I wrote a fairly lengthy article on divorce back in December last year. I want to explore this topic further because I have further solidified my understanding of what Jesus is actually saying, and what the Scripture teaches as a whole on this topic. This is a bit in response of the inability to understand what Jesus is saying about divorce recently in Dalrock’s post.
Basically, the heresy that I’m addressing directly is that people believe that Jesus said Christians can divorce if a spouse (or wife) commits fornication or adultery during marriage.
This is an extremely common interpretation of the Matthew 5 and 19 passages which is false given you look closely at what Jesus in saying in reference to Deuteronomy 22 and 24.
Relooking at Deuteronomy 22 and 24
To fully understand what Jesus is talking about we first have to analyze the OT Scriptures in which He is discussing. These are important in historical context because Jesus always refers back to the law, and then explicates His position on the fulfillment of the law.
Deuteronomy 24:1 When a man hath taken a wife, and married her, and 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 (sêpher kerı̂ythûth), and give it in her hand, and send (shâlach) her 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 if the latter husband hate her, and write her a bill of divorcement (sêpher kerı̂ythûth), and giveth it in her hand, and sendeth (shâlach) 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; for that is abomination before the Lord: and thou shalt not cause the land to sin, which the Lord thy God giveth thee for an inheritance.
Deuteronomy 22:13 If any man take a wife, and go in unto her, and hate her, 14 And give occasions of speech against her, and bring up an evil name upon her, and say, I took this woman, and when I came to her, I found her not a maid:
15 Then shall the father of the damsel, and her mother, take and bring forth the tokens of the damsel’s virginity unto the elders of the city in the gate: 16 And the damsel’s father shall say unto the elders, I gave my daughter unto this man to wife, and he hateth her; 17 And, lo, he hath given occasions of speech against her, saying, I found not thy daughter a maid; and yet these are the tokens of my daughter’s virginity. And they shall spread the cloth before the elders of the city. 18 And the elders of that city shall take that man and chastise him; 19 And they shall amerce him in an hundred shekels of silver, and give them unto the father of the damsel, because he hath brought up an evil name upon a virgin of Israel: and she shall be his wife; he may not put her away (shâlach) all his days.
20 But if this thing be true, and the tokens of virginity be not found for the damsel: 21 Then they shall bring out the damsel to the door of her father’s house, and the men of her city shall stone her with stones that she die: because she hath wrought folly in Israel, to play the whore in her father’s house: so shalt thou put evil away from among you.
There are two parts of “divorce” required of the husband in the OT covenant. This will be important when we look at the passages in Matthew.
- Sepher keriythth — Writing and giving the wife a bill of divorcement.
- Shalach — Sending her out of the house or away.
Note: I’m specifically using the KJV because almost every English translation has the wrong wording of the text from the Greek. Even the KJV has one mistranslation of the word as well.
Matthew 5:31 It hath been said, Whosoever shall put away (apoluō) his wife, let him give her a writing of divorcement (apostasion): 32 But I say unto you, That whosoever shall put away (apoluō) his wife, saving for the cause of fornication (porneia), causeth her to commit adultery (moichaō): and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced (apoluō) committeth adultery (moichaō).
Matthew 19:3 The Pharisees also came unto him, tempting him, and saying unto him, Is it lawful for a man to put away (apoluō) his wife for every cause? 4 And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female, 5 And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh? 6 Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.
7 They say unto him, Why did Moses then command to give a writing of divorcement (apostasion), and to put her away (apoluō autos)? 8 He saith unto them, Moses because of the hardness of your hearts suffered you to put away (apoluō) your wives: but from the beginning it was not so. 9 And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away (apoluō) his wife, except it be for fornication (porneia), and shall marry another,commit adultery (moichaō): and whoso marrieth her which is put away (apoluō) doth committeth adultery (moichaō).
