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her former husband who dismissed her must not take her back to be to him for a wife after she has become impure, for that is an abomination before YHVH; you shall not bring the guilt of sin on the land that YHVH your ELOHIM

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is giving you as an inheritance.


the first husband to divorce her must not take her back to be his wife after she has become intertwined sexually with another man because this would be improper, it would be seen by THE ETERNAL AND PERSONAL GOD as something that must absolutely be avoided. You must be careful to not bring consequences of guilt on the land which THE ETERNAL AND PERSONAL GOD who is your CREATOR AND RULER is giving you as an inheritance.



The form of the name Elohim is different in Hebrew in order to express possession (“your”) but I always use the most commonly known form of the name in order to avoid confusion.

Why Would Remarriage Make Her Unclean?

I am convinced that sexual relations outside of marriage (such as adultery) were considered wrong and were punished harshly because they disrupted the lines of authority that had been established for the children that could be produced by the sexual act. The statements about remarriage after divorce found in both the Former Covenant and the New Covenant indicate that remarriage falls into a similar category as adultery because it has the same effect of disturbing the lines of authority and making them unclear. The difference was that adultery was punished with death while remarriage after divorce brought a state of uncleanness, but not death.

This passage simply clarifies that the state of uncleanness (which I refer to as something that needs to be isolated), which is entered into by remarriage after a divorce, persists even if the first husband wants to marry her again and even if the second husband has died. I believe this was due to the fact that the lines of authority were scrambled by the second marriage while the first husband was still alive. By contrast, if a woman’s husband died and then she remarried, it would not hinder the lines of authority in any way because a dead man cannot exercise authority. However, in the example given in this passage, the scrambling of the lines of authority happened while both husbands were still alive, that is why the death of the second husband would not unscramble the authority problems. In a practical sense one would think that the death of either of her husbands would solve the authority problems, but God made things more strict than that in order to teach them to do all they could to avoid these problems in the first place.

While divorce was permitted (though not encouraged), remarriage after a divorce was not permitted. This should have made men think seriously before divorcing a wife. In the example given in this passage, the reason for the divorce on the part of the first husband was a legitimate reason – that of shameful nakedness, i.e. exposure of certain parts of her body to another man. In such a case the husband was fulling within his rights to divorce her because he could see that such action would lead to adultery on her part. However, though he could divorce her without guilt, he was not permitted to find another wife. In this way the law that God established encouraged men to do everything humanly possible to restore their marriage to a healthy condition and deal wisely with any threats to his marriage.

Did Other References to Divorce in the Law have to Comply with Deuteronomy 24?

Some other passages in the Law mention divorce in the process of explaining something else, whereas Deuteronomy 24 is directly addressing the issue of marriage after divorce. Therefore, Deuteronomy 24:1-4 seems to be the key passage on divorce and remarriage in the Law and the other references to divorce had to comply to what is found in Deuteronomy 24.

Teaching Tool or Key Principle?

Were the regulations about divorce and remarriage just teaching tools, or were they key principles that could not be separated from the regulations that taught them?

Since I cannot find a way to separate the teaching tool from the truth being taught, and since I find no good way to teach the principles effectively without the regulations, I lean toward thinking that the regulations about divorce and remarriage were also important. Jesus seemed to think this way too.

What Spiritual Lessons Did this Teach?

There are other applications to the truths taught by these regulations which are not directly related to marriage, divorce and remarriage.

Deuteronomy 24:1-4 taught that if we are heading the wrong direction, God can and often does choose to give us a wake-up call by slapping us hard before we get to the end of that road – before we walk away from God and end up in a state of spiritual death where eternal punishment in hell is the result. The situation where we are drifting away from God and He is calling us back to Him is being equated to a time of separation for a married couple. God’s activity during this time may be something like a dryness or other deep need that is not being met, or some event or situation that God uses to try and get our attention. This time of separation is actually a sign of His mercy and grace. He is giving us another chance to come back to Him and live for Him, not for ourselves. He is taking action that makes us think about our spiritual condition before final judgment is required.

During that time we are not allowed to start chasing other gods or putting ourselves in the number 1 position. That is idolatry and is met with death, unless God shows us mercy and gives us another chance.

What about the Children of Divorce in Ancient Israel?

Under the Law, what happened to the children of a long-lasting divorce?

Well, the Law did not address that issue directly. However, it appears that the children stayed under the authority of the father and were probably raised by a joint effort involving the father, the grandmother and the grandfather.