The following articles have been compiled and indexed by inWORD Bible software.
Corinth was a very wicked city. This is both specifically stated and implied in the Corinthian letters:
“It is not good that a man should be alone.” (Genesis 2:18)
Paul’s Reasons for Remaining Single
And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him. (Genesis 2:18)
Marriage “Only in the Lord"
The Scriptures abound in warnings against alien marriage: The sons of God marrying the daughters of men resulted at last in the Flood (Genesis 6-9). Abraham and Isaac, faithful sojourners looking for the Kingdom, opposed such marriages for their sons (Genesis 24:3; 28:1). The Law of Moses forbade the yoking together of the clean ox and the unclean ass (Deuteronomy 22:10). Moses said to take no alien spouses (Deuteronomy 7:3,8). Solomon’s alien wives turned his heart from God (1 Kings 11:1-11). Ezra (Ezra 9;10) and Nehemiah (Nehemiah 13:23-29) tell us of the evils of such alliances, and Paul has stressed the deviation of such a union (1 Corinthians 7:39; 2 Corinthians 6:14-18).
A Theology of Divorce
Why is the issue of divorce one of critical theological importance for the church today? Because with an ever-increasing number of marriages ending in divorce both within and outside of the church, a wrong and guilt-laden theology of divorce within the church has the potential to cripple the potential of up to half of God’s representatives in the world, and to severely hamper our collective witness to the world. So then, what does Scripture have to say about the heart-breaking, life-altering question of divorce?
"And” Means “In Order To”?
David Bivin¹ ... points out that the simple conjunction “and” in Hebrew or Aramaic (which Jesus spoke) can often mean “in order to.” He thus argues that Jesus may have said, “Whoever divorces his wife in order to marry another is committing adultery.” Jesus is therefore highlighting the fact that many men were divorcing their wives, not because of a fault in their wives but because they wished to marry other women. This is an interesting interpretation, but a weak one.
Betrothal and Marriage
Where the social intercourse between the sexes was nearly as unrestricted as among ourselves, so far as consistent with Eastern manners, it would, of course, be natural for a young man to make personal choice of his bride. Of this Scripture affords abundant evidence. But, at any rate, the woman had, in case of betrothal or marriage, to give her own free and expressed consent, without which a union was invalid.
Distinction Between Betrothal and Marriage
We read in the Gospel that, when the Virgin-mother “was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost. Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a public example, was minded to put her away privily” (Matthew 1:18-19). The narrative implies a distinction between betrothal and marriage—being at the time betrothed, but not actually married to the Virgin-mother. Even in the Old Testament a distinction is made between betrothal and marriage. The former was marked by a bridal present (or Mohar, Genesis 34:12; Exodus 22:17; 1 Samuel 18:25), with which the father, however, would in certain circumstances dispense. From the moment of her betrothal a woman was treated as if she were actually married. The union could not be dissolved, except by regular divorce; breach of faithfulness was regarded as adultery; and the property of the women became virtually that of her betrothed, unless he had expressly renounced it (Kidd. ix. 1). But even in that case he was her natural heir.
The origin of the Jewish law of divorce is found in the constitution of the patriarchal family. The fundamental principle of its government was the absolute authority of the oldest male ascendent; hence the husband, as the head of the family, divorced the wife at his pleasure. The manner in which Hagar was dismissed by Abraham illustrates the exercise of this authority (Genesis 21:9-14). This ancient right of the husband to divorce his wife at his pleasure is the central thought in the entire system of Jewish divorce law. It was not set aside by the Rabbis, though its severity was tempered by numerous restrictive measures. It was not until the eleventh century that the absolute right of the husband to divorce his wife at will was formally abolished.
Divorce: The Loss of Jewish Teaching in 70 C.E.
The Early Church lost touch with its Jewish roots in or before 70 C.E. Various passages in the New Testament suggest that Christians were excommunicated from the synagogue before the New Testament canon was completed, and certainly before 70 C.E. This marked the beginning of the loss of Jewish culture within the Church. A few Christian groups such as the Nazarenes and Ebionites continued to follow Jewish customs, but these soon died out. The Church very quickly forgot its Jewish roots, and thereby lost contact with much of the Jewish background of the New Testament writings.
Divorce and Remarriage
The following comes from three articles originally published in 1998 by Steve Gregg.
Divorce and Remarriage in the Bible (Book Review)
Title: Divorce and Remarriage in the Bible: The Social and Literary Context Author: David Instone-Brewer Publisher: Wm. E. Eerdmans, Grand Rapids: 2002. Pp. xi+355.
Divorce by Separation in the Greco-Roman World
In the Greco-Roman world, marriage was assumed to be a matter of mutual consent, and when that consent broke down, the marriage would end. Gaius, a jurist of the second century B.C.E., provided a derivation of the word divortium [divorce]:
Divorce In The Greco-Roman World
Divorce became easier for women in most ancient societies during the last two centuries B.C.E and the first century C.E. In the Greco-Roman world, women were almost equal to men in their right to divorce. In Jewish law women had equal standing with men in most areas, except with regard to reproductive functions. This meant that married women were subject to their husbands in most matters, including divorce. However, they did have a limited right to force their husbands to divorce them.
Jesus’ View on Divorce According to the Synoptic Gospels
One of the most hotly debated topics within the church today is the issue of divorce and remarriage. The Bible speaks of this issue in only a few passages, in the Old Testament to the people of Israel by the Law of Moses and in the prophets of Isaiah, Ezra, and Malachi regarding mainly the relationship of God to His people. In the New Testament, we have four passages describing the words of Jesus and an instance of Paul instructing the Corinthian Church in this matter of divorce and remarriage. Among the debate today is not only the morality of divorce and remarriage and how the Bible stands on the issue, but also whether or not a divorced man can lead a local church body. The issue of divorce and church leadership is debated within the context of the qualifications of elders and deacons within Paul’s pastoral epistles to Timothy and Titus, unfortunately this will be beyond the scope of this paper. Instead we will examine Jesus’ views on divorce according to the Synoptic Gospels where Jesus’ sayings on this matter are revealed.
