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DIVORCE AND REMARRIAGE
“The truth revealed with correct translations of “sent away” versus “divorced”.

PURPOSE

The purpose of this study is to rightly divide the word of YHWH, by correcting several mistranslated words, to determine whether divorce, and remarriage after divorce, is allowed or prohibited by YHWH and what, if any, limitations, regulations or guidelines there are on this issue.

It is NOT the purpose of this study to denigrate the family or the original plan of YHWH that husbands and wives should remain married and should keep the promises made when they married. This is the original plan and design for mankind given in Genesis before the fall of Adam and Eve. This study is not intended to encourage divorce either, but to show that divorce is an option in some circumstances, and that the Word of Yahweh very clearly provides for divorce, including step by step instructions. This study will also prove that divorce is a full, complete and legal termination of the marriage covenant.

It is very important to remember that the divorce is not the sin. First of all, Yahweh divorced Israel, and we know that Yahweh does not sin. Also, since Yahweh’s word gives specific instructions for how to divorce a spouse in Deut 24:1-3, if divorcing were a sin, then Yahweh’s word would be teaching sin. We know that this is not so. The sin was when one of the marriage partners failed to keep the marriage promises in the first place. The divorce is Yahweh’s way of showing mercy and providing for peace and hope in the lives of those devastated by a failed marriage. This is a very important distinction.

POSITION TAKEN

In summary, this study will show that divorce, and remarriage after divorce is not prohibited in scripture. The primary points that will be shown are:

1) Deut 24:1-4: This is the FIRST time in scripture that there is a discussion in which divorce and remarriage is the PRIMARY SUBJECT, and thus it becomes the “controlling” scripture by which all others must be measured. It is like the foundation of a house and all the walls must be aligned from this point up. This is a common practice among exegesists. The weight of this scripture, in light of the scripture that says “I am YHWH, I change not;” (Mal 3:6) makes it of paramount importance and a great deal of time will be spent in looking at the original Hebrew text.
2) There are distinct and separate words, in both the Hebrew and the Greek for 2 different marital states. The first word in Hebrew, “shalach”, correctly rendered into English as “put away” means to send a spouse away WITHOUT a divorce paper, and the second word, in Hebrew, “sepher kerituth”, correctly rendered into English as “writing of divorce” means to give a written divorce paper terminating the marriage contract. In the NT, there are also 2 separate and totally different words in the Greek, following the precedent set down by the Hebrew.
3) All other texts, in the New and Old Testaments, line up with this view from Deut 24:1-4 without contradiction once the correct translations are made with respect to the words “shalach” or “put away” and “sepher kerituth” or “divorced”.
4) In all points, Yahshua did not come to change the law (Matt 5:17) but to magnify it, and a correct translation of the 2 previously discussed words on this subject will show that he upheld the Torah in this case as well and did not add to nor take away from the Word.

The specific texts that will be studied in detail are:

• Deut 24:1-2 Original commandment regarding divorce and remarriage
• Deut 22:29 Special prohibition against divorcing a wife acquired by rape
• Lev 21:14 Commandment concerning Marriages of the High Priests
• Num 30:9 Commandment concerning Divorced Women and Their Vows
• Isaiah 50:1 and Jer 3:9 Yahweh Sets The Example
• Eze 44:22 Marriage of Future Priests of Zadok
• Matt 5:31 and 19:7 Yahshua Confirms Deut 24:1
• Mark 10:11-12 Reconfirmation of Deut 24:1 Again

THE PRIMARY SCRIPTURE: DEUT 24:1-4

The primary text in the King James English version is as follows:

1 When a man hath taken a wife, and married her, and [if] it come to pass that she find no favour in his eyes, because he hath found some uncleanness in her: then let him write her a bill of divorcement ספר כריתת, and give it in her hand, and send her ושלחה out of his house.

2 And when she is departed out of his house, she may go and be another man’s wife.

3 And should the latter husband hate her, and write her a bill of divorcement, and giveth it in her hand, and sendeth her out of his house; or if the latter husband die, which took her to be his wife;

4 Her former husband, which sent her away, may not take her again to be his wife, after that she is defiled [to him]; for that is abomination before YAHWEH: and thou shalt not cause the land to sin, which YAHWEH thy Elohim giveth thee for an inheritance.

The primary text according to the Masoretic Hebrew is as follows. The underlined word is the ONLY time the word “if” is present in the Hebrew text. Attention is being drawn to this because the NIV translation is very bad and adds the word “if” many times within its translation where it does not exist, causing drastic changes to the meaning of the text. So the text has been placed here, and the word “if” underlined so that even those that lack basic Hebrew language skills can see that only in Verse 1 is there an “if” in the Hebrew text.

1 כי יקח איש אישה ובעלה והיה אם לא תמצא חן בעיניו כי מצא בה ערבת דבר וכתב לה ספר כריתת ונתן בידה ושלחה מביתו.
2 ויצאה וביתו והלכה והיתה לאיש אחר:
3 ושנאה האיש האחרון וכתב לה ספר כריתת ונתן בידה ושלחה מביתו או כי ימות האיש האחרון אשר לקחת לו לאישה
4 לא יכול בעלה הראשון אשר שלחה לשוב לקחתה להיות לו לאישה אחרי אשר הטמאה כי תועבה הוא לפני יהוה ולא תחטיא את הארץ אשר יהוה אלהיך נתן לך נחלה.

Verse 1:

This verse has 3 basic parts: 1) a couple is married; 2) one no longer likes the other for some reason; and 3) Yahweh gives step-by-step instructions for the termination of the marriage contract.

This clear command from Yahweh on how to dissolve a marriage contract has been dismissed by some based on the argument that the couple could be divorced because the marriage had not yet been consummated. This interpretation is clearly contrary to the ordinary meaning of the first seven (7) words of the verse and the clear and ordinary meaning of the Hebrew word “yiqach” (יקח), the future form of the infinite “laqachat”, meaning “to take” as in sexual union. The verse also goes on to say “and married her” and so there were two matters that occurred: the taking, and the marrying. There is absolutely nothing in the text to support the idea that the marriage was not consummated. In fact, exactly the opposite is true.

The second part includes the reason for a divorce, and the Hebrew phrase “ervat davar” which roughly means “some uncleanness”. The exact meaning of this phrase was still being argued in Yahshua’s days by leading scholars, and the discussion of such is outside the scope of this study. While it is important to understand what are allowable reasons for divorce, this study is seeking only to establish that divorce and remarriage were allowed and that specific regulations were given to those doing so.

The third part contains the commandments of Yahweh as follows: 1) there is to be a written document called a divorce created; 2) it is to be put in the hand of the person being divorced; 3) and only THEN the divorced person is sent out of the house. So, clearly enough, a marriage contract can be severed. Remember that Yahweh does not change and that he does not legislate sin. These are lawful acts according to Yahweh’s Word, and man should not try to add to or take away from them to suite their own beliefs.

Of course the text is written from the husband’s point of view with the husband doing all the actions to the wife. This does not precludes a wife doing all the actions to a husband any more than all the other commandments that Yahweh gave to the men leaving the women free to do whatever they wish. No one should argue this point. The Torah commandments are equally binding on both men and women except those physically limited to one gender such as physical circumcision, etc.

In ancient of days, it has been written that women were considered only a bit higher than cattle and were considered the property of the husband and therefore the scriptures are written thus. However, extemporaneous materials show examples of women seeking a divorce from their husbands by going through a community leader of some sort who causes the husband to write the divorce, if he is not willing to correct whatever issue the wife has with him. So there are examples of wives instigating the divorce if not directly writing it themselves.

In summary, the execution of a divorce includes the creation of a written document called a divorce paper, placing it in the hand of the person being divorced, and the divorced person being “sent away” from the house. It is important to remember that there are three (3) steps here. Without all three (3) steps being implemented, the marriage contract is still binding. We will later see that this is what Yahshua objected to, that they were “sending away” their wives WITHOUT writing them a “divorce paper”, and leaving them no recourse but to cohabit illegally with another man, i.e. commit adultery. They were skipping Step 1, the writing of the divorcement, and just sending the wife away without setting her free.

Verse 2

“And when she is departed out of his house, she may go and be another man’s wife.”

By reading the plain and simple statement above, you would think there would be no arguments remaining about whether Yahweh allows remarriage. It seems clear enough. This spouse, once properly divorced according to Yahweh’s instructions, may choose another spouse. However, this is where people start to twist the scriptures to meet their own ideas on the subject.

One such twisting of the scripture is done by the addition of the word “if” where no word “if” appears in the Hebrew text, causing the meaning to be changed from “when she becomes another man’s” to “if she goes and becomes another man’s”. This alternative meaning is then construed to be the cause of her being referred to as “defiled” in verse 4. Any interlinear will easily show the word “if” as an added word in multiple places in the NIV version.

This is a good time to remind the reader of the following scripture: Deut 4:2 Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish ought from it, that ye may keep the commandments of Yahweh your Elohim which I command you.

If Yahweh did not allow remarriage, he could have had Moses simply write “she may NOT go and be another man’s wife”, but this is NOT what is written. In fact, if there is NO divorce and remarriage, then why are these 4 verses included in the Word of Yahweh at all? Couldn’t Yahweh have just had Moses write “If a man has taken a wife and married her then he may never divorce her”? There is a verse that says just that, but it is a special case for a man who rapes a virgin. We will address this later.

Verse 3:

“And if the latter husband hate her, and write her a bill of divorcement, and giveth it in her hand, and sendeth her out of his house; or if the latter husband die, which took her to be his wife;”

Although there was no punctuation in the Hebrew text, after Verse 2 there is a clear STOP. Verse 1 and 2 go together forming a complete revolution: the marriage, the divorce, and the remarriage. Then, verse 3 begins again and outlines the 2 conditions by which any marriage can be ended: by a written bill of divorce OR by death. Notice that the three (3) steps necessary for a true divorce are listed again reminding the reader of the injunction that all things are established by 2 or more witnesses. First, that he write a divorce, second that he puts it in her hand, and third that he sends her out of his house.

The conjunction “OR” indicates that the two things on either side of the “or” are equal, so that if she is divorced or her husband dies, in either case, she is released from the marriage contract.

Verse 4:

“Her former husband, which sent her away, may not take her again to be his wife, after that she is defiled [to him]; for that is abomination before YAHWEH: and thou shalt not cause the land to sin, which YAHWEH thy Elohim giveth thee for an inheritance.”

