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Theology Questions: Marriages that are Broken

Posted by: Pastor_Don_Milton on Jul 18, 2007 - 10:36 PM
Ethics In Practicing Your Faith

Broken Marriages - Part One

Broken is not a biblical term concerning marriage. The couple is either married or they are not married. After a man has taken a woman as a wife there are only two things that can make her not his wife. His death or a Bill of Divorcement given by him to his wife. No court, no man, no church can make a married woman single again. Only the death of her husband or a Bill of Divorcement from her husband can make her single again. Furthermore, no court, no man and no church can declare a woman still to be married if a man has given her a bill of divorcement. That Bill of Divorcement signed by the husband makes her single. Many Christians have great difficulty understanding marriage outside the context of their government laws and that is sad. The fact is, marriage has nothing whatsoever to do with the government. The government can cause great difficulties for Christians concerning their marriages and of course a wise man will consider this in whatever actions he takes. Matthew 10:16 Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.

The following are all the verses concerning a Bill of Divorcement. [translated writing of divorcement in the New Testament]

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Deuteronomy 24:1 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.

Deuteronomy 24:3 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;

Isaiah 50:1 Thus saith the LORD, Where [is] the bill of your mother's divorcement, whom I have put away? or which of my creditors [is it] to whom I have sold you? Behold, for your iniquities have ye sold yourselves, and for your transgressions is your mother put away.

Jeremiah 3:8 And I saw, when for all the causes whereby backsliding Israel committed adultery I had put her away, and given her a bill of divorce; yet her treacherous sister Judah feared not, but went and played the harlot also.

Mark 10:4 And they said, Moses suffered to write a bill of divorcement, and to put [her] away.

Matthew 5:31 It hath been said, Whosoever shall put away his wife, let him give her a writing of divorcement:

Matthew 19:7 They say unto Him, Why did Moses then command to give a writing of divorcement, and to put her away?

Mark 10:4 And they said, Moses suffered to write a bill of divorcement, and to put [her] away.
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Notice that it is the man who gives the Bill of Divorcement. There is no case where a woman gives a Bill of Divorcement. This is based on the fact that woman was created for man as a helper, an astounding and one of a kind helper but a helper nonetheless. Adam poetically describes her as "bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh."

Genesis 2:18 And the LORD God said, [It is] not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.
Genesis 2:22 And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man.

By definition, a helper is one whose services belong to the one they're helping. If the helper stops helping and starts sabatoging her husband then her husband can divorce her and the Lord describes the type of sabotage for which a man can divorce his wife; "some uncleanness."

Deuteronomy 24:1 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.

So what is some uncleanness? Jesus discusses Deuteronomy 24:1 in Matthew 5:31&32 when he says that a man may divorce his wife "for the cause of fornication." Since Jesus was a Hebrew and spoke to Hebrews it is of little value to look at the Greek translation of his words when we can find the Hebrew words in Deuteronomy 24:1 where the word translated as "uncleanness" [fornication] is "`ervah."

Here is the meaning of `ervah according to Strong's Hebrew concordance:

1) nakedness, nudity, shame, pudenda

a) pudenda (implying shameful exposure)

b) nakedness of a thing, indecency, improper behavior

c) exposed, undefended (fig.)

Based on this, what activities would be unclean for a woman?

- public nudity
- behaving like one who exposes herself publicly (dressing like a harlot)
- going with a man "undefended" meaning without a chaperone.

No wife should ever go behind closed doors with any man except for those who are responsible for keeping her safe, namely, her own close relatives as defined by the incest laws of Leviticus. Close male relatives include her husband, her grandfather, her father, her son, her grandson, her nephew, her father-in-law, her son-in-law, and her brother-in-law. Of course if a husband has reason to believe that any of these cannot be trusted then he can prohibit his wife from being alone with them as well. There certainly are cases where even a close relative cannot be trusted such as when the relative is a drug user, a heavy drinker, mentally ill, or where the relative has shown moral weakness in the past.

As with all discussion concerning morality, and particularly morality of the kind that can result in divorce, we must remember the following verse:

Romans 5:13 For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law.

Have you and your church sufficiently taught the law so that those who are marrying within your church know the consequences of their actions? Can you impute sin when they sin or have you hidden sin from them? It is extremely important that every Christian, every minister, and every church teach morality in accordance with the Bible or the sins of those they counsel will be on their hands. It is too late to metaphorically tear our robes. We must start teaching from the Bible and only from the Bible today.

The article you have just read provides some clear reasons for when a man can divorce his wife. There are additional situations where a man can divorce his wife but if she has not committed any of the above then it is hard to believe that she could have committed some of the worse sins that would make her deserving of a divorce. When I add an article concerning this I will add the link here. I have already published an article concerning when a woman can ask her husband to divorce her which you can find by clicking here.


Note: Copyright 2007 Pastor Don Milton

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