The Divorce Debate Reconstructed
We are now in a position to reconstruct the debate that Jesus had with the Pharisees. This debate was recorded in an abbreviated form by Mark, and Matthew (probably writing later) reinserted some of the details that had been abbreviated out. Using Mark’s version as a basis and Matthew’s helpful additions and rearrangement as a guideline, we can produce the following version of the debate. Matthew’s additions are in square brackets. My additions are in curly brackets. Scripture citations are in italics.
Expected to Marry
We can understand how, before the coming of the Messiah, marriage should have been looked upon as of religious obligation. Many passages of Scripture were at least quoted in support of this idea. Ordinarily, a young man was expected to enter the wedded state (according to Maimonides) at the age of sixteen or seventeen, while the age of twenty may be regarded as the utmost limit conceded, unless study so absorbed time and attention as to leave no leisure for the duties of married life. Still it was thought better even to neglect study than to remain single. Yet money cares on account of wife and children were dreaded. The same comparison is used in reference to them, which our Lord applies to quite a different “offence,” that against the “little ones” (Luke 17:2). Such cares are called by the Rabbis, “a millstone round the neck” (Kidd. 29 b). In fact, the expression seems to have become proverbial, like so many others which are employed in the New Testament.
Geṭ (Bill of Divorcement)
The earliest use of the geṭ, an institution peculiar to the Jews, can not be established with certainty. Although the suggestion of the Rabbis that it has existed among the Jews since the time of Abraham (Yalḳ. Shime'oni, i. 95) may be regarded as fanciful, yet in Deuteronomy 24:1-4 the geṭ is spoken of as being well known to the people. The complexity of the system of procedure in the writing and the delivery of the geṭ is, however, of much later origin. Even in the times of the Mishnah, the form seems to have been very simple, requiring, besides the date, place, and the names of the parties, the phrase “Thou art free to any man” (Giṭ 85b). It was later, in the Babylonian schools, that the minute details in the preparation of the geṭ were established, and its form and phraseology fixed. These minute regulations were intended to diminish mistakes and misunderstandings; for only such men were able to prepare the geṭ as were well versed in the Law and were familiar with Jewish institutions (Ḳid. 13a).
Herod’s Actions and the Sermon on the Mount
[S]cholars have pointed out the similarity of Jesus’ teaching in Matthew 5 to the horrid acts of Herod Antipas. Herod Antipas divorced his wife in order to marry his brother’s wife Herodias, who divorced Herod’s brother Phillip to marry Herod. Herod Antipas was the Herodian ruler (tetrarch) of Judea during the time of Jesus’ earthly ministry. Jesus was tried before him before His crucifixion. John the Baptist preached against Herod’s atrocities and eventually John the Baptist was beheaded by Herod’s decree.¹ Look at the similarity of Herod’s actions to Jesus’ hyperbolic teachings on the law in the Sermon on the Mount.² The heart of the teachings are summarized below:³
Illegal to Remain Single
The right to remarry after divorce was the fundamental right that was communicated by the Jewish divorce certificate. It was also seen as an undeniable right in Greco-Roman marriage and divorce law. Technically it was actually illegal for a divorced Roman woman to remain single for more than eighteen months, though this law was rarely enforced.¹ It would therefore have been very difficult for Paul to convince his readers that they no longer had the right to remarriage after a valid divorce, and it is inconceivable that he could have expected his readers to conclude, simply by his silence when discussing the issue of widowhood or illustrating the end of the believer’s marriage to the Law, that remarriage of a divorceé was unacceptable.
In Order to Marry Another
In Matthew 19:9, Jesus is answering the question in vs. 7 where the Pharisees ask why Moses legislated the bill of divorce. Jesus also speaks prophetically concerning the motive behind divorce.
In What Way Are They Free?
But if the unbeliever separates themself, let them separate themself: the brother or the sister is not bound in such [cases]; for God has called us in peace. —1 Corinthians 7:15
Intermarriage: A Catholic and a Jew
Question: My stepdaughter, a Jewish girl, is marrying a very fine Catholic man. My wife and I are looking for a Rabbi in the (withheld) area who will perform the ceremony for them. The groom wishes the actual ceremony to be held jointly with a Catholic priest. The wedding ceremony and the reception are to be held in a hotel so there is no “religious property” involved (i.e. not in a church).
Is No Longer Enslaved
You have ... problems with my interpretation of Paul’s statement that the one who has been deserted “is no longer enslaved” (1 Corinthians 7:15). You think this means that they can give up trying to be reconciled to the spouse who has already divorced them against their will, but it doesn’t imply any freedom to remarry. You reject my point that Jewish and Greek divorce certificates use the language of emancipation from slavery: “You are now free to marry any man you wish”. As you point out, Paul approves of this phrase when he applies it to widows (v. 39) but you think that Paul would not apply this until the former spouse had died. This assumption is, of course, a common and ancient one. I am merely pointing out that Paul could equally mean that they are free to remarry. And I argue that for a first century reader this is the more likely interpretation.