Now we come to the purpose of the entire treatise. Under no circumstances may a divorced or widowed spouse return to the first spouse. It is after returning to the first spouse that there is defilement, not the divorce itself or the death of the second spouse. The words “after that” refer to the first spouse “taking her again to be his wife”. If the divorce itself, or the widowhood, was the cause of the woman’s defilement, then she would have been defiled immediately and unable to become another man’s wife as is permitted in verse 2. But this is not the case, and there are numerous examples to show that a woman who is widowed or divorced is not defiled, EXCEPT if she returns to the first spouse.

It is entirely acceptable for a widow to remarry, so to be widowed is not “defiling”, and for a widow to remarry is not “defiling”, thus it remains that what is “defiling” is remarrying the first husband, and that alone. There is no defilement in being divorced, and there is no defilement in being widowed. There is only defilement when a divorcee returns to the original spouse after having married another. This is the ENTIRE purpose of the text.

SUMMARY OF DEUT 24:1-4

• Yahweh gives instructions for a divorce, entailing 3 steps, which are repeated twice for clarity and confirmation.
• Yahweh equates divorce with being widowed, with either one setting the spouse free to remarry, except to the first spouse.
• Yahweh specifically prohibits, under any circumstances, the return of a spouse to a former spouse after being married to another.

And finally, if remarriage after divorce was not allowed at all, then these 4 verses could have been totally left out of the Torah all together since the whole purpose is to say that a divorced spouse or one widowed from a 2nd marriage could not return to a former spouse. If there was no remarriage, no discussion of returning after a subsequent marriage would be necessary.

OTHER OLD TESTAMENT SCRIPTURES

Deut 22:29

29 Then the man that lay with her shall give unto the damsel’s father fifty shekels of silver, and she shall be his wife; because he hath humbled her, he may not put her away all his days.

This scripture addresses a situation in which a man has raped a maid and thus he must marry her, and can never divorce her. The text reads that he may not put her away, which is the Hebrew “shelach”. In the 3 steps given to divorce a spouse, this is the third and final step, so if she cannot be “put away” this means that she can never be divorced.

The real insight offered by this scripture is this. If no one could divorce, then this scripture would be unnecessary. Since this scripture is provided to specifically prohibit a divorce in this special case, it stands to reason that in other circumstances a divorce is allowed.

Lev 21:14

“A widow, or a divorced woman, or profane, or an harlot, these shall he [a High Priest, see V10] not take: but he shall take a virgin of his own people to wife.”

If no remarriage was allowed at all following a divorce, then it would be unnecessary to state here that a High Priest could not marry a divorced woman since no one would be able to.

Lev 21:7

“They shall not take a wife that is a whore, or profane; neither shall they take a woman put away [divorced-NKJV] from her husband: for he is holy unto his Elohim.”

In the New King James Version, the words “put away” are corrected to be “divorced” which agrees with the Hebrew here which is “garushah” or divorced and not “shalach” or put away. Again, if no remarriage were allowed for anyone, then this scripture would not be needed at all, but since “man shall live by every word that proceeds from the mouth of Yahweh” it is here for a reason and part of that is to show that remarriage was allowed, although not for Priests.

Lev 22:13

“But if the priest’s daughter be a widow, or divorced, and have no child, and is returned unto her father’s house, as in her youth, she shall eat of her father’s meat: but there shall no stranger eat thereof.”

If a divorce or widowhood caused a woman to be defiled, then it is doubtful that she would be allowed back in her father’s home and to eat of the priests’ holy foods. This scripture makes it very clear that a widow or divorced woman is not “defiled” but is considered the same as before she married.

Interestingly, she cannot eat of His food if she is married to a stranger as this would mean that she is sinning by committing idolatry. But if she is divorced, she is still able to eat from her father’s table, showing that being divorced is not a sin, nor does it defile one.

Num 30:8-9

8 But if her husband disallowed her on the day that he heard it; then he shall make her vow which she vowed, and that which she uttered with her lips, wherewith she bound her soul, of none effect: and YAHWEH shall forgive her.
9 But every vow of a widow, and of her that is divorced, wherewith they have bound their souls, shall stand against her.

Here again, the widow and the divorced are treated equally. Interestingly, if there was no such thing as divorce, and the woman mentioned in Verse 9 was “really” still married, then this woman’s vows would still be subject to her husband, but verse 9 indicates that her previous husband is truly no longer her husband because her vows are her own. This supports the conclusion that a divorce does indeed terminate a marriage contract, setting the spouses free and responsible for their own vows.

Isa 50:1

“Thus saith YAHWEH, Where is the bill of your mother’s divorcement (ספר קירתת -sepher keritut), whom I have put away (שלח-shalach)? or which of my creditors is it to whom I have sold you? Behold, for your iniquities have ye sold yourselves, and for your transgressions is your mother put away.”

I include this scripture only because it shows that there is a distinction between divorced (ספר קירתת sepher keritut) and put away (שלח-shalach) and that two different words are used in the Hebrew and in the Greek.

Jer 3:8

“And I saw, when for all the causes whereby backsliding Israel committed adultery I had put her away (שלח-shalach) , and given her a bill of divorce (ספר קירתת -sepher keritut); yet her treacherous sister Judah feared not, but went and played the harlot also.

Again, I included this for the same reason as cited for the previous scripture. It is imperative that it is understood that being divorced and being put away are two entirely different things.

Mal 2:14-16

14 Yet ye say, Wherefore? Because YAHWEH hath been witness between thee and the wife of thy youth, against whom thou hast dealt treacherously: yet is she thy companion, and the wife of thy covenant.
15 And did not he make one? Yet had he the residue of the spirit. And wherefore one? That he might seek a [righteous] seed. Therefore take heed to your spirit, and let none deal treacherously against the wife of his youth.
16 For YAHWEH, the Elohim of Israel, saith that he hateth putting away: for one covereth violence with his garment, saith YAHWEH of hosts: therefore take heed to your spirit, that ye deal not treacherously.

I primary inserted this scripture here to point out that in verse 16 it is said that Yahweh hates “putting away”. Notice that it does not say divorce although I have heard it quoted this way many times. But, since Yahweh legislated divorce, why would he hate his own doings. This is nonsense. What he hates is the putting away of spouses WITHOUT any cause and dealing treacherously with others.

NEW TESTAMENT SCRIPTURES

The first and therefore the primary text in the New Testament covering divorce and remarriage is Matthew 5: 31 and 32. As this is the FIRST COMPLETE discussion of this matter in the New Testament, it acts as a cornerstone by which all other scriptures must line up just like Deut 24:1-4 in the Old Testament. Therefore, I will spend quite a bit of time covering the text including a detailed look into the Greek words used therein.

As previously discussed, there are 2 different words in the Hebrew and in the Greek denoting “divorced” versus “put away”. These words in the Greek are as follows. The distinction between the two is critical to a correct understanding of the texts.

Strong’s #647 – apostasion – writing of divorcement
This word exists in the Greek text 3 times, and in all 3 times it is rendered into the English word “writing of divorcement” and is a legal term. There are NO other words used to mean this in the New Testament. It denotes a written document that terminates a marriage contract and as such has its OWN word in Greek as well as in Hebrew. It is not the same word as “apoluo”, meaning “put away”, which refers to a spouse that is sent away without a writing of divorce. Remember that Yahweh’s instructions include 3 steps in a divorce: 1) write a divorce paper; 2) put in the hand of the other spouse; 3) put away or send away the spouse.

Strong’s #630 – apoluo – put away
This word exists in the Greek text 70 times, and in 69 times it is rendered “send away” or “released” or some form of these words. ONLY ONCE, in Matthew 5:32 is it rendered differently, in error, to be “divorced”. As seen above, the word in Greek for “divorced” is “apostasion”, not “apoluo”. So, the correct translation of Matthew 5:32 is used below.

Matthew 5:31 - 32

31 [Yahshua speaking] It hath been said, Whosoever shall put away [apoluo #630] his wife, let him give her a writing of divorcement [apostasion #647]:

Notice the use of the 2 separate words here, one meaning put away and once meaning divorce. In Matt 5:17, Yahshua says that he has not come to do away with the law, and here he repeats Deut 24:1, and then goes on to make a further clarification. He does not change the law as that would violate what he just said in Verse 17, but as he so often does, he repeats from the Torah and then clarifies or magnifies it more fully saying…

32 But [And] I say unto you, That whosoever shall put away [apoluo #630] his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery: and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced “PUT AWAY” [apoluo #630] committeth adultery.

Only the American Standard Version and The Scriptures (a Sacred Name version of the Bible) correctly translates the word “apoluo” here in the end of verse 32 as “put away” which it most clearly is. And what a great difference this one word makes! According to Deut 24:1 a man may marry a woman who has a written divorce, but he may not marry one who does not, but who has only been “put away”. Once the translation is corrected, it lines up perfectly with Deut 24.

Yahshua further tells them that if they are sending away their wives without giving them a divorce paper (unless the wives have committed fornication), then the men themselves are causing the wives to commit adultery. Why is this? Because in their culture the woman would have had to seek assistance from another man or perish. Being put away or sent away meant that she would have nothing. In this time period and before as documented in extra-biblical writings such as the Jewish Encyclopedia among others, it is written that the marriage contracts included what portion of the wife’s dowry would be returned to her in case of divorce. Yahshua is citing a case where the husbands are just “sending away” their wives and not following the whole law by writing her a divorce because then he would have to return her dowry. The wife’s dowry could be substantial and could cut into the man’s livelihood, and hence he would benefit by not giving her a full divorce.

Also, the man taking the woman who is only put away, and not divorced, is further taking advantage of her, when he should be going to the husband to make him comply with the law requiring three steps. There are documented cases of situations where husbands were basically wife swapping by sending their wives away without divorces to their friends, and then, since they were not legally married to the 2nd man, they could have them back when they wanted, and all the time, they retained the income from the woman’s dowry.

Yahshua is confirming Deut 24 and that the husbands MUST follow the 3 steps outlined in Deut 24, including 1) write a divorce paper; 2) give it to her; 3) then send her away, assuming she has not committed fornication. If he does NOT do these 3 things, but only sends her away, then he has broken the law, he causes her sin, and any man who marries her also is committing adultery. Yahshua, as usual, like a knight on a white horse is coming to the defense of the downtrodden and deriding the men of the time for not complying with the law and taking advantage of the women.

