The divorced woman (Mt 5:32-5:32)

“But I say to you!

‘That everyone

Who divorces his wife,

Except on the ground

Of sexual immorality,

Makes her an adulteress.

Whoever marries

A divorced woman

Commits adultery.’”

 

ἐγὼ δὲ λέγω ὑμῖν ὅτι πᾶς ὁ ἀπολύων τὴν γυναῖκα αὐτοῦ παρεκτὸς λόγου πορνείας ποιεῖ αὐτὴν μοιχευθῆναι, καὶ ὃς ἐὰν ἀπολελυμένην γαμήσῃ μοιχᾶται.

 

Jesus, via Matthew has a higher standard for his followers.  Matthew has this as a solemn statement of Jesus (ἐγὼ δὲ λέγω ὑμῖν).  Not only that, he repeated the same statement later in chapter 19:3-9, based on Mark, chapter 10:2-12.  Luke also had this same statement in chapter 16:18.  There was only one ground for divorce, the unchaste sexual immoral women (ὅτι πᾶς ὁ ἀπολύων τὴν γυναῖκα αὐτοῦ παρεκτὸς λόγου πορνείας).  This immorality, “πορνείας” included all kinds of sexual perversity, not just adultery.  Otherwise, that divorced women would become an adulteress, committing adultery (ποιεῖ αὐτὴν μοιχευθῆναι).  If anyone married a divorced woman, they were also committing adultery (καὶ ὃς ἐὰν ἀπολελυμένην γαμήσῃ μοιχᾶται.).  Thus, the reasons for divorce were explicitly limited to sexual perversity.  However, there was no indication that a woman could divorce her husband for any sexual cruelty or perversity.

Divorced woman (Deut 24:1-24:4)

“Suppose a man enters into marriage with a woman, but she does not please him because he finds something objectionable about her. So he writes her a certificate of divorce. He puts it in her hand and sends her out of his house. She then leaves his house and goes off to become another man’s wife. Then suppose the second man dislikes her, and he writes her a bill of divorce. He puts it in her hand and sends her out of his house. Or the second man who married her dies. Her first husband, who sent her away, is not permitted to take her again to be his wife after she has been defiled. For that is an abomination to Yahweh. You shall not bring guilt on the land that Yahweh your God is giving you as a possession.”

Clearly divorce for the man is okay. It is not clear why there is no defilement after the 1st husband, but there is defilement after the 2nd husband. The woman has to do whatever she can, but cannot go back to husband number 1.