Before entering into the subject of divorce, marriage, adultery, and fornication, I have a question. Have you ever noticed how David and his men were ignorant of the Law at the time they were transporting the Ark of the Covenant to Yerushalem on an ox cart? Uzzah put out his hand to steady the Ark when it started tipping. YHWH slew him (II SAM. 6:7). It did not matter that David was angry, nor that they had no idea why the tragedy had occurred. At first. Ignorance simply was not an excuse with the Almighty. And it is not now. The legal penalties still applied and apply.
David checked the Law and found that only Levitical priests were authorized to carry the Ark, and on their shoulders. An ox cart will not do. A fear of YHWH was manifested. They did it right the next time.
Now to the subject of marriage according to Old Testament Law. Did Yahshua say anything different about divorce than is written in the Law? First let us see what He said:
MATTHEW 5:31-32 It hath been said, 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.
Furthermore, Yahshua was questioned in MATTHEW 19:3 (NASB):
Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any cause at all?
He answered thus in MATTHEW 19:4-6 (NASB):
“Have you not read, that He who created them from the beginning MADE THEM MALE AND FEMALE and said, ‘FOR THIS CAUSE SHALL A MAN LEAVE HIS FATHER AND MOTHER, AND SHALL CLEAVE TO HIS WIFE, AND THE TWO SHALL BECOME ONE FLESH (GEN. 1:27, 2:24, 5:2)? Consequently they are no longer two, but one flesh. What therefore YHWH has joined together, let no man separate.”
Then they further asked of Yahshua in MATTHEW 10:7:
Why did Moses then command to give a writing of divorcement, and to put her away?
To which He answered in MATTHEW 19:8-9:
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 (divorce) his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery…
The Laws dealing with divorce and adultery are found in LEVITICUS 20:10–adulterers put to death; NUMBERS 5:11-31–water of bitterness; DEUTERONOMY 22:13-29–virginity and rape; DEUTERONOMY 24:1–certificate of divorce. From these Laws we ascertain there are only two reasons for divorce: the new wife is found not to be a virgin because she has apparently committed fornication before their betrothal, and she commits adultery or lies with another man after their betrothal.
From a study of these Scriptures it can be understood that Moses permitted a man to divorce his wife–not out of hardness of heart–but because that man found uncleanness in her. Uncleanness was fornication (she was not a virgin when they got married) or adultery. Both cases resulted in the woman being stoned to death, but an adulterer had to be caught in the act by at least two witnesses so it was hard to prove. In such a case the husband could divorce his wife and send her away.
However, because DEUTERONOMY 24:1 was not spelled out explicitly, the husbands were using it to divorce their wives with any trifling excuse to get rid of them. That was their hardness of heart. This Law was not said by Moses, nor was it written by Moses. It was permitted by Moses in his office as judge of the people. In the beginning in GENESIS 2:24 the Law was as Yahshua quoted it in MATTHEW 19:5. It was not the Law that was wrong. Perhaps Moses was in error to permit such a thing, but the sin was in the hearts of the husbands.
So the aspect of divorce that Yahshua taught was from YHWH’s Law. Yahshua could never contradict the Law, nor could He make more perfect a Law that was already perfect (PSA. 19:7). If Moses sinned then Yahshua could correct the improper ideas resulting from that–according to the Law. However, I believe He was reprimanding the hard-heartedness of husbands who divorced their wives illegally. Yahshua was saying nothing different to the Law from the beginning in Eden and the Mosaic written Law. In fact, He was affirming it or clarifying it as the Pharisees, who sat in Moses’ seat teaching and explaining the Law, had failed to do.
In the beginning there was no such thing as divorce. It was not YHWH’s will for a husband and wife to separate at all. It was not His will for any sort of immorality outside of marriage.