10 His disciples say unto him, If the case of the man be so with his wife, it is not good to marry. 11 But he said unto them, All men cannot receive this saying, save they to whom it is given. 12 For there are some eunuchs, which were so born from their mother’s womb: and there are some eunuchs, which were made eunuchs of men: and there be eunuchs, which have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven’s sake. He that is able to receive it, let him receive it.
Here are Strong’s words for each of the highlighted wording:
G630 — ἀπολύω — apoluō — ap-ol-oo’-o
From G575 and G3089; to free fully, that is, (literally) relieve, release, dismiss (reflexively depart), or (figuratively) let die, pardon, or (specifically) divorce: – (let) depart, dismiss, divorce, forgive, let go, loose, put (send) away, release, set at liberty.
G647 — ἀποστάσιον — apostasion — ap-os-tas’-ee-on
Neuter of a (presumed) adjective from a derivative of G868; properly something separative, that is, (specifically) divorce: – (writing of) divorcement.
G4202 — πορνεία — porneia — por-ni’-ah
From G4203; harlotry (including adultery and incest); figuratively idolatry: – fornication.
G3429 — μοιχάω — moichaō — moy-khah’-o
From G3432; (middle voice) to commit adultery: – commit adultery.
As you can see from these passages, there are specific words in the Greek and Hebrew that are synonymous. A divorce by Jewish law MUST have both of these components.
- GREEK Apostasion and HEBREW Sepher keriythth — Writing and giving the wife a bill of divorcement.
- GREEK Apoluo and HEBREW Shalach — Sending her out of the house or away.
Likewise, it is important to see that “put away” is in a few occasions translated as “divorce” in Matthew 5 and 19 and likewise in Mark 10 and Luke 16. This is a wrong translation.
Additionally, it is important to understand that porneia and moichao (or moicheuo) are not synonymous with each other. Fornication is sex or illicit sexual behavior PRIOR to marriage. Moichao/moicheuo is specifically used in context of adulterous sex.
Analyzing Matthew 19 line by line
Apparently, the analysis in the previous article is quite poor that people still do not understand what Jesus is talking about. Hence, a verse by verse analysis is required. Starting with Matthew 19:3 to get a full view of the story the line by line logic is clear:
Matthew 19:3 The Pharisees also came unto him, tempting him, and saying unto him, Is it lawful for a man to put away (apoluō) his wife for every cause?
- The Pharisees come to Jesus intending to entrap him as shown by Matthew referring to this as a temptation. This is the importance of understanding that a divorce in Jewish law is putting away AND a bill of divorcement.
- The background behind this temptation is that the Pharisees are pitting Roman law versus Jewish law. In Roman law you could “divorce” your wife by “putting her away” (apoluo). However, as we know in Jewish law in Deuteronomy 24 you could divorce your wife by “putting her away” (apoluo or shalach) AND giving her a bill of divorcement (Apostasion or Sepher keriythth).
- Likewise, the Pharisees, specifically the Hillelites, claimed you could put away for “every cause.” Although the article referenced does get the conclusion wrong which I will show later it provides more background to this trap.
- This is similar to other traps the Pharisees employed such as it being lawful to pay taxes to Caesar or God (Matt 22, Mark 12) or to stone the adulterous woman (John 8).
- Hence, the trap. If Jesus answers that you can put away a wife without a bill of divorcement the Pharisees can call Jesus a blasphemer as He is not following Jewish law. If Jesus says that you need a bill of divorcement then the Pharisees can take Jesus to the Romans and say that He is subverting Roman law. The additional part of the trap that is subtle is that “every cause” is thrown in so that they are not referring directly to Jewish law but solely one liberal interpretation of it.
- Obviously, this is a no win question, so the only right answer is not to play at all.
All of this should be pretty straight forward and clear so far.
Matthew 19:4 And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female, 5 And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh? 6 Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.
- All of these verses are Jesus’ response and they all go together.
