Devarim (Deuteronomy) 21:10-25:19, Yeshayahu (Isaiah) 54, Luqa (Luke) 22-23
Shalom and welcome to this week’s Parasha Ki Tetze. This week, we are going to learn how Yahweh defines loving our neighbor. I am sure that there are many of us out there who have read through the Torah portions and have wondered to ourselves, how do some of these Commandments equate to love? How does stoning a rebellious son equate to love? How does marrying a captive woman equate to love?
These are fair questions to ask because I know that it can be difficult to see and understand that everything written in Scripture revolves around how to love Yahweh more than anything and how to love our neighbor as we love ourselves. But is it because the world has romanticized what love is and so therefore, we do not actually know what Yahweh’s definition of love is?
These are things we must examine with sincere thought and prayer because the way the world defines love is actually what would be considered infatuation which is something that is intense at first but short-lived. There are no deep roots to sustain this kind of love and there is nothing long-suffering about it and that at the moment it gets difficult to love the person back, that is when infatuation begins to fizzle up. It is no secret that we all have been harmed by others and we have all hurt others as well. This is why it is so important to understand how Yahweh defines love. How does He define what it means to love Him and to love others? Now please join me as we study Yahweh’s word.
There are a lot of topics to cover in this week’s Torah portion so let us begin by looking at the complexities of
marrying a captive woman.
Devarim (Deuteronomy) 21:10-14
10 “When you go out to war against your enemies, and Yahweh your Elohim delivers them into your hand, and you take them captive,
11 and you see among the captives a beautiful woman, and desire her and would take her for your wife,
12 then you shall bring her home to your house, and she shall shave her head and trim her nails.
13 She shall put off the clothes of her captivity, remain in your house, and mourn her father and her mother a full month; after that you may go in to her and be her husband, and she shall be your wife.
14 And it shall be, if you have no delight in her, then you shall set her free, but you certainly shall not sell her for money; you shall not treat her brutally, because you have humbled her.”
In Deuteronomy chapter 21 verses 10 through 14, we read about how Yahweh says to the children of Israel, “When you go to war and when He delivers the enemies in your hands, and you see a beautiful woman among the captives there are certain Commandments that pertain to marrying that woman.”
In the example given in Scripture, we see first that the children of Israel are going to war. To truly understand why Yahweh would allow a man to marry a captive woman, we have to go back a chapter and see what Yahweh says first about the terms in which the children of Israel are allowed to go to war on.
Devarim (Deuteronomy) 20:10-17
10 “When you go near a city to fight against it, then proclaim an offer of peace to it.
11 And it shall be that if they accept your offer of peace, and open to you, then all the people who are found in it shall be placed under tribute to you, and serve you.
12 Now if the city will not make peace with you, but makes war against you, then you shall besiege it.
13 And when the Yahweh your Elohim delivers it into your hands, you shall strike every male in it with the edge of the sword.
14 But the women, the little ones, the livestock, and all that is in the city, all its spoil, you shall plunder for yourself; and you shall eat the enemies’ plunder which Yahweh your Elohim gives you.
15 Thus you shall do to all the cities which are very far from you, which are not of the cities of these nations.
16 “But of the cities of these peoples which Yahweh your Elohim gives you as an inheritance, you shall let nothing that breathes remain alive,
17 but you shall utterly destroy them: the Hittite and the Amorite and the Canaanite and the Perizzite and the Hivite and the Jebusite, just as Yahweh your Elohim has commanded you.”
In Deuteronomy (Devarim) chapter 20 starting in verse 10, we read “When you go near a city to fight against it, then proclaim an offer of peace to it. And it shall be that if they accept your offer of peace, and open to you, then all the people who are found in it shall be placed under tribute to you, and serve you. Now if the city will not make peace with you, but war against you, then you shall besiege it. And when Yahweh your Elohim delivers it into your hands, you shall strike every male in it with the edge of the sword. But the women, the little ones, the livestock, and all that is in the city, all its spoil, you shall plunder for yourself; and you shall eat the enemy’s plunder which Yahweh your Elohim gives you. Thus you shall do to all the cities which are very far from you, which are not of the cities of these nations. But of the cities of these peoples which Yahweh your Elohim gives you as an inheritance, you shall let nothing that breathes remain alive, but you shall utterly destroy them.”