Jesus Used the Same Terminology as the Shammaites
The Shammaite position was summarized in rabbinic literature in two very similar forms:
Jewish Divorce and Marriage Obligations
The fatal ease with which divorce could be obtained, and its frequency, appear from the question addressed to Christ by the Pharisees: “Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife for every cause?” (Matthew 19:3), and still more from the astonishment with which the disciples had listened to the reply of the Saviour (v. 10). That answer [by Jesus in Matthew 19 on the divorce question] was much wider in its range than our Lord’s initial teaching in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5:32).¹
Josephus on the Bill of Divorcement
To study any subject honestly it is essential to do it in light of its origin. The biblical bill of divorcement is no exception. As in the days of Moses (and throughout human history) we witness proof that many husbands were cruel to their wives, and for this very reason God instituted the guidelines for divorce. We see in Matthew 19:3 that even the Judean people had been seduced by their own cruelty by teaching and believing that a woman could be divorce for every cause! “For every cause” meant divorcing their wives on the most frivolous grounds, i.e. if she burnt his bread, or didn’t season his food right, spoiling a dinner, or was a poor housekeeper, or if he found a woman prettier than her.
Question: A rabbi once gave me advice about marriage, but I’ve forgotten the quote. It had to do with not getting married due to physical attraction because it fades. Do you know that quote?
Love Means “I Give"
The Hebrew word for love, ahava, has little to do with what one feels or receives. To the contrary ahava is actually a verb that means “I give.” Love is not the fleeting butterflies we get when looking into the eyes of our significant other. It’s far simpler—and far wilder—than all of that. It is the big, small, mundane—but generous—choices to give to our spouse. And as we begin to orient ourselves to this brand of love that requires us to show up continually, we’re sure to discover the beautiful paradox that it is.
Marriage, Divorce and Remarriage
Most of the confusion concerning the question of divorce and remarriage comes from those who ignore the [cultural] context. It is important to remember that the New Testament cannot contradict the first (Old) Testament.
Matthew Adding Material
It is not unusual for Matthew to add material that doesn’t appear in Mark, and it is not contradictory for Matthew to add an exception to what appears in Mark as, and it is not contradictory for Matthew to add an exception to what appears in Mark as an absolute statement. In Mark 8:11-12 the Pharisees asked Jesus for a sign, to which he replied: “Amen, I say to you, no sign shall be given to this generation.” This absolute statement has an exception in Matthew 12:39: “No sign shall be given to (this generation) except [εἰ μὴ] the sign of the prophet Jonah...”
Paul’s Pragmatic Solution
But if the unbeliever separates themself, let them separate themself: the brother or the sister is not bound in such [cases]; for God has called us in peace. —1 Corinthians 7:15
Porneia in the Matthew Exception Clauses
Matthew 5:32 and 19:9 present an interesting exegetical discussion concerning the acceptability and permissibility of divorce. These verses provoke interest because of their inclusion of an exception clause seemingly allowing for a permissible divorce. The verses state the unlawfulness of divorce “except in the case of porneia .” Porneia is the word around which this discussion revolves and its meaning differs vastly depending upon the interpreter. The word is interpreted specifically as adultery during the betrothal period and also as sexual promiscuity and immorality on the other. This thesis explains both views and then seeks to offer all relevant evidence by exploring context, background, lexical meaning, tradition, and the various uses of the word in the New Testament and Septuagint.
"Commits Adultery” Once, or Continuously?
In Matthew 19:9 Jesus answers the question addressed to him by the Pharisees, “Is it lawful to divorce one’s wife for any cause?” (vs. 3). It was a test question designed to probe his rabbinical lore and legal acumen, and his answer was expected to provide the Pharisees with further leverage against him. The question had a “cutting edge” on it as Antipas, in whose region they were at the moment, had only recently been divorced. The question was well suited for their test since rabbinical training would suppose that an answer would be based upon that collection of rabbinical lore which would later be collected in written form [in the Talmud] as the Gittin. As formulated, the question expected an interpretation of Deuteronomy 24:1:
"Putting Away” versus “Divorce"
The word translated “putting away” in Malachi 2:16 is not keriythuwth, the Hebrew word for divorce. Instead, it is the word shalach. (See Malachi 2:14-16 in the American Standard Version, 1901.) The practice of “putting away” was cruel and adulterous, but most importantly it was not a legal divorce. It was much worse, for it ignored the wife’s welfare. The woman who was “put away” was cast aside, and not lived with as a true spouse. (It can apply to both genders.)
Questions Regarding Divorce and Remarriage
Within Christianity, discussions over divorce and remarriage often generate into controversy. Churches have been split, and Christians disfellowshipped (shunned/excommunicated) over matters of divorce and remarriage. When studying the Bible as to whether it is permissible for a Christian to divorce and/or remarry, it is helpful to consider the following questions:
Rabbinic Marriage Prohibitions
Having entered thus fully on the subject of marriage, a few further particulars may be of interest. The bars to marriage mentioned in the Bible are sufficiently known. To these the Rabbis added others, which have been arranged under two heads—farther extending the laws of kindred (to their secondary degrees), and as intended to guard morality. The former were extended over the whole line of forbidden kindred, where that line was direct, and to one link farther where the line became indirect—, for example, to the wife of a maternal uncle, or to the step-mother of a wife.
Right of Remarriage: Silence is Deafening
[T]he whole purpose of a Jewish divorce certificate is to allow the woman to remarry, and the only necessary wording of the certificate is “You are allowed to marry any man you wish.” Therefore, when the Pharisees mention divorce certificates to Jesus, his silence concerning them is deafening. Jesus spends most of his time in this debate with the Pharisees disagreeing with their laws on divorce [Matthew 19:3-9]. He disagreed with their teaching on polygamy, on compulsory divorce for adultery, with their lack of forgiveness of faults within marriage, and their interpretation of the phrase “a matter of indecency.” The fact that he did not forbid remarriage, even after a divorce certificate had been mentioned, is very significant.