- Jesus neatly sidesteps the Pharisees trap by avoiding talking about Roman and Jewish law and instead discusses the creation of man and what God intended. He would know because He was there (see: John 1:1-4).
Matthew 19:7 They say unto him, Why did Moses then command to give a writing of divorcement (apostasion), and to put her away (apoluō autos)?
- The Pharisees see that Jesus has cleverly sidestepped their trap.
- However, they now are not a bit confused. If God did not intended for any divorce at all then why was it written in the Law of Moses in Deuteronomy 24 that they can divorce by putting the wife away AND giving her a bill of divorcement?
- The fact that they readily acknowledge that the Law of Moses declared that a divorce is composed of putting away AND bill of divorcement allows us to understand that the prior exegesis of the “trap” set by the Pharisees as indicated by Matthew is correct. The Pharisees were again pitting Roman Law against Jewish Law trying to make Him break one or the other.
Again, everything is so far straight forward.
Matthew 19:8 He saith unto them, Moses because of the hardness of your hearts suffered you to put away (apoluō) your wives: but from the beginning it was not so.
- Jesus responds to the Pharisees that this part of the law was created because human hearts are hard.
- This does not mean that putting away (or apoluo) is synonymous with divorce. Rather, it means that Jesus doesn’t want “putting away” for any reason valid divorce or not because of the hardness of hearts.
- Next, Jesus goes on to talk about the only valid reason for putting away and not a reason for divorce.
Matthew 19:9 And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away (apoluō) his wife, except it be for fornication (porneia), and shall marry another, commit adultery (moichaō): and whoso marrieth her which is put away (apoluō) doth committeth adultery (moichaō).
Let’s go through this part by part.
- Specifically, Jesus starts off with “Whosoever shall put away (apoluō) his wife.” Again, putting away is not synonymous with divorce as Jewish law is 2 parts: putting away and giving a bill of divorcement.
- Jesus knows what a bill of divorce is as He is familiar with Jewish law. Additionally, the Pharisees just asked him about putting away (apoluo) and bills of divorce (apostasion). Hence, Jesus is only talking about the specific scenario of putting away a wife WITHOUT a bill of divorcement.
- This is important to realize because we now understand that Jesus is going back and answering the original question in Matthew 19:3 The Pharisees also came unto him, tempting him, and saying unto him, “Is it lawful for a man to put away (apoluō) his wife for every cause?”
Thus, Jesus is addressing their original question with His statement here.
The next part:
- Jesus specifically says “except it be for fornication (porneia). “Fornication” is an illicit sexual union including incest (1 Cor 5) and includes adultery. However, if Jesus was referring specifically to adultery here then “moichao” would have been used instead of “porneia.” That Greek word is not used here.
- Additionally, in combination with “putting away (apoluo)” and “fornication (porneia)” this tells us that He is referring to Deuteronomy 22 where a husband marries a wife who is not a virgin by fraud. If it was talking about “putting away (apoluo)” and “bill of divorcement (apostasion)” and “adultery (moichiao)” this would reference Deuteronomy 24 on rules of divorce.
- The Greek wording is extremely important to look at here because it tells us what Jesus is talking about and what He is not talking about. This wording absolutely denies the so called “adultery clause” which is that you can divorce a wife for adultery in Deuteronomy 24 and instead refers to the passage about putting away and fornication in Deuteronomy 22.
Thus, a husband cannot put away a wife [without a bill of divorcement] except for fornication. This refers back to Deuteronomy 22 instead of Deuteronomy 24. As Donal points out in the comments, this is specifically fornication by fraud.
The next part:
- Jesus says: “and shall marry another, commit adultery (moichaō): and whoso marrieth her which is put away (apoluō) doth committeth adultery (moichaō).” Let’s put all of the parts together now.
- Remove the “except” part for a moment. Jesus is saying: And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away (apoluō) his wife,
except it be for fornication (porneia),and shall marry another, commit adultery (moichaō): and whoso marrieth her which is put away (apoluō) doth committeth adultery (moichaō).
