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Understanding Divorce

Matthew 19:3
[3]The Pharisees also came unto him, tempting him, and saying unto him, Is it lawful for a man to put away
his wife for every cause? 

Mat 19:8  

He saith unto them, Moses because of the hardness of your hearts suffered you to put away your wives: but from the beginning it was not so.

  • Moses had given the children of Israel a law that was contrary to the law from the beginning concerning divorce for the hardness of the hearts of the children of Israel.  The men were hard-hearted in growing bitter with their wives shortcomings [Col 3:19] not being long-suffering giving honour unto the weaker vessel,  [1Pet 3:7] and the women struggled with pride to honor their husbands [Sir 26:26] being unwilling to reverence [Eph 5:33] their husbands by submitting to their own husbands in everything [Eph 5:22] in obedience to their husband's rule over them [Gen 3:16] in the spirit of meekness. We will look at the laws and precepts to understand the errors of the men and women of old time for edification.

Deuteronomy 24:1
[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, and give it in her
hand, and send her out of his house.


BDB Definition: nakedness, nudity,
shame, pudenda; pudenda (implying shameful exposure) nakedness of a
indecency, improper behaviour, exposed, undefended (figuratively)
Part(s) of speech: Noun Feminine


  • The uncleanness of the woman was referring to her improper behavior, not being seemly, being bold, and not being in subjection to her husband in all things like the Church is unto Christ. {Eph 5:24)

Ecclesiasticus 22:5

[5]She that is bold dishonoureth both her father and her husband, but they both shall despise her.

Sir 25:26  

If she go not as thou wouldest have her, cut her off from thy flesh, and give her a bill of divorce, and let her go.

  • The original law did not permit to divorce under these circumstances:

Matt 19:9

[9]And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry
committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery. 

Mar 10:12  

And if a woman shall put away her husband, and be married to another, she committeth adultery.

  • This is the understanding of Divorce according to the Lord to help us rectify the things Moses suffered to be done in the past due to the hardness of the men's hearts:

Deuteronomy 24:1-4

[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, and give it in her hand, and send her out of his house.

  • In the beginning it was not so.

[2]And when she is departed out of his house, she may go and be another man's wife.

  • This was also an addition by Moses because this would be adultery in this matter if the first husband didn't commit fornication as Christ said.

[3]And if the latter husband hate her, and write her a bill of divorcement, and giveth it in her hand, and
sendeth 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 Ahayah: and thou shalt not cause the land to sin, which the Ahayah thy
Alahayim giveth thee for an inheritance.

  • Notice she is now defiled because her first husband did not commit fornication to give right to divorce him and marry another so she has committed adultery marrying another man that was not her husband from the first marriage according to the original law.  Lord Yache's Apostle gave further edification on the matter from Him so we may know what ought to have been done if a husband had found some uncleanness in his wife and desired to divorce her for that cause:

1Co 7:10  

And unto the married I command, yet not I, but the Lord, Let not the wife depart from her husband:

1Co 7:11 

 But and if she depart, let her remain unmarried, or be reconciled to her husband: and let not the husband put away his wife.

  • The husband should not have put away his wife if she had not committed fornication and the wife should not have departed from her husband to marry another man and commit adultery against him. If there was a need for them to separate, they should have remained unmarried or be reconciled with each other. Ahayah does not take pleasure in divorce.

           Ahayah rebuked his people for divorcing their wives

Mal 2:13

And this have yee done again, covering the Altar of Ahayah with tears, with weeping and with crying out, in so much that he regardeth not the offering any more, or receiveth it with good will at your hand.

Mal 2:14

Yet ye say, Wherefore? Because Ahayah 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.

Mal 2:15

And did not he make one? yet had he the residue of the spirit: and wherefore one? that he might seek a Holy seed: therefore take heed to your spirit, and let none deal treacherously against the wife of his youth.

  • (Alahayim makes man and his wife one flesh and they are connected in spirit in His sight when man makes that covenant of marriage with the woman becoming one flesh, so she cannot be put away if she didn’t break the covenant through fornication.)

Mal 2:16

For Ahayah the Alahayim of Israel saith, that he hateth putting away: for one covereth violence with his garment, saith Ahayah of hosts, therefore take heed to your spirit, that ye deal not treacherously.

  • We have to take heed to our spirit as our wives are one with us, not to deal treacherously in divorcing without proper cause or for the bitterness of our soul.


Understanding Divorce

  • The Lord Yache, gave commandments in the Gospel concerning divorce explaining the proper grounds for divorce according the original law [Gen 2:23] in order to abolish the contrary precept that Moses gave for divorce, due to the hardness of the hearts of the Israelites.[Matt 19:7-8] 

Mat 19:4-6  

And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female, 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? Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore Alahayim hath joined together, let not man put asunder.

Matt 19:9

[9]And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry
committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery. 

Mar 10:12  

And if a woman shall put away her husband, and be married to another, she committeth adultery.

