christine's bible study

The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God stands forever. Isa 40:8

deuteronomy 24:1-4, divorce and remarriage

Read Deuteronomy 24:1-4 at Bible Gateway.

Previously: deuteronomy 23:24-25, theft of income

(Please review the teaching tools of scripture, especially the Hebrew paragraph divisions and chiastic structures. The paragraphs marked by an “s” at their close are weak paragraphs, which indicate a change of facet but not a change of theme or topic. The paragraphs marked by a “p” at their close are strong paragraphs, which indicate the completion of a theme or topic.)

Deu 24:1-4 is the fourth section explaining Do not steal, the eighth commandment. The eighth commandment is explained in Deu 23:15-24:7, and this is my summary of it. These is one Hebrew paragraph in this section:

Deu 24:1-4 {s} Divorce and remarriage

“When a man takes a wife and marries her, and it happens that she finds no favor in his eyes because he has found some uncleanness in her, and he writes her a certificate of divorce, puts it in her hand, and sends her out of his house, when she has departed from his house, and goes and becomes another man’s wife, if the latter husband detests her and writes her a certificate of divorce, puts it in her hand, and sends her out of his house, or if the latter husband dies who took her as his wife, then her former husband who divorced her must not take her back to be his wife after she has been defiled; for that is an abomination before the Lord, and you shall not bring sin on the land which the Lord your God is giving you as an inheritance.” Deu 24:1-4

The prohibition is not against divorce, or remarriage. The divorced wife is sent from her first husband’s house and is free to become the wife of another. But after she has become the wife of another man, her first husband is not to take her back again as a wife. So think carefully, men, before you throw your spouse away.

The reason for the divorce is that the wife has found no favor in his eyes. He is displeased with her. It is natural, I suppose, to be displeased with your spouse when there is uncleanness in them. The context here is, he finds out after the fact that she is not a virgin. She lied to him, in other words. But if you are going to be displeased with your spouse, be sure there is a legitimate reason for it, and you are not just listening to lies or accusations about them from the enemy.

Secondly, it is the husband who sends his wife away. I think this is a spiritual principle. When an average woman consents to marry a man, it is not in her heart or mind to discard him. She wants a home till death do her part. I am probably going to get flack for this, but somewhere along the line, if the marriage fails, it is the husband who has sent his wife away, whether through simple ignorance, selfishness, believing lies, not knowing how to live with his wife with understanding, or some other thing. We must always remember that the log is in our own eye and the speck is in our brother’s (Mat 7:3-4). This is not to condemn anyone. May I suggest, if this applies, that we ask the Lord, “Father, reveal to me what I have done to contribute to the problem?” We are usually so busy blaming the other person that we don’t think to examine ourselves.

Why is the wife defiled if she goes to another husband? It is adultery. I am not saying I understand it all, but this is what Jesus in the New Testament taught us also:

“Furthermore it has been said, ‘Whoever divorces his wife, let him give her a certificate of divorce.’ But I say to you that whoever divorces his wife for any reason except sexual immorality causes her to commit adultery; and whoever marries a woman who is divorced commits adultery.” Mat 5:31-32

I am not wise enough to understand everything in Scripture. All I know is that God’s best for human beings, is one man and one woman together before God for life. Torah teaches us God’s way, what is best. Multiple partners is not best for human beings. Beloved, please remember that adultery, divorce, and remarriage are not unforgivable sins, for all of us have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (Rom 3:23), and are in need of the blood of Jesus Christ to cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 Joh 1:8-9).

Now this is the $64,000 question – why is this here, in the middle of Do not steal, and not in with Do not commit adultery? What is being stolen is the purity and cleanness of the land, as verse 4 indicates. Common, unthoughtful divorce and adultery defiles the land. We even have this understanding embedded into our language: The company is accused of adulterating its products with cheap additives (example sentence from Webster’s Dictionary).

Continued: deuteronomy 24:5-6, do not steal the life of the family


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