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View Full Version : Divorce: Biblical for Reasons Other Than Adultery



LookingUp
Apr 15th 2010, 03:41 AM
I’d like to test the findings below. Let me know what you think.


Shortly before Moses died, he reminded the men of Israel of the laws. One law, for example, was that if a man was found lying with a married woman, both of them shall die (Deut. 22:22).

Another law was that when a man divorced his wife, he could no longer remarry her in the future (Deut. 24:4).

Notice that this law in Deut. 24 didn’t permit divorce; divorce had already been taking place among the men of Israel in the wilderness (Lev. 21). This law made it so that the husband who divorced his wife was unable to remarry his divorced wife in the future.

The meaning of “some indecency in her” found in Deut. 24:1 has been a matter of debate for a long time. Perhaps it’s because Moses never meant for it to be defined as something specific. Some have argued that the phrase must refer to “adultery.” But why would Moses say in Chapter 22 that the law states that adulterous women shall die and then two chapters later say that the law states that adulterous women who are given certificates of divorce by their husbands shall not remarry their first husband? This must mean that the phrase “some indecency in her” means anything but adultery. But I don’t think the point Moses was making in this passage was in order to define the reason the men of Israel were divorcing their wives. The point (the law) was that those who were already divorcing their wives for “..…” cannot remarry her a second time in the future.

Realizing this got me wondering about Jesus’ words to the Pharisees about this very passage in Deut. 24. Apparently, many first-century Jews felt it was lawful to divorce your wife for any reason at all (Mt. 19:3). When the Pharisees approached Jesus to ask His opinion on if it was lawful to divorce your wife for any cause, Jesus pointed them to the beginning when God created Adam and Eve, saying that when two join, they become one flesh and no one should separate them (Mt. 19:4-6). The Pharisees then argued His point by saying that if that were true, then why did Moses “command” them to give their wives a certificate of divorce. In other words, they were saying that God must not have intended for the union to be for a lifetime if He had commanded them to divorce their wives. We find out that God never commanded the men of Israel in the wilderness to divorce their wives; He permitted them to do so because of their hardness of hearts (Mt. 19:8). Apparently, these men in the wilderness who “found some indecency” in their wives didn’t have worthy cause to divorce their wives; they were hard-hearted, unforgiving men and were simply “permitted” to do this, possibly in order to protect the wives from further neglect and potential abuse. After all, we see that an earlier provision was made for mistreated wives when a husband decided to take another wife and thus neglect the first wife of food, clothing and conjugal rights (Ex. 21:7-10).

Then Jesus tells the questioning Pharisees, “And I say to you, whoever divorces his wife, except for immorality, and marries another woman commits adultery” (Mt. 19:9).

The disciples were shocked at this comment. After all, the men of Israel had been divorcing their wives for just about any reason at all for centuries. The disciples with Jesus tell Him that if this is the case, it’s better not to marry. Jesus doesn’t tell them they’re wrong that it’s better not to marry. He simply says that not all men would be able to accept that statement but only to those to whom it has been given—such as eunuchs who are born that way and eunuchs who made themselves that way. But that he who is able to accept the statement that it is better not to marry, let him do that (Mt. 19:12).

Notice that none of this conversation the Pharisees have with Jesus has anything to do with when women have the biblical right to divorce their husbands. And why would they have asked Jesus about that anyway? Of course, I’m sure the same would apply to wives—they should not divorce their husbands for frivolous reasons—but how many women in that culture would dare divorce their husbands? From what I understand about the culture, women had very few rights and it was very important for a woman to be married.

As I mentioned above, we do see that God made sure to make provision for wives who were mistreated by their husbands who withheld the basic necessities of food, clothing, and conjugal rights (Ex. 21:7-11). Apparently, the rabbis made this text in Exodus 21 the cornerstone of their theology on divorce. The line of questioning of the Pharisees is totally unrelated to this already commonly held doctrine among first-century Jews. The Pharisees wanted to know when men had the right to divorce their wives. They were already divorcing their wives for frivolous reasons for a long time (the wives weren’t doing this). Jesus warns these men that this “frivolous divorcing” was no longer going to be tolerated. If these hardhearted men divorced their wives for anything other than sexual immorality, they’d be committing adultery.

My conclusions for application for today:
1. When two come together (specifically, sexual intercourse), they become one flesh. Obviously, God meant for sexual intercourse to take place within a marriage.
2. No one should separate this union; it is meant for a lifetime.
3. Divorce should never take place for frivolous reasons. If it does, the spouse initiating the divorce commits adultery and makes the former spouse commit adultery with their new spouse.
4. A spouse being seriously neglected or abused (i.e. basic necessities are being withheld) can leave the marriage.

RockSolid
Apr 16th 2010, 01:13 AM
Nice, nice. Most people deem marriage as having a wedding, exchanging vows and such. I agree that sexual intercourse = marriage.

Another thing to add, even when we committed adultery spiritually by following other gods (money, wealth, things of the world, power, ect.), God chose to forgive us and take us back instead of putting us away! Praise God!

Amos_with_goats
Apr 16th 2010, 01:51 AM
Here is some more gist for the mill; (15b specifically).

1 Corinthians 7:10-16 (New King James Version)

Keep Your Marriage Vows

10 Now to the married I command, yet not I but the Lord: A wife is not to depart from her husband. 11 But even if she does depart, let her remain unmarried or be reconciled to her husband. And a husband is not to divorce his wife.
12 But to the rest I, not the Lord, say: If any brother has a wife who does not believe, and she is willing to live with him, let him not divorce her. 13 And a woman who has a husband who does not believe, if he is willing to live with her, let her not divorce him. 14 For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband; otherwise your children would be unclean, but now they are holy. 15 But if the unbeliever departs, let him depart; a brother or a sister is not under bondage in such cases. But God has called us to peace. 16 For how do you know, O wife, whether you will save your husband? Or how do you know, O husband, whether you will save your wife?

Beckrl
Apr 16th 2010, 01:56 AM
What causes an marriage union the vow, contract or covenant by blood? If we were to look at the covenant that God maked with man it is by an blood covenant so also is the marriage.

Lookingup, what then to you is "sexual immorality"?

LookingUp
Apr 16th 2010, 06:35 AM
What causes an marriage union the vow, contract or covenant by blood? If we were to look at the covenant that God maked with man it is by an blood covenant so also is the marriage.

Lookingup, what then to you is "sexual immorality"?In the days of Jesus, the marriage was lawfully binding during the betrothal period. See Deut. 22:23-24 where we see that the “betrothed” virgin is called the neighbor’s wife. The joining of the two sexually took place after the two were lawfully married. Otherwise, it would have been the same thing as sex before marriage.

Mary was Joseph’s lawful wife during the betrothal period and that is why Jesus was not considered illegitimate.

Beckrl
Apr 16th 2010, 07:58 PM
In the days of Jesus, the marriage was lawfully binding during the betrothal period. See Deut. 22:23-24 where we see that the “betrothed” virgin is called the neighbor’s wife. The joining of the two sexually took place after the two were lawfully married. Otherwise, it would have been the same thing as sex before marriage.

Mary was Joseph’s lawful wife during the betrothal period and that is why Jesus was not considered illegitimate.

The betrothal period is an lawful contract that binds two unto marriage, but the coming to be one flesh is at the consummation of that contract. That is the part where man can't separate the two for it's no longer an lawful contract but an blood covenant.


And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave[joined at consummation] to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh?
Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder