Divorce today carries a different connotation than it did in Malachi’s day. People frequently mention Malachi 2:16, which declares that God hates divorce. The Lord God of Israel declares, “I hate divorce.” But this scripture says much more.
Interestingly, divorce is not expressly forbidden anywhere in the Old Testament. While there are various limitations on “putting away,” the Old Testament contains not a single word that forbids the dissolution of a marriage through divorce. If we want to find answers to a question about what the Bible means for our life, it is insufficient to ask: “What does the Bible say?”
Why Does God Hate Divorce
God hates divorce. The Bible verse continues by saying that God despises divorce because it causes two individuals to shred each other’s flesh violently. It goes on to caution those going through a divorce not to be treacherous to one another.
God Hates Divorce Pain, Not Those Who Go Through It
The Lord Almighty detests the suffering caused by divorce. He dislikes it when His priceless children endure this ordeal in pain and anguish. The Lord God does not like divorce because of the grief and the associated mourning.
Another mind-blowing fact is that God despises divorce because of what it does to the children. Divorce leaves a path of misery, and children are nearly always involved. It does not matter how old they are.
God Hates Divorce And Cares About Divorcees
“Come to me, all you who are restless and burdened, and I will give you rest,” says the Lord in Matthew 11:28. God knows that divorce makes you tired. He is aware that broken marriage adds burdens. He desires us to turn to Him in times of weariness and weight. He wants us to turn to Him in our time of need.
You are brokenhearted and crushed in spirit when you are divorced or going through a divorce. As it says in Psalms 34:18, “The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” God does not despise you. He desires to protect you. He wants to give you comfort. He desires to let you relax. He loves you.
He cares for them because they are hurting, broken, and dependent on Him. God loves them because He does not want His children to experience pain or suffering. God desires that we all succeed and enjoy good health, just as our souls do (3 John 1:2).
The truth is that telling people that God hates divorce invites their judgment. It gives the role of Judge, Jury, Executioner, divorce proceedings, and divorce law to those who have misconstrued that verse and undoubtedly many others.
Interpretation Of Malachi 2:16
God gives a clear explanation of why He values marriage so highly. He claims to have “made them one” (Malachi 2:15). God created marriage. He has the right to define something if He created it. Any departure from His plan repulses Him. Marriage is a covenant, not a contract. The entire notion of covenant, which is so crucial to God, is destroyed by divorce.
Marriage is a metaphor for God’s bond with His people (Hebrews 9:15). God wants us to comprehend the significance of a covenant, an unbreakable commitment. The idea of a covenant relationship, which God designed, is mocked when we divorce someone with whom we entered into one. Through a covenant He made, He is “married” to us as His people. Isaiah 54:5 exactly compares God and Israel.
The phrase “covering someone with your cloth” refers to offering protection in the Old Testament. Men are expected to “cover” their women as the protector and providers. Malachi’s two-part complaint in this chapter is that this is not happening.
Malachi 2:11 states that Israeli men are divorcing their Jewish wives to wed heathen women (Malachi 2:14). In fact, it is an act of spiritual aggression, which is the opposite of “protection.”
This verse’s Hebrew wording can be interpreted in one of two ways. In any case, the message of verse 16 is clear: God in no way endorses divorce. The introduction of verse 16 either alludes to a man who “hates and divorces” or God Himself “hating divorce.” Either a double proclamation from God emphasizes this, or the act of divorce is linked to an attitude of “hate.”
God hates divorce for yet another reason, according to Malachi 2:15. God’s intention for the family was that one man and one woman dedicate themselves to each other for life and raise children to comprehend the concept of covenant. He states He is “seeking godly offspring.” Children raised in a happy, two-parent home are much more likely to have satisfied marriages of their own.
While this is a different statement from God saying, “I hate divorce,” it would not change the point of the passage that divorce does violence to the wife the husband has sworn to protect. Therefore, there is no wrong or correct translation for it. However, an alternative translation of Malachi 2:16 would read something to the effect of, “If he hates and divorces his wife…” rather than “I hate divorce.”
10 Significant Bible Verses About Divorce
Matthew 19:8-9 “He told them, “Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because of your hardness of heart, but it was not permitted from the beginning. And I tell you that anyone who marries another person after divorcing their spouse, barring cases of sexual immorality, is guilty of adultery.”
Mark 10:11 “And he told them that anyone who divorces their wife and marries someone else is guilty of adultery against her, This is the same as anyone who divorces her husband and marries someone else.”
Jeremiah 3:1 “Should a man get back together with his ex-wife if she leaves him and marries another man after divorcing him? Would not the land be entirely contaminated? But after having numerous lovers while living as a prostitute, would you want to come back to me now? “the Lord declares.”
Isaiah 50:1 “The Lord says, “Where is your mother’s divorce certificate that I sent her away with? Or to whom did I sell you—one of my creditors? You were sold because of your faults, and your mother was exiled because of them.”
Mark 10:2-6 “Some Pharisees approached Jesus to put Him to the test and start asking Him if it was proper for a man to divorce his wife. “What did Moses command you?” He asked them. They replied, “Moses allowed a man to create a certificate of divorce and send her away.”
Jeremiah 3:8 “She noticed that I had divorced her and sent her away in retaliation for all of Israel’s adulteries. However, her cunning sister Judah showed no fear and went off to play the whore as well.”
Romans 7:2-3 “Because a married woman is legally obligated to her spouse while he is alive, she is exempt from the law of marriage if her husband passes away. As a result, if she cohabitates with another man while her husband still lives, she will be accused of being an adulteress. However, if her spouse passes away, she is exempt from that rule and is not an adulteress if she marries another man.”
1 Peter 3:7 “In a similar manner, husbands should treat their wives with respect and love as the weaker vessel because they are also heirs to the grace of life, preventing any interference with your prayers.”
1 Corinthians 7:11-13 “But if she does, she must continue to be unmarried or find happiness with her husband. Additionally, a husband cannot leave his wife. To the others, I (not the Lord) say this: If a brother has a non-believing wife who is prepared to share a home with him, he should not divorce her. And a woman should not divorce her husband if he is a nonbeliever and is willing to live with her.”
Matthew 5:31-32 “Anyone who divorces his wife must offer her a certificate of divorce,” it has been said. However, I will inform you that anyone who divorces his wife, barring sexual immorality, makes her an adultery victim, and anyone who marries a divorced woman commits adultery.”
Many people in our culture now view divorce as a good way to end a difficult marriage. Divorce, says the Lord, is traumatic and heartbreaking that is why He hates it. We also hate divorce because of the pain that comes with it. Matthew 7:5 applies in this context, “You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.”
In closing, I would like to challenge you to start praying together for 30 days as a couple that God will restore your marriage. That He will mend your relationship and that He will be the builder of your home. Ask for his grace and guidance.