• Español

In the Gospel of Mark, Pharisees come to Jesus and ask him: “Can a man divorce a woman?” (Mark 10:1-12) In summing up his answer, Jesus states: “Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery against her, and if she divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery.” (Mark 10:12) This seems to be a statement that completely denies any legitimacy to divorce and remarriage altogether. But the Gospel of Matthew clarifies that this was not exactly the question asked.

Literally, no Israelite at the time of Jesus thought it possible that the Word of God given through Moses was completely wrong in permitting divorce at all (and they were right!). In fact, no one was debating if divorce was allowed, but rather how liberally (or not) it could be practiced. The Gospel of Mathew provides a fuller version of this question and therefore sets Jesus’ answer in its proper context. According to Mathew’s gospel, some Pharisees tested Jesus by asking him: “Can a man divorce a woman for any reason?” (Mathew 19:3-9)

The conservative Jewish approach understood “unfaithfulness”, “abuse”, or “abandonment” as the only valid grounds for divorce (Deut. 24:1-4; Exod. 21:10-11). This view was represented by the Pharisaic rabbi Shammai, while various more progressive Jewish interpreters argued that a man had the right to divorce his wife for any reason at all (Babylonian Talmud, Gittin 90a). The later view was represented by another Pharisaic rabbi named Hillel.

In other words, there were many illegitimate divorces granted in the Jewish community in the time of Jesus that were not consistent with God’s instructions in the Torah. It is in this divorce-for-any-reason environment Jesus is quoted as saying, “Everyone who divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery, and he who marries one who is divorced from a husband commits adultery.” (Luke 16:18, Mark 10:12)

If read in 21st century Christian context, it would seem that Jesus forbade all remarriage. If it is read in a first-century Jewish context, Jesus’ statement cannot be interpreted as a blanket statement condemning all remarriage, but only when illegitimate divorce was involved. When Jesus was faced with this question he rejected the idea taught by Pharisees of the house of Hillel (that divorce was permissible for any reason) and sided with both the Pharisees from the house of Shammai and the Essenes who taught the opposite.

The Bible can provide us with truth, but it can also be difficult to decipher! Whether you're looking for some biblical direction, stumped on scriptural questions, or just want to confirm that you're already on the right track, join the growing community of faculty and students at Israel Bible Center! Click here to begin your journey of discovery. OFFER EXPIRES ON SEP. 24!


  1. So Paul was not (as some have accused) contradicting Jesus when he said, “…are you bound to a wife? Seek not to be loosed, are you loosed from a wife, seek not a wife…” and “…but and if you marry, you have not sinned…”

  2. Thank you for this article, Eli. It’s on a subject that needs to be brought out and discussed in the religious community. It’s good to read that obviously Hashem does not want us to be miserable throughout life either being bound in an unhappy marriage or condemned in the event that divorce does occur. And Paul, who apparently never married, did not really understand the stresses of married life, in the same way that it is impossible really to comprehend what someone else is going through if one has not gone through it oneself.

    • It is unclear if Paul never married. Actually he seems to understand the stress of married life in telling others not to get married :-). Also “Don’t we have the right to take a believing wife along with us, as do the other apostles and the Lord’s brothers and Cephas?” (1 Cor.9:5) may point us in another direction. But we can’t be sure if he is talking about himself or just collectively about his team.

      • Presumably he was talking about members of his entourage. It’s very difficult to imagine a wife accompanying him through all the horrors of beatings, stonings, prison, shipwreck, and the thousands of miles he trekked around the Mediterranean. Those journeys seem to preclude a wife. His life was far harder and far busier than the other first disciples; he seems to have had little time for the comforts of home. He never says “we”– but when he has a companion, that person is male and is named.

      • About 20 years ago, when I was in the US Navy, I used to have a book of “early church father” quotes on a variety of topics and interpretations. In this book, one of the things mentioned, by an “early church father” [I don’t remember which one, off hand – please forgive my poor memory.] that based on the passage in Phillipians 4.3, that the “true yokefellow” that Paul spoke of was his wife – which makes sense, in context, as he refers to the person to help those women who laboured with him.

      • I have followed the discussions regarding Paul’s “better not to marry”. No one has mentioned the tremendous persecution the church was enduring at the time he gave this advice. As a husband and father I could “be faithful unto death” but to watch my wife and children mistreated … I don’t know. It was much easier alone, unless sex became a preoccupation.

      • I’ve been following conversation. Shaul (Paul) had to be married as a member of the Sanhedrin. Also Mark was written to the Gentiles and Matthew to the Jews. Only Jews not geniles have marriage contract at Engagement stage hence the need for ‘Get’ “divorce certificate” Matt 5:31-32. Not however during engagement it was called sexual immorality not adultery as they were not officially marrried. That’s why the difference. Yeshua therefore states remarriage ( if both are alive)is sin and effectively a remarried person is continually committing adultery. By the way Moshe gave the rule without Gods blessings Yeshua corrected mistake.

      • This discussion is an awesome…i have realized that sometimes i just read through the bible and i don’t have an in-depth analysis of the bible.certainly God hate divorce and only it can be allowed on grounds of question are: 1)What if your spouse did not tell you the truth before marriage meaning the marriage was founded on lies. 2)what if your spouse denies the other his/her rights as a partner 1 Corinthians 7:3-5. 3)if the marriage is not happy,does not have peace it means it will affect the spiritual wellbeing the people involved…and led to sin.

  3. The ideal, of course, is that marriage should be between one man and one woman, and that upon marriage they should cling only to each other, leaving parents and their former lives as singles emotionally as well as physically. But we know this often is not the case. Jesus did point out that if a man leaves his wife (presumably for a frivolous reason) he is guilty of her subsequent adultery if she remarries. And I think you’re correct when you say that Paul and other first century Christians anticipated the imminent return of Christ.

  4. Human failure – even those born-again humans – is a guarantee. Jesus is about taking us where we are and what we are and making us better. Condemning those with failed marriages does not have a lot of merit with a loving Savior Who came to save us from all our sin. It certainly is not preferable to divorce but not at all unpardonable. I am enjoying your messages of grace and mercy from a loving God. There are no excuses for sin but certainly there is forgiveness.

  5. But Yeshua said to them, “Because of your hardness of heart he wrote you this commandment! But from the beginning of creation, God ‘made them male and female. For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no man separate!” Mark 10:5-9, also in Matthew. I think we need to be careful in our interpretation. We should be striving for God’s intent, not desires of our hardened hearts.

  6. If by chance Paul WAS married before conversion… Would his wife have had the option of divorcing him because of his conversion to”the way”… Could she have “considered him dead” because of conversion and as a widow been allowed to remarry?? Do you consider Paul a possible member of Sanhedrin or in essence an apostle of the Sanhedrin going to Damascus??

