A Saying Hard to Hear.

November 26, 2012


What does the Torah say?  What did Y’shua say?  Did he speak whatever He heard the Father say?  Did He change YHWH’s law?  Let’s see!

Torah Basics.

A woman can be betrothed, and not be taken.

Deuteronomy 20

7  And what man is there that hath betrothed a wife, and hath not taken her? let him go and return unto his house, lest he die in the battle, and another man take her.

A woman can be taken, and not be married or gone in unto.

Genesis 20

3  But God came to Abimelech in a dream by night, and said to him, Behold, thou art but a dead man, for the woman which thou hast taken; for she is a man’s wife.

4  But Abimelech had not come near her: and he said, Lord, wilt thou slay also a righteous nation?

Going/coming in unto and lying with are the same thing.

Genesis 19

31  And the firstborn said unto the younger, Our father is old, and there is not a man in the earth to come in unto us after the manner of all the earth:

32  Come, let us make our father drink wine, and we will lie with him, that we may preserve seed of our father.

Going in unto/lying with is not the same as being married.

Deuteronomy 21

13  and turned aside the raiment of her captivity from off her, and hath dwelt in thy house, and bewailed her father and her mother a month of days, and afterwards thou dost go in unto her and hast married her, and she hath been to thee for a wife:

Deuteronomy 22

22  If a man be found lying with a woman married to an husband, then they shall both of them die, both the man that lay with the woman, and the woman: so shalt thou put away evil from Israel.

The woman above was married to one man but was found lying with another.  She was not considered married to the one she was found lying with.

What does the Torah teach about divorce?

The background.

Deuteronomy 22

13  If any man take a wife, and go in unto her, and hate her,

14  And give occasions of speech against her, and bring up an evil name upon her, and say, I took this woman, and when I came to her, I found her not a maid:

15  Then shall the father of the damsel, and her mother, take and bring forth the tokens of the damsel’s virginity unto the elders of the city in the gate:

16  And the damsel’s father shall say unto the elders, I gave my daughter unto this man to wife, and he hateth her;

17  And, lo, he hath given occasions of speech against her, saying, I found not thy daughter a maid; and yet these are the tokens of my daughter’s virginity. And they shall spread the cloth before the elders of the city.

18  And the elders of that city shall take that man and chastise him;

19  And they shall amerce him in an hundred shekels of silver, and give them unto the father of the damsel, because he hath brought up an evil name upon a virgin of Israel: and she shall be his wife; he may not put her away all his days.

20  But if this thing be true, and the tokens of virginity be not found for the damsel:

21  Then they shall bring out the damsel to the door of her father’s house, and the men of her city shall  stone her with stones that she die:  because she hath wrought folly in Israel, to play the whore in her father’s house: so shalt thou put evil away from among you.

If the husband goes in unto his virgin bride and then wants out some time later, he may not put her away. (Vs. 19)  If the husband goes in unto a woman that has been a harlot in her father’s house, he can have her stoned to death. (Vs. 21)  It does not say that he may divorce her.

Deuteronomy 22

22  If a man be found lying with a woman married to an husband, then they shall both of them die, both the man that lay with the woman, and the woman: so shalt thou put away evil from Israel.

23  If a damsel that is a virgin be betrothed unto an husband, and a man find her in the city, and lie with her;

24  Then ye shall bring them both out unto the gate of that city, and ye shall stone them with stones that they die; the damsel, because she cried not, being in the city; and the man, because he hath humbled his neighbour’s wife: so thou shalt put away evil from among you.

25  But if a man find a betrothed damsel in the field, and the man force her, and lie with her: then the man only that lay with her shall die:

26  But unto the damsel thou shalt do nothing; there is in the damsel no sin worthy of death: for as when a man riseth against his neighbour, and slayeth him, even so is this matter:

27  For he found her in the field, and the betrothed damsel cried, and there was none to save her.

28  If a man find a damsel that is a virgin, which is not betrothed, and lay hold on her, and lie with her, and they be found;

29  Then the man that lay with her shall give unto the damsel’s father fifty shekels of silver, and she shall be his wife; because he hath humbled her, he may not put her away all his days.

If the woman was found with another man while she was married or betrothed, she was to be stoned to death along with the man she was found with, except in the case of rape. (Deut.22:22-27)  If she was found with a man before she was betrothed, she was to be married to him and, once again, there is no divorce allowed. (Deut. 22:28-29)

When can a Husband divorce his wife?

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.

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

The man may give the woman a bill of divorcement if he finds “uncleanness” in her when he marries her.  The word for “uncleanness” is the word used in Leviticus 18 and 20 for incest.  If the man cannot bring himself to accept her (she find no grace/mercy/favor in his sight…he is hard hearted toward her) once her condition is known, he may dissolve the marriage…before it is consummated.

If the man finds that his bride has been defiled, he may divorce her even if the marriage has taken place, as long as it is before he goes in unto her.  The only option he has after he goes in unto her is to have her stoned to death if he wants out.  And that would be hardhearted indeed to use the woman for his pleasure and then have her killed.  We will find later that the passage in Deuteronomy 24 was written for the hardness of men’s hearts.  YHWH gave them a way to deal softly with a defiled woman and even this was corrupted by men’s hardened hearts.

Summing up the Torah instructions.

