Does God Really Hate Divorce?

by Irene Webster

Does God really hate divorce? I am convinced He doesn’t. Why? In the Jewish religion the Bible says God hates the putting away, not divorce! There is a difference between divorce and putting away.

Putting away a spouse meant separation thereby allowing the man to refuse to pay the bills and be responsible for his legal wife and her children. This man literally pushed his wife out of their home and denied her the right to support, a rightful, legal divorce, and any hope for a happy remarriage. Putting away his wife forced her to live as an adulteress if she chose to live with another man.

Many husbands at that time were getting away with just telling their wives to get out and so they could marry another woman. These men never gave their wives a legal document of divorce and their rightful property, ultimately stealing from them and denying their financial support. This is what God hates!

In an older biblical version we see in Malachi 2:15-16 KJV “putting away” instead of divorce mentioned:

Malachi 2:15-16 King James Version (KJV) 

15 And did not he make one? Yet had he the residue of the spirit. And wherefore one? That he might seek a godly seed.  Therefore take heed to your spirit, and let none deal treacherously against the wife of his youth.

16 For the Lord, the God of Israel, saith that he hateth putting away: for one covereth violence with his garment, saith the Lord of hosts: therefore, take heed to your spirit, that ye deal not treacherously.

This is where we get confused. The newer translations don’t use the words “putting away” but they do unfairly and blanketly say, “divorce”.

Malachi 2:16 Amplified Bible (AMP)

16 “For I hate [a] divorce,” says the Lord, the God of Israel, “and him who covers his garment with wrong and violence,” says the Lord of hosts.  “Therefore keep watch on your spirit, so that you do not deal treacherously [with your wife].”

So let’s break it down with the help of Strong’s Concordance.

Garment is translated “a wife”…

Violence meant wrong, unjust gain, cruelty, damage, false, injustice, x oppressor, unrighteous, violence (against, done) violent (dealing), wrong.

Treacherously means to act covertly (without being openly, acknowledged or displayed, secretly), to pillage, deal deceitfully, unfaithfully, offend, transgress, depart, unfaithful.

So, it is safe to say spouses whom are unfaithful, deceitful, cruel, and denying what is rightfully theirs from their mates are in big trouble with the Lord! That is what “putting away” does. A legal divorce is not what God hates!

Also, adultery does not happen just because you remarry after a divorce. Adultery only occurs when you are still married. And how could a woman that was “put away” be able to remarry without a legal divorce?

Luke 16:18 King James Version (KJV)

18 Whosoever putteth away his wife, and marrieth another, committeth adultery: and whosoever marrieth her that is put away from her husband committeth adultery.

So God doesn’t truly hate divorce. He just hates the unlawful way these husbands treated their lawful wives, by denying them a legal divorce and all their financial needs which often caused them to become adulterous! It is only a half truth that God hates all divorce.

In fact, most Christians don’t realize that God Himself stated that He divorced His own wife in Jeremiah 3:8 and gave her a bill of divorce, or a legal document, something many Jewish men did not do.

Jeremiah 3:8 (KJV)

8 And I saw, when for all the causes whereby backsliding Israel committed adultery I had put her away, and given her a bill of divorce; yet her treacherous sister Judah feared not, but went and played the harlot also.

God Himself understands how painful and destructive a bad marriage is. That is not what He wants for His children. He also wants us to live in PEACE.

1 Corinthians 7:15 King James Version:

15 But if the unbelieving depart, let him depart. A brother or a sister is not under bondage in such cases: but God hath called us to peace.

Again Strong’s Concordance brings clarity to this passage:

Unbelieving means disbelieving, i.e. without faith (spec a heathen); untrustworthy (person), or incredible (thing): that believeth not, faithless, incredible thing, infidel, unbeliever (-ing).

Depart means to be (give) space, i.e. to pass, enter, or to hold, admit: come, contain, go, have place, can, be room to receive

Bondage means to enslave, become servant.

Peace means peace literally or figuratively, prosperity, – one, peace, quietness, rest

The question: is your spouse truly a believer? Do they exhibit the fruit of the Spirit? Do you feel loved? Is there joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentle, and self- control exhibited in your home?

Does your spouse have the faith in God and is trustworthy? If not, you do not have to stay in an enslaved state as a servant to someone who does not know your value and does not have faith in God. You are, however, called to rest and quietness, prosperity and peace.

Galatians 5:22-23 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness,faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against things like this.

One other thought. Do not let a misguided Church or Christian try to tell you to stay in an ungodly marriage. Not everyone has personally seen the serious effects of an abusive marriage, had a similar experience, or taken the time to truly study the Word of God concerning the painful subject of divorce. They may not understand God’s Word and with good intentions may recommend you stay in a destructive marriage.

Instead of going to people whom do not understand your dilemma, seek experienced, Godly counsel as well as you personally studying the Word to really know what the Lord wants for you. God will confirm His will for you.

In conclusion, I ask you, is your marriage reflecting God’s character? If not, examine your marriage, your partner and yourself, draw close to Him, obey His Word and release forgiveness, seek Godly counsel and make a decision concerning your marriage.

Please know not making a decision concerning a destructive marriage may endanger yourself and your children. God does not want you to stay where you and your family are being hurt and may even be in danger.

Also please note this: You cannot change your spouse. And you will never be good enough in their opinion if they are not following God’s ways. No one can make your spouse happy enough and no one can change another person. God has to do that. You have to let go and let God…

God loves you. He created you to be blessed but how can you be when you are living a life of misery? God does not want you to live a life of stress and fear, being pushed down and hurt. So, after you have prayed, forgive and tried all you can to make your marriage work, trust that God will not condemn you for divorcing an ungodly person.

In fact, God has a better life for you. Trust Him. He loves you and will help you overcome any challenges you have. He will never leave you nor forsake you. He loves you.

Blessings, Irene