  7. Dr Eli you said, ….”Paul was in some way misinformed …: “So a lot of his comments had to do with his anticipation of very very very near return of Christ” Are you suggesting that Paul was speaking of his own will in this instance? Paul’s conversion was by God”s direct intervention. If all that he said and did was through the Spirit of God, how could he be misinformed? I may be misunderstamding what your saying?

  8. Thank u Dr. Eli for your wisdom! I’m a pastor’s kid (now full time evangelist) and have dealt with the confusion and judgement from my parents’ divorce. This answers questions I have had for over 30 years! I now know how to answer the critics with His truth. The body of Christ has to rediscover the Jewish roots/context of what was written and why Jesus said what He said. So many followers of Christ base their lives and opinions upon faulty thinking and misconceptions from the Word. I will be sharing this wisdom with many in the days ahead.

  9. Am I looking at 1st century apologetics? I see different teachings (liberal & progressive). This seems to fall under binding and loosing (the right to legislate). Did Rabbi Shammai & Rabbi Hillel have the right to legislate (Matthew 16:17-19)? The 1st century debate seems to be about authority. Many of our modern apologetics have to do with language or doctrine definitions (predestination, speaking in tongues, creation). A lot to think about!

  10. “It is unclear if Paul never married.” – Do we know with certainty that Jesus himself never married? I hope not to offend with my question.

  11. But as I understand it, until the Roman occupation, Judaism allowed plural marriage. A woman whom a man divorced was left penniless and had to be taken in by her father. After the Romans forced singular marriage, divorce and remarriage became the norm for those who could not make a go of it. Yeshua was trying to protect the institution of marriage and the well being of all parties to the marriage including the children who were third party beneficiaries. So long as the situation of plural marriage existed, there was no need to have divorce.

  12. Dr Eli. I am not a professor, a scholar, a pastor, pastors daughter…, just a nobody who seeks the whole Truth. I know not what theological thinking even means.Thank you for bringing to my attention a possible weakness in my thinking,(seriously).I will pray about it.

  13. It seems to me that the challenge of Jesus to his listeners is thrown down with the ‘Moses gave you divorce because of your hardness of heart’ in other words stop expecting to get your own way all the time – ie grow up, an expectation in the New Covenant in Jesus……………………..G-D doesn’t expect people to be miserable in marriage so one partner not respecting and valuing the other is being sinful and hardhearted. I think that type of behaviour is what Jesus condemned.

  14. There’s a difference between divorce and putting away. If a husband did not give his wife a bill of divorce she was still legally married even if put away and then she d be commiting adultery (or bigamy) if she went with another man. Check the original language for context.

    • 1 Cor.7:10 “Now to the married I command, yet not I but the Lord: A wife is not to depart from her husband. 11 But even if she does depart, let her remain unmarried or be reconciled to her husband. And a husband is not to divorce his wife.” If the separation is not due to adultery (abuse or abandonment), which allows for divorce, this is perhaps a situation of perceived “irreconcilable differences”? Which seems to indicate that this was not acceptable grounds for divorce and remarriage, would you say?

  15. Amazing discussion, if I weren’t already completing a degree program I would be looking to enrol in a course here. I look forward to the day my degree is done.

  16. This discussion is very interesting but one perspective is omitted; absolute accurate translation and writing from scrolls in Hebrew, Arabic and Greek to Latin by the Church at Rome. Then “divine inspiration” of the Council at Nicea that selected the books to be used in the “Bible”. If all these facets were based on the divine inspiration of God then when in history is the Catholics lose their divine inspiration? Priests, monks and scribes of the Catholic church did the majority of transcribing for hundreds of years. Their workings conditions were not optimum.

  17. Is there a statue of limitations so to speak when it comes to adultery in a marriage? If a wife cheats and there is no divorce, but a few years later the marriage just isn’t working, would divorce be sinful scripturally (understanding of course that God hates divorce)?

  18. When Jesus said except (μὴ) for πορνείᾳ, it is clear to me that whatever πορνείᾳ means is the only cause for which one may divorce one’s spouse and remarry without the act of remarriage constituting πορνείᾳ. If there is any other cause than πορνείᾳ for which one may divorce and remarry without constituting πορνείᾳ, then EXCEPT doesn’t mean EXCEPT. John 3:5 Jesus said EXCEPT (μὴ) one is born of water and the Sprit one cannot enter the Kingdom of Heaven. If there is more than one way to divorce and remarry, then more than one way to enter the Kingdom.

    • Not exactly… The question is what Hebrew word/phrase is the GREEK Pornia referring to when citing the Torah? Right? So yes except is except but you have to go back to Hebrew to understand it. If you take a course with us on this this is ideal, but the general idea is this – the Hebrew ARAVAT DAVAR (the Hebrew phrase behind the Greek in question) is unclear and can mean several things/kinds/sets of things. So only because pornia is connected to English words like “porn” does not mean it is ONLY sexual in nature in the original Hebrew and

      • My point was not about the meaning of pornia, but that whatever it means, that is the only cause for which one may divorce and remarry with out committing pornia in the act of remarriage. Just like whatever “born of water and the spirit” means is the only way to get into the kingdom of heaven. In either case, if there is more way than what is stated, then except does not mean except.

        • got it. BUT THAT IS THE POINT – pornia does not mean just one thing 🙂 ARAVAT DAVAR is difficult to translate DAVAR is easy (word/thing) ARAVA is something like unseemly/incident… so the debate among the proto-rabbis (which Jesus is forced to enter in the gospels) is exactly about this – what it is and what it isn’t. Depending on how you translate this your view will be more conservative or more liberal (to use modern terms).

          • I strongly believe that divorce is allowed in many ways. First the Christian relationship with God is likened to marriage. Jesus is married to the church. Secondly scripture says thst what God has put together let no man put asunder (Mathew 19:6 ; Mark 10:9) However I believe it’s not every marriage that emanates from God. We at times enter into marriage carnaly without seeking God’s approval. Once the marriage is not of God it will not stand and thus divorce will surely happen.
            Thank you.

          • Thanks for writing, Shadrach. Being unequally yoked for example is basically a lifelong sentence to fighting your spouse for what you believe is right, and that would be very difficult. But I would not say or pretend to know whether a marriage is “of God” simply because I just wouldn’t know how to prove that. Rather if both parties are in agreement to remain committed to the relationship and work to improve it, then I dare say that any marriage like this will stand. What do you think?

  19. what does Jesus mean by saving for the cause of fornication? Fornication has multiple meanings. And why did He say ” divorce was not so from the beginning”? I have been trying to understand this for years…… waiting on answer anxiously!

  20. Jesus was not concerned with marriage and divorce. It is important to love God and treat your brother well. Your greatest duty is to forgive, non judgement, love and seek peace.

  21. I partially agree with your interpretation..In regards to legitimate reasons for divorce, I am in agreement with. What I do not agree with is in regards to remarriage. Just because a person may be legitimately divorced does not condone remarriage.The one does not therefore open the door for the other, especially when we recall that Jesus also said that in the beginning it (divorce) was not so, but God in affect came to allow it because of the hardness of man’s heart. It was never in the heart of God to permit divorce. Remarriage is never stated to be condoned.

    • Shalom, Steven. “Condoning” remarriage :-). How sad to even hear it this way. Please, be kind enough to carefully read my responses to the previous comments presenting the same idea.

  22. “Then why did Jesus himself say “divorce was not so from the beginning”?” In fact, the the book Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg, mentions this is all explained. As Dt Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg noted there already existed a debate on divorce at this time, that had already been going on between those who allowed divorce for “any reason” and those who allowed it only for “unfaithfulness”, “abuse”, or “abandonment” often cited this verse and gave this kind of argument for there position, the essenes are an example. So you cant assume this citation or argument has the meaning that divorce is always prohibited.

  23. Also: “Matthew 19:9 And I say to you: whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery.” EXCEPT for sexual immorality. So, clearly there is at least one circumstance where divorce and remarriage is allowed without the one divorcing and remarrying becoming an adulterer. OTOH, there is this: “Malachi 2: 14 Yet you say, ‘For what reason?’ Because the Lord has been a witness between you and the wife of your youth, against whom you have dealt treacherously…let no one deal treacherously against the wife of your youth. 16 For I hate divorce,”

  24. The application (whose authority) is difficult for me because I was unchurched. What helps me to understand is seeing Jesus building fences around the Torah in Mark 10:12. This lets be under a different authority/nation (similar to the Judean & Samaritans) yet have in common One Lord (Power ).

  25. My first marriage my wife was married twice before me, we got an disillusionment after seven years, My second wife was also married twice before and we were married 26 years when died of cancer. (The night before she died, I heard His voice saying to, “Get your house in ordered”) she died on May 23, 2013 on June 9th I rededicated my life to Christ. That same year I received an Vision, an “AWE”, in the presence of God, in His arms for 3 hours

  26. Hello. I am a newcomer to the Israel Bible Center. Regarding the question of divorce in the time of Jesus, I believe that Dr. Eli is basically correct on this question. It is clear from the social context that divorce had become widely spread for frivolous reasons in the time of Christ. What Yeshua was doing IMO was adjusting the law, as he did with the Sabbath day and Kashrut, that is, actually changing the law, to make it more consistent with the law of God as Jesus understood it and revealed it.

  27. Dr. Eli, I have been unable to determine on the internet what your religious affiliation is and your faith state. You live in Israel. I assume you are Jewish. You are a scholar of both Testaments. Is your interest in Christianity purely objective and academic? Do you accept any of the claims of Jesus of Nazareth as he revealed them in the Gospel? You are building bridges between Christians and Jews which is a wonderful mission. But it would help me to know what your personal beliefs are. Thanks from a non-Jew and non-Christian.

  28. in our presenrt time, when friday comes, we think of it as the “end of the week” friday to sunday, back then thurs was same as our frisay and from thurs to saturday shouldmean that the “week” was almost up ….?

  29. Then what’s to because of all the divorced people in the world ? Most men remarry quickly where as most women do not . I’m not trying to second guess the biblical teaching, being raised in the church of God in Christ I’ve read this passage in the bible , I’ve also known plenty of people who have divorced and remarried and say they’re devoted Christians.

  30. When dealing with divorce and remarriage it is worth understanding that although divorce was not part of G-d’s original plan. As a result of Adam & Eve’s fall life has become sub-optimal and we are often left facing a choice between the lesser of two evils. The man after G-d’s heart King David committed adultery and murder. Whilst he faced a curse on the rest of his life on earth that included the loss of his firstborn son born from that illicit relationship. God’s grace allowed King Solomon to succeed him and he wasn’t cut off.

  31. Thank you for this insight. It has helped me. I have struggled with this over the years. I know several ladies who although strong christians and had fought to make their marriage work could not stay in the marriage. After years of abuse they eventually had to leave. I was brought up in a strict evangelical family and was taught that divorce and remarriage were wrong. My parents ministry always taught this and yet I could see Christians who divorced and remarried. Your explanation and discussion has helped me to clarify my understanding of scripture. God bless

  32. Shalom,God bless you Dr Eli.Thank you for such a wonderful article.To the best of my knowledge the word religion comes from the Latin “religio” to religate or rebind or reunite.The presence of a creator also encompasses it or the belief/faith in God. From my life experience and education and study of nature I see that each animal and human must be independent and strong like the pillars of a temple(Rumi). In other words marriage isn’t the natural state in nature mostly.Peace,good health,freedom from fear and love to all.Sincerely Fiona.I do not wish to offend anyone ever

  33. What we have to remember here is that who Jesus was talking to. Under the law adultery was an offence, punishable by death; “stoning” (Leviticus 20:10). If true adultery had been committed, there would have been no need for divorce. This is why Mary Magdalene was accused, Jesus never condemned her. Since the fall of man in the garden of Eden man’s heart had become hardened. Sin starts in the heart (Matt 5:28, 19:8). Jesus here was setting boundaries; to consider our motives before we act, to examine our hearts, and lift ourselves to higher standards.

  34. Is the Doctor a Christian believer guided by the Holy spirit or still a Jew. Marriage like life itself is challenging, but we should give room for the fruit of the spirit to be exercised. Man Will always look for the easy way out: forgiveness, tolerance etc will have no room when there are other easier options. It was not always so from the beginning is a very paramount statement. It took me 2 years to restore my marriage through Patience, forgiveness & prayer & we are now Very happy again. We knew that once married always married!

  35. It is clear in the teaching of Jesus that the will of God is not divorce and that what Deuteronomy says about it was a concession that God allowed because of the hardness of the people’s hearts. Jesus makes clear what the will of God was from the beginning, prior to the law of Moses, and teaches his followers to go according to that will of God showing a more perfect path than the Mosaic law. The teachings of Jesus, the true “Rabbi” (Matthew 23.8), are beyond those of Hillel, Shammai and anyone else.

  36. My days of studying the teachings of Christ Jesus have lead me to what i believe today. I have learnt that He is a loving God and also a God of Justice. In Isaiah 55:8 He says ” For My thoughts are not your thoughts nor are your ways My ways” That statement alone tells me that we cannot fathom the extent of His Holiness.Holy is the Lord God Almighty. Only by and through the Holy Spirit can we even begin to understand His Will and Way. A study on Holiness would put into perspective God’s Word Will and Way.

  37. I say Amen, amen and amen to what Sha has just shared. Through prayer, submission, petition, God for whatever circumstances, God will make a way, HIS Way for the trusting child of God to heal the wounds. God’s Way; the fruits of the Holy Spirit, will make healing take place. Amen. Be blessed and Shalom. Peter Seah

  38. After 18 years of being a faithful, loving wife, my husband said that he wanted a divorce and I was heart-broken and couldn’t understand WHY? The four children suffered most, having to change schools and losing their home. However, the Lord comforted us and drew us all closer to Him and brought us through the financial struggles. Years later, I read the above mentioned scripture: ‘If the unbeliever wants to go – let him go, in which case the believer is not bound’ and I prayed and the Lord blessed me with a mate! Now married 28 years! Isa 35

  39. It is possible with Gods love anything can be forgiven. Forgive 7 times 70! If a mate will pray and stand for their mate… though they have never been hurt. Leave the door open for reconciliation and restoration for a broken marriage. In Christ all can change into his likeness.

  40. Fornication is an easy reason for divorce – it’s a one-on-one betrayal. But molestation and abuse of one’s own children, spouse-battering (usually in front of the children), torture and rape within marriage, these are horrific and traumatic situations in which it is absolutely impossible for a marriage to continue. And therein lies the dilemma of “to divorce or not to divorce” which is not fully addressed. I’ve worked with traumatized and battered married women for a long time and believe me, there can be forgiveness, but never reconciliation and restoration because megalomania and scars both run deep.

  41. As always, CONTEXT is decisive. Jesus initially commanded, “‘what God has joined together, let no one separate’”, with Adam and Eve as example. His embargo ONLY applies, therefore, to marriage blessed by God between compatible couples. He NEVER unites any couple if failure is inevitable, as often at that Little White Drive-in “Chapel” in California! It’s ridiculous that God automatically OBEYS the celebrant, even civil, whn he or she speaks the legal formula! What’s more, it’s as relevant in a divorce as in a first-time wedding that “‘It is not good for the man to be alone’”, Gen. 2:18a.

  42. When Jesus was asked about Divorce he didn’t take his audience back to what Moses decreed but He took them back to creation, God’s Original intention. “Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’[a] 5 and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’[b]? 6 So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.” It’s obvious the rule is no divorce.

    • There is some fine print about this statement, – namely ‘Moses gave you divorce because of your hardness of heart’, found in Mark 10:5. Seems to me that the call is to conversion to the love of God, not the prohibition of divorce per se. In short, the hard work of growing up, being able to see situations from the spouse’s point of view. It is easy to think that Jesus was addressing a male audience here but the same applies to women.

  43. I believe firstly that marraige is the earthly (shadow of what is to be) version of what God intends doing with His “bride” to be. It is supposed to be sacred. Man however hungers for the wordly and own fulfillment. Many people also grew up with so many different values in their different societies that it is not easy to understand and forgive these differences. The couple also struggles to know their identity in God let alone their position (like the man to be head and priest). Lastly no relationship can stand if not built on the Rock.

  44. Infidelity – Abandonment – Abuse Good reasons indeed for a legitimate separation but for ANY reason seems like a free for all – just like Mashiach taught the perfect law of AHAVA THANK-YOU D.R. Eli

  45. Shalom Dr. Eli, so we are talking about a marriage relationship under the law of Moses, versus a marriage relationship where both partners have received the baptism of the Holy Spirit and should be fulfilling the Law through the spirit of love. Jesus tells us when divorce and remarriage is justified, and the Apostle Paul states that if the Christian couple cannot live together for whatever other reason, then they should separate, and try to reconcile their differences, or faults, so that if possible, they can restore the marriage. Love in Christ, Bill Martinez

    • Hi Bill, Thanks for sharing. Of course, it’s always God’s desire that we commit to our marriage and work tirelessly to preserve it.

  46. Jesus did indeed come again as he said he would before some of them had died. He also said I and my father…John 14:23. In the form of the Holy Spirit the advocate, Jesus and His father came. Hebrews 2:11 also confirms that if we walk in the Spirit we will have unity. Why do we not see this? On the issue of marriage…..”because of the hardness of your heart”. Matthew 19:8 Moses permitted…God did not intend it to be that way. Today..divorce..”because of the hardness of your heart”. God is our refuge our ever present help.

  47. I believe in the Jewish tradition or concept of Beshert, having one’s perfect soulmate for each human being. In this context, I really don’t know if I’ve ever met mine, maybe not, since the three gentlemen I defined as perfect soulmates are a little older than me. So given this belief I have and always have had, even though I never knew at a very young age that this was a Jewish belief, I just believed it from my own spirit…there’s nothing wrong with waiting for the right one, but you can’t wait forever!

  48. Well, I read many of the comments above from many people, and I do believe in two things. Firstly, divorce is absolutely necessary in an ABUSIVE marriage, whether the woman or man is being abused, and it works both ways. The woman could bad or the man could be bad. Either way, you CANNOT LIVE IN HELL. I’ve seen this with traditional families I have known in five couples, ALL BADLY MARRIED and ALL LIVING IN HELL. And they lived it to the end. How about that? Meanwhile, they made their kids totally miserable!

  49. After reading most comments above, my Second Point is, I do believe in the Concept of Beshert: Finding one’s perfect soulmate. Too often, people ignore this concept and end up in bad marriages and bad divorces. Think about it! Do you really want to be married to someone else’s soulmate and not your own? Crazy, isn’t it! But the problem is, maybe your perfect soulmate does not live in your area, but somewhere near or far away! And what if you have to take care of family and can’t marry?

  50. About having kids, do you want to have kids with someone you don’t really love? I would just be scandalized if I had a child with a man who’s not my soulmate. Utterly scandalized. That’s why I find arranged marriages to be shocking and barbaric!

  51. I am new to this site and this thread. As a Christian who wants to know the Word of God in all fullness of truth, I find it intriguing to consider the scriptures from the perspective of the first century audience as they would have understood it. On this topic, I looked up the reference from Matthew 19 in the Orthodox Jewish Bible and it used the word ‘zenut’ to describe the exception for allowing divorce. Looking up the word ‘zenut’ in the ‘Jewish Virtual Library’ it describes it as an extramarital act and coming within the definition of prostitution.

  52. Without dispute there are as many positions on “divorce” as there are sects in the “Christian” religion. BUT only 1 out of a 1000 spend any time clarifying the difference between “writ of divorce” G647 – Greek word: apostasion and “put away” G630 – Greek word: apoluō. It is clear when one studies the matter that Jesus was declaring His deep and abiding disapproval with the act of “putting away” without making the “Divorce” complete by providing a “writ of divorce”. The English translators were suspect in their translation.

    • In Exodus 18:2, the Septuagint seems to be indicating that Moses “released” Zipporah, or divorced her.

      Most English translations render this as “sent her away” or “sent her back”. The Hebrew (to this non-Hebrew-speaker) seems to be a fairly generic statement, but could mean “gave her back” (to her father).

      Some teach that he was angry over the circumcision incident, others teach that he feared for the safety of her and the children, and some that he formally divorced her (when Jethro later brought her back, was it an attempt to reconcile),

      Informed comments?

