Usually initiated by the husband who issued his wife with a certificate of divorce and sent her from his home, divorce broke the marriage bond and allowed parties to remarry. It was not part of God’s original purpose for marriage, and is permitted only because of human sinfulness. God is depicted as taking divorce proceedings against adulterous Israel.
The nature of divorce
Divorce dissolves a marriageMk 10:4 pp Mt 19:7The certificate of divorce was a legal document ending the marriage. See alsoLev 22:12-13 Divorce ends the restrictions on a priest’s daughter which were the result of her marriage; Nu 30:9 Following divorce a husband is no longer responsible for his wife; Dt 24:1-2 Divorce properly entered into allows the parties to remarry; Hos 2:2; Mt 5:31
Divorce was not God’s original intentionMal 2:10-16God’s displeasure at those of his people who divorced their Jewish wives to marry foreigners, thus breaking faith with their partners and with God; Mt 19:4-8 pp Mk 10:5-9The Law of Moses did not command divorce, but regulated an existing practice, particularly to protect the wife. See alsoGe 1:27; Ge 2:24
Dictionary of Bible Themes Scripture index copyright Martin H. Manser, 2009. As Editor, Martin Manser wishes to thank all those who compiled or edited the NIV Thematic Study Bible, on which this work is based.
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