Albeit, Yahshua does allow a husband to “put away” a wife if she has committed fornication which is the Greek word “porniea” meaning 1) incest, 2) beastiality; 3) idolatry; or 4) adultery. For these sins on the part of the wife, the husband was allowed to put her away without a divorce. In most of the cases, it is believed that the wife was put away to correct her and bring her back following her repentance, which is what Yahweh did to Judah. He never really divorced her, he only put her away because He wants her to repent and He wants her back…but that is another subject.

So, now we have laid a cornerstone for the New Testament scriptures which shows that Yahshua supported the Old Testament laws as outlined in Deut 24 regarding divorce and remarriage. Now, we will look at other places in the New Testament where marriage and/or divorce are mentioned. It is important to keep in mind, that they must harmonize with the cornerstone, and that any conflict means we have an error somewhere in our understanding.

ADDITIONAL NEW TESTAMENT SCRIPTURES

Matt 19:7-9

7 They say unto him, Why did Moses then command to give a writing of divorcement, and to put her away?
8 He saith unto them, Moses because of the hardness of your hearts suffered you to put away your wives: but from the beginning it was not so.
9 And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery.

Verse 9 is a repeat of Matt 5:32 except that the word “apoluo” is properly rendered “put away”. Yahshua changes nothing here at all. He does say that this was not what Yahweh intended from the beginning, but because of the “hardness of your hearts” they were allowed to do this. “Hardness of heart” can be defined as the heart of mankind in his fallen state, with the heart of flesh being the opposite which we will be given when Yahshua returns. So, what Yahweh allowed, why do some now wish to disallow? Since Yahweh made rules allowing for divorce and remarriage, if you say these things are sins, then you make Yahweh to be the causer of sin, which cannot be. If Yahweh gave rules and regulations outlining exactly how to go about getting a divorce then I am sure it was because he was aware that someone would need them at some point. Who would need it? Those who might be trodden upon, the weaker, and the disadvantaged! In many, many ways Yahweh always provides for the underdogs and this is one of them.

As has already been said, this study does not advocate divorce because it is a horrible affair caused by the fact that mankind is living in a fallen state. However, Yahweh in his mercy has allowed for the termination of marriages because he wants to protect those who are abandoned, mistreated, or downtrodden in some way, both husbands and wives, and give them another opportunity to live lives filled with peace and love.

Mark 10:11-12

11 And he saith unto them, Whosoever shall put away his wife, and marry another, committeth adultery against her.
12 And if a woman shall put away her husband, and be married to another, she committeth adultery.

This is a repeat of the scriptures from Matthew except that you can see that Yahshua recognized that the same rules applied equally to women as he references the woman who puts away her husband. This supports my earlier statement that Deut 24:1-4 applies equally to husbands and wives. Notice that the word “divorce paper” is NOT used here. This scripture solely discusses “putting away” spouses WITHOUT divorce papers. And what does Yahweh say about this…he hates the PUTTING AWAY. No where in scripture does it say that Yahweh hates divorce. He, himself, divorced the House of Israel. Does YAHWEH commit sin? No way!

Luke 16:17-18

17 And it is easier for heaven and earth to pass, than one tittle of the law to fail.
18 Whosoever putteth away his wife, and marrieth another, committeth adultery: and whosoever marrieth her that is put away from her husband committeth adultery.

This mirrors Yahshua’s words in Matthew and Mark and there is no difference. It is interesting that Yahshua repeats his words from Matt 5:17 about NOT changing the law before repeating again from Deut 24. Notice that he does not repeat the entire law with the 3 steps necessary to terminate a marriage contract, but he hones right in on the point they are missing out on. They were in the habit of putting away their wives, and skipping the step commanding them to write her a divorce, and for THIS reason Yahshua is calling them to task.

This is the end of a review of Yahshua’s words on the matter of divorce and remarriage and he fully supported Deut 24:1-4 and the instructions concerning divorce and remarriage but took them to task on the way in which they were trying to skirt around the law. This should be enough proof and we should not need the words of any other. Yahweh’s words and Yahshua, who spoke according to the Father’s words in all things, should be the final say. However, Brother Paul had quite a bit to say and so we must also address and align his words to Yahshua’s and to Yahweh’s.

PAUL’S WRITINGS

Most people will agree that Paul is difficult to understand and very wordy and the church authorities later had a field day with unauthorized modifications to some of his writings. Most serious bible students are well aware of the fact that the Torah and the other Old Testament writings were much, much better preserved as to their content that the Greek-based New Testament writings. It is well known and accepted that falsehoods crept into the new writings before canonization took place because there are so many discrepancies between the older manuscripts.

Even with all that said, Paul did not do away with the law concerning divorce and remarriage either, although some of what he had to say is a bit more difficult to understand. Just remember that if 99 scriptures say it one way, and one says it another, most probably the 99 are correct and the 1 is in error. It is not realistic to take the one place where scriptural meaning is contrary to all else and cling to that meaning only.

Rom 7:1-3

1 Know ye not, brethren, (for I speak to them that know the law,) how that the law hath dominion over a man as long as he liveth?
2 For the woman which hath an husband is bound by the law to her husband so long as he liveth; but if the husband be dead, she is loosed from the law of her husband.
3 So then if, while her husband liveth, she be married to another man, she shall be called an adulteress: but if her husband be dead, she is free from that law; so that she is no adulteress, though she be married to another man.

This is one of the more difficult texts, so we will cover it first. The most important thing to remember here is that the context is NOT divorce and remarriage. The context is how Yahshua’s death set us free from the death penalty we had for breaking the law, and how since we now have a new life we should walk in it. He brings up the law of marriage here only as a point of comparison and as such he is not indebted to cover all points of the law of marriage. In verse 1 he clearly indicates that he is speaking to those that already know the law, including Deut 24:1-4, and again, in v 12 he makes it clear that the law is holy, just and good.

In verse 2, he cites one example by which a woman can be freed from the law of her husband, namely through death. He does not state that there is no other way, he is just using this as an example that through death, she is set free. He likens this to our being set free from our death penalty through dying with Yahshua through immersion so that we can live again free from our old penalties and sins. He is not discussing divorce and remarriage so he does not mention that she is also freed from the law of her husband if he divorces her, but he did not need to do so, as he was speaking “to them that know the law.” He was just using the well known fact that with the death of her husband, she was set free, and that thru the death of Yahshua, so are we. HalleluYah!

1 Cor 7:8-9

8 I say therefore to the unmarried and widows, It is good for them if they abide even as I.
9 But if they cannot contain, let them marry: for it is better to marry than to burn.

There are teachers who say that the word “unmarried” in verse 8 meant a virgin or someone never married, but clearly this is NOT the meaning of the word. The word “unmarried” is a clear translation from the Greek, agamos, meaning one “without nuptials”. This would include someone who was divorced as well as someone never married. Verse 9 states clearly that they can marry, although in Paul’s own personal opinion, they would be better to remain single as he was. In no way can this be construed as a law against remarrying.

1 Cor 7:10-11

10 And unto the married I command, yet not I, but Yahshua, Let not the wife depart from her husband:
11 But and if she depart, let her remain unmarried, or be reconciled to her husband: and let not the husband put away his wife.

Here Paul discourages wives from leaving their husbands, or if necessary to leave for a time, but to remain unmarried so that they may be reconciled in the future. This closely aligns with Deut 24:1. And finally, he discourages husbands from putting away the wives. Since he was speaking to early believers in Corinth, I believe that he was teaching them Deut 24:1-4. He then continues as follows…

1 Cor 7:12-16

12 But to the rest speak I, not Yahshua: If any brother hath a wife that believeth not, and she be pleased to dwell with him, let him not put her away.
13 And the woman which hath an husband that believeth not, and if he be pleased to dwell with her, let her not leave him.
14 For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband: else were your children unclean; but now are they holy.
15 But if the unbelieving depart, let him depart. A brother or a sister is not under bondage in such cases: but Elohim hath called us to peace.
16 For what knowest thou, O wife, whether thou shalt save thy husband? or how knowest thou, O man, whether thou shalt save thy wife?

There was obviously friction over one spouse becoming a believer in Yahshua before the other, and so Paul encourages them to be patient with one another and not destroy their marriages but give the Spirit time to work. However, please note that these are Paul’s personal recommendations and not Yahshua’s.

Verse 15 discusses the case of a spouse abandoned by an unbelieving spouse and makes it clear that there is no bondage. An alternative rendering of this scripture would be “A brother or sister is not enslaved by such a one, but to peace or prosperity has Elohim called us”. What a beautiful provision! To know that Yahweh has arranged it such that when one answers his call, if he is abandoned by a spouse who is an unbeliever he is set free without the requisite writing of divorce which the unbeliever would not recognize was needed. Indeed, He is a merciful Yah!

1 Cor 7:27-28

27 Art thou bound unto a wife? seek not to be loosed. Art thou loosed from a wife? seek not a wife.
28 But and if thou marry, thou hast not sinned; and if a virgin marry, she hath not sinned. Nevertheless such shall have trouble in the flesh: but I spare you.

In this area, Paul seems to be giving his personal opinions and says so frequently. But in any case, he says if you are married, remain so. If you are divorced, seek not to marry, HOWEVER, if you marry, you have not sinned, nor if a virgin marry, she has not sinned. In this he is combating paganistic teachings that marriage was evil. He just thinks that everyone would be best off simply serving the master rather than serving a husband or wife, but should one not agree with him, and choose to marry or remarry, then it is no sin.

1 Cor 7:39-40

39 The wife is bound by the law as long as her husband liveth; but if her husband be dead, she is at liberty to be married to whom she will; only in Yahshua.
40 But she is happier if she so abide, after my judgment: and I think also that I have the Spirit of Elohim.

Here Paul is saying that if a woman becomes a widow, she could choose to remarry someone who is a believer, but in his judgment, she would be better off to remain unmarried. Again, he, and his readers, know the law of Deut 24:1-4, so it is not necessary for him to mention it, he is just addressing the case of believers who become widows and what he thinks they should do.

1 Tim 4:1-3

4:1 Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils;
2 Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron;
3 Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which Elohim hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth.

Here Paul speaks of a “doctrine of devils” which includes forbidding to marry. I believe there is much more to be written about this subject, and the pagan beliefs that marriage was evil, but there is not room in this study for such.