  53. Dr Eli, l have been following this subject in discussion with various sighs. Personally, regarding the faith of the Saints, the love Christ taught, and the utmost intention of the Torah in consideration of Holiness and Love, l believe that God hates and detests divorce and if we could find the heavenly value of love in us, we can forgive no matter how hurt we be in a marriage. I am inclined to divert as well that we tend to rush into marriage mainly for material and fleshly reasons and not God’s purpose for marriage………..

  54. …and that’swhy we divorce because we’ve made a mistake, yet we can avoid the mistake of a “wrong helpmate” by finding one in God. Adam had many reasons to divorce Eve, so was Abraham or Sarah, but these were God-matched marriages, put together by Him and not human desire.What comes from God cannot drive you to a point of divorce or that thought for any matter.

  55. Had involved and follow many debates about this matter and found this topic always interesting. To fight for better and improved marriage relationship is good and needed for greater Christlike character. However, the context is different on the day of Paul in Gentiles area. Many husband or wife divorced by their unbelieving spouses because of their faith in Jesus Christ. For them, Paul said, if they have no gift of celibacy, it is better for them to remarriage rather than falling into sexual sins (cf. 1 Cor 7).

    • Thank you, Naek. Context is aways important but we need to be cautious about drawing dogmatic conclusions about the precise nature of that context.

      • Sure, I agree with you about context, Dr. Eli. Sometimes, conclusions could be draw as long as it is unified and harmonious with the core or central theme of the Bible, rather than being naturalist who never draw any conclusion and waiting for infinite facts to come. In this case, the purpose of Paul is clear. He wanted to protect the betrothed, widows, and the unmarried (who separated by their unbelieving partner) who have no gift of celibacy, to remarry, rather than burn into passion (cf. 1 Cor 7:9, 15, 39). This principle could be accepted as the progressive revelation

  56. This is an interesting discussion and a very important one. I agree with Dr. Eli’s position on this. The Aramaic version has an important nuance in Matthew 5:31-32 that sheds some light on this. Divorce and remarriage became a very complex issue. The Rabbi’s debated the issue over the centuries and Christians still continue the debate today. Traditional Judaism interpreted the commandment against adultery in a manner that adultery could be committed only by a married woman. The husband was free to do as he wished with any woman unless it was specifically prohibited in the Torah. Cont’d below. .

  57. Cont’d from above post . . . The Aramaic Peshitta text uses two different words, D’SHARAY – to legally divorce, and SHWIQTA – to be separated. Here Jesus is teaching that a husband who sends his wife away will cause her to commit adultery unless she has done so already. Further, he is teaching that no man should take advantage of or attempt to marry a woman who has been put away without legal divorce. Jesus affirmed and strengthened the TORAH by allowing the provision for divorce and remarriage on the grounds of adultery but He condemned the arbitrary abandonment

  58. Cont’d from last 2 posts . . . arbitrary abandonment of wives which would have caused them to commit adultery. Divorce and remarriage was allowed but discouraged. Separations had to be handled with care. Regarding Paul’s writings, he did not expect all of his letters to be taken as inspired Holy Scripture. For the most part they were letters to specific congregations and individuals having specific issues. I know that is not what most of you learned in church but most scholars are well aware of it from studying the texts carefully.

    • @Shiura Levine , I don’t think that is what he is saying at all. One really has to twist the sentence grammar to make it say anything like that. The interpretation that works, without linguistic gymnastics, is that he is explaining that if the reason the woman was put away was for anything OTHER than fornication/sexual-immorality, THEN she would be committing adultery [if/when she got involved with another man]. But if the reason she was put away was because she had ALREADY been involved in fornication, then she had also ALREADY committed adultery. Dr. DeFrancisco also makes this point above.

  59. I have always read the passages in Mark and in Matthew to be slightly at odds with each other, but it has just occurred to me that they are talking about different things. Yes, in Mark the Pharisees ask about divorce but Jesus replies commenting on remarriage. Perhaps he knows what in really behind their question. But in Matthew, yes, he is indeed talking about divorce. The thrust would then seem to be – there is one ground for divorce (adultery) and no grounds for remarriage. ????

    • Shalom Richard. Glad to have you with us. I think a better way to look at it is that Matthew makes explicit what Mark leaves implicit. Even if that is not the solution – one thing we can say for sure: Despite how things might appear Matthew is NOT ruling out remarriage. But, alas, that’s a much bigger discussion than we have room for here!

  60. I have read through every comment and I just wanted to mention a few things: 1. Jesus said that there is “no divorce in heaven” indicating that God the Father did not recognise divorce. 2. Jesus did state that it was because of the “hardness of men’s heart” why even divorce came about, women who were accused of adultery were litteraly killed, divorce was brought in to save the lives of women. 3.He also stated that to divorce and remarry would cause adultery to be committed. 4. When the diciple stated that this was “a harsh thing”, Jesus replied “Yes”

  61. continued: Regarding save “for fornication” a person does have the right to divorce for this reason, but there is no biblical evidence that 1 can remarry. Summary: Divorce whilst not acceptable to God is permitted but remarriage is not. We must remember that the marriage vow is a covenent and God does not break covenants. I personally sympathise for a lot of solid Christian people who have found themselves in abusive and dysfunctional marriages and I pray for all concerned that God through King Jesus will make a way.

  62. This is for… LovesBigFool Christ has NOT come the second time! When He comes the Bible says that every eye shall see Him. There is no secret rapture because the word of God says that the trumpet of the lord will sound and a trumpet is not silent but very loud and it will be the trumpet of the lord which will be louder than anything we have here on earth.

  63. Dear Anita Many people quote that and yet they say the 4th commandment is not to be kept by Christians because it is for the Jews only. But if you read Genesis 2:2-3 you will notice that God rested on the 7th day and hallowed it and so if God rested on the 7th day shouldn’t we do the same. And before you say the commandments were done away with at the cross you must realize that it was the Sacrificial laws that were done away with. Also Exodus 20:11 just confirms what Genesis says.

  64. Why is it that Paul said it is dishonoring for a man to cover his head when the Jewish custom has been for the men to wear a hat of some kind on their head? Why is it considered to be wrong for a woman not to cover her head? Also is it supposed to be something that dishonors God or is it something that dishonors the men if the women don’t wear head coverings?

  65. First: The kippa is a very recent “tradition” with no biblical reason. Second: Why believe Matthew more than Mark? Why set Hillel or Shammai in a context to Jesus? Even the exception in Moses’ Thora may be a later addiction… Look at the – I know no good enough derogative for him – contemporary to Jesus Flavius Josephus – he sent away his wife, who gave him three children, for nearly no reason, he did not like her any more… Anyway: We know only the answer, in translation, given by Jesus, and that is clear. No talmudic blahblah needed.