With this, we see that as children of Israel and as the body of Messiah, that we are supposed to be seeking peaceful solutions and unity to all our confrontations, but if terms of peace cannot be met, then as the body of Messiah, we are not to compromise in our faith for the sake of peace. We are to war with the strongholds that prevent us from having peace in our lives and our communities. As much as Yahweh is an Elohim of War, He is also an Elohim of peace. As our ancestors found themselves going to war, they were to offer terms of peace and, if the nations accepted Israel’s terms of peace, then they would be forced to serve them.
With this alone they may seem unloving but let us think of the alternative which is given in the example of marrying the captive woman. In the example of marrying the captive woman, her nation’s people did not accept Israel’s terms of peace. As a result, all the men of her nation were killed in battle against the men of Israel. Now, what is the loving thing to do in a situation like this?
When the Commandments were given, typically the understanding is that they were for worst case scenario fixes. Imagine for yourself this situation. A righteous man of Elohim is obeying Him by going out and conquering the nations for his Elohim and King Yahweh. I know this part is going to bother a lot of people, but Yahweh is an imperialist who seeks to subdue the entire world over to Him. This is why we are to go out into all nations and make disciples. Our mission for today is no different than what our ancestors had when they were told to conquer all of the land.
Now you have this righteous man of Elohim who has just come home from war with his plunder, and part of his plunder is this beautiful captive woman. This is where we have to have our spiritual glasses on to see how what I am about to say equates to love. This righteous man of Elohim sees this beautiful woman and takes pity on her because he has literally just killed all of her family. She has no brothers anymore, she has no father, and she likely has sisters, but remember these are ancient times and in ancient times women did not fare well on their own. They needed a man to provide and protect for them either in the form of a brother, a father, or a husband which she has neither of now.
Let us also keep in mind that the reason why Yahweh even allowed Israel to go to war was because these nations were pagan to begin with. They did not seek to follow after Yahweh. Instead, they made themselves friends of the world and by default, made themselves enemies of Elohim. So this righteous man of Elohim sees this woman, takes pity on her, and seeks to marry her with the hope that she would come to see through him as her husband, the love that Yahweh has for her. Whether or not her family agreed to terms of peace and survived, if she comes to see the love of Yahweh and
chooses to repent and worship Yahweh as the one true Elohim, then whether her family was alive or not, she would have to abandon her family, her culture, and her old faith in favor of following after Yahweh and His truth. This is something that Ruth did. This is the sort of example that Ruth has given us and is why she is mentioned in the lineage of Yeshua our Messiah and King.
This is effectively what we do today when we are buried in water immersion and are then raised to new life in Messiah. I am not advocating for men and women to walk out on their families. All that I am saying is when we were born again into new life, our perspective is different. We no longer look like we used to. We no longer live like we used to according to our flesh. We live and walk according to the Spirit.
This is the same basic idea with marrying the captive woman. The righteous man of Elohim is considered righteous because he is obeying Yahweh in faith. He went and helped Yahweh conquer a nation and takes pity on a captive woman that he finds to be beautiful. When he marries this woman, he is hoping that Yahweh’s love shines through him, to this woman so that she may be saved. Otherwise, the alternative is what? That she rejects Yahweh as the one true Elohim and thus rejects salvation and thus lives a life and dies without knowing the truth?
I find this latter option to be more unloving than the first. Yahweh loves the world so much that even after Israel goes to war with its enemies, Yahweh still provides a way for the captives of war to repent and be reconciled back to Him. Remember, Israel first offered terms of peace and surrender and they were rejected. Yeshua does this with us also. He offers us a way out of our sin in a loving and peaceful way. If we reject that offer initially, we can go on to live a life full of sin and have to deal with His consequences. It just makes life miserable, and we end up causing unnecessary pain and discomfort for ourselves and for our families as well. If we die in this unrepentful state, we suffer the same fate that the captive woman’s family did.