Remarriage After Widowhood
A wife is bound as long as her husband lives; but if her husband is dead, she is free to be married to whom she wishes, only in the Lord. But in my opinion she is happier if she remains as she is; and I think that I also have the Spirit of God. —1 Corinthians 7:39-40
Commentary: 1 Corinthians 7:10-11
Regards of the particular circumstances in Corinth, Paul “articulates a general norm in vv. 10-11”: A wife must not separate from her husband...And a husband must not divorce his wife. Contrary to how they are used today, the verbs “to separate” and “to divorce” here refer to the same thing, namely, the disavowing of the marriage. Mark 10:9 uses “separate” in the sense of divorce: “Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.” And in 1 Corinthians 7:15 and 13 respectively they describe the same action. In the Greco-Roman world men and women could divorce their partners by enacting what has been called a “divorce by separation,”¹⁰⁸ that is, simply telling their partner to leave or by leaving themselves. Divorce was very common, and probably most marriages ended before the death of a partner.¹⁰⁹ Instone-Brewer observes that “Graeco-Roman marriage certificates were worded as though they expected the marriage to end in divorce, not death.”¹¹⁰ One funeral inscription from the first century B.C. comment on an exception: “Uncommon are marriages which last so long, brought to an end by death, not broken apart by divorce; for it was our happy lot that it should be prolonged to the 41st year without estrangement.”¹¹¹ In this context, Paul’s decree, on the authority of the Lord Jesus, that Christian married couples who were former Gentiles should stay married is highly countercultural...
Sex and Holiness
Drink waters out of thine own cistern, and running waters out of thine own well... (Proverbs 5:19)
Ira Glass: It’s This American Life. I’m Ira Glass. Each week on the program, of course, we choose a theme, bring you different kinds of stories on that theme. Today’s program, “Stuck in the Middle.” Stories of people who cannot get out of some situation, some limbo they are caught in, and so they use ingenuity and guile or, anyway, unconventional means to get themselves unstuck. We have arrived at Act Two of our show. Act Two, Sunrise, Sun-Get.
The Divorce Certificate and the Right to Remarry
[T]he right of a woman to a divorce certificate is equivalent to the right of a woman to remarry. In fact, the purpose of the divorce certificate was to help the woman remarry.
The Lingering Sexism of Jewish Divorce
Initially, the twenty-story Manhattan office building threw me off. I had in my hand the address for a beth din, a rabbinic court, and had pictured a cluttered rabbi’s study in some old world synagogue—like the one in the divorce scene in Hester Street, the 1975 film about a Jewish immigrant couple at the turn of the twentieth century, starring a very young Carol Kane.
The Marriage Ceremony
The marriage followed after a longer or shorter interval, the limits of which, however, were fixed by law. The ceremony itself consisted in leading the bride into the house of the bridegroom, with certain formalities, mostly dating from very ancient times. Marriage with a maiden was commonly celebrated on a Wednesday afternoon, which allowed the first days of the week for preparation, and enabled the husband, if he had a charge to prefer against the previous chastity of his bride, to make immediate complaint before the local Sanhedrim, which sat every Thursday. On the other hand, the marriage of a widow was celebrated on Thursday afternoon, which left three days of the week for “rejoicing with her.” This circumstance enables us, with some certainty, to arrange the date of the events which preceded the marriage in Cana.
The Meaning of Porneia in Matthew 5:32 and 19.9
The author argues that the Matthean use of the term porneia in the divorce exception clauses of [Matthew] 5:32 and 19:9 is best understood by reference to the notion of divorce with just cause, an idea present throughout the ancient Near East and in first-century Judaism. Just cause includes actions on the part of the woman that constitutes the man’s right to divorce without repayment of the dowry. Matthew excludes the possibility of divorce without just cause, and limits just cause to porneia, sexual intercourse during betrothal or marriage with someone other than the wife’s husband.
Understanding the Exception Clause: Ten Rules to Observe
Is the Bible unintelligible when it comes to the subject of divorce and remarriage? Did God intend for people to have difficulty with this subject, or is it only difficult because of the error that has been taught and because of the influence of those who teach it?... To find what our loving God wants us to know, we cannot overemphasize the importance of a proper study of the context of key passages. Matthew 19:3-13 is one such passage.
What Is So Bad About Intermarriage?
Furthermore, you shall not intermarry with them; you shall not give your daughters to their sons, nor shall you take their daughters for your sons. (Deuteronomy 7:3)
What is the Jewish Definition of “Love”?
In Jewish thought, being a “giver” is one of the highest ideals to which we aspire. Love is expressed by the desire to give to another person. One who focuses only on the desire to take pleasure from another is not expressing love. Just the opposite.
Why Should A Person Get Married?
I’ll first explain some ideas behind the Jewish notion of marriage and why it is essential, and then refute some common arguments against getting married.
10 Things Happy Couples Avoid
Happiness in a relationship takes a daily conscious effort and healthy habits. Avoid these negative behaviors and attitudes and see how you can bring more love and joy into your own marriage.
10 Tips After 20 Years of Marriage
Mazel tov to us! We’ve been married for 20 years. Ironically, I still feel like that’s not all that much; those older and wiser than us have so much to teach us. But nevertheless, 20 years is a big milestone, and we’ve certainly learned plenty along the way. Here we go.
5 Myths about Marriage
Marriage advice from well-meaning friends often contains one of these five myths. Take it with a big grain of salt.
5 Things to Do During Your First Year of Marriage
I was recently speaking at a Shabbas [Sabbath] meal celebrating the wedding of my husband’s best friend, when out of the blue my eyes flooded with tears. Suddenly the pain of my parents’ divorce washed over me without warning and I had to pause to regain my composure. I didn’t even know that it was still an open wound.