  66. Well, I have to admit, I am a native German (Austrian-German) Speaker. But: I use the original Greek resp. Latin for the NT, and for the old texts the Septuagint, the Samaritan text, and the Peshitta. The texts in English are the Revised K.J.-Edition, and some others I don’t know by heart. Plus an Hebrew-German Interlinear…. You use

  67. Someone very close to my wife and I was very reluctant to remarry because of her difficulty understanding the very verses you mention in your blog. Your explanation is very helpful. Thank you. However, there was another passage that was difficult to understand as well. Could you comment on how [1Ti 5:11-12] should be understood?
    11 But the younger widows refuse: for when they have begun to wax wanton against Christ, they will marry; 12 Having damnation, because they have cast off their first faith.
    While the woman was not a widow she found it difficult not to feel like she was betraying Christ when she remarried.
    Is Greek Χριστός (Christos) really referring to Christ?
    What is meant by “first faith”?
    Why does such a woman have “damnation”?
    I find this passage very perplexing. Any insight would be a great help.

  68. I am divorced from a man who had professed to be a Jewish Messianic Believer. We were married 20+ years. He was adddicted to pornography. It makes men callous and insensitive to their wives. Eventually it led to him acting out. Although I did not believe in enableing this behavior, I told him after discovery and confession that I’d give him a year of showing true remorse, repentance and change to be able to build trust and faith in our marriage.Scripture was my guide. I read about the parable of the tree that was to be cut down. The gardener said to fertilize it for a year to see if it brings fruit, if it doesn’t cut it down. That tree was my marriage. Not only did not bear fruit, there was another incident. The answer was clear, cut it down. Another story the Holy Spriit pointed out to me was Johnah, when he took the opposite route of what the Lord had commanded him. As he went in the ship , he had to be tossed out to get the ship safely to the other shore. The direction for me was to toss Jonah out of my boat (life) and I had get peacefully to the other shore. I did as directed and peace has been my portion .

  69. Did Jesus forbid remarriage? Yes absolutely. Except when marriage has ended through the death of a spouse because marriage is a lifelong Covenant given by God.

    • Dr. Eli, I respectfully disagree with you. Jesus was very clear, He said that Moses allowed a men to divorce their wives due to the hardness of their hearts but it was not so from the beginning. What God has joined together, let no man tear asunder. In Genesis 1:27, scripture says tha God created Adam in His own image, “male and female He created him.” So Adam was created to be boith male and female. When God creasted Eve He took the female part of Adam out of the man to crerate the woman. In Mark 10:8,9 “And the 2 will become 1 flesh. What God has joined together, let no man tear assunder,”
      Whether we are a man or a woman we are only 1/2 of a human being. When a man and a woman get married to whom God has chosen they become the full human that desires them to be.

      • Albert I am truly pro-marriage :-), but I think you will acknowledge that there are many situations where divorce is in fact justified in every way.

          • Response to Dr. Eli on comment below….
            I can understand the cultural thinking, but if Yehovah created us to be like him, indeed, to be a picture to the world of what Yehovah thinks and is like, then it seems that we should take into consideration that while divorce may be necessary if the other mate has been unfaithful or is abusive, etc., Yehovah never remarried or took another wife. Instead he demonstrated to the world an undying compassion and love for his erring, now divorced wife, and in the fullness of time, He intended to reclaim her for his own…as Hosea is such a beautiful picture of. Yehovah never completely gave up on his erring wife. She was his forever and He didn’t have wandering eyes and an unfaithful heart that was looking for someone else to fill her place.
            I guess the reason I say this is not only because of the example of Hosea, but the personal friend’s example of a wife with a little girl, whose husband left her. She was so committed to the Lord, that she never married again in obedience to Him, but was a shining example of faith and dependence on God to meet her in her need. She interceded daily for this man that God would give him repentance to return back to God, which took several decades. That is the faithfulness of Yehovah demonstrated in His servant. I know it is possible for I saw it happen to her and to another woman whose husband was also unfaithful and left her, yet she prayed for him for 30 years and remained unmarried and committed to him, and he came to a whole-hearted repentance and faith in Christ before he died, broken by her steadfast love for him and for God.
            And then there is Hosea. Thank Yehovah for that precious book, but if one even mentions these things to someone who wants to give up on the one they made a vow to, he is looked at as if he is nuts. I think the Lord showed the true heart when He called it ‘hardness of heart.’ The Love of God in a person never gives up. So yes, I don’t think Jesus supported remarriage at all, even while leaving room for the possibility that there may need to be a divorce for safety or other reasons. And Paul also supports this in 1 Cor. 7:10-11.
            But to the married I give instructions, not I, but the Lord, that the wife should not leave her husband (but if she does leave, she must remain unmarried, or else be reconciled to her husband), and that the husband should not divorce his wife.

            But thank you for listening. That is all I will say on the matter. I know this is not a popular subject, but do we consider such a thing for the Kingdom of God? These three examples did and what a picture they have been to my soul of our loving and faithful and long-suffering God who will never give up on his wife but will hang in there until everything He desired for her comes to pass…becoming a pure and chaste lover of God. Marriage is not the ultimate. But loving God with all ones heart and becoming a part of His Kingdom is. There is a reason God put us with a certain person…so that our soul may intercede for them and love them as Christ loved us…even unto death.

  70. If an abusive husband of 10 years abandoned his 6months old infant child and home without his spouse knowing that he would leave to reside in another home and repeatedly told his spouse that he would not returned for any reasons. would God still call this a sin for the other spouse to divorce her husband to remarry? Or would the spouse have to wait until her husband is dead to remarry?

  71. In my opinion only: What made divorce bad was the breaking of a vow. The word for adultery also means “idolatry” and the word translated fornication means “sold out” which is why Esau is condemned for it in Jude.

  72. Definitely agree with the Conservative view as it describes the narrowness of the Gate, the walking in the Law and Spirit, but also I think Corinthians is highly important to mention, and understanding that if the partner takes you away from Christ, let them leave.
    Principles of Marriage
    …14For the unbelieving husband is sanctified through his believing wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified through her believing husband. Otherwise your children would be unclean, but now they are holy. 15But if the unbeliever leaves, let him go. The believing brother or sister is not bound in such cases. God has called you to live in peace. 16How do you know, wife, whether you will save your husband? Or how do you know, husband, whether you will save your wife?…

  73. Let us not forget that the Bible, both Testaments, are actually the words of men and women. God, if God exists, wrote not a single syllable. One may aver that the Bible, a collection of miscellaneous works, exists solely because men and women created the documents of which it is composed. Furthermore, one must remain mindful of the fact that there are different Bibles Jew, Roman Catholic, and the various Protestant denominations, all of which in one way another selected or adopted the scriptures that their various Bibles contain. Ask, too, what texts were omitted and why were they? Shalom.

    • Andrew, we have a phrase in Russian language (my mother tongue). He hears the ring, but does not know where it is coming from.

  74. Thank you Dr. for your bravery in always opening a can of worms for discussion and thought. After some current time constraints are relived I am contemplating on taking some of your courses. Thank you for all you do. Blessings!

