Divorce Law as a Means to Protect the Innocent
In the time of Jesus, the Jews had two main schools of thought when it came to a lawful divorce: the School of Shammai and the school of Hillel. Both schools of thought were based on the somewhat ambiguous term “some indecency” used in Deuteronomy 24 as described previously. The School of Hillel boasted a more lenient view which allowed divorce for almost any reason at all. The school of Shammai found divorce only permissible in the case of adultery. Both schools taught that divorce was required upon the breaking of the marriage bond through adultery. Deuteronomy 22 taught that any form of adultery was to be punished by death, so a divorce was actually an act of kindness. (Ex: Joseph was going to divorce Mary and quietly send her away rather than expose her to the people to be stoned.) Wives who were divorced without cause according to the law were given back their dowry, allowing them to financially care for themselves. This law was put in place to protect women who were being left penniless by fickle husbands. Jesus reiterates this protection in his answer to the Pharisees. Craig S. Keener, in his contribution to the book Remarriage After Divorce in Today’s Church emphasizes the protection Jesus is insisting upon in Mark 10 specifically.
“Jesus warned, ‘Anyone who divorces his wife and marri...
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...innocent blood”, and Exodus 21 even describes the penalty of death for a man who abuses a woman killing her unborn baby. Psalm 11:5 says, “The Lord tests the righteous, but his soul hates the wicked and the one who loves violence.”
Scripture not only condemns violence and promotes the act of fleeing from it, it also condemns those, like the Pharisees but even those in the contemporary Evangelical church who would condemn those who sought escape from an abusive marriage. Matt 23:4 says, “They tie up heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on people 's shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to move them with their finger.” Jesus’ words ring true for many churches and many pastors who are hell bent on condemning those coming out of these awful situations. Matt 12:7 says, “And if you had known what this means, ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice,’ you would not
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