Presentation on theme: "Divorce in a Polygynous Society. Mal. 2:13 You also do this: You cover the altar of the Lord with tears as you weep and groan, because he no longer pays."— Presentation transcript:
Divorce in a Polygynous Society
Mal. 2:13 You also do this: You cover the altar of the Lord with tears as you weep and groan, because he no longer pays any attention to the offering nor accepts it favorably from you. 2:14 Yet you ask, “Why?” The Lord is testifying against you on behalf of the wife you married when you were young, to whom you have become unfaithful even though she is your companion and wife by law. 2:15 No one who has even a small portion of the Spirit in him does this. What did our ancestor do when seeking a child from God? Be attentive, then, to your own spirit, for one should not be disloyal to the wife he took in his youth. 2:16 “ I hate divorce,” says the Lord God of Israel, “and the one who is guilty of violence,” says the Lord who rules over all. “Pay attention to your conscience, and do not be unfaithful.” Why Does God Hate Divorce? ?
Note in the NET bible: “Heb ‘the one.’ This is an oblique reference to Abraham who sought to obtain God’s blessing by circumventing God’s own plan for him by taking Hagar as wife (Gen 16:1-6).
Gen.. Gen. 12:2 Then I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you, and I will make your name great, so that you will exemplify divine blessing. … 12:7 The Lord appeared to Abram and said, “To your descendants I will give this land.” 15:1 After these things the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision: “Fear not, Abram! I am your shield and the one who will reward you in great abundance.” 15:2 But Abram said, “O sovereign Lord, what will you give me since I continue to be childless, and my heir is Eliezer of Damascus?” 15:3 Abram added, “Since you have not given me a descendant, then look, one born in my house will be my heir!” 15:4 But look, the word of the Lord came to him: “This man will not be your heir, but instead a son who comes from your own body will be your heir.” 15:5 The Lord took him outside and said, “Gaze into the sky and count the stars – if you are able to count them!” Then he said to him, “So will your descendants be.”
Gen. 16:1 Now Sarai, Abram’s wife, had not given birth to any children, but she had an Egyptian servant named Hagar. 16:2 So Sarai said to Abram, “Since the Lord has prevented me from having children, have sexual relations with my servant. Perhaps I can have a family by her.” Abram did what Sarai told him.
Gen. 17:15 Then God said to Abraham, “As for your wife, you must no longer call her Sarai; Sarah will be her name. 17:16 I will bless her and will give you a son through her. I will bless her and she will become a mother of nations. Kings of countries will come from her!”
NET: “The result of this kind of intermarriage was, of course, disastrous” (Gen 16:11-12).
God hates interfaith marriage: Deut. 7:3 You must not intermarry with them. Do not give your daughters to their sons or take their daughters for your sons, 7:4 for they will turn your sons away from me to worship other gods. Then the anger of the Lord will erupt against you and he will quickly destroy you. But that was not taking a woman as a concubine, but as a full wife. Hagar was not a full wife and Abraham is never condemned or reprimanded for taking her. Indeed God blessed Hagar and made a great nation of her offspring by Abraham. Gen. 16:11 Then the Lord’s angel said to her, “You are now pregnant and are about to give birth to a son. You are to name him Ishmael, for the Lord has heard your painful groans. 16:12 He will be a wild donkey of a man. He will be hostile to everyone, and everyone will be hostile to him. He will live away from his brothers.”
Abraham didn’t dump Sarah when she was childless and marry another woman. He simple took Hagar as his second wife.
Matt. 19:6 So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.” 19:7 They said to him, “Why then did Moses command us to give a certificate of dismissal and to divorce her?” Matt. 19:8 Jesus said to them, “Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because of your hard hearts, but from the beginning it was not this way. 19:9 Now I say to you that whoever divorces his wife, except for immorality, and marries another commits adultery.” Matt. 5:31 “It was said, ‘Whoever divorces his wife must give her a legal document.’ 5:32 But I say to you that everyone who divorces his wife, except for immorality, [ causes her to be adulterized], and whoever marries a woman who herself divorced commits adultery. Deut. 24:1 If a man marries a woman and she does not please him because he has found something offensive in her, then he may draw up a divorce document, give it to her, and evict her from his house. 24:2 When she has left him she may go and become someone else’s wife. 24:3 If the second husband rejects her and then divorces her, gives her the papers, and evicts her from his house, or if the second husband who married her dies, 24:4 her first husband who divorced her is not permitted to remarry her after she has become ritually impure, for that is offensive to the Lord. You must not bring guilt on the land which the Lord your God is giving you as an inheritance. The Kind of Divorce that Jesus Condemns
Physical bond—Joined with Sex Covered by covenant or Not covered by covenant This bond is broken by cessation of the relationship (1 Cor. 6:12-20) Legal, but morality dependent on validity of the partners in God’s eyes Fornication, relationship must end till covered by covenant (Ex. 22:16) Legal bond—Joined in Society Recognition of vows by society Involves God’s Joining or Not involving God’s joining This bond is broken by divorce (Deut. 24:1) Some cultures recognize homosexual, interfaith and incestuous covenants Where the partners are legitimate in the eyes of God (see Deut. 7:3 and Lev. 18:6-23) Moral bond-Joined before God God recognizes the socially witnessed (minimally: the groom and the father of the bride) pledge of the partners to give to each other as His revelation dictates: Man: provision of food, clothing and sex (Ex. 21:10-11). This also implies no physical abuse and his presence; Woman: sexual monogamy (Lev. 18:20 and Deut. 22:22-27). This also implies no physical abuse and her presence. Desertion is an implied statement that the partner no longer wishes to be held to their marriage vows. The Scripture does not recognize simple “common law” marriage. This bond is sundered by a sin against the Covenantal vows. If none occurs before a divorce, then the divorce constitutes the sundering (Matt. 19:6) The Triple Bond of Sexual-Marriage-Relationships