  75. Hardness of heart is sin… Matthew 19:8 KJV [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. Mark 10:5,9,11-12 KJV [5] And Jesus answered and said unto them, For the hardness of your heart he wrote you this precept. [9] What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder. [11] And he saith unto them, Whosoever shall put away his wife, and marry another, committeth adultery against her. [12] And if a woman shall put away

  76. I think we are all taking issues surrounding marriage and divorce on a carnal or physical level, have you stopped to look at it spiritually because God does. Even when he created us in the beginning it was first spiritual and then we were “one” male and female in other words “married” Gen 1:27. We recreate this union when we marry and true when the Lord Jesus says it was not so from the beginning. There is reference being made to God giving Israel a divorce consider this, what God went through with Israel from Egypt to the promised(continued)

  77. God forgives Israel so many times and even after the divorce redeems her by his blood, God literally goes to hell and back for his beloved Israel and has her purified. Admittedly there are terrible things that happen in marriages that only true love can conquer. Its embodied in vows we make and its all spiritual. “What God has joined together let no man put asunder” and perhaps take note here, unless you are like God and can literally because of the love you have for your bride go to hell and redeem them DO NOT DARE TO DIVORCE HIM/HER

  78. Your interpretation of the conservative Jewish view gave me great peace. Conservative Christians tend to fall out on the side of adultery-only as grounds for divorce and remarriage. The view that abandonment, adultery and abuse as legal grounds makes a lot more sense. Thank you!

  79. Speaking for myself, I for one have finally come to the conclusion that the biblical view concerning marriage was never instituted by God. My reason for this conclusion follows. If in the Jewish as well as Christian views, God sanctions marriage. But then, what about marriages, be them Islamic, Buddhist, pagan, Hindu, Scientology, and including any other religion or belief system that is not biblically based. Does God recognize a marriage that isn’t in line with the beliefs of Judaism and Christianity?

  80. Paul said that his hope was in the resurrection. The inference is that he knew that he would rest (die physically) in the Lord and that one day a resurrection would occur to his body to be reunited with his spirit again. He teaching was for all generations of believers to anticipate the coming of the Lord as (like) a thief in the night meaning suddenly at any time. That message (warning) is to all believers to live as if the Lord will return at any time because at some predestined time He will. He means to live Godly lives.

  81. I have been around churches my whole 55 years of life and have watched church leaders and members flirt with this topic from time to time. Recently I have done a u turn on this issue. I’m not a remarriage believer anymore. As unpopular and confronting as this may be, remarriage for the children affected is not necessarily a wonderful happily ever after. In fact it be a ghastly existence. I guess that makes me not much of a post modern church thinker but i have to be honest in what I’ve seen and experienced in my lifetime.
    Biblical thoughts?

    • Moses allowed for divorce (Deu 24:1) but stipulates that a divorcee after remarrying another cannot return to the first spouse (Deu 24:1-4). What constitutes legitimate cause for divorce was a hot debate topic among rabbis during the late second temple period, and Yeshua sided with Shammai that only infidelity was sufficient cause for divorce (Mat 19:9). (Clearly abuse would be sufficient as well, otherwise the husband would not be fulfilling his marital contract called a Ketuba to his wife, but that would have been obvious to both sides.) Afterwards, if the divorcee wishes to devote him/herself to the Lord, then Paul speaks for himself that s/he should remain unmarried (1Cor 7:10-11). But if the divorcee lacks self-control and would burn with passion then s/he should remarry, and they do not sin (1Cor 7:9).

  82. I don’t believe God gives us a mandate to judge others on the question of adultery. Jesus said he will judge the adulterers. We are to judge not lest we be judged. It’s like the same with vengeance. Jesus said vengeance is mine Jesus will repay. We can judge all things for ourselves and we will judge angels if we reign with Jesus but all of us have fallen short of the looking after a woman to lust after her so we are all adulterers at heart. If we want Jesus to write our sins with fingers in the sand

    • Be sure to quote the whole verse, Cole. He does not forbid judging, but rather warns that by the judgment that we use, we will be judged by.

  83. Thank goodness you weren’t the one who would answer the questions that the pharisees gave Jesus. You should read St John Paul II’s Theology of the Body. You’ll learn a lot.

    • Yes, Thank goodness I did not answer for Yeshua. But Thank goodness that the Pope didn’t either. You’re right that I would learn a lot from reading 129 lectures by John Paul II, but I would also learn a lot from reading Jewish and ancient near eastern texts that set the context of the Bible, too. I just happen to be more interested in the latter, but thank you, Romel, for the suggestion anyway.

  84. I think there’s more to it than that especially with regard to how women were seen.

    Eg married men did not commit adultery under Torah….unless it was with another man’s wife.
    And women could not divorce a man AT ALL….in fact women had to ask men for a divorce

    eg Mark 10 11 And He *said to them, “Whoever divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery against her; 12 and if she herself divorces her husband and marries another man, she is committing adultery.”

    Jesus clearly violates the Torah’s teaching on divorce and adultery especially the Shammaites.

  85. Sir, help me on this case of divorces, our church has put a law of prohibited those who had divorce not to be leader of a church. For exemple: A man or women leave a husband or wife goes and marry to someone elso, family and church try to solve the problema but they fail, passing 5 to 7 years, one who was abandoned marries he or she cannot to be a leader of the church?

    • Clearly the ideal is that couples remain married even if one spouse is unbelieving. That being said, Paul rules that if an unbelieving spouse separates, then the believer is not in bondage. This means that they are legally not bound in marriage to the unbeliever that left. This should solve your dilemma (based on how you explained it).
      But this is just what the Bible says, but clearly your congregation needs to adopt a standard that everyone will find amicable, even if it is more stringent than this. But my question is this, are there so many divorced people in your congregation that this is a pertinent issue? Can the person that you mentioned not serve in other ways if the congregation has established such a rule?

    • I’d find another church.

      That’s ridiculous.

      Jesus said if you thought about someone lustfully then you’ve committed adultery which would wipe out every person in your congregation from leadership as well as give ‘biblical’ grounds for divorce.

      Why does religion and the church like to add to the pain of victims of divorce?

  86. “The Word of G-d is Jewish not christian”, really, Jo Ann? I don’t think so; it’s neither. Yes, it’s written in one of the human languages on earth called Hebrew, but God or his Word is not Jewish.

    • It sounds like you are speaking past each other by using different definitions. In what way is or is not the Word of God Jewish, Christian or neither?

  87. I have understood Yeshua’s words as He hates putting away- putting away left usually the woman in a non legal status – of unmarried but actually still legally married. Resulting in a major Vulnerability for the woman. She could legally be stoned or the case where the first husband takes her back causing an abominable condition. Isn’t there two different words being used one for divorce and one for being put away?

    • Not really. A divorced woman is a “gerushah,” and the act of “sending away” is “shilach,” but both words are used in Deu. 24.
      If the woman were maritally unfaithful, then she should be stoned (and the man with whom she cheated).

