“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. And when she is departed out of his house, she may go and be another man's wife.” (Deuteronomy 24:1-2)
Dating and engagement were originally intended to give a couple the opportunity to get to know each other in various settings before becoming sexually involved. Observing the prospective mate and their family’s attitudes and habits can give a great deal of insight as to what marriage will be like. Contrary to the old saying, real love is not blind according to I Corinthians 13:6, but rejoices in the truth. Infatuation is blind, and may prevent recognizing the reality. There can also be a deliberate attempt to conceal problems. As a result, what seemed so wonderful may be unbearable.
The Old Law allowed remarriage in such a case, butt Jesus said that divorce was never intended in Matthew 19:6-9. “Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder. They say unto him, Why did Moses then command to give a writing of divorcement, and to put her away? 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. 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.”
Because the sex drive is so powerful, and keeping the Law did nothing to change the persons heart, the Law permitted remarriage to limit the temptation. When we become Christians, we become a new creature with the holy Spirit to change our attitudes. Jesus said that leaving one’s mate for any reason other than sexual infidelity exposed them to unnecessary temptation. Re-marriage still constituted adultery since it involved sex with someone other than ones mate.
Unfortunately unbearable conflicts can still occur, and Paul addresses the situation in I Corinthians 7:10-13. “And unto the married I command, yet not I, but the Lord, Let not the wife depart from her husband: But and if she depart, let her remain unmarried, or be reconciled to her husband: and let not the husband put away his wife. But to the rest speak I, not the Lord: If any brother hath a wife that believeth not, and she be pleased to dwell with him, let him not put her away. And the woman which hath an husband that believeth not, and if he be pleased to dwell with her, let her not leave him.” Divorce is never to be taken lightly, but under certain circumstances may be the only choice. For the Christian, remarriage is not, as long as the possibility of reconciliation exists.
“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; 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.” (Deuteronomy 24:3-4)
According to Matthew 19:9 remarriage constituted adultery, and even though the Old Testament Law permitted remarriage, they could not return to the first mate. They had separated for unbearable differences, and getting back together made a mockery of their separation. It would bring reproach on their land. The belief that a Christian has to take back a mate who has been guilty of adultery is clearly unscriptural.
“When a man hath taken a new wife, he shall not go out to war, neither shall he be charged with any business: but he shall be free at home one year, and shall cheer up his wife which he hath taken.” (Deuteronomy 24:5)
Tradition has a couple taking a short honeymoon to get acquainted and settle into their new roles before resuming their regular life. It is not enough. While they might need to earn a living, God specified they were to have a full year to establish their relationship before being charged with major responsibilities or sent to war. The marriage is more important than their participation in other things.
Essential Items Are Not To Be Taken As Security
“No man shall take the nether or the upper millstone to pledge: for he taketh a man's life to pledge.” (Deuteronomy 24:6)
The ability to grind grain for food was essential. To take one of the grindstones left a person unable to prepare his food, and it was forbidden to take as pawn or security for a loan.
“If a man be found stealing any of his brethren of the children of Israel, and maketh merchandise of him, or selleth him; then that thief shall die; and thou shalt put evil away from among you.” (Deuteronomy 24:7)
Kidnapping required the death penalty, whether for ransom, or for slavery, whether for sexual purposes or for labor. No one has the right to take away another’s freedom without due cause.
“Take heed in the plague of leprosy, that thou observe diligently, and do according to all that the priests the Levites shall teach you: as I commanded them, so ye shall observe to do. Remember what the LORD thy God did unto Miriam by the way, after that ye were come forth out of Egypt.” (Deuteronomy 24:8-9)
Leprosy is a highly contagious disease and the pathogens can remain inactive a long time. It was crucial that the laws procedures be followed to prevent future outbreaks. They had seen how quickly it developed when Miriam rebelled against God’s direction in Numbers 12. They must not take it lightly.
Security for Loans
“When thou dost lend thy brother any thing, thou shalt not go into his house to fetch his pledge. Thou shalt stand abroad, and the man to whom thou dost lend shall bring out the pledge abroad unto thee. And if the man be poor, thou shalt not sleep with his pledge: In any case thou shalt deliver him the pledge again when the sun goeth down, that he may sleep in his own raiment, and bless thee: and it shall be righteousness unto thee before the LORD thy God.” (Deuteronomy 24:10-12)
While it was entirely appropriate to secure a loan with personal property, the lender was not to embarrass the borrower by going into his home for the security, but to allow the borrower to bring it out to him. If the person was poor, and the item something that was needed for everyday business, it was to be returned the same day so the borrower was not deprived of it’s use.