How many of us have had family members or friends that refused to humble themselves to repent, and they died in this unrepentful state? Our greatest desire was to just see them saved, and yet they refused and rejected Yahweh’s terms of peace and surrender. Until we do that, we are enemies of Elohim because of our sinful nature. Before we surrender our lives to Yeshua, we are friends with the world and the world hates Yeshua. Until we decided to accept Yeshua as our savior, we were enemies of Elohim. When we accepted Yeshua as our Messiah, we became that captive woman whom the righteous man of Elohim married. This is also why we are called Yeshua’s bride.
Some might be asking themselves “well, if this is the righteous man of Elohim and he finds no delight in the captive woman and decides to divorce her, how is that considered love?” If we think about it for a moment, why would a righteous man of Elohim find no delight in this woman? A righteous man of Elohim wants a Proverbs 31 bride and perhaps this captive woman wants nothing to do with Yahweh and His Torah. Maybe she continues to blaspheme or reject this righteous man in his love. While she is considered a captive woman and a non-believer, she does not have the same rights as a Hebrew wife would, so the terms of divorce are a bit different.
Qorintim Aleph (I Corinthians) 7:12
12 “But to the rest I, not Yahweh, say: If any brother has a wife who does not believe, and she is willing to live with him, let him not divorce her.”
Shaul speaks about this in First Corinthians chapter 7 verse 12. “But to the rest I, not Yahweh say: if any
brother has a wife who does not believe, and she is willing to live with him, let him not divorce her.” Scripture does not explicitly say this, but perhaps the captive woman (or the wife here in this case) continued in her unbelief and as a loving and righteous husband and man of Elohim, he never stops seeking opportunities to share the love of Yahweh in her life and maybe she became annoyed by it and wanted to leave.
Qorintim Aleph (I Corinthians) 7:15-16
15 “But if the unbeliever departs, let him depart; a brother or a sister is not under bondage in such cases. But God has called us to peace.
16 For how do you know, O wife, whether you will save your husband? Or how do you know, O husband, whether you will save your wife?”
Let us look at what Shaul says about this in First Corinthians chapter 7 verses 15 and 16. “But if the unbeliever departs, let him depart; a brother or a sister is not under bondage in such cases. But Elohim has called us to peace. For how do you know O wife, whether you will save your husband? Or how do you know, O husband, whether you will save your wife?”
This is the same basic principle with the man and the captive woman. We should also make a special note that Yahweh still desires His people to behave righteously, even when others reject Him.
Devarim (Deuteronomy) 21:14
14 “And it shall be, if you have no delight in her, then you shall set her free, but you certainly shall not sell her for money; you shall not treat her brutally, because you have humbled her.”
We can notice in verse 14 of chapter 21 in Deuteronomy that Yahweh tells the men of Israel; “If you find yourself in a situation like this, then you shall set her free and not make her a slave.”
Which lines up perfectly with what Shaul says in his letter. Yahweh does not want the man to make this captive woman a slave because Yahweh still loves her, and He still desires that she would be saved and that she would repent and turn to Him.
Devarim (Deuteronomy) 21:15-17
15 “If a man has two wives, one loved and the other unloved, and they have borne him children, both the loved and the unloved, and if the firstborn son is of her who is unloved,
16 then it shall be, on the day he bequeaths his possessions to his sons, that he must not bestow firstborn status on the son of the loved wife in preference to the son of the unloved, the true firstborn.
17 But he shall acknowledge the son of the unloved wife as the firstborn by giving him a double portion of all that he has, for he is the beginning of his strength; the right of the firstborn is his.”