6 Ways to Stay in Love Forever
Relationships don’t coast by on autopilot. They need active effort to keep the love alive. Here are six secrets to stay in love forever:
Eight Things You Should Never Say to Your Spouse
We didn’t know the newlywed couple very well but friends of ours had asked us to invite them over. It took less than a minute of dinner table conversation to see that they weren’t getting along very well.
The Greatest Duty Of A Husband
“When a man marries a new wife, he shall not go out to the army, nor shall it obligate him in any manner; he shall be free for his home for one year, and gladden his wife whom he has married.” (Deuteronomy 24:5)
My Husband is Not My Best Friend
My Facebook feed is awash in anniversary posts celebrating “my husband, my best friend!” and birthday pictures of spouses with hashtags like #BFF. These posts are sweet, but I can’t help feeling they don’t really apply to me.
If the law mandates that a person grant his wife a divorce, and he refuses, a Jewish court, in any time or place, may beat him until he says “I am willing” and writes the writ of divorce. This is a valid divorce [despite the fact that, according to Torah law, a divorce must be granted willingly]... Why? Because an act is not considered to be “coerced” unless the person has been forced to do something which he is not morally obligated by the Torah; for example, one who has been forced to sell or give away his property. But one who has been overpowered by his evil inclination to negate a mitzvah or to commit a transgression, and was forced to do what is right, he is not considered “coerced”—on the contrary, it is his evil character which has forced him, against his true will, in the first place.
Is It Lawful To Marry Unbelievers?
There is another question proposed, namely, “Does a believer commit sin in marrying an unbeliever?” What is sin? Paul says, “It is the transgression of law;” but it is also written, that “where there is no law there is no transgression.” Paul delivers a judgment which he thinks would be approved by the Deity; and no doubt it would. But he does not lay it down as a law. He says, a widow is at liberty to marry “only in the Lord,“ but he does not threaten her with any penalty if she did not take his advice. And, as Paul prescribed no punishment, I see no reason why you should be more stringent than the apostle. Offer your advice as he did; show the possible evils that might come upon her in so marrying, if she take your advice, it is well; if not, so much the worse for her, perhaps; yet, you have done what you considered right; more than this should be left for the Lord’s adjudication when he comes.
Married Couples’ Biggest Mistake
Not long ago I heard of a couple who were calling it quits and getting a divorce. They are not youngsters and have been married for many years. The gentleman explained to me that it was not over anything dramatic such as an affair or significant change in finances, but simply that they “had grown apart.”
“For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.” (Genesis 2:24)
Shedding the Mask
A friend of mine who has been dating for years told me that she had finally found the perfect guy. He was smart, kind, successful, good looking, and serious about their relationship! “But there is one problem,” she told me. “I don’t like him.”
Ten Things Men Wish Women Knew
Ladies, it’s not complicated. And guys feel free to add your additional points in the comment sections below.
Ten Things Women Wish Men Knew
What, you say: Only 10?! Yes there are more. This is just a starting point. Add your additional points in the comment section below.
The Wedding Day
The night before my wedding I was having trouble sleeping. Like a child anticipating the first day of school, I was consumed with the excitement of the adventure that awaited me. It was either that or the fact that I went to the bathroom during the night about 18 times.
The Jewish View of Marriage
Most of us, if we aren’t already, will end up getting married at some point in our lives.
The Three Stages of Marriage
“Is my marriage beyond repair? Is this feeling normal?”
The Top 17 Pieces of Marital Advice
I collect marital wisdom. No matter where I am – on a plane, at a wedding, in the doctor’s waiting room, I look for people who seem happily married and ask, “What is your secret?” Here is the best of my collection:
Top Ten Gifts Every Wife Wants
Hanukkah brings a special light that enables us to move from the ordinary into the extraordinary, from the mundane into the holy, from the finite limits of ourselves into the infinite spaces of connections. Since it has become a time for giving gifts, let us focus on giving to each other gifts that build our deepest relationships and shape our lives to reflect the beauty and strength of this pure light.
Top Ten Gifts for Husbands
“So what does the husband want out of this marriage?” my supervisor asked. I had a whole list describing what the wife I was treating in therapy wanted, but I had almost nothing written down about the husband’s goals. Every time I asked him he just shrugged, and when his wife spoke, he usually glanced longingly at the door.
Two Equals One
“But thou shalt go unto my country, and to my kindred, and take a wife unto my son Isaac.” (Genesis 24:4)
Where Have All the Good Jewish Men Gone?
Every year an equal number of Jewish boys and girls are born—but 20-something years later, there are far more [marriage]-minded women than men. The shortage of marriageable Jewish men is well-known, but the mystery of their disappearance remains unsolved for most of us.
Marriage and Prayer: Why They Are the Same, and How to Succeed in Both
This week’s parasha [Torah passage] is Toldot [Genesis 25:19 to 28:9], which begins:
Why Get Married
Why do you want to get married? Take a moment and write down your reasons. How you answer this question reveals a lot about your emotional and mental readiness for marriage. Compare your answers to what I think are the four best reasons for getting married.
Words and Marriage
We all have terms of affection for our spouses (at least most of us do). Sometimes I tell my husband that he’s “my old man”. But it occurred to me recently that although he recognizes the underlying sentiment, he may not actually like it. It’s not that we’re not both getting old – we have the driver’s licenses and wrinkles to prove it, but no one likes to be reminded. Even if it’s said with love and affection.
