Malachi 2:15, 16 - God Hates Divorce.
Mal.2:15, 16: God Hates Divorce.
CONTENT; What's in the verse; Translations; Paraphrase; Word
Mal 2:15 (KJV) 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.
Mal 2:16 (KJV) 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
Mal 2:15 (NLT) Didn't the LORD make you one with your wife? In
body and spirit you are his. And what does he want? Godly children
from your union. So guard yourself; remain loyal to the wife of your
Mal 2:16 (NLT) "For I hate divorce!" says the LORD, the God of
Israel. "It is as cruel as putting on a victim's bloodstained coat,"
says the LORD Almighty. "So guard yourself; always remain loyal to
Mal 2:15 (AMP) And did not God make [you and your wife] one
[flesh]? Did not One make you and preserve your spirit alive? And why
[did God make you two] one? Because He sought a godly offspring [from
your union]. Therefore take heed to yourselves, and let no one deal
treacherously and be faithless to the wife of his youth.
Mal 2:16 (AMP) For the Lord, the God of Israel, says: I hate
divorce and marital separation and him who covers his garment [his wife]
with violence. Therefore keep a watch upon your spirit [that it may
be controlled by My Spirit], that you deal not treacherously and
faithlessly [with your marriage mate].
Mal 2:15 (TLB) You were united to your wife by the Lord. In
God's wise plan, when you married, the two of you became one person in
his sight. And what does he want? Godly children from your union.
Therefore, guard your passions! Keep faith with the wife of your youth.
Mal 2:16 (TLB) For the Lord, the God of Israel, says he hates
divorce and cruel men. Therefore, control your passions--let there be no
divorcing of your wives.
Make them one: Here the prophet recalls the words from Gen.
2:24, "one flesh." [Nelson SB]
A remnant of the Spirit: This somewhat difficult phrase most
likely indicates the work of God's Holy Spirit in the life of the
married couple. [Nelson SB]
Covereth violence with his garment: A woman was claimed as a
wife by spreading one's garment over her (Ruth 3:9; Ezek. 16:8).
Destroying that relationship and treacherously violating the marriage
covenant is here described as "violence" done to that garment.
Take heed to your spirit: We must control our attitudes so that
they will be in line with those of God's Spirit. [Nelson SB]
Treacherously: To the Lord, attitudes of indifference to
marriage vows and duties are the actions of a traitor. [Nelson SB]
CONTEXT; What's around the verse; Overview; Topic:
God had loved His people (1:1-5). Yet His priests treated Him
with contempt (v. 6-2:9), and His people wearied God with their
unfaithfulness (vv. 10-17). [The 365-Day Devotional Commentary]
The People Break Their Marriage Vows (2:10-17)
Mixed marriage and divorce (2:10-16)
Sin in the Family
CROSS REFERENCES; What's in verses elsewhere.
Genesis 2:24 (KJV) Therefore shall a man leave his father and
his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one
Proverbs 4:23 (KJV) Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out
of it are the issues of life.
Proverbs 6:25 (KJV) Lust not after her beauty in thine heart;
neither let her take thee with her eyelids.
Matthew 5:28 (KJV) But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh
on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her
already in his heart.
Matthew 19:4-6 (KJV) And he answered and said unto them, Have
ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them
male and female,  And said, For this cause shall a man leave
father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall
be one flesh?  Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh.
What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.
Deut. 24:1, 2 (KJV) When a man hath taken a wife, and married
her, and it come to pass that she find no favour in his eyes, because
he hath found some uncleanness in her: then let him write her a
bill of divorcement, and give it in her hand, and send her out of his
house.  And when she is departed out of his house, she may go and be
another man's wife.
Matthew 5:31-32 (KJV) It hath been said, Whosoever shall put
away his wife, let him give her a writing of divorcement:  But I
say unto you, That whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the
cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery: and whosoever
shall marry her that is divorced committeth adultery.
Matthew 19:3-9 (KJV) The Pharisees also came unto him, tempting
him, and saying unto him, Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife
for every cause?  And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not
read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and
female,  And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and
mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh?
 Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore
God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.  They say unto
him, Why did Moses then command to give a writing of divorcement, and
to put her away?  He saith unto them, Moses because of the
hardness of your hearts suffered you to put away your wives: but from the
beginning it was not so.  And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away
his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another,
committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit
Luke 16:18 (KJV) Whosoever putteth away his wife, and marrieth
another, committeth adultery: and whosoever marrieth her that is put away
from her husband committeth adultery.
