Sunday, December 24, 2006

Review of Divorce and Remarriage in the Bible II

God is against those who break marriage vows.

In the
last post, Exodus 21:10-11 and Deuteronomy 24:1-4 are cited for grounds for divorce in the OT. Also in the OT is Malachi 2:13-16 its teaching that God hates divorce. I've been to many Christian web site that explain this to be a prohibition of divorce. On page 54 of his book "Divorce and Remarriage in the Bible" Instone-Brewer emphasizes that Malachi was describing how God is against those who break marriage vows, verse 14:
  • 14 (NAS) "Yet you say, `For what reason?' Because the LORD has been a witness between you and the wife of your youth, against whom you have dealt treacherously, though she is your companion and your wife by covenant.
Perhaps this is clearer in the God's Word translation:
  • 14 But you ask, "Why [aren't our offerings accepted]?" It is because the LORD is a witness between you and the wife of your youth, to whom you have been unfaithful. Yet, she is your companion, the wife of your marriage vows.
It is in verse 16 that God states that he hates divorce.
  • 16 (NAS) "For I hate divorce," says the LORD, the God of Israel, "and him who covers his garment with wrong," says the LORD of hosts. "So take heed to your spirit, that you do not deal treacherously."
It seems to follow that God is against those who break marriage vows, of which divorce is a natural outcome. That is He is against those who cause the divorce by NOT honoring marriage vows. It this aspect I am in agreement with Instone-Brewers thesis.

Hosea and Jeremiah are dealt with in the same chapter (3) as Malachi. In Hosea God divorces Israel but as He was forced into it because of her faithlessness. It was Israel that broke the marriage vows. In Jeremiah 3:6 God warns Judah that she will suffer the same fate, i.e. put away with a certificate of divorce, because she broke her marriage vows. In Ezekiel 16 and 23 Judah is again presented as an unfaithful wife. Isaiah has a similar treatment. In the OT God is a divorce' i.e. 'husband divorces wife'. In this case it is justified as Israel was unfaithful and even so Judah who was spared the divorce because of God's mercy. Both sisters repeated broke marriage vows, so it was they that forced the divorce upon themselves.

In the Gospels the breakage of marriage vows it not mentioned as Biblical grounds for divorce. How much of the OT is renounced by Jesus in the NT grounds for divorce? This will be a future post.

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