As we move on to verse 15 through 17, we read about a man, his two wives, two sons, and the favoritism he shows to one of these wives and his sons. Again, Yahweh has Commandments in place to protect the woman and the child in cases like this because ideally monogamy is what we want. Most people desire to marry in ratios of one to one, but even if a man should find himself with more than one wife, he needs to behave with honor and integrity and not show any sort of favoritism.
This was a problem that our forefather Yaakov (Jacob) had when he clearly favored Rachel over any of his other wives and then displayed that same sort of favoritism with his son (our patriarch) Joseph. This created nothing but problems for the family and all of which can be avoided if the men step up and do their job in leading the family in Yahweh’s righteousness. The basics of verse 15 through 17 are: fathers do not show favoritism among your children.
I have children of my own, but I never treat any of them differently. They all received the reward they worked for. In the example (in Scripture), the firstborn receives the blessing of the firstborn even if he is not the favorite son. So even when fathers fail to live up to righteous standards, Yahweh is there to remind the nation not to become this way.
Devarim (Deuteronomy) 21:18-21
18 “If a man has a stubborn and rebellious son who will not obey the voice of his father or the voice of his mother, and who, when they have chastened him, will not heed them,
19 then his father and his mother shall take hold of him and bring him out to the elders of his city, to the gate of his city.
20 And they shall say to the elders of his city, ‘This son of ours is stubborn and rebellious; he will not obey our voice; he is a glutton and a drunkard.’ Then all the men of his city shall stone him to death with stones; so you shall put away the evil from among you, and all Israel shall hear and fear.”
While we were on the subject of children, in verse 18-21, we read about a stubborn and rebellious son that is stoned to death. I know it may seem barbaric that a parent would willingly offer up their child to be stoned to death. However, we have to examine what Scripture says from multiple angles.
Let us read what it says. “If a man has a stubborn and rebellious son who will not obey the voice of his father or the voice of his mother and who when they have chastened him will not heed them then his father and his mother shall take hold of him and bring him out of the Elders of the city to the gate of his city and they shall say to the Elders of his city the son of ours are stubborn and rebellious, he will not obey our voice, he is a glutton and a drunkard, then all the men of his cities shall stone him to death with stones so you shall put away the evil from among you and all Israel shall hear and fear”.
As we examine this line by line, we see in verse 18 that this son is stubborn and rebellious, does not obey the voice of his parents, and they have tried to discipline him. The way it is worded indicates that the son is old enough to understand and take direction, but yet, refuses to take direction and accept discipline. He knows better because we are not talking about a little child. Most likely, the son is around 18 to 20 years old. He is a grown man and knows right from wrong. Now this son is in violation of the fifth Commandment which my school of thought on this is, that the Ten Commandments are a summary of the entire Torah. The first four Commandments are a summary of how to love Yahweh and the last six Commandments are a summary of how to love your neighbor.
Devarim (Deuteronomy) 21:19-21
19 “Then his father and his mother shall take hold of him and bring him out to the elders of his city, to the gate of his city.
20 And they shall say to the elders of his city, ‘This son of ours is stubborn and rebellious; he will not obey our voice; he is a glutton and a drunkard.’
21 Then all the men of his city shall stone him to death with stones; so you shall put away the evil from among you, and all Israel shall hear and fear.”
As we move on to verses 19 through 21, these parents have had enough and now they take their son to the Elders of the city with hope in mind that the older men can try and talk some sense into him. Again, as we spoke about last week in Parasha Shoftim, the appointed judges and elders are to be seeking the restoration and repentance of the people in their community.
Even after the elders were not able to talk some sense into him, they had no choice but to purge the evil from their community. It may not seem like it at first, but this is the most loving thing they could have done since this rebellious son continued to walk in defiance and in his sinful lifestyle. It is the most loving thing they can do for the community, and I am sure the parents in this example were brokenhearted. For myself, if I was in this situation, I would feel as if I failed my son. I understand that a physical death does not mean anything when we know Yeshua as our Savior and in this case the rebellious son has rejected that. He has rejected Yahweh as his Redeemer and that is what would have hurt me the most as a father.
