Divorce and the Sin of Remarriage

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Although the Law of Moses permitted divorce,

“When a man takes a wife and marries her, if then she finds no favor in his eyes because he has found some indecency in her, and he writes her a certificate of divorce and puts it in her hand and sends her out of his house, (Deuteronomy 24:1 [ESV])

It was only permitted if the husband found an indecency in his wife, in which case, the Hebrew word for indecency is “ervah”, which is translated as “nakedness” in another passage,

But Shem and Japheth took a garment and laid it upon both their shoulders and walked backward and covered the nakedness of their father; and their faces were turned away, so that they did not see their father’s nakedness. (Genesis 9:23 [NASB])

As such, since nakedness is related to shame in scripture,

Adam and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame. (Genes 2:25 [NIV])

Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves. (Genesis 3:7 [NIV])

Your nakedness will be exposed and your shame uncovered. I will take vengeance; I will spare no one.” (Isaiah 47:3 [NIV])

The indecent reason that is shameful that permits divorce is an act of sexual immorality, such as fornication, where the wife was not a virgin because she had sexual relations before entering into the marriage,

 [13] And if any should take a wife, and should live with her, and should detest her, [14] and should place upon her words offered as as an excuse, and should bring upon her a bad name, and should say, I took this woman, and drawing near to her, I did not find her tokens of virginity.
(Deuteronomy 22:13-14 [ABP])

Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly. (Matthew 1:18-19 [ESV])

Or she committed adultery,

And if a man should be found going to bed with a wife living with a husband, you shall kill both, the man  going to bed with the wife, and the wife; and you shall lift away the wickedness from Israel. (Deuteronomy 22:22 [ABP])

Which is why when the Pharisees asked Jesus if divorce was allowed for “any” reason,

Some Pharisees came and tried to trap him with this question: “Should a man be allowed to divorce his wife for just any reason?” (Matthew 19:3 [NLT])

Jesus replied with an answer in accordance with the Law of Moses, “except for sexual immorality”, which is the only reason of “indecency” that the Law of Moses permitted for divorce,

I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality…
(Matthew 19:9 [NIV])

For even if a husband is an unbeliever, a wife must remain with the husband, since this is not a reason that permits divorce,

And if a woman has a husband who is not a believer and he is willing to live with her, she must not divorce him. (1 Corinthians 7:13 [NIV])

Yet in contrast with the Law of Moses, which permitted remarriage,

And when she is departed out of his house, she may go and be another man’s wife. (Deuteronomy 24:2 [KJV])

Jesus Christ forbade remarriage, hence,

…and marries another woman commits adultery.”
(Matthew 19:9 [NIV])

He answered, “Anyone who divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery against her. And if she divorces her husband and marries another man, she commits adultery.” (Mark 10:11-12 [NIV])

Which is why Paul states, that even if a woman should become divorced, whether because of sexual immorality as the only permitted reason for her to divorce him, or because an unbelieving husband simply just left her,

But if the unbeliever leaves, let it be so. The brother or the sister is not bound in such circumstances; God has called us to live in peace. (1 Corinthians 7:15 [NIV])

That she must remain unmarried,

To the married I give this command–not I, but the Lord–a wife should not divorce a husband (but if she does, let her remain unmarried… (1 Corinthians 7:10-11 [NETBIBLE])

Because regardless of whether the couple is separated or not, divorced or not, living together or not, sleeping in the same bed or not, had adulterous relations with others or not, both are still joined together before God, hence why the scriptures declares, “the two shall become one flesh”,

That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh. (Genesis 2:24 [NIV])

and the two will become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate. (Mark 10:8-9 [NIV])

In which case, only death frees both from the marriage,

A wife is tied by law for as long a time as her husband lives; but if her husband should sleep, she is free to whom she wants to marry, only in the Lord. (I Corinthians 7:39 [ABP])

[2] For the married woman is tied by law to the living husband. But if the husband should die, she is cleared from the law of the husband. [3] Surely then with the husband living, she shall be treated as an adulteress, if she becomes to another man; but if the husband should die, she is free from the law, for her to not be an adulteress, having become to another man.
(Romans 7:2-3 [ABP])

And because both are bound to each other as long as both should live, even if a spouse should commit adultery, is why it was said it is better not to marry,

The disciples said to him, “If this is the situation between a husband and wife, it is better not to marry.” (Matthew 19:10 [NIV])

Because even after divorcing, the only other option other than remaining unmarried is to simply reconcile with each other,

…a wife should not divorce a husband (but if she does, let her remain unmarried, or be reconciled to her husband)…  (1 Corinthians 7:10-11 [NETBIBLE])