http://www.divorcehope.com/godhatesdivorce.htm putting away
Also commentary from an article posted on Zola Levitt Ministries Follows
What Does The Bible Really Teach About Divorce?
By David Instone-Brewer, http://www.ChristianityToday.com
I was being interviewed for what would be my first church pastorate, and I was nervous and unsure what to expect. The twelve deacons sat in a row in front of me and took turns asking questions, which I answered as clearly as I could. All went smoothly until they posed this question: “What is your position on divorce and remarriage? Would you remarry a divorcé or divorced man?”
I didn’t know if this was a trick question or an honest one. There might have been a deep-seated pastoral need behind it, or it might have been a test of my orthodoxy. Either way, I didn’t think I could summarize my view in one sentence; when I thought about it further, I couldn’t decide exactly what my view was. I gave a deliberately vague reply. “Every case should be judged on its own merits.”
It worked; I got the job. But I made a mental note to study the subject of divorce, and to do it quickly.
It’s a good thing I did. As it turned out, I was surrounded by people who needed answers to questions raised by divorce and remarriage. My Baptist church was located near an Anglican congregation and two Catholic churches. Divorced men and women from these congregations came asking if we would conduct their weddings, having been denied in their local churches. Then I found that some of my deacons had been divorced and remarried. Should I throw them out of church leadership? If I did, I would lose people I considered some of the most spiritual in the church, people with exemplary Christian homes and marriages.
What Does the Bible Say?
The New Testament presents a problem in understanding both what the text says about divorce and its pastoral implications. Jesus appears to say that divorce is allowed only if adultery has occurred: “Whoever divorces a wife, except for sexual indecency, and remarries, commits adultery” (Matt. 19:9). However, this has been interpreted in many different ways. Most say that Jesus allows divorce only for adultery. But some argue that Jesus originally didn’t allow even that. Only in Matthew does he offer an out from marriage: “except for sexual indecency.” Beyond what Jesus says, Paul also allows divorce. He permits it for abandonment by a nonbeliever (1 Cor. 7:12-15). Many theologians add this as a second ground for divorce.
Yet some pastors have found this teaching difficult to accept, because it seems so impractical—even cruel in certain situations. It suggests there can be no divorce for physical or emotional abuse, and Paul even seems to forbid separation (1 Cor. 7:10).
As a result, some Christians quietly ignore this seemingly “impractical” biblical teaching or find ways around it. For example, they suggest that when Jesus talked about “sexual immorality,” perhaps he included other things like abuse. Or when Paul talked about abandonment by a nonbeliever, perhaps he included any behavior that is not supportive of the marriage or abandonment by anyone who is acting like a nonbeliever. Many have welcomed such stretching of Scripture because they couldn’t accept what they believed the text apparently said.
But does the literal text mean what we think it does? While doing doctoral studies at Cambridge, I likely read every surviving writing of the rabbis of Jesus’ time. I “got inside their heads” enough to begin to understand them. When I began working as a pastor and was confronted almost immediately with divorced men and women who wanted to remarry, my first response was to re-read the Bible. I’d read the biblical texts on divorce many times in the past, but I found something strange as I did so again. They now said something I hadn’t heard before I read the rabbis!
‘Any Cause’ Divorce
The texts hadn’t changed, but my knowledge of the language and culture in which they were written had. I was now reading them like a first-century Jew would have read them, and this time those confusing passages made more sense. My book, Divorce and Remarriage in the Church (InterVarsity Press), is a summary of several academic papers and books I began writing with this new understanding of what Jesus taught.
One of my most dramatic findings concerns a question the Pharisees asked Jesus: “Is it lawful to divorce a wife for any cause?” (Matt. 19:3). This question reminded me that a few decades before Jesus, some rabbis (the Hillelites) had invented a new form of divorce called the “any cause” divorce. By the time of Jesus, this “any cause” divorce had become so popular that almost no one relied on the literal Old Testament grounds for divorce.
The “any cause” divorce was invented from a single word in Deuteronomy 24:1. Moses allowed divorce for “a cause of immorality,” or, more literally, “a thing of nakedness.” Most Jews recognized that this unusual phrase was talking about adultery. But the Hillelite rabbis wondered why Moses had added the word “thing” or “cause” when he only needed to use the word “immorality.” They decided this extra word implied another ground for divorce—divorce for “a cause.” They argued that anything, including a burnt meal or wrinkles not there when you married your wife, could be a cause! The text, they said, taught that divorce was allowed both for adultery and for “any cause.”
Another group of rabbis (the Shammaites) disagreed with this interpretation. They said Moses’ words were a single phrase that referred to no type of divorce “except immorality”—and therefore the new “any cause” divorces were invalid. These opposing views were well known to all first-century Jews. And the Pharisees wanted to know where Jesus stood. “Is it lawful to divorce your wife for any cause?” they asked. In other words: “Is it lawful for us to use the ‘any cause’ divorce?”