  88. It may be helpful to define marriage. Is it a legal, certified definition? Is it a matter of two persons joining in heart and soul to be one in living together? It often looks to me that people may be legally married, but have disconnected the marital joining while living together. Once a person goes a separate way that does not consider the one to whom the vows were spoken, then it seems the marriage has been broken. The legal disconnect only comes later.

  89. If Jesus applied a rule. Then the rule must be applied. Because Jesus is God then God laws must be adhere to. We cant just listen to men on earth. If he never saw the heaven. There is only One who was in heaven and return to His kingdom. No other men can rule. One King and one ruler with HIS law that we must obey. It only Basic Instruction that we must follow Before Leaving Earth.

  90. Jesus standard for marriage in Genesis 2:24 is that a man leaves his father and mother and cleaves to his wife. What God has joined together let no man put asunder. For the hard hearted Jews Moses no Jehovah permitted divorce. Do you think Paul is misinformed? What he wrote was by divine revelation just like the inspired O T prophets. Do you have a problem with 2Tim.3:16? All scripture including all Paul’s NT writings are scripture like the TANAK.

  91. JESUS (GOD in the flesh) clearly stated remarriage is forbidden except in case of fornication. If you try to twist that we could consider you false a teacher…

    Remarriage is a sin if its not caused by fornication.

  92. As a sinner, I was called in October 2017 to follow Christ. For 2 months I pondered what to do with my 3 wives. Then God put it in my heart to “Go to Him just as I was”. So I wasted no time and called the Pastors to lead me to Christ in December 2017. All these time I was seeking for ways to release (divorce) two of them. But two days ago, I came across this scripture 1 Corinthians 7:27 “Are you bound to a wife? Do not seek to be loosed”.
    God is my righteous judge.

  93. Tim. God DID take another Bride in a manner of speaking . As THE CHURCH is His bride, He took GENTILES as part of His Bride .

  94. Jesus only gave one legitimate reason for divorce and that was fornication. Fornication is not a blanket word for infidelity, sexual immorality, fornication is an act of someone who is not married. As in the case of Joseph and Mary, she was espoused to Joseph (engaged to be married). Before they came together she was found with child. In Josephs mind he believed she had been unfaithful to him by committing fornication, thats why he thought to put her away. That was the just cause for divorce. It couldnt be fornication after they were married, that would be called adultery.

    • Am I understanding you correctly that fornication can only be committed by unmarried people? How can that ever be a legitimate reason for divorce then? The Greek is porneia which quite consistently means “playing the harlot.”

  95. Paul “misinformed”? Sorry! I can’t accept that. I’d rather believe Paul than you. Whatever credentials you appear to have. I’m done with these posts. You’ve just turned me off to your teaching!

  96. I note that many commentators seem to imagine that divorce is an “easy” option. Clearly most of these know nothing about divorce or the breakdown of a marriage. Abuse, adultery, and abandonment can take many forms not always obvious.

  97. Jesus Himself is and was the Word Of God. Jesus said to wait in Jerusalem until He could return as the Holy Spirit. No where have I read the He was going to leave us a book of instructions. He did however promise the He in His Holy Spirit would lead and teach everything we need to know.

  98. Not to be used as a justification, but for those of us in whom the turmoil of life has taken us down the wrong paths and ways of life, Jesus said “Truly I say to you that all sins and blasphemies will be forgiven the sons of men, as many as they shall have blasphemed.” So don’t let the weight of sins committed pull us away from Grace and His Mercy for sinners, and pray that the lessons of life have led us to repentance.

  99. I don’t know how marriages are entered in other countries (I am in the USA), and am not entirely clear on how Jewish marriages are entered here in this country. Here, it used to be almost universal that when marriages among God-fearers happened in churches, there was an explicit or implicit vow made before God and in His name (invoking His seal on the vow). Essentially, the one making the vow would stick with the marriage partner in all conceivable circumstances (poverty, sickness, general difficulty) until death. This seems to be a different and important issue. Might you discuss this?

    • Oh honestly.

      What sort of a God leaves victims of abuse to decades of loneliness? It is that sort of thinking which keeps women in abusive marriages.

    • The Torah says a husband at a minimum is supposed to provide food, clothing and intimacy. Abuse is neglect of these, so of course divorce is permitted, after which remarriage is legally permtted. Jesus’ discussion however revolved around the minimum reason that permits divorce.

  100. “This seems to be a different and important issue. Might you discuss this?” Eli? Would you discussing, here, marriages made under vow of permanence?

    • Since a definition for marriage can be ascertained from the Bible (and from Jewish sources) as a covenantal union between a man and woman, it would render the phrase “same-sex marriage” an oxymoron. But, if you’re curious as to what Jesus would say about same-sex unions, then it would be safe to assume that He would side with Biblical and Jewish stances on homosexuality.

  101. Dr Eli thanks for this discussion on divorce. If Jesus said a man can only divorce his wife on the bases of adultery, can a woman also divorce her husband on same reason?,

    • You’re actually mixing two different cultures and words, Ariel: porneias (more general, fornication) and moicheuseis (more specific, adultery). In a case of moicheuseis (at least one participant is married), both are to die (Lev.20:10 LXX). Jesus said divorce is permissible for porneias, which is relations with another (assumedly) unmarried man. The raw reality about the Ancient Near East is that polygamy was not taboo (even though we know that the ideal is one man with one woman), so if a man were to “commit porneias,” he was to simply marry the woman. It was unheard of for a woman to file for divorce. Today, though, a woman can, and I think Jesus would approve in such a case.

      • That Mat 19:10 goes uncontested, by my brother, Mr John 1:1 Himself, should clarify much of this discussion. His disciples weren’t confused. If you won’t be Holy, don’t vow in Holy matrimony with a priest.

  102. Agree with Brother Eli on this AND on the Word of YHVH.! Think about this though…many things were allowed because of the hardness of man’s heart after the initial sin. The Torah is protective in nature…not a rod of iron, but a leading in the loving and logical path. JMHO

  103. Any person who has intimate relations with a woman who is not, was not and will never be his wife commits adultery. Marriage is for life. Only God can separate and that is by death. That is why we need a Saviour.

    • In an ideal world, you’re absolutely right. The question here pertains to an imperfect world though. What conditions warrant divorce and would that person be permitted to remarry according to the Torah?

  104. In Matthew 19 Jesus talking about marriage said let no man split a marriage. God, in establishing marriage made it pure and holy, man’s lust demanded divorce, Moses granted it. From the beginning, God was opposed to the adultery that divorce produces. The three-in-one are stilled opposed to adultery.

  105. Let’s see how the great Jewish interpreter the apostle Paul understood Jesus’ words: “To the married I give this command (not I, but the Lord): A wife must not separate from her husband. But if she does, she must remain unmarried. And a husband must not divorce his wife.”


Please enter your name here
Words left: 50
Please enter your comment!