The Three Rabbinic Views on “Some Uncleanness"
“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.” (Deuteronomy 24:1)
The Divorce Mania
Every little while, we hear of a kind of epidemic among the married folks, here and there, the symptoms of which disclose themselves in frantic appeals to the courts for separation. The Lowell (Mass.) News, last week, noted seven cases of divorce granted by the Supreme Court, then sitting at that place; and quotes these lines thereupon:
Marriage and the Christian Life
I am aware that the subject upon which I have been asked to write is by no means an easy one.
When the younger Pliny wrote to the Emperor Trajan about the Christians, he described them as meeting together to bind themselves with a sacramentum.
At Midnight the Bridegroom Cometh
The text and the moral teaching of the parable of the Ten Virgins are so well-known that few of us pause to think of the marriage custom which supplies the framework of the parable. We may perhaps have thought: “Midnight; what an unusual time for a wedding.” . . . .and then dismissed the matter with the thought: “Just another strange Oriental custom!”
Taking Another Look at the Divorce and Remarriage Question
Divorce has become a grave and widespread problem in modern society. Broken families and one-parent households have become a commonplace in our day. It is estimated that at least one-half of all marriages in the United States end in divorce. We who believe the Bible and know that God intends marriage as a permanent relationship are appalled at this breakdown of the family unit and the resulting effect on the children and on society as a whole.
Chayei Sarah: Eliezer and Samuel’s Surprising Connection
Discover an interesting parallel between Eliezer and Samuel. The story of the selection of Rebekah as Isaac’s wife is eerily similar to the selection of Saul as the first king of Israel. Why would that be? In this video, we learn what it is to come together and create something entirely new: a “we”.
Parshat Ki Tavo: Eternal Covenants in Marriage and Sinai
Thinking about the covenant between the children of Israel and God can be hard and sometimes alienating, so to give us a better insight into that relationship, the Hartman’s compare it to joyful marriage.
Love is for Losers
We live in a culture in which losing is the enemy, but Jesus calls us to do most things backwards from what the world and our flesh are telling us. Based on the blog post, “Marriage is for Losers,” by Dr. Kelly Flanagan.
The Story of Sex
An inventive introduction to the topic of sex.
How to Get a Jewish Divorce
Judaism provides a sacred context for divorce just as it does for marriage. Just as Judaism offers rituals to make marriage sacred, so also it provides a sacred context when a divorce is necessary.
Safe Dating: Christian Mingle Inspector
Christian Mingle, the popular Christian dating website, employs standup comedian John Crist to approve or reject applicants to their website.
The news was pretty startling. A group of men, including a Brooklyn rabbi named Mendel Epstein, had been arrested for conspiring to kidnap a husband and torture him until he gave his wife a get. The get is simply a piece of paper a husband hands his wife saying, essentially, it’s over. We’re divorced. Jews can get civil divorces like anyone else. But if you’re an Orthodox Jew, strictly following Jewish law, the get is the only real way to end a marriage.
The Surprising Benefits of Marriage for Men
For many modern men, marriage is seen as an institution that, at best, stifles them or, at worst, sets them up for divorce, and as a result, financial and emotional ruin. But research coming out in recent years suggests that marriage actually offers a lot of benefits to men — from making more money, to having better sex, to enjoying a longer and healthier life.
Was instituted in Paradise when man was in innocence (Genesis 2:18-24). Here we have its original charter, which was confirmed by our Lord, as the basis on which all regulations are to be framed (Matthew 19:4, 5). It is evident that monogamy was the original law of marriage (Matthew 19:5; 1 Corinthians 6:16). This law was violated in after times, when corrupt usages began to be introduced (Genesis 4:19; 6:2). We meet with the prevalence of polygamy and concubinage in the patriarchal age (Genesis 16:1-4; 22:21-24; 28:8, 9; 29:23-30, etc.). Polygamy was acknowledged in the Mosaic law and made the basis of legislation, and continued to be practised all down through the period of Jewish histroy to the Captivity, after which there is no instance of it on record.
Bill of Divorcement
This expression, found in Deuteronomy 24:1, 3; Isaiah 50:1; Jeremiah 3:8 is the translation of the Hebrew ספר כּריתת, ṣēpher kerīthutȟ. The two words, literally rendered, signify a document or book of cutting off, i.e. a certificate of divorce given by a husband to a wife, so as to afford her the opportunity or privilege of marrying another man. The Hebrew term is rendered by the Septuagint βιβλίον ἀποστασίον, biblíon apostasíoň. This is also found in the New Testament (Mark 10:4). Matthew 5:31 has “writing of divorcement” in English Versions of the Bible, but Matthew 19:7 the KJV has “writing,” while the RV and the American Standard Revised Version have “bill.” The certificate of divorce is called גּט, gēṭ, plural גּטּין, giṭṭin, in the Talmud. There is an entire chapter devoted to the subjects in the Mishna. It is not positively known when the custom of writing bills of divorcement commenced, but there are references to such documents in the earliest Hebrew legislation. The fact that Joseph had in mind the putting away of his espoused wife, Mary, without the formality of a bill or at least of a public procedure proves that a decree was not regarded as absolutely necessary (Matthew 1:19). The following was the usual form of a decree:
Bride-Chamber, Sons (Children) of the
(οἱ υἱοὶ τοῦ νυμφῶνος, hoi huioí toú numphō̇nos): These were friends or companions of the bridegroom and were usually very numerous (Matthew 9:15; Mark 2:19; Luke 5:34). Any wedding guest might be included in the expression, or anyone who took part in the bridal procession and remained for the wedding-feast (see MARRIAGE). In the above passages “the sons of the bride-chamber” are the disciples of Christ.
brīd ́chām-bẽr (νυμφών, numphō̇n): The room in which the marriage ceremonies were held (Matthew 9:15; Mark 2:19; Luke 5:34; compare Matthew 22:10). See CHAMBER; MARRIAGE.