When Jesus answered with a resounding no, he wasn’t condemning “divorce for any cause,” but rather the newly invented “any cause” divorce. Jesus agreed firmly with the second group that the phrase didn’t mean divorce was allowable for “immorality” and for “any cause,” but that Deutermonomy 24:1 referred to no type of divorce “except immorality.”
This was a shocking statement for the crowd and for the disciples. It meant they couldn’t get a divorce whenever they wanted it—there had to be a lawful cause. It also meant that virtually every divorced man or women was not really divorced, because most of them had “any cause” divorces. Luke and Matthew summarized the whole debate in one sentence: Any divorced person who remarried was committing adultery (Matt. 5:32; Luke 16:18), because they were still married. The fact that they said “any divorced person” instead of “virtually all divorced people” is typical Jewish hyperbole—like Mark saying that “everyone” in Jerusalem came to be baptized by John (Mark 1:5). It may not be obvious to us, but their first readers understood clearly what they meant.
Within a few decades, however, no one understood these terms any more. Language often changes quickly (as I found out when my children first heard the Flintstones sing about “a gay old time”). The early church, and even Jewish rabbis, forgot what the “any cause” divorce was, because soon after the days of Jesus, it became the only type of divorce on offer. It was simply called divorce. This meant that when Jesus condemned “divorce for ‘any cause,’ ” later generations thought he meant “divorce for any cause.”
Now that we know what Jesus did reject, we can also see what he didn’t reject. He wasn’t rejecting the Old Testament—he was rejecting a faulty Jewish interpretation of the Old Testament. He defended the true meaning of Deuteronomy 24:1. And there is one other surprising thing he didn’t reject: Jesus didn’t reject the other ground for divorce in the Old Testament, which all Jews accepted.
Although the church forgot the other cause for divorce, every Jew in Jesus’ day knew about Exodus 21:10-11, which allowed divorce for neglect. Before rabbis introduced the “any cause” divorce, this was probably the most common type. Exodus says that everyone, even a slave wife, had three rights within marriage—the rights to food, clothing, and love. If these were neglected, the wronged spouse had the right to seek freedom from that marriage. Even women could, and did, get divorces for neglect—though the man still had to write out the divorce certificate. Rabbis said he had to do it voluntarily, so if he resisted, the courts had him beaten till he volunteered!
These three rights became the basis of Jewish marriage vows—we find them listed in marriage certificates discovered near the Dead Sea. In later Jewish and Christian marriages, the language became more formal, such as “love, honor, and keep.” These vows, together with a vow of sexual faithfulness, have always been the basis for marriage. Thus, the vows we make when we marry correspond directly to the biblical grounds for divorce.
The three provisions of food, clothing, and love were understood literally by the Jews. The wife had to cook and sew, while the husband provided food and materials, or money. They both had to provide the emotional support of marital love, though they could abstain from sex for short periods. Paul taught the same thing. He said that married couples owed each other love (1 Cor. 7:3-5) and material support (1 Cor. 7:33-34). He didn’t say that neglect of these rights was the basis of divorce because he didn’t need to—it was stated on the marriage certificate. Anyone who was neglected, in terms of emotional support or physical support, could legally claim a divorce.
Divorce for neglect included divorce for abuse, because this was extreme neglect. There was no question about that end of the spectrum of neglect, but what about the other end? What about abandonment, which was merely a kind of passive neglect? This was an uncertain matter, so Paul deals with it. He says to all believers that they may not abandon their partners, and if they have done so, they should return (1 Cor. 7:10-11). In the case of someone who is abandoned by an unbeliever—someone who won’t obey the command to return—he says that the abandoned person is “no longer bound.”
Anyone in first-century Israel reading this phrase would think immediately of the wording at the end of all Jewish, and most Roman, divorce certificates: “You are free to marry anyone you wish.”
Putting all this together gives us a clear and consistent set of rules for divorce and remarriage. Divorce is only allowed for a limited number of grounds that are found in the Old Testament and affirmed in the New Testament:
Adultery (in Deuteronomy 24:1, affirmed by Jesus in Matthew 19) Emotional and physical neglect (in Exodus 21:10-11, affirmed by Paul in 1 Corinthians 7) Abandonment and abuse (included in neglect, as affirmed in 1 Corinthians 7) Jewish couples listed these biblical grounds for divorce in their marriage vows. We reiterate them as love, honor, and keep and be faithful to each other. When these vows were broken, it threatened to break up the marriage. As in any broken contract, the wronged party had the right to say, “I forgive you; let’s carry on,” or, “I can’t go on, because this marriage is broken.”
Therefore, while divorce should never happen, God allows it (and subsequent remarriage) when your partner breaks the marriage vows.