- In other words, Jesus is saying [under Jewish law] that if you put away your wife and marry another each of you commit adultery. This makes sense because if you put away your wife under Jewish law without giving her a writ of divorcement then you commit adultery as you were still married to her! This is where Jesus refers to Deuteronomy 24 specifically on the laws of divorce. It’s two parts!
- Now, what about the “except it be for fornication (porneia)” part? The Pharisees rightly understood that in Deuteronomy 22 that if a husband accused his wife of not being a virgin then the proof was the sheet with the blood stains on it. If the parents were able to produce that (gross, I know) then the husband must pay a penalty and could never put her away as long as he lives. The wife, in other words, committed fraud by lying/deception by marrying her husband claiming to be a virgin when she was not.
- Therefore, this “except” clause means that a husband COULD put away a wife (read: not divorce) if she had fornicated prior to marriage but claimed to be a virgin. This goes back to our understanding of covenants. The proof of the covenant was the blood that the virgin bled. Likewise, the proof of God’s covenant with Abraham was the blood from cutting animals in half. The remission of sins was the blood of the sacrifice of animals. The New Testament was made in Jesus blood permanently for our redemption from sin.
- Indeed, there is no covenant marriage formed between the husband and the wife if she fornicated prior to marriage as there would have been on blood sheet as proof. Hence, a husband can “lawfully” put away his wife for that cause under Jewish law. This bring us full circle to the fact that Jesus fully answered the Pharisees’ question.
- Under Jewish law a husband can put away his wife [without a bill of divorcement] if she had fornicated and deceived him that she was a virgin as there was no lawful marriage in the first place. Hence, he can put her away and it is not a divorce.
When understood properly in this context, we see that Jesus was not commenting on reasons for divorce. Instead, He comments on specifically the one reason why a covenant marriage is not formed and a husband can put away his wife.
This means that what Jesus statement on marriage and divorce still stands: Matthew 19:6 Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.
Jesus gives ZERO exceptions for divorce.
Matthew 19:10 His disciples say unto him, If the case of the man be so with his wife, it is not good to marry. 11 But he said unto them, All men cannot receive this saying, save they to whom it is given. 12 For there are some eunuchs, which were so born from their mother’s womb: and there are some eunuchs, which were made eunuchs of men: and there be eunuchs, which have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven’s sake. He that is able to receive it, let him receive it.
- The disciples, despite how they are often mocked at not understanding things, readily understand that Jesus is saying that there is no divorce period. The only exception is that you can put away a wife if she fornicated prior to marriage as there would have been no covenant marriage formed.
- Hence, they say that it’s better not to marry since it would be a bad deal to marry if you couldn’t divorce for any reason.
- Jesus then responds that only some can receive the gift of singleness without women. This is important to note in the context of 1 Corinthians 7, and Paul’s concession that it’s better to marry than to burn. Both Jesus and Paul under the inspiration of the Father understand that many will marry because singleness has not been given to everyone.
As you can see from a close reading of the text in Matthew 19 Jesus is not talking about specific causes for divorce. Rather, He says that there is no divorce period. The only reason you can put away a wife is if she fornicated prior to marriage and fraudulently claimed she was a virgin.
Other support for this interpretation
This also agrees with Matthew 1:19 where Joseph was going to put Mary away.
Matthew 1:19 Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a public example, was minded to put her away privily.
In this specific case, Joseph was not married to Mary (only betrothed), but Jesus is saying in this instance that if a husband did marry a woman who was not a virgin he could put her away without a bill of divorce.
This unifies what Jesus also states in the same topical passages on divorce and there being “no potential exception clause” in Mark 10:
Mark 10:2 And the Pharisees came to him, and asked him, Is it lawful for a man to put away (apoluō) his wife? tempting him. 3 And he answered and said unto them, What did Moses command you? 4 And they said, Moses suffered to write a bill of divorcement (apostasion), and to put her away (apoluō autos). 5 And Jesus answered and said unto them, For the hardness of your heart he wrote you this precept. 6 But from the beginning of the creation God made them male and female. 7 For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and cleave to his wife; 8 And they twain shall be one flesh: so then they are no more twain, but one flesh. 9 What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.