  • By law, the grounds for divorce are fornication and adultery according to the Lord. With this foundation on the law from the beginning, there are certain judgements in the law and testimonies for different marital situations as well to be covered: 


Laws of Divorce/Separation/Re-marriage

  1. If spouses are not at peace to dwell together and they must depart from one another for peace sake, they must remain unmarried. If they desire to marry [I Co 7:11] or cannot contain their desire for benevolence, [I Co 7:9] they must return to each other to avoid fornication. [I Co 7:11,9]

  2. A believer is free to marry another if the unbelieving spouse commits fornication. [Matt 19:9]

  3. A believer must not live with a believing spouse if the spouse is detected in adultery [Shepherd of Hermas Mandate 4] or fornication. [Matt 19:9; Mark 10:11-12]  The believer must remain alone to give the spouse at fault an opportunity to repent and return. There is one opportunity of repentance from adultery for a believing spouse and if they continue in their fornication, then the believer is free to divorce them and marry another, only in the Lord. [Shepherd of Hermas Mandate 4; I Co 7:39]

  4. If the unbelieving spouse is not pleased to dwell with the believer and departs on their own accord, the believer must let them depart in peace and remain unmarried, giving the unbeliever an opportunity to repent and return to their spouse. [I Co 7:15, 11] If the believer marries another while separated from the unbeliever, the believer has committed adultery against the unbeliever [Matt 19:9; Mark 10:12]  because the unbeliever remained alone [I Co 7:11] and did not commit fornication to break the covenant. [Matt 19:9] On the other hand, if the unbeliever departs from the believer and sleeps with another, it is fornication; and if the unbeliever marries another, it is adultery. [Matt 19:9; Mark 10:12]  In either case, the believer is then free to re-marry someone else only in the Lord [I Co 7:39] because the unbeliever gave grounds for divorce by fornication which means the believer is not "in bondage" to remain bound to the unbeliever in such cases. [I Co 7:10-15]

  5. If a spouse dies, the living spouse is free to marry another, only in the Lord [I Co 7:39] and it is not adultery though he/she is married to another in this case. [Rom 7:2-3]

  6. If a man take a wife of the virgins of Israel and goes in unto her, and hates her, and brings up an evil name upon her saying she was not a virgin and the occasion of speech against her be false, she shall be his wife and he may not put her away all his days. [Deu 22:13-19]

  7. A woman who is a bondwoman (maid-wife) is free to return to her family if her husband is not providing the 3 provisions of a marriage: food, raiment, and duty of marriage. [Exo 21:10-11] She may be given in marriage to a man of understanding after she goes out free. [Sir 7:25]

The grounds for divorce with an unbelieving spouse:

1 Corinthians 7:12-15

12  But to the rest speak I, not Lord: If any brother hath a wife that believeth not, and she be pleased to dwell with him, let him not put her away. 

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. 

  • It is unrighteous for a Brother or Sister to divorce their spouse who has not committed fornication against them and is pleased to dwell with them.

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.

1 Corinthians 7:15

15  But if the unbelieving depart, let him depart. A brother or a sister is not under bondage in such cases: but Alahayim hath called us to peace.

  • If the unbelieving departs, let them depart peaceably and remain unmarried.

I Corinthians 7:11

But and if she depart, let her remain unmarried, or be reconciled to her husband: and let not the husband put away his wife.

  • Also, the brother or sister is to remain unmarried giving the unbeliever space for repentance to be reconciled unto them.

1 Corinthians 7:16

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?

  • The unbelieving may be saved by the brother or sister who remains unmarried to give them space of repentance to return unto them and avoid adultery by marrying another. If the unbelieving departs and sleeps with another, it is fornication and if the unbelieving marries another, it is adultery against the believer: 

Matt 19:9

[9]And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry
committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery. 

Mar 10:12  

And if a woman shall put away her husband, and be married to another, she committeth adultery.

  • In such cases wherein the unbelieving departs and fornicates or commits adultery, the Brother or Sister is not held in bondage in such cases from marrying another, but is free to re-marry another, but only in the Lord. [1 Co 7:39] 

The grounds for divorce with a believing spouse:

  • There is a difference between an unbelieving spouse as oppose to a believing spouse when it comes to adultery and fornication. If a faithful spouse commits adultery they have one opportunity of repentance but if they do not repent, the Brother or Sister is free to marry another, only in the Lord:

Shepherd of Hermas Commandment 4:


I say to him, "Sir, permit me to ask thee a few more questions" "Say on," saith he. "Sir," say I, "if a man who has a wife that is faithful in the Lord detect her in adultery, doth the husband sin in living with her?" 


"So long as he is ignorant," saith he, "he sinneth not; but if the husband know of her sin, and the wife repent not, but continue in her fornication, and her husband live with her, he makes himself responsible for her sin and an accomplice in her adultery."


