Deuteronomy 24:1, Write her a bill of divorcement. Divorce laws and a bill of divorcement (Heb. get)is the subject of this passage. This verse forms the basis of the divorce laws of the Torah and the actual get or bill of divorce, which was a written document that a husband gave to his wife because of some immoral activity on her part (The ArtScroll Stone Edition Chumash, p. 1058). The subject of divorce and remarriage is a large subject and is beyond the scope of this present work, yet it is interesting to note that Moses himself, the one who YHVH used to pen the Torah, was very likely divorced and remarried. (We have discussed this subject in Parashat Yitro.) YHVH himself divorced Israel and gave her a get because of her unfaithfulness to him, though he never remarried. (See the teaching below.)
Deuteronomy 24:1–4, For an explanation of this passage in light YHVH-Yeshua’s remarriage to adulterous Israel as sit relates to the gospel message, see notes at Romans 7:1–6.
The Real Purpose for Divorce Under Torah
Deuteronomy 24:1–4, Natan’s Notes on the Biblical Reasons for Divorce
- Jeremiah 3:14, After YHVH divorced Israel (v. 8), he was still married to her. What’s going on here? Even though YHVH divorced Israel, he still considers himself married to her because he had made a covenantal vow with Israel, and vows can’t be broken (except by death or under very stringent requirements). Period.
- Look at Hosea 1:2 cp. 3:1–3. Hosea’s actions toward Gomer, his adulterous wife, is an example of YHVH’s unfailing love for is Israel, who was his spiritual adulterous wife. Marriage is a covenant vow that when broken by adultery requires the death penalty for the offending party. Gomer committed adultery. Yet Hosea brought her back and redeemed her from adultery. He loved her unconditionally and laid his life down for her (as YHVH does for us, see Eph 5:28).
- Deuteronomy 24:1 can’t be used as a justification for divorcing under just any circumstances. Only if the wife has committed or is committing sexual immorality (in Hebrew ervah) can her husband put her away. A bill of divorcement, in Hebrew called a get, must first be issued for the purposes of restoring the immoral woman. One cannot put their wife away for any reason. Even Yeshua confirmed this in Matthew 5:32. Ideally, according to the Torah and to Yeshua, some sexual immorality (in Hebrew ervah)has to have been committed for a man legally to divorce his wife according to the Torah-law. I inserted the word ideally because there are seldom ideal situations in life, and humans rarely live up to YHVH’s ideal moral and spiritual standards. As such, Yeshua admits that the Torah as administered by Moses allowed for divorce to occur, sadly, because of the hardness of human hearts (Matt 19:8). What does “hardness of heart” mean? Scripture doesn’t say. The following is simply my speculation on what this means. For example, I would not expect one to be required to stay married if several severe conditions existed such as physical abuse, criminality, drug addictions, abandonment, total dereliction of responsibilities or extreme heathenism. Such sins make it all but impossible for a righteous person to remain in such a spousal relationship. A spouse who is practicing such has violated their contractual marriage vows and thus there legally and technically is no marriage. A believer shouldn’t be forced to remain in such a relationship. Having said this, it is the saint’s duty, as much as possible, to vet out a prospective mate before marrying them to ensure that they have never been involved nor are currently involved in such activities. One should only marry an Elohim-fearing, commandment-keeping, born again faithful believer in Yeshua the Messiah, who has a long fruit-bearing track record of such a lifestyle. Again, this is Natan Lawrence speaking, not Scripture, but it is my best understanding of scriptural principles as they relate to marriage and divorce.
- Marriage between two believers is a vow with YHVH. Marriage between two unbelievers is something else. It is simply an agreement or contract between two people. Maybe YHVH is part of it, maybe he is not. It all depends on the vows and the situation.
- Deuteronomy 24 is not a permission to divorce and to remarry. Rather it is a judgment because of sin. It must be viewed in manner. YHVH’s Torah-laws, statutes and ordinances are for when things go well. The judgments of Torah, on the other hand, were for when things went wrong. A judgment was meted out because some Torah-law had been broken and now a solution to the problem had to be found or worked out within the framework of Torah. This is the situation Deuteronomy 24 is dealing with in respect to marriage covenant that has been violated. A get was a temporary legal measure to protect the adulterous woman from stoning so that the marriage could be restored.
- In the Torah, divorce was to be a temporary situation to bring the sinning wife to repentance and to restore YHVH’s perfect ideal of marriage—to restore order back into the home, to heal the family structure. If the sinning wife refuses to repent and remarries (Deut 24:2–3), and continues in her sin and she becomes divorced again or her second husband dies, this is what severs the marriage covenant permanently. This act on her part renders the marriage covenant null and void forever.
- Again, a bill of divorcement or a get under the Torah was a temporary legal measure to protect the adulterous woman from stoning, so that the marriage could be restored. Matthew 1:19 demonstrates this. Joseph acted righteously in not putting Miriam (Mary) his pregnant betrothed wife away, which could have resulted with her being stoned to death. By all outward appearances, she was guilty of adultery, but Joseph’s act of mercy was an example of his exercising mercy over judgment. It ended up that she was pregnant not by a man, but by the Spirit of Elohim resulting in the birth of Yeshua the Messiah. Thus Joseph’s act of mercy spared the Messiah from potential death.