10 And in the house his disciples asked him again of the same matter. 11 And he saith unto them, Whosoever shall put away (apoluō) his wife, and marry another, committeth adultery (moichaō) against her. 12 And if a woman shall put away (apoluō) her husband, and be married to another, she committeth adultery (moichaō).
And also in Luke 16:
Luke 16:13 No servant can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon. 14 And the Pharisees also, who were covetous, heard all these things: and they derided him. 15 And he said unto them, Ye are they which justify yourselves before men; but God knoweth your hearts: for that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God. 16 The law and the prophets were until John: since that time the kingdom of God is preached, and every man presseth into it. 17 And it is easier for heaven and earth to pass, than one tittle of the law to fail.
18 Whosoever putteth away (apoluō) his wife, and marrieth another,committeth adultery (moichaō): and whosoever marrieth her that is put away (apoluō) from her husband committeth adultery (moichaō).
If you recognize these passages they also agree with the correct interpretation of Matthew 5 and Matthew 19. Mark and Luke specifically do not mention fornication because it is assumed that Jesus was speaking for everything on divorce when He said “What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.”
The reason why Matthew mentions this in the gospel is because he was the Jewish tax collector. Since Matthew was written for a Jewish audience, he includes the details of the specifics in accordance with Deuteronomy 22 and 24 of what Jesus said so that they may understand it in the context of the law. Mark and Luke don’t put that in there because it is obvious: there are no reasons for putting away save if a woman fornicated prior to marriage.
Understanding Jesus in the context of other Scriptures
Romans 7:1 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.
Romans 7 does not speak specifically about whether you can legally divorce or not. Obviously, Deuteronomy 24, which Paul is quite familiar with being a Pharisee of Pharisees, states that husbands could divorce their wives.
Paul is instead speaking to the scenarios of being unbound by the law (in death) more than about divorce because He is discussing our salvation and grace versus works. In particular, husbands were allowed to divorce their wives in Deuteronomy 24; however, wives were not allowed to divorce their husbands. Hence, when Paul speaks to this scenario a wife is bound by the law to her husband until he dies [or he divorces her which didn’t comment about in this passage].
1 Corinthians 7:10 And unto the married I command, yet not I, but the Lord, Let not the wife depart (chōrizō) from her husband: 11 But and if she depart (chōrizō), let her remain unmarried or be reconciled to her husband: and let not the husband put away (aphiēmi) his wife.
G5563 — χωρίζω — chōrizō — kho-rid’-zo
From G5561; to place room between, that is, part; reflexively to go away: – depart, put asunder, separate.
G863 — ἀφίημι — aphiēmi — af-ee’-ay-mee
From G575 and ἵημι hiēmi (to send; an intensive form of εἶμι eimi (to go)); to send forth, in various applications: – cry, forgive, forsake, lay aside, leave, let (alone, be, go, have), omit, put (send) away, remit, suffer, yield up.
G630 — ἀπολύω — apoluō — ap-ol-oo’-o
From G575 and G3089; to free fully, that is, (literally) relieve, release, dismiss (reflexively depart), or (figuratively) let die, pardon, or (specifically) divorce: – (let) depart, dismiss, divorce, forgive, let go, loose, put (send) away, release, set at liberty.
It’s important to understand that Paul is speaking to a Roman/Greek population in the Corinthians here and not the Jewish people. Hence, Paul is speaking against the Roman law that “divorce” could be done through “putting away” or simply “departing” in the case of the wife.
Likewise, Paul follows this up with the only correct path for those separated or divorced: stay single or reconcile. This is a hard word for most Christians because divorce and remarriage is not an option.