I love my children dearly and if they were to die for whatever reason that would hurt. But what would hurt most is if they died and they never chose to repent and claim Yahweh’s free gift of salvation because death is nothing. Death has lost its sting. When someone you care about and love dies without accepting Yeshua as their savior, that is what hurts the most.
If we love our communities and we do not want others to experience the same sort of pain these parents in Scripture have had to experience, then the loving thing to do is to put to death the rebellious son. If the rebellious son was allowed to live and continue on in his sinful lifestyle, who knows how many other sons and daughters he may have corrupted. Then eventually you end up with an entirely corrupted community which then spreads to the nearby communities and then eventually the entire nation.
This is exactly how Satan destroys families, then the community, and then the nation. As much as we love our children, if we do not want to see them die without first accepting Yeshua, then we have to be very careful and mindful about the enemy’s tactics. First and always, Yahweh needs to be number one. The rebellious son in Scripture was given multiple opportunities to repent and he chose not to. It is a sad thing to read about, but it is still a reality for many of us today.
In the dispersion, we do not stone anybody as I spoke about last week, but we cast them out of the assemblies with the hope and prayer in mind that they will repent to then be able to rejoin the community. Sin is no joke. If you give Satan and his demons an inch, they will take a mile, so we must always be on our guard to defend ourselves from the arrows of the enemy.
Devarim (Deuteronomy) 22:1-2
1 “You shall not see your brother’s ox or his sheep going astray, and hide yourself from them; you shall certainly bring them back to your brother.
2 And if your brother is not near you, or if you do not know him, then you shall bring it to your own house, and it shall remain with you until your brother seeks it; then you shall restore it to him.”
As we move on to chapter 22, we read about various Commandments about loving your neighbor. For example, if you see your neighbor’s animal wandering off, do the loving thing and return it to him. If you do not know who the animal belongs to, then hold on to it. Keep the animal safe and well fed until its owner comes looking for him. It is all really simple stuff, but what I wanted to focus on was the Commandments regarding sexual immorality in verses 13 through 30. Let us take a look.
Devarim (Deuteronomy) 22:13-14
13 “If any man takes a wife, and goes in to her, and detests her,
14 and charges her with shameful conduct, and brings a bad name on her, and says, ‘I took this woman, and when I came to her I found she was not a virgin.”
Here we have a man who marries a woman (a virgin to be specific), and yet after the marriage ceremony and the consummation of the marriage, the husband tries to accuse his wife of shameful conduct. What he is basically stating is that his wife was not a virgin when they married. This is a big deal for a few reasons. One reason is that this is a serious accusation against his wife and his wife’s father.
Hebrew culture is different than the culture here in the West. In our modern culture, we do not really think of it this way, but the father is the head of the household, and this idea of dating and marriage is not how it was back then. Back then, a father took great pride and responsibility in making sure to raise up children who loved Yahweh and behaved honorably in the community.
If you are a righteous father and giving your daughter’s hand in marriage, you are expecting her husband to behave honorably and treat your daughter with respect and love as Yeshua would. Here in this example (in Scripture), this husband is not doing that, and this comes as a great offense to a father for several reasons.
As a righteous father who fears Elohim, he would have raised his daughter to love Yahweh and fear Him so naturally speaking, she would have kept herself pure until marriage. Also as a father, you placed your trust in this man who is now your daughter’s husband, and yet he has behaved dishonorably by accusing your daughter of immoral conduct.
We know it is dishonorable behavior because in verse 15, the father and mother bring out the evidence of their daughter’s virginity, which are the consummation bed sheets, and prove to the Elders that their daughter was indeed a virgin. When we look at this from a different angle, we see that this man’s motives for marrying this woman and sleeping with her was all out of lust and he had no desire to love her as his wife and behave honorably towards her.
This poses a huge problem because this type of behavior in the man leads to bigger and greater sin, as we will read about in the following verses. Before we get there, let us see what Scripture says to do in the case of this man.