Reading the Bible and ancient Jewish documents side-by-side helped me understand much more of the Bible’s teaching about divorce and marriage, not all of which I can summarize here. Dusty scraps of parchment rescued from synagogue rubbish rooms, desert caves, and neglected scholarly collections shone fresh light on the New Testament. Theologians who have long felt that divorce should be allowed for abuse and abandonment may be vindicated. And, more importantly, victims of broken marriages can see that God’s law is both practical and loving.
David Instone-Brewer is senior research fellow in rabbinics and the New Testament at Tyndale House, Cambridge. He is married with two daughters.
http://www.frankcaw.com/divorce.html ADDED 05/15/2012 Good article using valid points of scripture. I have NOT been through this whole website..chew the meat..spit the bones Blessings Gail
http://www.beki.org/domestic.html Domestic violence with Hebraic
This is excerpt from John Gill Exposition……
and put them in ward; partly as a punishment for easily yielding to the lust of Absalom, and partly that they might not be seen, which would bring to remembrance his sin:
and fed them; he did not put them to death, nor put them away, but kept them thus confined, and made a proper provision for them, not suffering them to marry any other, and be maintained by them:
but went not in unto them: into their apartments to lie with them, having been defiled by his son, ( 2 Samuel 16:22) ;
so they were shut up unto the day of their death; kept in the ward till they died:
living in widowhood; neither used by the king as his concubines, as they had been before, nor suffered to many any other; or “in the widowhood of life” F15, which is so expressed, to distinguish it from widowhood made by death; this was such sort of widowhood as obtained while their husband was living; so the Targum,
“widows of their husband alive,” or remaining
Pastor Jack Wellman authors this blog (listed below with the link) … He replies to someone regarding abuse…His reply is so good I have posted it with the link….Blessings Pastor Dr Gail Dowd
There is a new comment on the post “Reasons for Divorce: What Does the Bible Say?”.
Author: Jack Wellman
Dear “On Behalf”, if a non-believer leaves, there is nothing you or your sister can do to prevent it. Even if a Christian leaves his or her spouse, the spouse that remains can not help that. From what you have told me, this man it not a believer in Christ. He shows no fruit whatsoever. A reading of what a Christian is like(Rom 12, 1 Cor 13, 1 John 3) reveals that this man is no more a believer than me standing in a garage makes me a car.
I suggest your sister read 1 Cor 7:15-16 to see that she is not guilty of anything. I am not suggesting that even a spouse that has their mate leave is not 100% guiltless, but I am suggesting that, according to Scripture, there is nothing she can do to prevent it and can not be held responsible for that. Beside the fact, violence is breaking the marriage covenant from what a covenant is to mean. Let me explain more on that:
Perhaps Jesus or Paul never said that physical abuse was grounds for divorce because everyone (even the unsaved) knew it was clearly wrong! Why would we need a direct command from Paul or Jesus that abusing children sexually or physically is wrong when it is so obvious that it is wrong? Abuse and neglect break the marriage covenant. The Lord described the man’s companion as his wife by covenant and warned him not to deal treacherously with her (Malachi 2:14-15) and God even divorced Israel (Jer 3:8). The Hebrew word bagad, translated as treacherously, denotes unfaithfulness to the covenant.
In Deuteronomy 22:10, the husband was fined for publicly defaming his wife. This verse established the husband’s obligation not to ruin his wife’s reputation. Exodus 21 established penalties for personal injuries. For example, a master is not to strike a slave’s eye or knock out a slave’s tooth (Exodus 21:26). Using the same a fortiori argument as above, it is argued that a man must never beat his wife. Furthermore, it does not make sense that God would care about the wife’s reputation and then care nothing about her body. It is also persuasive to consider that if the penalty for striking parents was death (Exodus 21:15), it seems incongruous to consider that there would be absolutely no consequence for striking a wife.
God abhors and denounces violent behavior, which is an evidence of sin that brings God’s judgment. Because of violence, God destroyed the earth (Genesis 6:11-13). The Lord’s soul hates “the one who loves violence” (Psalm 11:5). Wickedness stirred up God’ anger (Ezekiel 7:3); in His pronouncement of punishment for wickedness, He declared that “violence has grown into a rod of wickedness” (Ezekiel 7:11). Proverbs characterized the violent as wicked (Proverbs 4:14-17) and treacherous (the Hebrew word bagad, meaning unfaithful, as noted above) (Proverbs 13:2). Does the promise before God to stay together until “death do us part” mean even by abuse? This is not what it meant at all.
I pray this helps. Perhaps you could encourage her with this.