FINAL WORDS

There is a clear vein in all Yahweh’s words and scriptures pertaining to this subject of his underlying mercy and patience with us as we struggle in the flesh in this current state of fallen mankind. We all agree that we sin each day by thought, word or deed and He promises us that his mercies are new each morning. Without his love and forgiveness, who could stand before him? Indeed, it is only because Yahshua’s blood covers our sins that we can stand before Yahweh. It is said that Yahshua’s blood covers ALL our sins and I believe this includes either causing or being the victim of a failed marriage which was remedied by divorce. I believe that if Yahshua’s blood can cover the sins of murder and other horrible acts, that it also has the power to cover our marriage failures. And for those who suffered at the hands of marriage partners, who failed so miserably at keeping the marriage covenant so as to cause them to seek divorce as the only remedy for peace…Yahweh’s mercy is there. HalleluYah!

A final word on showing MERCY…

Yahshua said: “But if ye had known what this means, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice, ye would not have condemned the guiltless. Matt 12:7

And James the Brother of Yahshua said: “For he shall have judgment without mercy, that hath shewed no mercy; and mercy rejoiceth against judgment. James 2:13

And Luke the Emissary said: “Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful. Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven: Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again. Luke 6:36-38.
HalleluYah!

The Following is a rebuttal to the article above. You can read both and you can decide.

Are ’sending away’ and ‘divorce’ really two different things?
SH-L-Ḥ DOES *NOT* MEAN TO SEND AWAY WITHOUT A DIVORCE CERTIFICATE
from: http://www.facebook.com/note.php?note_id=10150118923205815

This is a demonstration that this article ( http://www.sightedmoonnl.com/?page_id=646 ) is in error from. Readers who are not familiar with the Hebrew and Greek texts may not realise this, which is why I write this rebuttal. The article appealing to those who have interest in the Hebrew text. It also makes the article convincing to those who are learning to appreciate Hebrew, but who don’t yet know Hebrew grammar well enough to test what is being claimed.

PART ONE
The foundational claim of the article is: “The truth [is] revealed with correct translations ’sent away’ versus ‘divorced’.” The article’s author repeated claims that “shalach”(sic) means “to send a spouse away WITHOUT a divorce paper”, and he contrasts this to another Hebrew phrase “sepher kerituth”(sic) “writing of divorce” which he says “means to give a written divorce paper terminating the marriage contract.” This is not accurate and does not reflect a proper understanding of Hebrew, grammar and the Biblical texts:

*For a start, sh-l-ḥ (the author’s “shalach”) is a verb (a doing word) “sending away”, but “sëpher kᵊrîthūth” is a noun phrase (a thing word, not an action word) and the writer is inaccurate when he says the noun “means to give a written divorce…”, for it is not an action word. How can it be claimed that a verb and a noun refer to different kinds of action? Can I convince you that “eat” and “mouth” refers to two kinds of action, because they are two distinct words? Can I then go on to convince you that “eat” means “to consume WITHOUT the mouth” but “mouth” means “to consume with the mouth”? Would I not be an utter fool in your eyes for suggesting such a bizarre interpretation of this verb and noun?

*If I said “I ate it”, you would not conclude that I ate it WITHOUT my mouth, just because I didn’t mention ‘mouth’, would you? Of course not! If I was making a point that I ate WITHOUT my mouth, that would be the main thrust of my story: I would certainly state it: “I ate it WITHOUT MY MOUTH!” Or perhaps the thing I was eating might make it clear that I was doing a different kind of ‘eat’: “I ate wisdom!” Likewise, far from meaning “sending away a spouse WITHOUT a certificate of divorce”, sh-l-ḥ is used of the regular sending away a wife WITH a certificate of divorce(sëpher kᵊrîthūth), and it says so in these verses:
וְכָתַב לָהּ סֵפֶר כְּרִיתֻת וְנָתַן בְּיָדָהּ וְשִׁלְּחָהּ מִבֵּיתֹֽו
**”and he writes for her a record-of-cutting-off (sëpher kᵊrîthūth) and he gives it in her hand and he sends-her-away(sh-l-ḥ) from his house” (Deut 24:1)
וּשְׂנֵאָהּ הָאִישׁ הָאַחֲרֹון וְכָתַב לָהּ סֵפֶר כְּרִיתֻת וְנָתַן בְּיָדָהּ וְשִׁלְּחָהּ מִבֵּיתֹו
**”and the latter man hates her and he writes for her a record-of-cutting-off (sëpher kᵊrîthūth) and he gives it in her hand and he sends-her-away(sh-l-ḥ) from his house” (Deut 24:3)
אֵי זֶה סֵפֶר כְּרִיתוּת אִמְּכֶם אֲשֶׁר שִׁלַּחְתִּיהָ
**”Where is this record-of-cutting-off (sëpher kᵊrîthûth) of your mother which I sent away?” [Rhetorical. The record doesn’t exist any more than YHWH’s “creditors”!(same verse) They sent themselves away: “by your iniquities you have sold yourselves, and by your transgressions your mother has been sent away.”] (Isaiah 50:1)
שִׁלַּחְתִּיהָ וָאֶתֵּן אֶת־סֵפֶר כְּרִיתֻתֶיהָ אֵלֶיהָ
**”I have sent-her-away(sh-l-ḥ), and gave a record-of-her-cuttings-off(sëpher kᵊrîthūthệḣä) to her” (Jer 3:8) [Used figuratively of the Northern Kingdom Israel’s exiles. Doe this figurative ‘certificate of divorces’ mean that she cannot return to Him, or that she is no longer His wife? In verse 12 YHWH calls her back: “Return, backsliding Israel”, and again in verse 14 with the reason why: “Turn, O backsliding children, says YHWH; for I have married you.” YHWH has not forgotten that He has ‘married’ them, and He is not prevented from their restoration to Himself.] [Likewise a second chance may be afforded to marriages separated by divorce, by Messiah: “through him forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you, and by him everyone who believes is freed from everything from which you could not be freed by the law of Möshẽh.” (Acts 2:38-39) But marriage itself is not a sin or an institution of the law of Möshẽh that it can be ‘forgiven’: Faith in Messiah doesn’t free us from YHWH’s plan for marriage.]

The above four scriptures are the only Old Testament Scriptures that mention the ‘divorce certificate’ (sëpher kᵊrîthûth), and they all include the verb sh-l-ḥ! But the author says that shalach means “to send a spouse away WITHOUT a divorce paper”. How can this be so? With his interpretation of shalach, the above verses would read ridiculously, e.g. “and he writes for her a record-of-cutting-off and he gives it in her hand and he sends-her-away without a record-of-cutting-off…”

Furthermore, the author proves his claim wrong when he quotes Deut 22:29:
לֹא־יוּכַל שַׁלְּחָהּ כָּל־יָמָֽיו
**”…he shall not be able to-send-her-away(sh-l-ḥ) all his days.”
The article’s author admits that this forbidding of sh-l-ḥ means “she can never be divorced”, even though there is no mention here of a ‘divorce certificate’.

And again in Deut 22:19 the forbidding of sh-l-ḥ means no divorce, without need to mention the divorce certificate:
לֹא־יוּכַל לְשַׁלְּחָהּ כָּל־יָמָֽיו
**”…he shall not be able to-send-her-away(sh-l-ḥ) all his days.”

In fact, throughout Scripture there is not a single mention of a “sending away”(sh-l-ḥ) *of a spouse* where its context implies that it was without a divorce certificate. To send away without a divorce certificate is not an issue that the Scripture EVER deals with: it is not a Scriptural issue. This ‘no certificate’ issue is an issue of Pharisaic Judaism, which is to be shown in a following expounding of Deut 24:1-4 and Mt 5:31-32.

So what do we have in conclusion?
*The four OT Scriptures which mention the noun phrase ‘divorce certificate’ (sëpher kᵊrîthūth) use the verb ’sh-l-ḥ’ “send away” to indicate the action that is done WITH the ‘divorce certificate’. Therefore when ’sh-l-ḥ’ refers to sending away a wife, it cannot have within its meaning ‘without a divorce certificate’ as the article’s author has claimed.
*Secondly, we have Deut 22:19&29 which both use ’sh-l-ḥ’ “send away” to indicate regular divorce, without needing to make mention of the ‘divorce certificate’ (sëpher kᵊrîthūth). Therefore when ’sh-l-ḥ’ refers to sending away a wife, it implies regular divorce which we’ve seen was WITH a divorce certificate.
*Thirdly, we have a teaching on the wrong foot, which is trying to force ’shalach’ to mean “to send away WITHOUT a divorce certificate” so that divorce can be approved of, when YHWH reveals that He hates ‘divorce’(Mal 2:16) and that it causes adultery(Mt 5; Mt 19; Mk 10; Lk 16:18). It is not for anyone to arbitrarily insert “WITHOUT a divorce certificate” to claim (without contextual support) that divorce is only bad when it is “WITHOUT a divorce certificate”.

Why this teaching? Because many want to “line up” all Scriptures with an underlying MISBELIEF which they share with the Pharisees (and the KJV translators). This MISBELIEF is:
*that Deut 24:1 institutes and commands “let him write a certificate of divorce”, and
*that Deut 24:2 implies that such a certificate means that “she may go and be another man’s wife”.

In another article (see PART TWO below)…
http://www.facebook.com/notes/garth-grenache/is-deuteronomy-241-a-commandment-to-give-a-divorce-certificate/10150111016570815
…I clearly expound Deut 24:1-4, showing that YHWH did not institute or command the certificate of divorce, nor did he give express permission for the holder of such a certificate to remarry another. Rather, a proper reading of Messiah’s teaching and Deut 24:1-4 highlights that these are misbeliefs brought about by a Pharisaic misinterpretation of Deuteronomy 24:1.

—-

A variation of the teaching has been brought to my attention: some are claiming that the Aramaic word ’shbiqta’ used in the relevant Gospel verses refers to a woman “undivorced” or “not yet divorced”, rather than someone properly ‘divorced’. We need to be careful that with our love for Aramaic/Hebrew we don’t let ourselves become deceived when inaccurate/false meanings are attributed to Aramaic or Hebrew words. shbīqtǟ is the regular word for a ‘divorced woman’, and is used in the Syriac Aramaic version of Lev 21:7,14; Lev 22:13; Num 30:9(verse 10 in Aram/Heb); and in Ezek 44:22 to refer to what the Hebrew text has גְּרוּשָׁה which means a ‘divorced’ woman. shbīqtä is the expected word for a divorced woman, and is thus to be expected in the Aramaic Gospels.