Devarim (Deuteronomy) 22:18-19
18 “Then the elders of that city shall take that man and punish him;
19 and they shall fine him one hundred shekels of silver and give them to the father of the young woman, because he has brought a bad name on a virgin of Israel. And she shall be his wife; he cannot divorce her all his days.”
In verses 18 through 19 we read “Then the elders of that city shall take that man and punish him, and they shall find him one hundred shekels of silver and give them to the father of the young woman, because he has brought a bad name on a virgin of Israel. And she shall be his wife; he cannot divorce her all his days”. If it happens that a man marries a woman and she was found to have lied about her virginity, that woman is to be stoned to death because she played the harlot in her father’s house and has brought shame upon her father’s house, we are to purge the evil from the land.
One thing I would like to clarify is that Scripture does not support marrying a rapist, despite what you may have been told or heard or even seen in movies and on TV.
Devarim (Deuteronomy) 22:28-29
28 “If a man finds a young woman who is a virgin, who is not betrothed, and he seizes her and lies with her, and they are found out,
29 then the man who lay with her shall give to the young woman’s father fifty shekels of silver, and she shall be his wife because he has humbled her; he shall not be permitted to divorce her all his days.”
Let us take a look at verses 28 and 29. “If a man finds a young woman who is a virgin, who is betrothed and seizes her and he lies with her and they are found out then the man who lay with her shall give to the young woman’s father fifty shekels of silver and she shall be his wife because he has humbled her; he shall not be permitted to divorce her all his days”.
The Hebrew word for seizes her is Taphas and according to Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance, tafas is a primitive root word that means to manipulate.
A primitive root; to manipulate, that is seize; chiefly to capture, wield; specifically, to overlay; figuratively to use unwarrantably: – catch, handle, (lay, take) hold (on, over), stop, X surely, surprise, take.
[Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance]
While technically, seizes her would be a correct translation (given the context of the situation), it does not adequately explain and even gives the wrong impression about verses 28 and 29 in Scripture. The couple that is found to be sleeping together in verses 28 and 29 are both willing participants.
Actually, a good way to look at it would be that the man manipulates the woman or even seduces the woman to sleep with him. The way it is written shows that this was done in secret and that somebody found out about what they did in secret.
To make sure everyone is behaving honorably and walking righteously before Elohim, both of the willing participants are to get married and are not allowed to divorce, because they have behaved shamefully instead of honorably. Now they must set a good example in all of Israel.
Devarim (Deuteronomy) 23:15-16
15 “You shall not give back to his master the slave who has escaped from his master to you.
16 He may dwell with you in your midst, in the place which he chooses within one of your gates, where it seems best to him; you shall not oppress him.”
As we move on to chapter 23 (towards the end of the chapter), we read about various Commandments to deal with the interactions of our neighbors. One example is that the children of Israel are not to return an escaped slave back to its master.
Let us read what it says. “You shall not give back to his master the slave who has escaped from his master to you. He may dwell with you in your midst in the place which he chooses within one of your gates where it seems best to him; you shall not oppress him”.
Slavery in Israel is not like what we are used to seeing depicted in movies or what is taught in the history books.
Slavery in Israel was more like servanthood or what the military is like today. In today’s military, you sign the dotted line and give your life away in complete service to your country. In return, your country provides you with food, clothing, a place to sleep, medical, and so much more. So masters were to treat their slaves with respect and honor.
This is why Shaul and many other Apostles in their writings, describe themselves as servants or slaves of Messiah Yeshua because this is really what we are. When we turn our back on the world and submit our lives over to Yeshua, our Savior, we are bought with a price (His blood), thus we enter into the servant or slave-like relationship with Yeshua.
Yeshua provides us with so much more than just food and clothing, He provides us with eternal life. This is why man does not live by bread and bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of Elohim.