- In Malachi 2:10–17 YHVH addresses the issue of divorce. Here the prophet speaking for YHVH is discussing the treacherous nature and misuse of divorce, which is one of the reasons YHVH states that he hates divorce (v. 16). This is because divorce often results in treacherous dealings between people (vv. 10–11, 14) and it violates and profanes sacred covenants (vv. 10), it profanes the holy institution of marriage, which YHVH loves (v. 11), because it is often the result of adultery (vv. 11–12), and adultery leading to divorce often causes a man to leave the wife of their youth (v. 14) thus breaking the oneness of marriage (v. 15), and divorce covers one’s garments with violence (v. 16). Again, for these reasons, YHVH hate’s divorce, and why he refers to it as “evil” and unjust (v. 17).
- According to YHVH’s Torah standard, the righteous are to care for widows and orphans, not to create them as a result of the misuse of Torah’s laws regarding divorce.
- In Matthew 5:32 Yeshua’s words fit into the above context. Only, ideally under the strictest standards of the Torah, for sexual immorality is divorce permissible. Otherwise divorce is unlawful, since the couple is legally still married and a bill of divorce (a get) is simply a temporary measure for purposes of reconciliation the couple and bringing the marriage back together.
- In Matthew 19:3, when Yeshua mentions divorce “for just any reason,” he is referring to the Pharisaical schools of Beit Shamai and Beit Hillel of the time. The Pharisees that came to him asking the question were from School of Hillel. Yeshua is taking the Beit Shamai conservative position as the case when John the Baptist took Herod to task for his adultery. Verse 8 shows that there’s a provision for divorce but it’s not YHVH’s perfect will. Rather it’s a judgement and an indictment against carnal men.
- Again, in 1 Corinthians 7:10–11, we see that the primary purpose of divorce is for reconciliation of the marriage, not so that one can justify themselves in getting out of a less than ideal marriage in order to fetch themselves another spouse. Divorce and remarriage, as millions of people will attest to, causes a shipload of unintended negative consequences on the lives of many people and often for generations to come. It is something to be avoided if at all possible.
Deuteronomy 24:4, Her first husband who divorced her shall not take her again to become his wife.The prophetic implications of this are astounding in light of YHVH’s divorce of unfaithful Israel and his eventual remarriage to her. The whole message of the gospel and Yeshua’s death on the cross relate to this verse. (See the teaching below.)
Deuteronomy 24:8–9, Remember what YHVH … did unto Miriam.Moses’ sister Miriam was struck with a skin disease because she spoke evil against her brother. Slander is defined as making false or damaging statements about someone. The Torah keeps returning to the subject of “gossip, slander and other forms of selfish and antisocial behavior” (The ArtScroll Stone Edition Chumash, p. 1060). Obviously such activity was a problem then as it continues to be now. It can literally destroy human relationships, families, marriages, ministries and congregations. The interesting things is that those committing such sins usually fail to admit they are doing it, yet such is all too clear to those who are their victims. (Read Prov 6:16, 19 and Jas 3:1–12.)
Deuteronomy 24:19–22, The Scriptures commands that the righteous give to the poor (the stranger, the fatherless and the widow). Yeshua said that the poor would always be around (Matt 26:11). Never forget that you may have once been poor, or could become poor were it not for YHVH’s grace. Therefore be generous and give as you are able to support first the poor of your immediate family, then your larger family, then your spiritual family and then those in the community around you. How charitable are you in your giving? Is your heart open to YHVH to obey him when he directs you to give to someone in need?
Yeshua Teaches About Divorce
While on this earth, Yeshua taught on many subjects pertaining to all areas of human existence—136 in all. He taught on everything from angels to worship, from money to taxes, sexuality to celibacy, fasting to food, joy to sorrow and yes, on the subject of divorce, as well (see Matt 19:1–12).
Malachi says that YHVH hates putting away, a Hebraism for divorce (2:16). Yet Yeshua says in Matthew 19 that in the Torah divorce was permitted if one of the parties had a hardened heart resulting in irreconcilable differences. Adultery was cause for divorce if the offending party refused to repent.
YHVH married the whole House of Israel (i.e. all twelve tribes) at Mount Sinai and the Torah was the marriage agreement (See The Bible: The Good News – The Story of Two Lovers & YHVH’s Set-Apart Feast Days Are the Outline of that Love Story: A Plan of Redemption where the Jewish wedding is outlined historically and prophetically in a biblical context, available at http://www.hoshanarabbah.org/pdfs/love_story.pdf). Ezekiel describes the marriage between YHVH and Israel succinctly and allegorically in Ezekiel 16:6–8.
Yet because both the Houses of Judah and Israel committed spiritual adultery by whoring after foreign gods and lovers and failed to live up to their marital agreements they had made with YHVH at Mount Sinai when they said “I do” three times (Exod 19:8; 25:3, 7). YHVH sent prophet after prophet as recorded in the pages of the Tanakh (Hebrew Scriptures) in attempts to turn the heart of Israel back to him, yet her heart was hardened toward him and she refused to repent of her adulteries; therefore, YHVH was forced to do that which he hates and dissolve the marriage and divorce Israel.
In light of these issues, what are the prophetic implications of the divorce of YHVH from the nation of Israel and his future remarriage to the same nation? To understand this issue and to gain a deeper understanding of YHVH’s wonderful plan of salvation for his people, read “The Prophetic Implications of Divorce in Light of the Two Houses of Israel,” which is available at http://www.hoshanarabbah.org/pdfs/divorce.pdf.