__

PART TWO:

DEUTERONOMY 24:1 IS *NOT* A COMMANDMENT TO GIVE A DIVORCE CERTIFICATE

In Matthew 5 our Master Yëshûʕ taught our 1st century brothers, the disciples, saying:
“You have heard that it was said to those of old… but I say to you…”

Each time our Master used words such as these, He was showing that the POPULAR JEWISH TEACHING about the Law of Möshẽh was incomplete or warped. Messiah’s teaching thus brings His disciples closer to the heart of YHWH than they would be if they just obeyed the literal words of the Law. And why did they need YHWH’s heart? Because He was not preparing them to dwell for a mere 70 or 80 years in the same country as the temple of YHWH before dying: He was preparing His people to LIVE for ETERNITY in the presence of His Father! He was FILLING UP the Law by what He was saying, so that those who come to YHWH through faith in Him will have YHWH’s heart and His eternal standards, and will be fit for Eternal life in the Kingdom, and not just to dwell for a mere lifetime amongst YHWH’s people. [Therefore trust no teacher who has an outward appearance of lawfulness by claiming that Messiah had no right to “add to the Law of Moses”, for if they will not believe the Instruction(Torah) that has come through Messiah in addition to the Instruction(Torah) of Möshẽh, how will they ever keep the Torah in a way that is fit for eternal life? To interpret Messiah’s teaching in a way that doesn’t allow Him to express YHWH’s will beyond the written condemnations in the Law of Möshẽh, is to put the cart before the horse which pulls it, and to explain away Messiah’s teaching truly is lawless!]

“For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” (Mt 5:20)

The Master teaches…
“it was said… ‘You shall not murder and whoever murders will be liable to judgment’
…but I say… [Do not be angry with your brother]…” (v21-22)
“it was said… ‘You shall not commit adultery.’
…but I say… everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already…” (v27-28)
“it was said… ‘You shall not swear falsely…’
…but I say… Do not take an oath at all…” (v33-34)
“it was said… ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’
…but I say… turn the other [cheek]…” (v38-39)
“it was said… ‘You shall love your neighbour and hate your enemy.’
…but I say… Love your enemies…” (v43-44)

If you check your Pentateuch you will notice that not all of these “it was said” quotes are quoting the Scriptures.

Why is that? Because the Master Yëshûʕ is not responding directly to the Law of Möshẽh, but to the POPULAR JEWISH TEACHING of it. The Master is addressing what His disciples had “HEARD was said to those of old”, and some of what they had heard was not ’said to those of old’ at all!
For example, the Scriptures simply say, “You shall not murder,” but the disciples had heard, ‘You shall not murder and whoever murders will be liable to judgment.” That’s like saying, “Don’t murder: you’ll get in trouble.” Is that why we shouldn’t murder? The Master reveals that the Law is spiritual, not just forbidding killing and threatening judgment by the ‘council’, but rather by this same commandment He teaches what is required for eternal life: that one must not even be angry with his brother or say, ‘You fool!’ or he “will be liable to the Gehenna of fire.” (Mt 5:22)

Likewise, the Scriptural commandments “love your neighbour” had been wrongly taught as “love your neighbour and hate your enemy,” but YHWH’s heart requires those who will enter eternal life to “love their enemies” and do them good, “so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.” (Mt 5:45)

I say this to point out that in the midst of these teachings is another ‘it was said… but I say…’ and it concerns the proper understanding of Deut 24:1-4:

“It was also said, ‘Whoever divorces his wife, let him give her a certificate of divorce.’
But I say to you that everyone who divorces his wife, except on the ground of sexual immorality, makes her commit adultery. And whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery.” (v31-32)

Just like the ‘hate your enemy’ phrase, the phrase ‘let him give her a certificate of divorce’ is a POPULAR JEWISH TEACHING which NEVER occurs in the Hebrew Scriptures. [Or in the Greek translation of them: the Septuagint, which agrees with the Hebrew text here, renders the ‘write’ and ‘give’ verbs with indicative (narrative) verbs and not imperative(command)verbs.] I will now go through Deuteronomy 24:1-4 and demonstrate that there is NO COMMANDMENT in these verses to give a certificate of divorce, but rather it is a Pharisaic MISINTERPRETATION of Deut 24:1 (shared by the KJV) which leads the Pharisees to claim that, “MOSES COMMAND[ED] one to give a certificate of divorce and to send her away” (Mt 19:7).

A closer look at the grammar of Deut 24:1-4 reveals that Möshẽh did NOT command the divorce certificate, but that it was already an Israelite custom to use a divorce certificate to cut off an unwanted wife, and that Deut 24:1-4 itself indicates what Messiah is making clear about the custom: that divorcing a wife causes her to defile herself with adultery when she remarries another.

DEUTERONOMY 24:1-4 A literal translation from the Hebrew text:
*1
כִּֽי־יִקַּח אִישׁ אִשָּׁה
“Because a man takes a woman
וּבְעָלָהּ
and then he marries her
וְהָיָה אִם־לֹא תִמְצָא־חֵן בְּעֵינָיו כִּי־מָצָא בָהּ עֶרְוַת דָּבָר
and then it happens if she doesn’t find favour in his eyes because he has found in her a nakedness of a thing
וְכָתַב לָהּ סֵפֶר כְּרִיתֻת
and then he writes for her an account of cutting off
וְנָתַן בְּיָדָהּ
and then he gives in her hand
וְשִׁלְּחָהּ מִבֵּיתֹֽו
and then he sends her from his house
*2
וְיָצְאָה מִבֵּיתֹו
and then she exits from his house
וְהָלְכָה
and then she goes
וְהָיְתָה לְאִישׁ־אַחֵֽר
and then she becomes for another man
*3
וּשְׂנֵאָהּ הָאִישׁ הָאַחֲרֹון
and then the latter man hates her
וְכָתַב לָהּ סֵפֶר כְּרִיתֻת
and then he writes for her an account of cutting off
וְנָתַן בְּיָדָהּ
and then he gives in her hand
וְשִׁלְּחָהּ מִבֵּיתֹו
and then he sends her from his house
אֹו כִי יָמוּת הָאִישׁ הָאַחֲרֹון אֲשֶׁר־לְקָחָהּ לֹו לְאִשָּֽׁה
or because the latter man dies which he took her to him for a woman
*4
לֹא־יוּכַל
he shall not be able
בַּעְלָהּ הָרִאשֹׁון אֲשֶֽׁר־שִׁלְּחָהּ
-her husband the first which he sent her-
לָשׁוּב לְקַחְתָּהּ לִהְיֹות לֹו לְאִשָּׁה אַחֲרֵי אֲשֶׁר הֻטַּמָּאָה
to return to take her to become for him for a woman after which she has caused herself to become defiled,
כִּֽי־תֹועֵבָה הִוא לִפְנֵי יְהוָה
for it [is] an abomination against the face of YHWH
וְלֹא תַחֲטִיא אֶת־הָאָרֶץ אֲשֶׁר יְהוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ נֹתֵן לְךָ נַחֲלָֽה
and you shall not cause the land to sin which YHWH your MightyBeing gives to you [for] property.”

The same verb form is used for all the “and then” events listed in the translation above [the consecutive converted perfect form; the consecutive nature of this verb reflected by ‘and then’ in this translation]. There is no command until verse 4 [where the negated imperfect has imperative force]: “he shall not be able…to return to take her”.

What I am pointing out is that verses 1 to 3 are simply NARRATING the situation to which the commandment in verse 4 applies. NONE of the verbs in verses 1 to 3 are commands: it is not a command that he MARRY her, or that he WRITE a divorce certificate, or that the second man TAKES her, or that the second man HATES her -none of these are commands!

The Pharisees got this Scripture terribly wrong! They suited it to their own fleshly desires: their own hard-hearts. They took words from Deut 24:1 OUT OF CONTEXT and twisted the narrating verb “he writes” into a imperative commandment “let him write a divorce certificate”, deceiving themselves into thinking that divorcing their wives with a certificate was obedience to a commandment! They then took “a nakedness of a thing” in the same verse to be a wife’s crime for which they supposed the Almighty had justified the divorce, and they argued amongst themselves what kind of crime was sufficient justification for divorce: was burning the food enough of a ‘thing’ [Hillel’s Pharisaic school] or did some sexual crime need to be committed by the wife [Shammai’s Pharisaic school] to justify their divorcing.

Likewise the King James Version of the Bible sides with the old Pharisaic teaching and with the Kings of England [who loved divorce: consider Henry VIII with his six wives, popularly(perhaps not properly) remembered for breaking away from the Roman Catholic Church because he wanted to divorce his wives rather than having to behead one before marrying another]. The KJV arbitrarily translates one of the narrative verbs as “let him write (her a bill of divorcement)”, rather than “and then he writes…”. [’Let’ denotes a COMMAND in the English of the King James Version.]

Similarly, the KJV arbitrarily translates another of the narrative’s verbs as implying PERMISSION: “she MAY go and be another man’s wife”. [The KJV puts “she may” instead of the mere narrative of the situation “and then she becomes for another man” (Deut 24:2).]

But the teaching of our Master about divorce is consistent in all three synoptic Gospels: divorce causes adultery when the rejected woman takes refuge in a second marriage.

The reality that can be deduced from the above literal translation, is that the Israelites already had a custom of cutting off their wives and giving them written notice of it, and YHWH neither commands it nor commends it. Rather, our MightyOne responds mercifully to the situation given in Deuteronomy 24:1-3 by not punishing the divorced woman who remarried (whose actions were understandable given the circumstances and her need for a man to provide for her), but rather by restricting her husband who cut her off from himself: he is forbidden from taking his wife back after she has been another man’s. If the woman found no favour in her own husband’s eyes before becoming another man’s, how much less attractive ought she to be in this first husband’s eyes, AFTER she has been with another man! Unless he is wanting a sex slave that he can divorce and remarry whenever he wants, fueled by her need for a provider. This abuse of the divorcee is what the Deut 24:1-4 command prevents. As the first husband cut her off from himself and begun this sad chain of events for his wife, he is justly restricted from ever harming her again either by marriage or by divorce.

But a man ought to be disgusted by his wife becoming sexually involved with another: this is reflected in Jer 3:1:

“If a man divorces his wife
and she goes from him
and becomes another man’s wife,
will he return to her?
Would not that land be greatly polluted?
You have played the whore with many lovers;
and would you return to me?
declares YHWH.”

