Yeshua’s Thoughts on Divorce

Mark 10:2–10, (cp. Matt 5:31–32 and 19) Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife? Yeshua confirms the fact that divorce wasn’t part of YHVH’s original marriage plan, but that Moses allowed divorce only for a specific reason.

Divorce 1

In the Torah, divorce was permitted for lack of virginity at the time of marriage, and for specific sexual sins committed that violated the marriage covenant (note Deut 22:13–14 cp. Deut 24:1–4), yet eventually (by the time of Yeshua), among some of the Jews, the divorce laws had become so relaxed that a man could put his wife away for any reason (Matt 19:3). To those Jews who had such a liberal interpretation of the Torah’s divorce laws, Yeshua was addressing not what the Torah specifically said, but what the religious-legal interpretations had become of those laws.

To bring the concept of marriage and divorce back to the Creator’s original design, Yeshua upheld that, according to the Torah—YHVH’s master plan, marriage between a man and a woman was inviolable and that divorce was permissible only for certain gross sexual sins and for (irreconcilable) hardness of heart (see more at Matt 19:8–9).

The bottom line of what Yeshua is saying is this: YHVH’s highest ideal is for a man and woman to marry and become one, as YHVH Elohim (the Godhead — the Father, the Holy Spirit/Mother, and the Son) is one, of which the marriage is to be a reflection. Sadly, because of the hardness of the sinful human heart, divorce happens, which Moses permitted under certain circumstances, but not for just any reason. Divorce, though permissible, is YHVH’s lowest ideal for the family, since it leaves in its wake so much ruination.

Mark 10:10–13, Divorces…little children. The proximity to Yeshua’s teaching on divorce with his blessing the little children presents us with an interesting juxtaposition of ideas. It’s as if the Gospel writer is obliquely conveying to us the fact that divorce is detrimental to families — especially to children.

Mark 10:11, Divorces his wife and marries another. Tertullian (A.D. 160–220), the early church father, understands this to mean that he who divorces his wife in order to marry another does so unlawfully and is thus an adulterer. He concedes that Moses allowed for divorce and that Yeshua accepts this provision in the Torah, but not if it’s done for the wrong reasons and, therefore, unlawfully (Ante-Nicene Church Father, vol 3; “Tertullian Against Marcion”; Book 4, chap 34; pp. 404–405; Hendrickson, 1995).


9 thoughts on “Yeshua’s Thoughts on Divorce

  1. Every time I think about the subject of divorce I think about my own pitiful situation and reserve my comments towards others who are going through my similar situation. You see I am divorced and I was the one who initiated the divorce not because of sexual reasons or foul play between partners but because we were both miserable for years in the marriage.
    Before I became a believer we were both extreme heathens. When I married her she had two children from a previous marriage so it was troubled from the get go and after 5 years of having this instant family we had a son together, and to make along story short after our son together came along things brightened up considerably but then slowly regressed back into depression for both of us though we would both showed our best side towards the children.
    I left my wife when our son was 12 years old. This had a deep impact on both my son and I. There had already been a deep divide between my self and the other children as they grew up.I moved away but regularly saw my son and tried to be a friend to him more than a father a choice I sorely regret for many reason’s I don’t care to explain at the moment. Fast forward ….
    My son got out of the Navy last year. I divorced his mother 2 years ago.I have been a caretaker for my elderly mother (living with her) for ten years the end of this month. I have got a lot to answer for at the white thrown judgement. My life has been like a leave blowing around. It is what it is. I can’t change the past. All I can do is call on Yahway through his son Yeshua Ha Mashiach today while it is called today.

  2. reply to Chris: there is no profit in regret…we have all fallen first marriage was a shambles and our son seems to be under a generational curse…I also was a caregiver for 8 years but to both parents who suffered strokes….there but for the grace of God go I…there was no way to get through these trials without Messiah…never in my wildest dreams could I have even imagined the things He had planned for me, that in my late 50’s I would find my soul mate and the truth about the Truth after being healed of cancer….giving up is not an option…just trust…He calls those things that are not as though they were..we can’t always see of feel Him working but He is…I will pray for you!

  3. Chris:
    Your story is close to my heart because once I learned about the Truth and began to measure my life up, I feel remorse sometimes also. But, The Messiah came so that we can really go boldly to the throne with our sins. You have shared them here, and we stand with you for restoration. My husband was estranged from his children when we met. On the rebound, we both divorced for the wrong reasons. We have had to suffer for our “heathen” ways, yet today my husband and his children are close, he was able to get past their anger and build trust. Have faith that Messiah has made a way for you. Also, it is such a blessing to care for your parents, Yah’s face shines upon you for that….All is well in Messiah!

  4. I am listening to the Bible Experience (Matt 6) in my car, pulled up to a supermarket and checked my phone. This blog on divorce was in my email. I have been thinking about divorce for a few weeks now – not planning to divirce my wife (Heaven forbid), but at my local church we are doing a Bible study on Mark and the subject of divorce has come up…

    I grew up in a black pentecostal church and the idea of divorce was strictly a no go area! Moreover re-marriage was even worse! I like the way the author has put it – Messiah’s ideal for us is marriage. But the comments people have written has revealed how inept we can be when it comes to understanding marriage…

    I certainly have been guilty of this. To love your wife is to serve her. I have not always done this, yet I would maintain that I have always loved her. Studying how Rabbi Shaul treated the Corinthians reveals to me what it means to truly love…

    It is beautiful but exposing of my own short comings…Like another person said King Messiah has made it so I can boldly ask and receive my Father’s grace when I have sinned in how to love my wife. But He has also enabled the self same grace to mould, shape and fashion my whole being. Now I think the issue is not really about divorce and re-marriage, but rather men (the Males) are willing to serve the interest of our wives. Not as we think service is, but rather as how our Father wants a husband to serve a wife.
    THAT is the litmus test.
    THAT is incredibly beautiful but also uncomfortable if you are not used to it.


  5. HalleluYah! We have truly been misinformed about marriage. Marriage is a vow, you take it before YHWH and your family. So….we have an obligation to see it out to put others before our own desires and to do the work with our family righteously. Not easy at all, but with the word of YHWH, the blood of Messiah, it is possible to overcome the enemy of the family, and of Yah’s set aparts!

  6. Natan, what about the provision in Torah for a woman to marry another man if she is divorced? I get confused when Yeshus said that if a man divorced his wife that he causes her to commit adultery. This has been a hot button issue for my and I for years. Insites?

    • Yeshua was talking about a man putting away his wife without giving her a divorce. If one is divorced, they do not commit adultery when they remarry. If they don’t have a writ of divorce and are merely put away, they are still legally married. When studying the scriptures, we need to look at the original meaning of words that are used in translating. Sometimes the true meaning gets lost in the translating.

      • Not exactly correct. Yeshua was talking about a man putting away his wife for any reason, or for unrighteous reasons.

        Yeshua clearly states that one cannot get a a divorce for any reason. That was the prevailing debate between the two Pharisaical schools of the day. Under what conditions can one get a divorce? Yeshua clearly states that he’s against divorce, but because of human carnality, it does happen, and if it must happen, it can only happen for certain reasons. The Torah talks about those reasons. Not only that, just because one gets a divorce, neither means that they’ve done so on biblical grounds, nor that they are free to remarry.

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