Divorce in New Testament
τὸ ἀποστάσιου, tó apostásiou): The Scripture doctrine of divorce is very simple. It is contained in Matthew 19:3-12.
Divorce in Old Testament
Woman, among the Hebrews, as among most nations of antiquity, occupied a subordinate position. Though the Hebrew wife and mother was treated with more consideration than her sister in other lands, even in other Semitic countries, her position nevertheless was one of inferiority and subjection. The marriage relation from the standpoint of Hebrew legislation was looked upon very largely as a business affair, a mere question of property. A wife, nevertheless, was, indeed, in most homes in Israel, the husband’s “most valued possession.” And yet while this is true, the husband was unconditionally and unreservedly the head of the family in all domestic relations. His rights and prerogatives were manifest on every side. Nowhere is this more evident than in the matter of divorce. According to the laws of Moses a husband, under certain circumstances, might divorce his wife; on the other hand, if at all possible, it was certainly very difficult for a wife to put away her husband. Unfortunately a double standard of morality in matters pertaining to the sexes is, at least, as old as Moses (see Exodus 7 to 11).
fam ́i-li (משׁפחה, mishpāḥāh, בּית, bayith; πατριά, patriá):
Jesus’ Sanction of Marriage and Divorce
The most characteristic use of marriage and the family by our Lord is that in which He describes the kingdom of God as a social order in which the relationship of men to God is like that of sons to a father, and their relation to each other like that between brothers. This social ideal, which presents itself vividly and continuously to His mind, is summed up in this phrase, “Kingdom of God,” which occurs more than a hundred times in the Synoptic Gospels. The passages in which it occurs form the interior climax of His message to men. It is no new and noble Judaism, taking the form of a political restoration, that He proclaims, and no “far-off Divine event” to be realized only in some glorious apocalyptic consummation; but a kingdom of God “within you,” the chief element of it communion with God, the loving relation of “children” to a “Father,” a present possession. Future in a sense it may be, as a result to be fully realized, and yet present; invisible, and yet becoming more and more visible as a new social order, a conscious brotherhood with one common, heavenly Father, proclaimed in every stage of His teaching in spite of opposition and varying fortunes with unwavering certainty of its completion—this is the “kingdom” that Jesus has made the inalienable possession of the Christian consciousness. His entire theology may be described as a transfiguration of the family (see Peabody, Jesus Christ, and the Social Question, 149 ff; Holtzmann, New Testament Theology, I, 200; Harnack, History of Dogma, I, 62; B. Weiss, Biblical Theol. of the New Testament, I, 72, English translation, 1882).
It would be interesting to study marriage biologically and sociologically, to get the far and near historical and social background of it as an institution, especially as it existed among the ancient Jews, and as it figures in the teaching of Jesus as recorded in the New Testament. For, like all social institutions, marriage, and the family which is the outcome of marriage, must be judged, not by its status at any particular time, but in the light of its history. Such a study of it would raise a host of related historic questions, e.g. What was its origin? What part has it played in the evolution and civilization of the race? What social functions has it performed? And then, as a sequel, Can the services it has rendered to civilization and progress be performed or secured in any other way? This, indeed, would call for us to go back even farther—to try to discover the psychology of the institution and its history, the beliefs from which it has sprung and by which it has survived so long. This were a task well worth while and amply justified by much of the thinking of our time; for, as one of the three social institutions that support the much challenged form and fabric of modern civilization, marriage, private property and the state, its continued existence, in present form at least, is a matter of serious discussion and its abolition, along with the other two, is confidently prophesied. “Marriage, as at present understood, is an arrangement most closely associated with the existing social status and stands or falls with it” (Bebel, Socialism and Sex, 199, Reeves, London; The Cooperative Commonwealth in Its Outline, Gronlund, 224). But such a task is entirely outside of and beyond the purpose of this article.
The word “sacrament” comes from the Latin sacramentum, which in the classical period of the language was used in two chief senses: (1) as a legal term to denote the sum of money deposited by two parties to a suit which was forfeited by the loser and appropriated to sacred uses; (2) as a military term to designate the oath of obedience taken by newly enlisted soldiers. Whether referring to an oath of obedience or to something set apart for a sacred purpose, it is evident that sacramentum would readily lend itself to describe such ordinances as Baptism and the Lord’s Supper. In the Greek New Testament, however, there is no word nor even any general idea corresponding to “sacrament,” nor does the earliest history of Christianity afford any trace of the application of the term to certain rites of the church. Pliny (circa 112 AD) describes the Christians of Bithynia as “binding themselves by a sacramentum to commit no kind of crime” (Epistles x.97), but scholars are now pretty generally agreed that Pliny here uses the word in its old Roman sense of an oath or solemn obligation, so that its occurrence in this passage is nothing more than an interesting coincidence.
There is a disappointing uncertainty as to the exact ceremonies or proceedings connected with marriage in Bible times. We have to paint our picture from passing allusions or descriptions, and from what we know of Jewish and Arabic customs. In cases it would seem that there was nothing beyond betrothal, or the festivities following it (see Genesis 24:3 ff). Later, in the case of a virgin, an interval of not exceeding a year came to be observed.
