Friday, January 20, 2006

Cleave-ers and Other Stickiness

In doing a study on divorce and remarriage, I am studying Matt 19:5, which is actually a restatement of Gen. 2:24, "For this reason, a man shall leave his father and mother and cleave to his wife; and the two shall become one flesh."

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, cleaving means "to adhere firmly and closely or loyally and unwaveringly". It is linked to the German word: kleben. I use klebich (though it's not really a proper German word) with regards to my 2 year-old... his fingers are often klebich - sticky.

The etymology brings more perspective to our word, cleave, especially when considering some derivatives such as cleavage or meat cleavers. Interestingly, the english word has come to mean both "to split" and "to adhere". This makes simple translation a little more difficult. Apparently, cleave has changed in meaning, so that it can encompass opposite definitions: to stick and to separate.

When there is peace and unity within a marriage, the idea of "cleaving" to one another is not a difficult concept. However, it seems that when life becomes difficult in a marriage, maybe even impossible, suddenly the idea of "sticking together" begins to look like "separation".

This is when it is helpful to go to the original languages. The greek word, cleave, in Matthew 19:5 has the idea of glue or unite. In Genesis 2:24, the hebrew word suggests: to cling, to keep close. Both words are definitely a word picture to help us understand the marriage "unity" that we are to pursue. In both references, the man is told to "cleave". It is an imperative. This is not simply something that happens, but something which he is to do.

We know that we are to pursue this oneness... and we are also warned, "What God has joined together, let no man separate."(Matt.19:6) Therefore, let us pursue those things that "stick" us together.


Homemanager said...

Two excellent books: "Feminine Appeal" by Carolyn Mahaney and "Sex, Romance and the Glory of God" by C.J. Mahaney. Both of these books are very practical and motivational....also add "Humility: True Greatness", also by C. J. Mahaney and you have some good, practical ways for cleaving.

Marlene S. said...

I have Carolyn's book, and just asked hubby for "Humility"... maybe I'll see it for Valentine's. An appropriate book, sounds like.

Homemanager said...

My husband and I really liked it. We were reading it together before bed.

The Lord is using C.J.'s books to challenge my husband to a new place. It is wonderful to see him grow and of course that is making me cry out to the Lord that I will be able to keep up and be what he needs me to be. :o)