However, YHWH was merciful to the divorced woman in ancient Israel, and didn’t condemn her to death as an adulteress when she was divorced and married to another husband, which she did for her security. Messiah would later reveal that this second marriage is not a true marriage in YHWH’s eyes: it is an adulterous relationship because the first valid marriage joins until the death of the first husband: the Israelite custom of divorce could not satisfactorily change that in His eyes. This of course does not mean that Messiah’s ekklēsia kill such adulteresses: we are not authorised to kill anyone, but rather to offer forgiveness to all who turn from sinful lifestyles and believe in Messiah’s truth.

By mercy, the Law of Möshẽh did not call her an adulteress for her remarriage, or she would be stoned to death as all adulterers were. However, Messiah reveals to His disciples that this second marriage is not valid, and therefore, though we do not punish any who do this, we must be careful that we do not ourselves do this thing which He has revealed to be a form of adultery in our heavenly Father’s eyes.

Nevertheless, there is indication even in Deut 24:4 that the second marriage is not right, for it says therein that ’she has caused herself to become defiled’ [the Hothpael verb is a passive reflexive verb: she has become defiled by her own actions]. How has she caused herself to be defiled? By “becoming another man’s” whilst “her husband the first” is living. This is the adultery of which Messiah speaks saying “whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery” (Mt 5:32), and this is why He says that the divorcing husband “makes her commit adultery”.

But some add words to the text of Deut 24:4 saying she is defiled “TO HIM”, implying that her defilement is only real for her first husband who divorced. It is not because she is defiled “to him” that he cannot take her, but because he initiated the chain of events that lead to her defilement by a sexual relationship with someone other than the one she had first been rightly joined with. A person who is defiled is defiled! She is not defiled to him and undefiled to another! [By the way, a man in ancient Israel was NOT ordinarily forbidden from marrying a defiled woman, although the priests and high priests were forbidden (Lev 21:7,14). For example, loss of virginity before marriage is a form of defilement (see Gen 34:5), and yet the common people were not forbidden from marrying a non-virgin. So then…] The reason why this divorcing husband cannot take back his wife is not merely because she has become defiled, but rather because he initiated the chain of events that resulted in her defilement: therefore he is restricted by the divine command.

The author of this article ( http://www.sightedmoonnl.com/?page_id=646 ) claims that “after which she is defiled” refers to *after* the first husband might remarry her. This is not accurate, and doesn’t not reflect a good understanding of Biblical Hebrew. “After which” ( אחרי אשר ) occurs seven other times in the Hebrew Bible, and in EVERY SINGLE CASE the words that precede “after which” refer to what happens AFTER the things described after the “after which”: NEVER do these words mean that what follows them occurs after what precedes them. [Check the seven verses for yourself: Josh 7:8; 9:16; 23:1; 24:20; Judges 11:36; 19:23; 2Sam 19:31.]

These seven verses confirm that the event in which “she has caused herself to become defiled” happened BEFORE the husband became forbidden to take her back. Messiah’s teaching harmonises with Jer 3:1 by indicating that it was her sexual involvement with another man that has defiled her. The reason for this is that the second marriage is adulterous on account of the living husband.

In conclusion, far from commanding or commending divorce, or even giving express permission for the pre-existing Israelite divorce certificate custom, YHWH gives a single command in verse 4 which restricts the divorcer, and indicates that the divorcee who has married another has “caused herself to become defiled.”

Concluding remarks in refutation of the article here http://www.sightedmoonnl.com/?page_id=646
*Messiah’s condemnation of divorce is a response to the Pharisaic suggestion that the ‘divorce certificate’ is from Möshẽh (Mt 5:31-32; Mt 19:7-9; Mk 10:4-12). The article ignores the plain context of Messiah’s words and instead insists that he is talking about divorce WITHOUT a certificate, which is not mentioned in the context at all! (Or anywhere in the Scriptures for that matter!)
*The mindset behind this article matches the Pharisaic rewriting of Deut 24:1-4 which selectively changes certain narrative verbs in Deut 24:1 into commands(imperatives), to falsely imply that the Almighty commands the divorce certificate and commands divorce to be done in “3 steps”.
*The article has the wrong motive. Malachi 2:16 shows that YHWH hates divorce. If we see to make room for what YHWH hates, are we not on the wrong track?
*The article uses “straw man arguments” (misreprenting his opponent’s position). For example, the article repeatedly denies that widowhood or simply being divorced defiles a person, as though opponents to his article would be making such a claim!
*Even the Greek word for ‘divorce’/’send away’(απολυω) means to ‘release’. It thus doesn’t makes sense to insist that this denoted an incomplete sending away procedure!
*In case you put more faith in the teaching of Messiah through His Apostle in Romans 7 and 1Cor 7 than the article’s understanding of Deut 24:1-4, the author discredits the Greek New Testament writings, claiming that the Torah is better preserved in the eyes of ’scholars’. This is nonsense. Romans and 1Corinthians are two of the seven “Undisputed Epistles of Paul” of general scholarly consensus (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Authorship_of_the_Pauline_epistles#The_undisputed_epistles ) and there is no manuscript evidence of any significant variant readings in the relevant verses of Rom7 and 1Co7. On the other hand -NOT AT ALL to dismiss the teachings therein, for in the teaching I whole-heartedly trust and believe- concerning the Pentateuch, the “Law of Moses”, “there remains a consensus that it is the work of many hands and many centuries, and that its final form belongs to the Persian period, c.450 BCE” ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mosaic_authorship ).
*The truth comes out: the author believes and teaches that “we will be given a heart of flesh” only “when Yahshua(sic) returns”. If one’shis heart is not yet being renewed(2Cor 4:16), perhaps that is why one cannot receive Yëshûʕ’s teaching the way it is. The same hard-hearted way of Israel -that it was their custom to divorce their wives with ‘don’t come back’ bits of paper- is the hard-hearted way which the article defends.
(Garth Grenache 2010-2011. Distribute freely for without modification.)

–Forwarded Message Attachment–

Are ’sending away’ and ‘divorce’ really two different things?
SH-L-Ḥ DOES *NOT* MEAN TO SEND AWAY WITHOUT A DIVORCE CERTIFICATE
from: http://www.facebook.com/note.php?note_id=10150118923205815

This is a demonstration that this article ( http://www.sightedmoonnl.com/?page_id=646 ) is in error from foundation to conclusion. Readers who are not familiar with the Hebrew and Greek texts may not realise this, which is why I write this rebuttal. The article appealing to those who have interest in the Hebrew text. It also makes the article convincing to those who are learning to appreciate Hebrew, but who don’t yet know Hebrew grammar well enough to test what is being claimed.

PART ONE
The foundational claim of the article is: “The truth [is] revealed with correct translations ’sent away’ versus ‘divorced’.” The article’s author repeated claims that “shalach”(sic) means “to send a spouse away WITHOUT a divorce paper”, and he contrasts this to another Hebrew phrase “sepher kerituth”(sic) “writing of divorce” which he says “means to give a written divorce paper terminating the marriage contract.” This is not accurate and does not reflect a proper understanding of Hebrew, grammar and the Biblical texts:

*For a start, sh-l-ḥ (the author’s “shalach”) is a verb (a doing word) “sending away”, but “sëpher kᵊrîthūth” is a noun phrase (a thing word, not an action word) and the writer is inaccurate when he says the noun “means to give a written divorce…”, for it is not an action word. How can it be claimed that a verb and a noun refer to different kinds of action? Can I convince you that “eat” and “mouth” refers to two kinds of action, because they are two distinct words? Can I then go on to convince you that “eat” means “to consume WITHOUT the mouth” but “mouth” means “to consume with the mouth”? Would I not be an utter fool in your eyes for suggesting such a bizarre interpretation of this verb and noun?

*If I said “I ate it”, you would not conclude that I ate it WITHOUT my mouth, just because I didn’t mention ‘mouth’, would you? Of course not! If I was making a point that I ate WITHOUT my mouth, that would be the main thrust of my story: I would certainly state it: “I ate it WITHOUT MY MOUTH!” Or perhaps the thing I was eating might make it clear that I was doing a different kind of ‘eat’: “I ate wisdom!” Likewise, far from meaning “sending away a spouse WITHOUT a certificate of divorce”, sh-l-ḥ is used of the regular sending away a wife WITH a certificate of divorce(sëpher kᵊrîthūth), and it says so in these verses:
וְכָתַב לָהּ סֵפֶר כְּרִיתֻת וְנָתַן בְּיָדָהּ וְשִׁלְּחָהּ מִבֵּיתֹֽו
**”and he writes for her a record-of-cutting-off (sëpher kᵊrîthūth) and he gives it in her hand and he sends-her-away(sh-l-ḥ) from his house” (Deut 24:1)
וּשְׂנֵאָהּ הָאִישׁ הָאַחֲרֹון וְכָתַב לָהּ סֵפֶר כְּרִיתֻת וְנָתַן בְּיָדָהּ וְשִׁלְּחָהּ מִבֵּיתֹו
**”and the latter man hates her and he writes for her a record-of-cutting-off (sëpher kᵊrîthūth) and he gives it in her hand and he sends-her-away(sh-l-ḥ) from his house” (Deut 24:3)
אֵי זֶה סֵפֶר כְּרִיתוּת אִמְּכֶם אֲשֶׁר שִׁלַּחְתִּיהָ
**”Where is this record-of-cutting-off (sëpher kᵊrîthûth) of your mother which I sent away?” [Rhetorical. The record doesn’t exist any more than YHWH’s “creditors”!(same verse) They sent themselves away: “by your iniquities you have sold yourselves, and by your transgressions your mother has been sent away.”] (Isaiah 50:1)
שִׁלַּחְתִּיהָ וָאֶתֵּן אֶת־סֵפֶר כְּרִיתֻתֶיהָ אֵלֶיהָ
**”I have sent-her-away(sh-l-ḥ), and gave a record-of-her-cuttings-off(sëpher kᵊrîthūthệḣä) to her” (Jer 3:8) [Used figuratively of the Northern Kingdom Israel’s exiles. Doe this figurative ‘certificate of divorces’ mean that she cannot return to Him, or that she is no longer His wife? In verse 12 YHWH calls her back: “Return, backsliding Israel”, and again in verse 14 with the reason why: “Turn, O backsliding children, says YHWH; for I have married you.” YHWH has not forgotten that He has ‘married’ them, and He is not prevented from their restoration to Himself.] [Likewise a second chance may be afforded to marriages separated by divorce, by Messiah: “through him forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you, and by him everyone who believes is freed from everything from which you could not be freed by the law of Möshẽh.” (Acts 2:38-39) But marriage itself is not a sin or an institution of the law of Möshẽh that it can be ‘forgiven’: Faith in Messiah doesn’t free us from YHWH’s plan for marriage.]