1 Corinthians 7:12 But to the rest speak I, not the Lord: If any brother hath a wife that believeth not, and she be pleased to dwell with him, let him not put away (aphiēmi autos). 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 (aphiēmi autos). 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 (chōrizō), let him depart (chōrizō). A brother or a sister is not under bondage in such cases: but God 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?
This passage is also used as a so-called exception clause for remarriage. “Well, if I’m not under bondage anymore because my unbelieving wife or husband left me then I can remarry.” That is not what this passage says at all. It only says that if they depart then you’re not under the bondage of the marriage anymore. However, it does not necessarily condone remarriage either. In fact, going back to the earlier part of 1 Corinthians 7 it would be best to stay single or reconcile if at all possible.
Old Testament passages on divorce not in Deuteronomy
Malachi 2:14 Yet ye say, Wherefore? Because the Lord 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 godly seed. Therefore take heed to your spirit, and let none deal treacherously against the wife of his youth.
16 For the Lord, the God of Israel, saith that he hateth putting away (shâlach): for one covereth violence with his garment, saith the Lord of hosts: therefore take heed to your spirit, that ye deal not treacherously. 17 Ye have wearied the Lord with your words. Yet ye say, Wherein have we wearied him? When ye say, Every one that doeth evil is good in the sight of the Lord, and he delighteth in them; or, Where is the God of judgment?
You will notice in Malachi 2 that it is referring to the same circumstances as was during Roman occupation. The law of Moses basically gave the Israelites the right to divorce if they wrote up a bill of divorce, handed it to her, and then sent her away. However, the Israelites were dealing treacherously by sending their wives away without a bill of divorce.
The reason behind this is because if a wife was divorced she would receive back the dowry and the bride price which may have also included land. The Israelite husbands were sending away their wives without the bill of divorcement which allowed them to keep the dowry and bride price but also left the wife destitute and on the street.
Additionally, with a bill of divorce the wife would now be single and able to be remarried. However, as Jesus discussed with putting away without the bill of divorce the woman would be unable to be remarried without committing adultery which is a grievous sin before God. Since the wife was left destitute without the bride price and dowry back and unable to be married again to support herself, the Israelite husbands were basically condemning the woman to poverty and begging in a treacherous manner.
This passage does not say that God hates divorce. It is falsely used by many pastors to that note. This passage says that God hates putting away [without a bill of divorce]. Although God does not like divorce via Jesus’ statements on Genesis, God is willing to carry out divorce Himself under His own laws in the old covenant as we will see:
Jeremiah 3:6 The Lord said also unto me in the days of Josiah the king, Hast thou seen that which backsliding Israel hath done? she is gone up upon every high mountain and under every green tree, and there hath played the harlot. 7 And I said after she had done all these things, Turn thou unto me. But she returned not. And her treacherous sister Judah saw it. 8 And I saw, when for all the causes whereby backsliding Israel committed adultery I had put her away (shâlach, and given her a bill of divorce (sêpher kerı̂ythûth); yet her treacherous sister Judah feared not, but went and played the harlot also. 9 And it came to pass through the lightness of her whoredom, that she defiled the land, and committed adultery with stones and with stocks. 10 And yet for all this her treacherous sister Judah hath not turned unto me with her whole heart, but feignedly, saith the Lord.
This is one of the reasons why Israel was not brought back out of Assyrian captivity, and why Samaritans were treated like garbage by the Jews. They were no longer “Jews” because they have been divorced by God. This passage in Jeremiah 3 shows that God Himself divorces the Israelites, gives her a bill of divorce, and sends/puts her away into Assyrian captivity. God abides by His own law that He gave the Israelites.