From the above, we find that in all cases but one the defiled woman must die if the husband wants out of the relationship.  The only case that is different is the one where the marriage is not consummated.  It is only if the man and woman never became one flesh.  There is no divorce allowed in any instance when there is a marriage and he has gone in unto her…even when the going in unto came before the marriage.  YHWH ratifies the one flesh relationship and joins the two together once there is covenant and consummation.

Did Y’shua say anything different?

Matthew 19

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?

4  And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female,

5  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?

6  Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh.  What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.

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

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.

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

10  His disciples say unto him, If the case of the man be so with his wife, it is not good to marry.

11  But he said unto them, All men cannot receive this saying, save they to whom it is given.

12  For there are some eunuchs, which were so born from their mother’s womb: and there are some eunuchs, which were made eunuchs of men: and there be eunuchs, which have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven’s sake.  He that is able to receive it, let him receive it.

Y’shua says that it is not lawful to divorce a wife “except it be for fornication.”  “Fornication” is used in the specific sense here. He could have said “except if be for adultery” but chose to use the word that means unchastity outside of wedlock.  (Adultery, which is unchastity within wedlock, is grounds for stoning not divorce.)  The woman, once she is betrothed, is in a state of wedlock.  So Y’shua is stating emphatically that the term “uncleanness” in Deuteronomy 24 is limited only to defilement before wedlock.  He is also restating that once the couple has been joined by YHWH, via covenant and consummation, there is no option for divorce.  Man may not put this one flesh relationship asunder.  “They are no more twain.”

Y’shua carries this to its logical conclusion by saying that the only way to gain the kingdom of heaven, if a man has divorced his wife, after they were one flesh, and subsequently is married to another or his first wife has married another, is to remain celibate; because to continue to go in unto the subsequent spouse would cause him to be in a continual state of adultery.  And we know that no adulterer can inherit the kingdom of heaven. (1 Cor. 6:9-10; Gal. 5:19-21)  This is why it is adultery for a the woman to remarry…except it be for fornication or her first husband dies. (Rom. 7:2, 1 Cor. 7:39)

There is no difference between the full teaching of Torah and Y’shua’s summary.  Messiah answered the temptation of the Pharisees with precision and accuracy.  His stance is more stringent than the oral law, but exactly what Torah stipulates.

The second man.

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;

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 LORD: and thou shalt not cause the land to sin, which the LORD thy God giveth thee for an inheritance.

In light of all the discussion above, we are reading into the text to assume that the second husband in Deuteronomy 24 can give a legitimate divorce certificate if he has become one flesh with the woman…and there is no indication, either that he has or hasn’t.  (It only says that he “took her.”)  We only know that YHWH considers it an abomination for the legitimately divorced wife, once she has entered wedlock with another man, to return to the man that divorced her in the first place.


John 8

4  They say unto him, Master, this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act.

11  She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.

Much intense seeking of YHWH’s will must be done if we find ourselves “taken in adultery.”  The one thing we must do is “go and sin no more.”  To continue to share a marriage bed with someone that we are not scripturally married to is adultery.  To abandon our children makes us worse than infidels.  Our culture, even church culture, has informed our consciences contrary to YHWH’s word.

Mark 10

29  And Jesus answered and said, Verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my sake, and the gospel’s,
30  But he shall receive an hundredfold now in this time, houses, and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecutions; and in the world to come eternal life.
31  But many that are first shall be last; and the last first.

Forsaking these things does not relieve us of our responsibility.  When we swear to our own hurt, we are to have the strength of character to keep our word.  There are only two things mentioned above that we will not receive more of in this life if we find ourselves needing to forsake them for the kingdom.  Fathers and wives.  If we put ourselves and our interests and rights last, we will be rewarded.  We do not get to remarry if we have forsaken our wife for the sake of the kingdom.  The only kind of wives that can be forsaken for the kingdom is either one that is actually married to someone else in YHWH’s eyes or one that we married after divorcing our first wife.  And this does not mean that we get off scot-free.  It does mean that we probably will need to become eunuchs for the kingdom in the sense of abstaining from “knowing” our illegitimate wives.  More than likely we have made a covenant with her to protect her and provide for her.  We may not forsake covenant, even if we should not have made it.  This happened to Israel.

Deuteronomy 7

1  When the LORD thy God shall bring thee into the land whither thou goest to possess it, and hath cast out many nations before thee, the Hittites, and the Girgashites, and the Amorites, and the Canaanites, and the Perizzites, and the Hivites, and the Jebusites, seven nations greater and mightier than thou;
2  And when the LORD thy God shall deliver them before thee; thou shalt smite them, and utterly destroy them; thou shalt make no covenant with them, nor shew mercy unto them:

Joshua was fooled by the Gibeonites and made a covenant with them.  (Josh. 9:1-27)

2 Samuel 21

1  Then there was a famine in the days of David three years, year after year; and David enquired of the LORD. And the LORD answered, It is for Saul, and for his bloody house, because he slew the Gibeonites.

In the final analysis, we may have been fooled by our own lust or our culture or our pastor.  It does not matter.  We must not go back on our covenants, even though we must forgo the benefits.  It is the believing man’s duty to do what is right by YHWH’s word and what is right by those that he has covenanted with.  It is a saying that is very hard to hear.



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