COMMENTARY / APPLICATION: Moving From The Head To The Heart
What is God teaching here? What does it teach about Jesus?
This verse does not contradict Deu 24:1, where divorce is
permitted by the law of Moses, not prescribed. [Scofield SB]
A clear, strong statement of God's attitude toward divorce.
Whereas the law conceded and regulated it, the Lord said this was
because of the hardness of man's heart. [Ryrie SB]
Divorce, although permitted and regulated by the Law (cf. Deut.
24:1ff.), is expressly rejected by God. [Believer's SB]
Marriage is not a trade-in business. This passage is the
strongest statement in the Old Testament against divorce among the
covenant people. Dt 24:1-4 describes a divorce process for the Hebrew
people. Ezra commanded divorce from heathen wives (Ezr 10:10-44).
Malachi condemned the practice of divorcing older wives married within
the covenant community to marry younger women or women of the mixed
tribes who had remained in Israel during the Babylonian captivity. The
prophet anticipated the teaching of Jesus that all divorce is contrary
to God's original intention for marriage (Mt 19:4-9). [Disciple
All divorce breaks the covenant (promise) made at the time of
marriage, and remarriage violates the pattern God established at creation
when He made only one wife for Adam (v. 15). Or this may mean He made
them one flesh in marriage. [Believer's SB]
The holiness of God means unforgiven sin separates us from Him.
Israel thought nothing of divorcing wives who had long been faithful
for younger, more attractive foreigners. Then they entered worship
and expected God to hear their prayers and accept their gifts. God
refused. We must find forgiveness of sin before we can worship the holy
God. [Disciple SB]
The people were being unfaithful. Though not openly saying they
rejected God, they were living as if he did not exist. Men were marrying
pagan women who worshiped idols. Divorce was common, occurring for no
reason other than a desire for change. People acted as if they could do
anything without being punished. And they wondered why God refused to
accept their offerings and bless them (Malachi 2:13)! We cannot
successfully separate our dealings with God from the rest of our lives. He
must be Lord of all. [Life Application SB]
Always Be True (Mal. 2)
A children's song captures the meaning of the seventh
commandment. "Always be true," it says. "Always be true to one you're married
Malachi too captured this meaning. "Judah has broken faith," the
prophet proclaimed. Men had married pagan wives. Men had discarded older
wives to marry younger, more sexually attractive girls. In many ways,
but particularly in these, the people of Malachi's day showed that
they totally misunderstood the concept of loyalty which lies at the
root of every human relationship, and at the root of relationship
with God Himself.
You see, God had long ago made a commitment to Abraham and his
offspring. Those offspring had often proven rebellious and disobedient. Yet
through the long centuries God remained faithful to His covenant
commitment. God would love, endlessly, even if His people did not love Him
That's what covenant means. Commitment. Loyalty. Always being
Marriage was intended by God to be a covenant relationship. It
was to be a pact of loyalty, by which two of His people committed
themselves to one another. Oh, there might be the unusual situation in
which the hardness of one person ultimately made marriage impossible
and divorce a necessity. But there could be no excuse for what was
then going on in Judah. Men were obviously marrying to satisfy their
passion, with no sense of the deeper meaning of marriage. They took
foreign wives, who surely would not attract them by their character or
faith! And they cast off older wives in a heated rush to find a younger
bride, who would be no more to them than a sex object.
Where was the commitment so essential to covenant relationship?
Where was loyalty? Gone! And, Malachi said, God is a witness on the
side of the wife who is treated so shabbily. Malachi said God no
longer pays attention to the offerings of such a husband, nor accepts
them. Such divorce God hates, for it is an act of violence, tearing at
and destroying the very heart of the abandoned wife.
Reading this passage I can't help thinking of one couple I know.
He began an affair with a fellow worker, and then decided to leave
his wife and two teenagers to marry her. He did leave. And I've
counseled with both the wife and the teens, and seen the terrible damage
his choice has done. Seeing their hurt, I understand why God hates
such a divorce.
That husband has never faced the appalling nature of his
betrayal, or acknowledged to any of the three he's harmed that his
abandonment was a sin. The husband and his new wife go to church regularly.
They sing in the choir. But I wonder if he ever senses the terrible
fact that the LORD "no longer pays attention to [his] offerings or
accepts them with pleasure from [his] hands"? [The 365-Day Devotional