The earliest Hebrew literature represents a comparatively high development of social and domestic life. Of primitive conditions of polyandry, such as existed among the early Arabs, there is no certain evidence in the Old Testament. Even of the matriarchate, or reckoning of kinship through the mother, which W. Robertson Smith holds to have been originally the universal rule of Arabia (“Kinship and Marriage,” 2d ed., pp. 145-190), there is no clear indication. Traces thereof have been supposed to remain in certain family connections, such as those of Milcah and Sarah, or in tribal groups, such as the sons of Leah and of Rachel, and also in the evidently closer and more intimate relationship between children of the same mother or with relatives on the maternal side. There is, however, probably nothing more in these than such distinctions as would necessarily arise in polygamous families and in the natural intimacy between full brothers and sisters. Polygamy, or, more correctly, polygyny, was the prevalent form of the marriage relation in Old Testament times. There seems to have been no limit to the number of wives or concubines a man might have, except his ability to maintain them and their children. As a matter of fact, however, only men of wealth, chiefs, or kings had many wives; the historian draws special attention to the large households of Gideon, David, and Solomon (Judges 8:30; 2 Samuel 5:13; 1 Kings 11:1 et Seq.). The Patriarchs had not many wives; Isaac appears to have been content with one. Cases such as those of Elkanah (1 Samuel 1:1-2) and Jehoiada (2 Chronicles 24:3), each of whom had two wives, may have been common (comp. Deuteronomy 21:15).
Christian Doctrine Concerning Polygamy
Jesus does not directly forbid polygamy, nor even revert to the subject, since it had been almost universally given up. No case of polygamy among the Jews is presented in the Gospel narrative; and when a wife is mentioned, it is stated or implied in the account that she is the only wife. The special evil of Jewish society was the facility of divorce-men putting away their wives for any, often a trifling, cause. Our Lord, when the Pharisees asked him (Matthew 19:3-9) whether it was lawful for a man to put away his wife for every cause, replied that God at the beginning made them a male and a female (ἄρσεν καὶ θῆλυ), thus indirectly condemning polygamy as contrary to the original institution of marriage: with a male and a female only polygamy was impossible. He then declares that the bond of marriage is indissoluble; the husband and wife are no more twain, but one flesh; and what God hath thus joined together let no man put asunder; and afterwards replies to their question on divorce: “Moses because of the hardness of your hearts suffered you to put away your wives: but from the beginning it was not so.” The practice of polygamy then existed by permission, not by command. It was a positive temporary regulation of Moses as a political governor, not of God as a moral ruler. The Jews had become hardened in their hearts; they were harsh and severe even to their own flesh. Their nearest relatives they treated with cruelty and injustice. Until the people could be brought into such a state that they could feel and understand the force of law, it was necessary for their rulers meanwhile to devise prudential regulations for the purpose of checking their lawlessness. All the evils of that early and idolatrous age of the world could not be remedied in a moment; and such was the state of society that not even until the advent of the Savior was the institution of marriage restored to its primeval integrity by revoking the permission of polygamy and divorce. The teaching of the apostle Paul, too, is worthy of most serious attention, as the subject of polygamy must have come immediately before him. The Christian converts in the apostolic age may be divided into three classes: Jews, Romans, and Greeks. Polygamy, though not unknown among the Jews, had fallen, as we have said, into general disuse. It was positively forbidden by the Roman law, though divorce was even more frequent among the Romans than the Jews; but it undoubtedly was the common usage of the Greeks. Thus Theodoret says: Πάλαι γαὶ εἰώθεισαν καὶ ῎Ελληνες καὶ ῾Ιουδαῖοι καὶ δύω καὶ τρισὶ καὶ πλείοσι γυναιξὶ νόμῳ γάμου κατὰ ταυτὸν συνοικεῖν (Com. in 1 Timothy 3:2). The epistles of Paul were generally addressed to Grecian converts; let us see, then, how he dealt with the question, which must have come directly before him. Two ways were open to the apostle: either a partial or temporary toleration, or an immediate and direct prohibition of the custom. The multitude of Greek converts were undoubtedly polygamists; it might seem a hard measure, and would produce much domestic discontent and misery, to compel converts to abandon their wives legally married according to the Grecian law. Did, then, the apostle permit the usage temporarily, either till that generation had passed away, or until polygamists themselves were willing to conform to the higher Christian standard? We most emphatically reply that the apostle never for even the briefest period tolerated polygamy among baptized or Christian disciples, and that it never existed in the Christian Church at all. Had it been tolerated even temporarily, some notice or reference to it would be found in the apostolic epistles. Tie sincerity of converts must have been put to a severe test: to give up their wives no doubt often involved a painful sacrifice to Christian duty, yet so emphatic and peremptory must have been the apostle’s prohibition that not a murmur of opposition was heard from Corinth, Ephesus, Philippi, Thessalonica, and other Christian communities.
Marriage in the Bible
See below, in the elaborated text Levirate (the brother required to marry a brother’s widow)
Corner Roof Dwellers
Get (divorce document)
A get or gett (/gɛt/; Hebrew: גט, plural gittin גיטין) is a divorce document in Jewish religious law, which must be presented by a husband to his wife to effect their divorce. The essential part of the get is very short: the text is “You are hereby permitted to all men,” which means that the woman is no longer married and that the laws of adultery no longer apply. The get also returns to the wife the legal rights that a husband holds in regard to her in a Jewish marriage.
A ketubah (Hebrew: כְּתוּבָּה; “written thing” pl. ketubot) is a special type of Jewish prenuptial agreement. It is considered an integral part of a traditional Jewish marriage, and outlines the rights and responsibilities of the groom, in relation to the bride. Nevertheless, there is no agreement in modern times as to the monetary worth of the ketubah, and in practice it is never enforced.
Lex Papia Poppaea
The Lex Papia Poppaea was a Roman law introduced in 9 AD to encourage and strengthen marriage. It included provisions against adultery and celibacy and complemented and supplemented Augustus’ Lex Julia de Maritandis Ordinibus of 18 BC and the Lex Iulia de Adulteriis Coercendis of 17 BC. The law was introduced by the suffect consuls of that year, M. Papius Mutilus and Q. Poppaeus Secundus, although they themselves were unmarried.