See all comments on this post here:
MORE INFO NUGGETS4U BELOW
Please consider that King David committed adultery and murdered. The child from that union paid part of the consequences with death. There were other consequences as well. David was brought to repentance (Is the Church taught today about real repentance? It is mentioned all the way through the bible to Revelation!) Here is a link I found that may help regarding David and repentance http://www.westarkchurchofchrist.org/chadwell/2000/121700pm.htm
Now… David remained married to Bathsheba and from them came Solomon (After all that happened did God instruct David to dissolve his marriage to Bathsheba? Did God tell him not to sleep with his now covenant wife?). Jesus is the root and offspring of David http://www.compellingtruth.org/Jesus-son-of-David.html
With true repentance God restores http://www.gotquestions.org/spirit-of-prostitution.html
When someone remarries, and truly repents for any of their mistakes, lives in their new marriage with a heart to obey God, Scripture shows and rabbinic studies show that God will recognize that union!
ANOTHER ARTICLE SOURCE http://www.jesusfamilies.org/Articles/Divorce.htm
Another article 8/14/13
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C-zIqdwYL_I TD JAKES 4 Woman
MATTHEW HENRY EXCERPT BELOW
An objection started by the Pharisees against this; an objection not destitute of colour and plausibility (v. 7); “Why did Moses command to give a writing of divorcement, in case a man did put away his wife?” He urged scripture reason against divorce; they allege scripture authority for it. Note, The seeming contradictions that are in the word of God are great stumbling-blocks to men of corrupt minds. It is true, Moses was faithful to him that appointed him, and commanded nothing but what he received from the Lord; but as to the thing itself, what they call a command was only as allowance (Deut. xxiv. 1), and designed rather to restrain the exorbitances of it than to give countenance to the thing itself. The Jewish doctors themselves observe such limitations in that law, that it could not be done without great deliberation. A particular reason must be assigned, the bill of divorce must be written, and, as a judicial act, must have all the solemnities of a deed, executed and enrolled. It must be given into the hands of the wife herself, and (which would oblige men, if they had any consideration in them, to consider) they were expressly forbidden ever to come together again.
IV. Christ’s answer to this objection, in which,
1. He rectifies their mistake concerning the law of Moses; they called it a command, Christ calls it but a permission, a toleration. Carnal hearts will take an ell if but an inch be given them. The law of Moses, in this case, was a political law, which God gave, as the Governor of that people; and it was for reasons of state, that divorces were tolerated. The strictness of the marriage union being the result, not of a natural, but of a positive law, the wisdom of God dispensed with divorces in some cases, without any impeachment of his holiness.
But Christ tells them there was a reason for this toleration, not at all for their credit; It was because of the hardness of your hearts, that you were permitted to put away your wives. Moses complained of the people of Israel in his time, that their hearts were hardened (Deut. ix. 6; xxxi. 27), hardened against God; this is here meant of their being hardened against their relations; they were generally violent and outrageous, which way soever they took, both in their appetites and in their passions; and therefore if they had not been allowed to put away their wives, when they had conceived a dislike of them, they would have used them cruelly, would have beaten and abused them, and perhaps have murdered them.
Note, There is not a greater piece of hard-heartedness in the world, than for a man to be harsh and severe with his own wife.
The Jews, it seems, were infamous for this, and therefore were allowed to put them away; better divorce them than do worse, than that the altar of the Lord should be covered with tears, Mal. ii. 13. A little compliance, to humour a madman, or a man in a frenzy, may prevent a greater mischief. Positive laws may be dispensed with for the preservation of the law of nature, for God will have mercy and not sacrifice; but then those are hard-hearted wretches, who have made it necessary; and none can wish to have the liberty of divorce, without virtually owning the hardness of their hearts. Observe, He saith, It is for the hardness of your hearts, not only theirs who lived then, but all their seed. Note, God not only sees, but foresees, the hardness of men’s hearts; he suited both the ordinances and providences of the Old Testament to the temper of that people, both in terror. Further observe, The law of Moses considered the hardness of men’s hearts, but the gospel of Christ cures it; and his grace takes away the heart of stone, and gives a heart of flesh. By the law was the knowledge of sin, but by the gospel was the conquest of it.
2. He reduces them to the original institution; But from the beginning it was not so. Note, Corruptions that are crept into any ordinance of God must be purged out by having recourse to the primitive institution. If the copy be vicious, it must be examined and corrected by the original. Thus, when St. Paul would redress the grievances in the church of Corinth about the Lord’s supper, he appealed to the appointment (1 Cor. xi. 23), So and so I received from the Lord. Truth was from the beginning; we must therefore enquire for the good old way (Jer. vi. 16), and must reform, mot by later patterns, but by ancient rules.
http://www.derekprince.org/publisher/article.aspx?id=1000085412 Worse than a unbeliever 11/16/14
http://www.charismanews.com/culture/51898-wife-abuse-the-tragic-misconception-of-submission Wife abuse and the Bible 9/13/15