"If then, Sir," say I, "after the wife is divorced, she repent and desire to return to her own husband, shall she not be received?" 

1[29]:8 "Certainly," saith he, "if the husband receiveth her not, he sinneth and bringeth great sin upon himself; nay, one who hath sinned and repented must be received, yet not often; for there is but one repentance for the servants of Alahayim. For the sake of her repentance therefore the husband ought not to marry. This is the manner of acting enjoined on husband and wife.

  • The law is about mercy in marriages. 


Not only," saith he, "is it adultery, if a man pollute his flesh, but whosoever doeth things like unto the heathen committeth adultery. If therefore in such deeds as these likewise a man continue and repent not, keep away from him, and live not with him. Otherwise, thou also art a partaker of his sin. 

  • If a believing spouse is detected in adultery or fornication, the Brother or Sister must not live with them so as not to partake in their sins.


for this cause ye were enjoined to remain single, whether husband or wife; for in such cases repentance is possible.

1[29]:11 I," said he, "am not giving an excuse that this matter should be concluded thus, but to the end that the sinner should sin no more. But as concerning his former sin, there is One Who is able to give healing; it is He Who hath authority over all things."

  • Thus a Brother or Sister is to remain single to give a believing spouse an opportunity to repent.

Divorce for maid-wives:

Exo 21:7  

And if a man sell his daughter to be a maidservant, she shall not go out as the menservants do.
Exo 21:8  

If she please not her master, who hath betrothed her to himself, then shall he let her be redeemed: to sell her unto a strange nation he shall have no power, seeing he hath dealt deceitfully with her.

Exo 21:10  

If he take him another wife; her food, her raiment, and her duty of marriage, shall he not diminish.
Exo 21:11  

And if he do not these three unto her, then shall she go out free without money.

  • The daughter is free to get married again but only in the Lord [I Co 7:39] in this case of maid-wives.  

 A Testimony of the Original Laws on Divorce/Separation

  • Let's look at the testimonies to see how Abraham fulfilled the original law of separating from his wife and not committing adultery by taking another wife but remaining unmarried for the sake of his wife's repentance. Abram lawfully married his first wife not having been divorced from another wife before marrying her:

Jasher 12:44

And at that time Nahor and Abram took unto themselves wives, the daughters of their brother Haran; the wife of Nahor was Milca and the name of Abram's wife was Sarai.

  • He also lawfully married his second wife not having been divorced from his first wife to avoid committing adultery against her by marrying his second wife.

Gen 16:3

And Sarai Abram's wife took Hagar her maid the Egyptian, after Abram had dwelt ten years in the land of Canaan, and gave her to her husband Abram to be his wife.

  • He now has two wives at this point in his life. No adultery has been committed because he did not divorce Sarai and marry Hagar. He stayed married to Sarai and in agreement with his wife, he took another wife, not for lust, but uprightly. He didn't cut his first wife off from his flesh to deal treacherously against her because Alahayim joined them together as one flesh. Now he and his second wife are also joined together as one flesh.

Gen 21:10

Wherefore she said unto Abraham, Cast out this bondwoman and her son: for the son of this bondwoman shall not be heir with my son, even with Isaac.
Gen 21:11

And the thing was very grievous in Abraham's sight because of his son.

Gen 21:12

And Alahayim said unto Abraham, Let it not be grievous in thy sight because of the lad, and because of thy bondwoman; in all that Sarah hath said unto thee, hearken unto her voice; for in Isaac shall thy seed be called.

Gen 21:14

And Abraham rose up early in the morning, and took bread, and a bottle of water, and gave it unto Hagar, putting it on her shoulder, and the child, and sent her away: and she departed, and wandered in the wilderness of Beersheba.

  • The law showed Abram cannot re-marry if Hagar didn't commit fornication [Matt 19:9] and Hagar cannot re-marry lest it be adultery, [Mark 10:12] though it is lawful for them to separate and remain unmarried for the sake of peace. [I Co 7:11, 15]  Hagar never remarried in scripture, hence Abram did not re-marry during the life of Hagar. Sarah was Abram's wife beforehand, so he didn’t break any law by remaining married to Sarah. Now, let us see if he broke the law by getting another wife while Hagar was put away to commit adultery against her.

Jubilee 19:11

And Abraham took to himself a third wife, and her name was Keturah, from among the daughters of his household servants, for Hagar had died before Sarah. And she bare him six sons, Zimram, and Jokshan, and Medan, and Midian, and Ishbak, and Shuah, in the two weeks of years.

  • Abraham only re-married because Sarah died and Hagar had died before Sarah, so he was free by law to marry again since they were dead {Rom 7:3}  though neither had committed fornication against him.

  • In conclusion, He married his two wives uprightly, not for lust nor by divorcing one, who had not committed fornication, to take another. Also, he didn't commit adultery against either because he remained unmarried to another wife when he sent away his second wife for the sake of her repentance. 

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