The idea is that, if a slave is running away from his master, then the master is not doing his part to look after his slave. This is why Israel was commanded not to return a slave that had escaped. The loving thing to do is to provide him with a stable and loving environment to live in. This is what Yeshua does for us when we run away from the slave master of this world to Yeshua, our new slave master, who loves us, provides for us, and does not oppress us.
We also see that the children of Israel were not to charge their brothers interest on food or money, but with a foreigner they were allowed. How does this apply to us today? Spiritually speaking, those of us who belong to the body of Messiah are all brothers and sisters in the faith. Those outside of the faith would be considered our fellow man but not our brother or sister in a spiritual sense.
Marqaus (Mark) 3:31-35
31“Then His brothers and His mother came, and standing outside they sent to Him, calling Him.
32 And a multitude was sitting around Him; and they said to Him, “Look, Your mother and Your brothers are outside seeking You.”
33 But He answered them, saying, “Who is My mother, or My brothers?”
34 And He looked around in a circle at those who sat about Him, and said, “Here are My mother and My brothers!
35 For whoever does the will of Elohim is My brother and My sister and mother.”
This lines up well with what Yeshua said in Mark chapter 3. Let us read what it says.
“Then His brothers and His mother came, and standing outside they sent to Him calling Him. And a multitude was sitting around Him; and they said to Him, ‘Look, Your mother and Your brothers are outside seeking you.’ But He answered them, saying, ‘Who is My mother or My brothers?’ And he looked around in a circle at those who sat about Him, and said, ‘Here are My mother and My brothers! For whoever does the will of Elohim is My brother and My sister and mother’ ”.
In one sense, while we do have a physical family, Yahweh’s family is greater than the physical and this is why there is no distinction between the Jew and the Gentile in Messiah Yeshua. If we do not know, it was always supposed to be this way because as we know, Ruth was a Moabite, and she was grafted into Israel and the tribe of Judah for her faith. We also read about Uriah the Hittite who is obviously not a native born, but because of his faith, he was grafted in. So again, like we spoke about last week, our faith is what determines us as a nation. The greater spiritual lesson here is, let us not focus on our blood as our family. Rather, our family are those of the body of Messiah and we should treat everyone with love and respect. We must also remember that there is a distinguishable difference between those that are a part of the world and those that are a part of the body of Messiah.
As we move on to chapter 24, we read about the Commandments regarding divorce. If you would like an in-depth study regarding divorce and Yahweh’s heart in marriage, please visit our website and find our studies in Covenant Relationships. Divorce is a subject that many men and women have had to deal with. Divorce is something that has torn apart a lot of families and divorce all stems from a lack of love either on one person or both the husband and the wife. I want to start off by saying that Yahweh never instituted marriage with the idea that divorce was an option.
Mattityahu (Matthew) 19:8
8 “He said to them, “Moses, because of the hardness of your hearts, permitted you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so.”
However, as Yeshua says in Matthew Chapter 19 verse 8, Moshe permitted husbands to divorce their wives because of the hardness of their hearts but from the beginning it was not so.
Devarim (Deuteronomy) 24:1-4
1“When a man takes a wife and marries her, and it happens that she finds no favor in his eyes because he has found some uncleanness in her, and he writes her a certificate of divorce, puts it in her hand, and sends her out of his house,
2 when she has departed from his house, and goes and becomes another man’s wife,
3 if the latter husband detests her and writes her a certificate of divorce, puts it in her hand, and sends her out of his house, or if the latter husband dies who took her as his wife,
4 then her former husband who divorced her must not take her back to be his wife after she has been defiled; for that is an abomination before the Lord, and you shall not bring sin on the land which the Lord your God is giving you as an inheritance.”
Let us read what it says in Deuteronomy chapter 24 verses 1 through 4. “When a man takes a wife and marries her, and it happens that she finds no favor in his eyes because he has found some uncleanness in her, and he writes her certificate of divorce, puts it in her hand, and sends her out of his house, when she has departed from his house, and goes and becomes another man’s wife, if the latter husband detests her and writes her certificate of divorce, puts it in her hand, and sends her out of his house, or if the latter husband dies who took her as his wife, then her former husband who divorced her must not take her back to be his wife after she has been defiled; for that is an abomination before Yahweh, and you shall not bring sin on the land which Yahweh your Elohim is giving you as an inheritance”.