The above four scriptures are the only Old Testament Scriptures that mention the ‘divorce certificate’ (sëpher kᵊrîthûth), and they all include the verb sh-l-ḥ! But the author says that shalach means “to send a spouse away WITHOUT a divorce paper”. How can this be so? With his interpretation of shalach, the above verses would read ridiculously, e.g. “and he writes for her a record-of-cutting-off and he gives it in her hand and he sends-her-away without a record-of-cutting-off…”

Furthermore, the author proves his claim wrong when he quotes Deut 22:29:
לֹא־יוּכַל שַׁלְּחָהּ כָּל־יָמָֽיו
**”…he shall not be able to-send-her-away(sh-l-ḥ) all his days.”
The article’s author admits that this forbidding of sh-l-ḥ means “she can never be divorced”, even though there is no mention here of a ‘divorce certificate’.

And again in Deut 22:19 the forbidding of sh-l-ḥ means no divorce, without need to mention the divorce certificate:
לֹא־יוּכַל לְשַׁלְּחָהּ כָּל־יָמָֽיו
**”…he shall not be able to-send-her-away(sh-l-ḥ) all his days.”

In fact, throughout Scripture there is not a single mention of a “sending away”(sh-l-ḥ) *of a spouse* where its context implies that it was without a divorce certificate. To send away without a divorce certificate is not an issue that the Scripture EVER deals with: it is not a Scriptural issue. This ‘no certificate’ issue is an issue of Pharisaic Judaism, which is to be shown in a following expounding of Deut 24:1-4 and Mt 5:31-32.

So what do we have in conclusion?
*The four OT Scriptures which mention the noun phrase ‘divorce certificate’ (sëpher kᵊrîthūth) use the verb ’sh-l-ḥ’ “send away” to indicate the action that is done WITH the ‘divorce certificate’. Therefore when ’sh-l-ḥ’ refers to sending away a wife, it cannot have within its meaning ‘without a divorce certificate’ as the article’s author has claimed.
*Secondly, we have Deut 22:19&29 which both use ’sh-l-ḥ’ “send away” to indicate regular divorce, without needing to make mention of the ‘divorce certificate’ (sëpher kᵊrîthūth). Therefore when ’sh-l-ḥ’ refers to sending away a wife, it implies regular divorce which we’ve seen was WITH a divorce certificate.
*Thirdly, we have a teaching on the wrong foot, which is trying to force ’shalach’ to mean “to send away WITHOUT a divorce certificate” so that divorce can be approved of, when YHWH reveals that He hates ‘divorce’(Mal 2:16) and that it causes adultery(Mt 5; Mt 19; Mk 10; Lk 16:18). It is not for anyone to arbitrarily insert “WITHOUT a divorce certificate” to claim (without contextual support) that divorce is only bad when it is “WITHOUT a divorce certificate”.

Why this teaching? Because many want to “line up” all Scriptures with an underlying MISBELIEF which they share with the Pharisees (and the KJV translators). This MISBELIEF is:
*that Deut 24:1 institutes and commands “let him write a certificate of divorce”, and
*that Deut 24:2 implies that such a certificate means that “she may go and be another man’s wife”.

In another article (see PART TWO below)…
http://www.facebook.com/notes/garth-grenache/is-deuteronomy-241-a-commandment-to-give-a-divorce-certificate/10150111016570815
…I clearly expound Deut 24:1-4, showing that YHWH did not institute or command the certificate of divorce, nor did he give express permission for the holder of such a certificate to remarry another. Rather, a proper reading of Messiah’s teaching and Deut 24:1-4 highlights that these are misbeliefs brought about by a Pharisaic misinterpretation of Deuteronomy 24:1.

—-

A variation of the teaching has been brought to my attention: some are claiming that the Aramaic word ’shbiqta’ used in the relevant Gospel verses refers to a woman “undivorced” or “not yet divorced”, rather than someone properly ‘divorced’. We need to be careful that with our love for Aramaic/Hebrew we don’t let ourselves become deceived when inaccurate/false meanings are attributed to Aramaic or Hebrew words. shbīqtǟ is the regular word for a ‘divorced woman’, and is used in the Syriac Aramaic version of Lev 21:7,14; Lev 22:13; Num 30:9(verse 10 in Aram/Heb); and in Ezek 44:22 to refer to what the Hebrew text has גְּרוּשָׁה which means a ‘divorced’ woman. shbīqtä is the expected word for a divorced woman, and is thus to be expected in the Aramaic Gospels.

__

PART TWO:

DEUTERONOMY 24:1 IS *NOT* A COMMANDMENT TO GIVE A DIVORCE CERTIFICATE

In Matthew 5 our Master Yëshûʕ taught our 1st century brothers, the disciples, saying:
“You have heard that it was said to those of old… but I say to you…”

Each time our Master used words such as these, He was showing that the POPULAR JEWISH TEACHING about the Law of Möshẽh was incomplete or warped. Messiah’s teaching thus brings His disciples closer to the heart of YHWH than they would be if they just obeyed the literal words of the Law. And why did they need YHWH’s heart? Because He was not preparing them to dwell for a mere 70 or 80 years in the same country as the temple of YHWH before dying: He was preparing His people to LIVE for ETERNITY in the presence of His Father! He was FILLING UP the Law by what He was saying, so that those who come to YHWH through faith in Him will have YHWH’s heart and His eternal standards, and will be fit for Eternal life in the Kingdom, and not just to dwell for a mere lifetime amongst YHWH’s people. [Therefore trust no teacher who has an outward appearance of lawfulness by claiming that Messiah had no right to “add to the Law of Moses”, for if they will not believe the Instruction(Torah) that has come through Messiah in addition to the Instruction(Torah) of Möshẽh, how will they ever keep the Torah in a way that is fit for eternal life? To interpret Messiah’s teaching in a way that doesn’t allow Him to express YHWH’s will beyond the written condemnations in the Law of Möshẽh, is to put the cart before the horse which pulls it, and to explain away Messiah’s teaching truly is lawless!]

“For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” (Mt 5:20)

The Master teaches…
“it was said… ‘You shall not murder and whoever murders will be liable to judgment’
…but I say… [Do not be angry with your brother]…” (v21-22)
“it was said… ‘You shall not commit adultery.’
…but I say… everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already…” (v27-28)
“it was said… ‘You shall not swear falsely…’
…but I say… Do not take an oath at all…” (v33-34)
“it was said… ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’
…but I say… turn the other [cheek]…” (v38-39)
“it was said… ‘You shall love your neighbour and hate your enemy.’
…but I say… Love your enemies…” (v43-44)

If you check your Pentateuch you will notice that not all of these “it was said” quotes are quoting the Scriptures.

Why is that? Because the Master Yëshûʕ is not responding directly to the Law of Möshẽh, but to the POPULAR JEWISH TEACHING of it. The Master is addressing what His disciples had “HEARD was said to those of old”, and some of what they had heard was not ’said to those of old’ at all!
For example, the Scriptures simply say, “You shall not murder,” but the disciples had heard, ‘You shall not murder and whoever murders will be liable to judgment.” That’s like saying, “Don’t murder: you’ll get in trouble.” Is that why we shouldn’t murder? The Master reveals that the Law is spiritual, not just forbidding killing and threatening judgment by the ‘council’, but rather by this same commandment He teaches what is required for eternal life: that one must not even be angry with his brother or say, ‘You fool!’ or he “will be liable to the Gehenna of fire.” (Mt 5:22)

Likewise, the Scriptural commandments “love your neighbour” had been wrongly taught as “love your neighbour and hate your enemy,” but YHWH’s heart requires those who will enter eternal life to “love their enemies” and do them good, “so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.” (Mt 5:45)

I say this to point out that in the midst of these teachings is another ‘it was said… but I say…’ and it concerns the proper understanding of Deut 24:1-4:

“It was also said, ‘Whoever divorces his wife, let him give her a certificate of divorce.’
But I say to you that everyone who divorces his wife, except on the ground of sexual immorality, makes her commit adultery. And whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery.” (v31-32)

Just like the ‘hate your enemy’ phrase, the phrase ‘let him give her a certificate of divorce’ is a POPULAR JEWISH TEACHING which NEVER occurs in the Hebrew Scriptures. [Or in the Greek translation of them: the Septuagint, which agrees with the Hebrew text here, renders the ‘write’ and ‘give’ verbs with indicative (narrative) verbs and not imperative(command)verbs.] I will now go through Deuteronomy 24:1-4 and demonstrate that there is NO COMMANDMENT in these verses to give a certificate of divorce, but rather it is a Pharisaic MISINTERPRETATION of Deut 24:1 (shared by the KJV) which leads the Pharisees to claim that, “MOSES COMMAND[ED] one to give a certificate of divorce and to send her away” (Mt 19:7).

A closer look at the grammar of Deut 24:1-4 reveals that Möshẽh did NOT command the divorce certificate, but that it was already an Israelite custom to use a divorce certificate to cut off an unwanted wife, and that Deut 24:1-4 itself indicates what Messiah is making clear about the custom: that divorcing a wife causes her to defile herself with adultery when she remarries another.

