The Real Purpose for Divorce Under Torah

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, Natan’s Notes on the Biblical Reasons for Divorce

Divorce and remarriage is a highly controversial topic due to the emotional nature and its prevalence in society.  Thus arriving at a balanced biblical perspective is not always easy. Those who advocate divorce and as well as those who are against it have their favorite scriptures that justify their position, while each side tends to overlooks the Scriptures that disagree with them. In this study, we will look at one aspect of divorce and the reasons that Scripture permitted it under certain circumstances. To be sure, this is a delicate subject that affects the lives of countless people.

  • 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 cannot 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 this 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 respect to the 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 if her second husband dies, then this 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 says he hates divorce (v. 16). This is because divorce often results in treacherous dealings between people (vv. 10–11, 14), it violates and profanes a sacred covenant (vv. 10), and 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 his 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 hates divorce, which is 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 (in Hebrew, called a get) is simply a temporary measure for the purpose of reconciling 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 was the case when John the Baptist took Herod to task for his adultery. Verse 8 shows that there is a provision for divorce but it is not YHVH’s perfect will. Rather it is 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, the Prophets and Yeshua on Divorce

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. 
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Elohim’s Blessings Upon the Family

Psalm 127 along with Psalm 128 are two of the greatest pro-family passages in the Bible.

Psalm 127:1, Unless. Building, creating, achieving anything in life that is of meaningful and of redeeming value is difficult enough as it is, but even more so without YHVH’s help. Additionally, our spiritual endeavors unless sanctioned and supported by Elohim will, at the very least, be a monument to human achievement, if even that, and nothing more, and at the most will be a fruitless effort that is doomed to failure (in the full and ultimate sense, that is, temporally and eternally). This goes for just about everything we do, unless we put Elohim first and seek his highest ways.

Psalm 127:3, Children. Two of the first seven implicit and explicit commands that Elohim gave to the first humans in Genesis chapters one and two involved procreation: be fruitful and multiply and engage in marriage. Anyone that deems having children is a curse goes against the will of the Creator and is listening to the devil who wants to kill, steal and destroy. He is liar, murderer and destroyer of all that Elohim called good including marriage, children and families.

Contrary to what the selfish atheists, secular humanist and murdering abortionist nihilists will tell us, children are a blessing from Elohim, and with them comes blessings as this and the next two verses declare. Anyone or any philosophy or ideology that says otherwise is a damnable, devilish lie. Too much of society has embraced this lie that includes other lies such as the legality and acceptability of abortion, the need to de-populate the planet by having less children, and the idea that pedophilia and the sexploitation of children is acceptable. These things are manifestations of an all-out war by Satan against Elohim’s grand and glorious design to recreate himself, in a small sense, through marriage and family.

Heritage. Children are a blessing from YHVH. Those who listen to the devil, knowingly or unknowingly, believe the opposite. Such are selfish and miserable people. Do they ever stop to think that if they’re parents had had their attitude toward children, they would never have granted the gift of life?

Reward. What comes from the womb is a reward, not a curse, contrary to what the God-hating, secular humanist atheists, nihilistic, materialistic evolutionists would tell us.

Psalm 127:4, Like arrows. As arrows are shot out to hit targets, so are children in the hand of a father. Through children, families can accomplish goals, create enterprises, advance the kingdom of Elohim, combat evil and create more children.

Psalm 127:1, 3, Builds the house…Children. What does building a house and having children have to do with each other? Why does the psalmist juxtapose these ideas in the psalm? Simply this. A house is more than a building. It’s purpose is to house families. The home and family are the foundation of society, which is comprised of houses or families. One who has a home full of children is blessed and happy, and with a large family comes honor (not shame, v. 5) and influence with if not power over one’s enemies (v. 5).

Psalm 128:1, Fears YHVH. The fear of YHVH and walking in his ways is the basis for a blessed life, since such a mental disposition and spiritual orientation in one’s life ensures that one is lined up with the Word, ways and will of the Creator, which bring life, prosperity, blessing, love, joy, peace and happiness in this life and eternally. The Bible is clear on this and human history, starting from the fall of man at the tree of knowledge, proves that when people go against the Word, will and ways of Elohim, things don’t go well for him.

Psalm 128:2, Labor of your hands…happy. One of the benefits of fearing YHVH (vv. 1, 4) and walking in his ways is that we will experience joy, fulfillment and happiness in the work of our hands no matter what it may be. This shows that mental attitude and spiritual orientation is the key to success and happiness in life regardless of one’s circumstances.

Psalm 128:3, Fruitful vine…children. Those who fear YHVH (vv. 1, 4) will be blessed with a fruitful womb and a large family. Nowhere does the Bible state that children are a curse, only a blessing. Only those who are tuned into the voice of the devil, who is intent on killing, stealing and destroying, view children as a curse, a burden and an inconvenience.

Psalm 128:6, Peace. Heb. shalom. Shalom here is spelled here with all of its letters and not defectively minus the letter vav. This indicates a full, undiminished peace from Elohim—a peace that is full and complete and that covers all areas of life present and future. Such is the blessed heritage of those who fear YHVH and walk in his ways (vv. 1, 4). This psalm shows that marriage and families combined with fearing YHVH and walking in his ways are what bring this blessing along with YHVH full peace.