What Constitutes a “Legal Bond”? Gen. 2:22 Then the Lord God made a woman from the part he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man. 2:23 Then the man said, “This one at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; this one will be called ‘woman,’ for she was taken out of man.” Ex. 21:5…the judges…21:10 If he takes another wife, he must not diminish the first one’s food, her clothing, or her marital rights. 21:11 If he does not provide her with these three things, then she will go out free, without paying money. Deut. 22:13 Suppose a man marries a woman, has sexual relations with her, and then rejects her, 22:14 accusing her of impropriety and defaming her reputation by saying, “I married this woman but when I had sexual relations with her I discovered she was not a virgin!” 22:15 Then the father and mother of the young woman must produce the evidence of virginity for the elders of the city at the gate. 22:16 The young woman’s father must say to the elders, “I gave my daughter to this man and he has rejected her. 22:17 Moreover, he has raised accusations of impropriety by saying, ‘I discovered your daughter was not a virgin,’ but this is the evidence of my daughter’s virginity!” The cloth must then be spread out before the city’s elders. 22:18 The elders of that city must then seize the man and punish him. 22:19 They will fine him one hundred shekels of silver and give them to the young woman’s father, for the man who made the accusation ruined the reputation of an Israelite virgin. She will then become his wife and he may never divorce her as long as he lives. 22:20 But if the accusation is true and the young woman was not a virgin, 22:21 the men of her city must bring the young woman to the door of her father’s house and stone her to death, for she has done a disgraceful thing in Israel by behaving like a prostitute while living in her father’s house. In this way you will purge evil from among you. 1 Cor. 7:36 If anyone thinks he is acting inappropriately toward his virgin, if she is past the bloom of youth and it seems necessary, he should do what he wishes; he does not sin. Let them marry. A legal bond involves a covenant of marriage in which the representative of the bride (father or other relative) and the groom agree upon vows such that some societal authority can adjudicate if one of the parties of the covenant alleges that the other has broken said vows. Their adjudication may involve strictures in marriage or the freedom of one party from the other (ending the marriage). Even the marriage of Adam & Eve involved God acting as Eve’s representative to Adam, who covenants by identifying her as his own. God judged between them (Gen. 3:12-13, 16-19) in that case.
Obligations in Marriage According to God’s Revealed Law Husband’s: Provisions to live: Ex. 21:10 If he takes another wife, he must not diminish the first one’s food, her clothing, or her marital rights. 21:11 If he does not provide her with these three things, then she will go out free, without paying money. This prohibits passive abuse. Prohibition of active abuse: A Fortiori reasoning from :Ex. 21:10-11 If God would disallows passive abuse, would He permit “active” or physical abuse? Also from: Ex. 21:26 If a man strikes the eye of his male servant or his female servant so that he destroys it, he will let the servant go free as compensation for the eye. 21:27 If he knocks out the tooth of his male servant or his female servant, he will let the servant go free as compensation for the tooth. Also, by implication: in an age of HIV and STD’s, and affair could be physically threatening. Presence: Implied by Gen 2:24: That is why a man leaves his father and mother and unites with his wife, and they become a new family. Intentional leaving the wife is incompatible with joining to become “one flesh.” Wife’s: Monogamy: Lev. 18:20 You must not have sexual intercourse with the wife of your fellow citizen to become unclean with her. … 20:10 If a man commits adultery with his neighbor’s wife, both the adulterer and the adulteress must be put to death. Prohibition of Active Abuse: A fortiori reasoning from Ex. 21: If a servant can be freed from his contract for physical abuse would God insist that a husband remain related to a woman who threatened physical abuse of her husband as master? Presence: Implied by Gen 2:24: That is why a man leaves his father and mother and unites with his wife, and they become a new family. Intentional leaving the husband is incompatible with the wife’s part in joining to become “one flesh.” Presence is reciprocal when it comes to the joining.
When the vows are broken the moral bond of marriage is sundered. The marriage exists as a legal fiction, but not as a covenant before God. God hates divorce because it is promise breaking…unfaithfulness.
In a polygamous society, especially where the breaking of the vows is not a legally actionable offense, as in the case of second and subsequent marriages, divorce is far easier to countenance and employ as a means of settling less than Biblically covenant-breaking problems. This leaves the guilty party feeling that they have done no real wrong by walking away from the relationship and the innocent party thinking that they may still be bound by their vows. In Jesus’ day divorce was pretty easy to do. The man just said “you are not my wife and I’m not your husband.” (Hosea 2) But according to the Law a man should give his wife a writing of divorcement. They thought that if they did they were square with God (Matt. 5:31)