In this example, it is assumed that this man that is issuing a certificate of divorce is a righteous man because according to the Torah, if his wife has committed some sort of sexual sin against him, he can legally have her stoned to death. Yet, this is not what is happening and so he can legally divorce his wife as well. It shows that this man does not want his wife dead, rather he takes every opportunity to love his wife and try to persuade her to repent of her sin against him and against Yahweh. Yet she remains unrepentful and so therefore he issues her a certificate of divorce.
In this time frame, it was not as easy for a woman to go and financially provide for herself as it is today. The idea is, when the husband issues a certificate of divorce to his wife, he is effectively cutting off all financial and physical provisions for her with the hope in mind that she will repent so that he can welcome his wife back into his house; maintaining order in his own house because, remember, he is the priest and king of his own house. It is his responsibility to ensure that there is righteous living being conducted under his roof. Yet this wife of his is choosing not to repent because even after she has been issued the certificate of divorce, she goes on to marry another man.
Clearly, she has rejected her husband’s authority and love over her and thus has also rejected Yahweh because whatever Elohim has joined together, no man has to separate. Yahweh is merciful, and although she may have rejected her husband and is not repented of her sin, it does not mean she will go on forever in this state.
Yahweh is still merciful enough to provide her with another opportunity for repentance with another husband even though it is not ideal. If she did not repent with her first husband but goes on to repent with her second husband, she is still forgiven. She is not to return to her previous husband because that would be considered an abomination. Why would Yahweh split up another marriage and possibly another family? This woman is just better off staying with her second husband. However, this commandment about a woman
not returning to her previous husband if she is divorced again also protects the righteous men.
In the example given in Scripture, the second husband divorces this woman indicating that she has still not yet repented and has committed the same sort of sin against him or that he died and now she is suddenly left without her husband to provide for her. So she gets this bright idea in her head that she will return to her first husband, hoping he will take pity on her, because she is now really in the bind and needs the help. However, she is still not coming from a place of humility and repentance so Yahweh commands that a woman like this is not to return to her previous husband as a means to protect the husband as well.
Yahweh is merciful enough to allow a woman to be divorced for adultery or some sort of sexual sin against her husband with the hope that she repents and will be saved. Yahweh is also wise and discerning enough to warn the righteous men not to receive a woman back like this (that is unrepentful) into their home to cause more chaos and disorder. The only legal reason for divorce is active and unrepented sexual immorality.
Men, if you find that your wife has committed adultery against you, and you confront her as she offers true and genuine repentance, then you are obligated to forgive her and make the marriage work. The same goes for wives because we are supposed to forgive those that sin against us, just as Yahweh forgives us, as we sin against Him. If we want forgiveness, then we have to be willing to give it.
Plus, the whole point of marriage is to help us with this process of sanctification. To teach us how to love selflessly and to make us more like Yeshua. We often praise Yahweh for how merciful, loving, and full of grace He is, yet we are not willing to be the same with our spouses and our neighbors. It is no wonder that our families are broken. Too many men and women are too busy trying to be like the way the world is telling them to be instead of focusing on Yeshua.
With all that we have covered through this parasha, we see and understand that the goal that Yahweh has in mind for all of us is to love one another and behave honorably towards one another. For those of us in the body of Messiah, we need to come together as one united body under Yeshua. We need to stop all this bickering and division.
For us to truly become a united body and eventually a physical nation, the men need to step up and take care of the community and hold other men accountable. Fathers then hold their families accountable. Then we can live together in peace and truly have that brotherly love for one another.
Having brotherly love for one another is not some sort of infatuation, but this love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, it is not puffed up; it does not behave rudely; it does not seek its own, it is not provoked, it thinks no evil; it does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; it bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love Never Fails.