DEUTERONOMY 24:1-4 A literal translation from the Hebrew text:
*1
כִּֽי־יִקַּח אִישׁ אִשָּׁה
“Because a man takes a woman
וּבְעָלָהּ
and then he marries her
וְהָיָה אִם־לֹא תִמְצָא־חֵן בְּעֵינָיו כִּי־מָצָא בָהּ עֶרְוַת דָּבָר
and then it happens if she doesn’t find favour in his eyes because he has found in her a nakedness of a thing
וְכָתַב לָהּ סֵפֶר כְּרִיתֻת
and then he writes for her an account of cutting off
וְנָתַן בְּיָדָהּ
and then he gives in her hand
וְשִׁלְּחָהּ מִבֵּיתֹֽו
and then he sends her from his house
*2
וְיָצְאָה מִבֵּיתֹו
and then she exits from his house
וְהָלְכָה
and then she goes
וְהָיְתָה לְאִישׁ־אַחֵֽר
and then she becomes for another man
*3
וּשְׂנֵאָהּ הָאִישׁ הָאַחֲרֹון
and then the latter man hates her
וְכָתַב לָהּ סֵפֶר כְּרִיתֻת
and then he writes for her an account of cutting off
וְנָתַן בְּיָדָהּ
and then he gives in her hand
וְשִׁלְּחָהּ מִבֵּיתֹו
and then he sends her from his house
אֹו כִי יָמוּת הָאִישׁ הָאַחֲרֹון אֲשֶׁר־לְקָחָהּ לֹו לְאִשָּֽׁה
or because the latter man dies which he took her to him for a woman
*4
לֹא־יוּכַל
he shall not be able
בַּעְלָהּ הָרִאשֹׁון אֲשֶֽׁר־שִׁלְּחָהּ
-her husband the first which he sent her-
לָשׁוּב לְקַחְתָּהּ לִהְיֹות לֹו לְאִשָּׁה אַחֲרֵי אֲשֶׁר הֻטַּמָּאָה
to return to take her to become for him for a woman after which she has caused herself to become defiled,
כִּֽי־תֹועֵבָה הִוא לִפְנֵי יְהוָה
for it [is] an abomination against the face of YHWH
וְלֹא תַחֲטִיא אֶת־הָאָרֶץ אֲשֶׁר יְהוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ נֹתֵן לְךָ נַחֲלָֽה
and you shall not cause the land to sin which YHWH your MightyBeing gives to you [for] property.”

The same verb form is used for all the “and then” events listed in the translation above [the consecutive converted perfect form; the consecutive nature of this verb reflected by ‘and then’ in this translation]. There is no command until verse 4 [where the negated imperfect has imperative force]: “he shall not be able…to return to take her”.

What I am pointing out is that verses 1 to 3 are simply NARRATING the situation to which the commandment in verse 4 applies. NONE of the verbs in verses 1 to 3 are commands: it is not a command that he MARRY her, or that he WRITE a divorce certificate, or that the second man TAKES her, or that the second man HATES her -none of these are commands!

The Pharisees got this Scripture terribly wrong! They suited it to their own fleshly desires: their own hard-hearts. They took words from Deut 24:1 OUT OF CONTEXT and twisted the narrating verb “he writes” into a imperative commandment “let him write a divorce certificate”, deceiving themselves into thinking that divorcing their wives with a certificate was obedience to a commandment! They then took “a nakedness of a thing” in the same verse to be a wife’s crime for which they supposed the Almighty had justified the divorce, and they argued amongst themselves what kind of crime was sufficient justification for divorce: was burning the food enough of a ‘thing’ [Hillel’s Pharisaic school] or did some sexual crime need to be committed by the wife [Shammai’s Pharisaic school] to justify their divorcing.

Likewise the King James Version of the Bible sides with the old Pharisaic teaching and with the Kings of England [who loved divorce: consider Henry VIII with his six wives, popularly(perhaps not properly) remembered for breaking away from the Roman Catholic Church because he wanted to divorce his wives rather than having to behead one before marrying another]. The KJV arbitrarily translates one of the narrative verbs as “let him write (her a bill of divorcement)”, rather than “and then he writes…”. [’Let’ denotes a COMMAND in the English of the King James Version.]

Similarly, the KJV arbitrarily translates another of the narrative’s verbs as implying PERMISSION: “she MAY go and be another man’s wife”. [The KJV puts “she may” instead of the mere narrative of the situation “and then she becomes for another man” (Deut 24:2).]

But the teaching of our Master about divorce is consistent in all three synoptic Gospels: divorce causes adultery when the rejected woman takes refuge in a second marriage.

The reality that can be deduced from the above literal translation, is that the Israelites already had a custom of cutting off their wives and giving them written notice of it, and YHWH neither commands it nor commends it. Rather, our MightyOne responds mercifully to the situation given in Deuteronomy 24:1-3 by not punishing the divorced woman who remarried (whose actions were understandable given the circumstances and her need for a man to provide for her), but rather by restricting her husband who cut her off from himself: he is forbidden from taking his wife back after she has been another man’s. If the woman found no favour in her own husband’s eyes before becoming another man’s, how much less attractive ought she to be in this first husband’s eyes, AFTER she has been with another man! Unless he is wanting a sex slave that he can divorce and remarry whenever he wants, fueled by her need for a provider. This abuse of the divorcee is what the Deut 24:1-4 command prevents. As the first husband cut her off from himself and begun this sad chain of events for his wife, he is justly restricted from ever harming her again either by marriage or by divorce.

But a man ought to be disgusted by his wife becoming sexually involved with another: this is reflected in Jer 3:1:

“If a man divorces his wife
and she goes from him
and becomes another man’s wife,
will he return to her?
Would not that land be greatly polluted?
You have played the whore with many lovers;
and would you return to me?
declares YHWH.”

However, YHWH was merciful to the divorced woman in ancient Israel, and didn’t condemn her to death as an adulteress when she was divorced and married to another husband, which she did for her security. Messiah would later reveal that this second marriage is not a true marriage in YHWH’s eyes: it is an adulterous relationship because the first valid marriage joins until the death of the first husband: the Israelite custom of divorce could not satisfactorily change that in His eyes. This of course does not mean that Messiah’s ekklēsia kill such adulteresses: we are not authorised to kill anyone, but rather to offer forgiveness to all who turn from sinful lifestyles and believe in Messiah’s truth.

By mercy, the Law of Möshẽh did not call her an adulteress for her remarriage, or she would be stoned to death as all adulterers were. However, Messiah reveals to His disciples that this second marriage is not valid, and therefore, though we do not punish any who do this, we must be careful that we do not ourselves do this thing which He has revealed to be a form of adultery in our heavenly Father’s eyes.

Nevertheless, there is indication even in Deut 24:4 that the second marriage is not right, for it says therein that ’she has caused herself to become defiled’ [the Hothpael verb is a passive reflexive verb: she has become defiled by her own actions]. How has she caused herself to be defiled? By “becoming another man’s” whilst “her husband the first” is living. This is the adultery of which Messiah speaks saying “whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery” (Mt 5:32), and this is why He says that the divorcing husband “makes her commit adultery”.

But some add words to the text of Deut 24:4 saying she is defiled “TO HIM”, implying that her defilement is only real for her first husband who divorced. It is not because she is defiled “to him” that he cannot take her, but because he initiated the chain of events that lead to her defilement by a sexual relationship with someone other than the one she had first been rightly joined with. A person who is defiled is defiled! She is not defiled to him and undefiled to another! [By the way, a man in ancient Israel was NOT ordinarily forbidden from marrying a defiled woman, although the priests and high priests were forbidden (Lev 21:7,14). For example, loss of virginity before marriage is a form of defilement (see Gen 34:5), and yet the common people were not forbidden from marrying a non-virgin. So then…] The reason why this divorcing husband cannot take back his wife is not merely because she has become defiled, but rather because he initiated the chain of events that resulted in her defilement: therefore he is restricted by the divine command.

The author of this article ( http://www.sightedmoonnl.com/?page_id=646 ) claims that “after which she is defiled” refers to *after* the first husband might remarry her. This is not accurate, and doesn’t not reflect a good understanding of Biblical Hebrew. “After which” ( אחרי אשר ) occurs seven other times in the Hebrew Bible, and in EVERY SINGLE CASE the words that precede “after which” refer to what happens AFTER the things described after the “after which”: NEVER do these words mean that what follows them occurs after what precedes them. [Check the seven verses for yourself: Josh 7:8; 9:16; 23:1; 24:20; Judges 11:36; 19:23; 2Sam 19:31.]

These seven verses confirm that the event in which “she has caused herself to become defiled” happened BEFORE the husband became forbidden to take her back. Messiah’s teaching harmonises with Jer 3:1 by indicating that it was her sexual involvement with another man that has defiled her. The reason for this is that the second marriage is adulterous on account of the living husband.

In conclusion, far from commanding or commending divorce, or even giving express permission for the pre-existing Israelite divorce certificate custom, YHWH gives a single command in verse 4 which restricts the divorcer, and indicates that the divorcee who has married another has “caused herself to become defiled.”

Concluding remarks in refutation of the article here http://www.sightedmoonnl.com/?page_id=646
*Messiah’s condemnation of divorce is a response to the Pharisaic suggestion that the ‘divorce certificate’ is from Möshẽh (Mt 5:31-32; Mt 19:7-9; Mk 10:4-12). The article ignores the plain context of Messiah’s words and instead insists that he is talking about divorce WITHOUT a certificate, which is not mentioned in the context at all! (Or anywhere in the Scriptures for that matter!)
*The mindset behind this article matches the Pharisaic rewriting of Deut 24:1-4 which selectively changes certain narrative verbs in Deut 24:1 into commands(imperatives), to falsely imply that the Almighty commands the divorce certificate and commands divorce to be done in “3 steps”.
*The article has the wrong motive. Malachi 2:16 shows that YHWH hates divorce. If we see to make room for what YHWH hates, are we not on the wrong track?
*The article uses “straw man arguments” (misreprenting his opponent’s position). For example, the article repeatedly denies that widowhood or simply being divorced defiles a person, as though opponents to his article would be making such a claim!
*Even the Greek word for ‘divorce’/’send away’(απολυω) means to ‘release’. It thus doesn’t makes sense to insist that this denoted an incomplete sending away procedure!
*In case you put more faith in the teaching of Messiah through His Apostle in Romans 7 and 1Cor 7 than the article’s understanding of Deut 24:1-4, the author discredits the Greek New Testament writings, claiming that the Torah is better preserved in the eyes of ’scholars’. This is nonsense. Romans and 1Corinthians are two of the seven “Undisputed Epistles of Paul” of general scholarly consensus (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Authorship_of_the_Pauline_epistles#The_undisputed_epistles ) and there is no manuscript evidence of any significant variant readings in the relevant verses of Rom7 and 1Co7. On the other hand -NOT AT ALL to dismiss the teachings therein, for in the teaching I whole-heartedly trust and believe- concerning the Pentateuch, the “Law of Moses”, “there remains a consensus that it is the work of many hands and many centuries, and that its final form belongs to the Persian period, c.450 BCE” ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mosaic_authorship ).
*The truth comes out: the author believes and teaches that “we will be given a heart of flesh” only “when Yahshua(sic) returns”. If one’shis heart is not yet being renewed(2Cor 4:16), perhaps that is why one cannot receive Yëshûʕ’s teaching the way it is. The same hard-hearted way of Israel -that it was their custom to divorce their wives with ‘don’t come back’ bits of paper- is the hard-hearted way which the article defends.
(Garth Grenache 2010-2011. Distribute freely for without modification.)

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