However, the Lord speaking to Judah does not divorce her even though He puts her away:
Isaiah 50:1 Thus saith the Lord, Where is the bill of your mother’s divorcement (sêpher ‘êm kerı̂ythûth), whom I have put away (shâlach)? 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 (shâlach). 2 Wherefore, when I came, was there no man? when I called, was there none to answer? Is my hand shortened at all, that it cannot redeem? or have I no power to deliver? behold, at my rebuke I dry up the sea, I make the rivers a wilderness: their fish stinketh, because there is no water, and dieth for thirst. 3 I clothe the heavens with blackness, and I make sackcloth their covering.
In the case of Judah, we know that Jesus comes from the lineage of Judah and David. Thus, even though the Lord allows Judah to be put away into captivity for their transgressions. Then He brings her back out of captivity as read in Nehemiah and Ezra, and remakes the covenant with them through the rebuilding of His temple. Then He brings full redemption to them through sending His Son Jesus to die bring forth the New Covenant.
There are many conclusions about marriage and divorce that we can draw from these passages:
- Putting away is NOT divorce in the Scriptures. It is a two part process of putting away and a bill of divorcement. – Deut 22, 24; Mal 2; Jer 3; Isa 50; Matt 5, 19; Mark 10; Luke 16
- God and Jesus’ plan for marriage is that “What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.” – Gen 2, Matt 19; Mark 10
- There is no get-out-of-marriage adultery clause. Who you are married to you should stay married to regardless of any sins they commit. This is a hard word as even the disciples said it was better not to marry. – Matt; 19, Mark 10, Luke 16
- Under Jewish law according to Jesus: You can put away your wife if she fornicated prior to marriage and committed fraud by claiming she was a virgin as the blood on the sheet proved her testimony false (no blood was spilled making it a covenant marriage). – Deut 22, Matthew 5, 19; Mark 10; Luke 16,
- Under Jewish law: Wives are bound to their husbands as long as they live [or until their husbands divorce them which was not said]. – Rom 7, Deut 24
- If a spouse leaves stay single or be reconciled. – 1 Cor 7
- If an unbelieving spouse leaves you are not under bondage. This can still be liberally interpreted as being able to remarry; however, the prior part of the chapter tends to speak against it since it says to stay single or reconcile. Note the wording: “10 But to the married I give instructions, not I, but the Lord … [remain unmarried or reconcile]” versus “12 But to the rest I say, not the Lord, that if [they leave you are not under bondage].” I take this to generally mean that “not under bondage” means that you are absolved of your marriage duties, but given the context of the wording about the Lord saying versus Paul saying it would seem that stay unmarried or be reconciled is the ideal. Remarriage is likely not an option. – 1 Cor 7
- Remarriage is a singular sin and not perpetual adultery This is one of the falsely propagated conclusions from the heretical “You can divorce your spouse if they commit adultery” exegesis. However, the act of remarriage is a sin since the ideal is to stay single or reconcile. The important thing to understand is that it is a singular sin and not a constant state of sin. Confess your sins to God and repent. – Matt 5, 19; Mark 10; Luke 16; 1 Cor 7
- Those already remarried in their second and third marriages are NOT to divorce and reconcile with their first spouse. This follows out of #8 because the heretical interpretation is perpetual adultery with the new spouse. Hence, divorce and reconcile and remarry with the first spouse. Rather, this view goes against what Deuteronomy 24 says in that if a first husband divorces a wife and another marries her even if she is divorced or her husband dies then she is not to remarry him again. – Deut 24, Matthew 19
Obviously, some of these do not apply to us as Christians now. For example, those things that are under Jewish law do not necessarily apply as Jesus has fulfilled the law. But all of Jesus’ commands are stricter than the law anyway. For example, “love one another as I have loved you” as opposed to “love your neighbor as yourself.” Jesus is the standard rather than ourselves.
Hence, no divorce, no remarriage, and if you are separated only reconciliation or singleness is likely the correct interpretation of all of the points put together.
This is a straight forward exegesis of the Hebrew OT and Greek NT reading on marriage and divorce. See also this for more support. Ignore and give advice against it at your own spiritual peril.