadmissible when the greater force of the expression requires θέλειν. For instance, βαούλεσθαι, would be entirely inappropriate at Matthew 8:3, "I will, be thou cleansed;" or at Romans 7:15.

The distinction, which is abundantly illustrated in Homer, is substantially maintained by the classical writers throughout, and in the New Testament.

Θέλειν is the stronger word, and expresses a purpose or determination or decree, the execution of which is, or is believed to be, in the power of him who wills. Βούλεσθαι expresses wish, inclination, or disposition, whether one desires to do a thing himself or wants some one else to do it. Θέλειν, therefore, denotes the active resolution, the will urging on to action. Βούλεσθαι is to have a mind, to desire, sometimes a little stronger, running into the sense of purpose. Θέλειν indicates the impulse of the will; βούλεσθαι, its tendency. Βούλεσθαι can always be rendered by θέλειν, but θέλειν cannot always be expressed by βούλεσθαι.

Thus, Agamemnon says, "I would not (οὐκ ἔθελον) receive the ransom for the maid (i.e., I refused to receive), because I greatly desire (βούλομαι) to have her at home" (Homer, "II.," 1:112). So Demosthenes: "It is fitting that you should be willing (ἐθέλειν) to listen to those who wish (βουλομένων) to advise" ("Olynth.," 1:1). That is to say, It is in your power to determine whether or not you will listen to those who desire to advise you, but whose power to do so depends on your consent. Again: "If the gods will it (θέλωσι) and you wish it (βούλησθε)" (Demosth., "Olynth.," 2:20).

In the New Testament, as observed above, though the words are often interchanged, the same distinction is recognized. Thus, Matthew 2:18, "Rachael would not (ἤθελε) be comforted;" obstinately and positively refused. Joseph, having the right and power under the (assumed) circumstances to make Mary a public example, resolved (θέλων) to spare her this exposure. Then the question arose - What should he do? On this he thought, and, having thought (ἐνθυμηθέντος), his mind inclined (tendency), he was minded (ἐβουλήθη) to put her away secretly.

Some instances of the interchanged use of the two words are the following: Mark 15:15, "Pilate willing" (βουλόμενος); compare Luke 23:20, "Pilate willing" (θέλων). Acts 27:43, "The centurion willing" (βουλόμενος); Matthew 27:17, "Whom will ye that I release" (θέλετε); so Matthew 27:21. John 18:39, "Will ye that I release" (βούλεσθε); Matthew 14:5, "When he would have put him to death" (θέλων). Mark 6:48, "He would have passed by them" (ἤθελε); Acts 19:30, "Paul would have entered" (βουλόμενος). Acts 18:27, "He was disposed to pass" (βουλόμενος). Titus 3:8, "I will that thou affirm" (βούλομαι). Mark 6:25, "I will that thou give me" (θέλω), etc., etc.

In the New Testament θέλω occurs in the following senses:

1. A decree or determination of the will. (a) Of God (Matthew 12:7; Romans 9:16, Romans 9:18; Acts 18:21; 1 Corinthians 4:19; 1 Corinthians 12:18; 1 Corinthians 15:38). (b) Of Christ (Matthew 8:3; John 17:24; John 5:21; John 21:22). (c) Of men (Acts 25:9). Festus, having the power to gratify the Jews, and determining to do so, says to Paul, who has the right to decide, "Wilt thou go up to Jerusalem?" John 6:67, Others of the disciples had decided to leave Jesus. Christ said to the twelve, "Will ye also go away?" Is that your determination? John 7:17, If any man sets his will, is determined to do God's will. John 8:44, The lusts of your father your will is set to do. Acts 24:6.

2. A wish or desire. Very many of the passages, however, which are cited under this head (as by Grimm) may fairly be interpreted as implying something stronger than a wish; notably Mark 14:36, of Christ in Gethsemane. Our Lord would hardly have used what thou wilt in so feeble a sense as that of a desire or wish on God's part. Mark 10:43, "Whosoever will be great," expresses more than the desire for greatness. It is the purpose of the life. Matthew 27:15, It was given to the Jews to decide what prisoner should be released. Luke 1:62, The name of the infant John was referred to Zacharias' decision. John 17:24, Surely Christ does more than desire that those whom the Father has given him shall be with him. Luke 9:54, It is for Jesus to command fire upon the Samaritan villages if he so wills. (See, also, John 15:7; 1 Corinthians 4:21; Matthew 16:25; Matthew 19:17; John 21:22; Matthew 13:28; Matthew 17:12.) In the sense of wish or desire may fairly be cited 2 Corinthians 11:12; Matthew 12:38; Luke 8:20; Luke 23:8; John 12:21; Galatians 4:20; Matthew 7:12; Mark 10:35.

3. A liking (Mark 12:38; Luke 20:46; Matthew 27:43). (See note there.)

Βούλομαι occurs in the following senses:

1. Inclination or disposition (Acts 18:27; Acts 19:30; Acts 25:22; Acts 28:18; 2 Corinthians 1:15).

2. Stronger, with the idea of purpose (1 Timothy 6:9; James 1:18; James 3:4; 1 Corinthians 12:11; Hebrews 6:17).


Matthew 1:19 Parallel Commentaries

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

her husband.

Leviticus 19:20 And whoever lies carnally with a woman, that is a female slave, betrothed to an husband, and not at all redeemed, nor freedom given her...

Deuteronomy 22:23,24 If a damsel that is a virgin be betrothed to an husband, and a man find her in the city, and lie with her...

a just.

Genesis 6:9 These are the generations of Noah: Noah was a just man and perfect in his generations, and Noah walked with God.

Psalm 112:4,5 To the upright there rises light in the darkness: he is gracious, and full of compassion, and righteous...

Mark 6:20 For Herod feared John, knowing that he was a just man and an holy, and observed him; and when he heard him, he did many things...

Luke 2:25 And, behold, there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon; and the same man was just and devout...

Acts 10:22 And they said, Cornelius the centurion, a just man, and one that fears God, and of good report among all the nation of the Jews...

a public.

Genesis 38:24 And it came to pass about three months after, that it was told Judah, saying, Tamar your daughter in law has played the harlot...

Leviticus 20:10 And the man that commits adultery with another man's wife, even he that commits adultery with his neighbor's wife...

Deuteronomy 22:21-24 Then they shall bring out the damsel to the door of her father's house, and the men of her city shall stone her with stones that she die...

John 8:4,5 They say to him, Master, this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act...


Deuteronomy 24:1-4 When a man has taken a wife, and married her, and it come to pass that she find no favor in his eyes...

Mark 10:4 And they said, Moses suffered to write a bill of divorce, and to put her away.

Cross References
Deuteronomy 22:20
But if the thing is true, that evidence of virginity was not found in the young woman,

Deuteronomy 22:23
"If there is a betrothed virgin, and a man meets her in the city and lies with her,

Deuteronomy 24:1
"When a man takes a wife and marries her, if then she finds no favor in his eyes because he has found some indecency in her, and he writes her a certificate of divorce and puts it in her hand and sends her out of his house, and she departs out of his house,

John 8:4
they said to him, "Teacher, this woman has been caught in the act of adultery.

John 8:5
Now in the Law, Moses commanded us to stone such women. So what do you say?"

Acts 27:39
Now when it was day, they did not recognize the land, but they noticed a bay with a beach, on which they planned if possible to run the ship ashore.

2 Corinthians 1:15
Because I was sure of this, I wanted to come to you first, so that you might have a second experience of grace.

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