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The ONLY Cause for DIVORCE

Updated on March 28, 2013

The Report of Fornication

In this day and age, the majority of the world is not Jewish and does not understand the scriptures from the Jewish perspective. Jesus was born Jewish and lived according to the Torah, which included the 10 Dabarim (Words/Laws/Commandments). Depending on the version of the English Bible we read, many grafted-in, born-again Christians (Rom 11) have been led astray due to mistranslations and traditional "Gentile", ignorant teachings. May we not remain in ignorance, brothers and sisters.

Have you been taught that the only reason for divorce is an unfaithful, adulterous spouse? And that if you are divorced for this reason you can lawfully remarry? How about abandonment? We're talking COVENANT marriage here, or Mat 19:6.

  • "Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together [suzeugnumi: to yoke together], LET NOT man put asunder [chórizó - separate/divorce]."

Let’s go to Matthew 5:32 where Jesus gives the only reason for lawful divorce, and we’re going to read it in the accurate Aramaic translation:

  • “But I am saying to you that everyone who divorces [apolyon/apoluó] his wife, apart from THE REPORT [logou/root is logos = word] OF FORNICATION [porneias], he causes her to commit adultery [moicheuó], and whoever takes [marries] her who is divorced is committing adultery [moicheuó].”

It’s obvious that the Greek words for fornication and adultery are DIFFERENT. Jesus did not say covenant spouses could divorce because of adultery, or for any reason (ref. Deut 24:1-3; Mat 19:3), for that matter. At that time, the Law of Moses regarding 'some uncleanness' (dabar ervah) was being severely abused. In fact, Deut 24:1 is the cross-reference to Mat 5:31, meaning Jesus was specifically addressing this abuse of the Law regarding divorce. To gain greater understanding of what is being commanded by Jesus, notice the Greek words logou (word) porneias (fornication) in Mat 5:32. The Hebrew equivalent would be dabar (word) z'nut (fornication).

We can find an example of the ‘Report of Fornication’ in Deut 22:14-21, as it was a very serious matter. In verse 17 we read (KJV) "he [the groom] hath given occasions of speech [dabar/logou] against her [the bride]", which if found to be true, vs. 21 states, "the men of her city shall stone her with stones that she die: because she hath wrought folly in Israel, to play the whore [z'nut/porneias] in her father's house."

It’s interesting to note that the ‘exception clause’ is not included in Mark 10:11 and Luke 16:18 (two witnesses). While we’re reading the scriptures, read Rom 7:2 and 1 Cor 7:39, which tell us a wife is bound to her husband as long as he lives. However, if the covenant husband deals treacherously with his wife (Mal 2:14-16, including divorce) ~ let's discover the Truth about 1 Cor 7:10-11: Aramaic Bible in Basic English

  • "But those who have wives, I command, not I but my Lord: A wife should not depart [Aorist Infinitive - ever] from her husband. And if she does depart [Aorist Indicative - if she has departed or been divorced], let her remain without a husband or let her be reconciled to her husband and let not a man forsake his wife." We can see here, even a divorce does not mean she is not his wife and he is not her husband, for she is to remain unmarried or be reconciled to HER HUSBAND.

Should an unbelieving spouse depart (chórizó - separate/divorce), 1 Cor 7:15 states the "brother or sister" (believer) should LET (contrary to "What God has joined together" and "LET NOT" in Mat 19:6) the unbeliever depart (chórizó - separate/divorce) and is "NOT under bondage" in that case. This is called the "Pauline Priviledge", for Paul was an Apostle to the Gentiles (i.e. Corinth), the majority of which did not have the Laws of God and were already married. Sometimes, just one of the two would believe the gospel unto salvation; thus, the ordinances as stated in 1 Cor 7:12-14.

Jewish Stages of Betrothal

When we look at Jewish customs and Law, we come into a greater understanding of the Scriptures!! It is a beautiful thing!!

Jewish marriage consisted of several steps:

Shiddukhin – arrangements by the father for the son to marry a woman
Ketubah – marriage contract; the woman's dowry (financial status) is stipulated
Mohar – the bridal payment (the groom or the groom's father pays the bride’s father, but it is ultimately given to the bride)
Mikveh – immersion (baptism)
Eyrusin – betrothal ceremony (exchanging of vows)

Then, the betrothed woman remains at her father’s house until the groom comes to take her.

Nissuin - the marriage ceremony, after which the groom takes his bride into the wedding chamber or chuppah (consummation), followed by the wedding feast, lasting for seven days. It's important to note that the chuppah symbolized the groom's home, if it wasn't his actual home.

From the time the Ketubah is signed, the couple is known as husband and wife (Mat 1:19-20) and are bound to the marriage contract, ‘except for a report of fornication’, which was grounds for issuing a ‘certificate of divorce’ by the betrothed husband. In this case, both were free to marry another.

If the betrothed couple came together and the wife was found to be pregnant by her husband, the child was still considered to be their offspring and was not punishable by divorce or death (ref Deut 22:28-29). We can assume then, that when Joseph was informed of Mary’s pregnancy, and after the angel told him to take Mary as his wife, he remained silent on the matter and proceeded with the marriage. According to John 6:42, the Jews who were accusing Jesus during His trial proclaimed Him to be the child of Joseph, while in John 8:41 they may have been mocking Jesus when they replied, "We were not born of fornication; we have one Father: God."

Had Joseph made an official ‘Report of Fornication’, Deut 22:23a states that Mary could be stoned to death (because she became pregnant during their betrothal). It appears it was up to the husband whether to divorce his wife or have her stoned. Mat 1:19-20 states, "Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a publick example [by stoning], was minded to put her away [apoluó] privily. But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost."

It's important to note that husband did not have to have his wife stoned or divorce her. He could forgive her and agree to proceed with the marriage. We'll see this in a moment when we observe God's decision in regard to His betrothed Bride, Israel and His directive given to Hosea.

Created by Sharon Henry and used by permission only.
Created by Sharon Henry and used by permission only.

LOGOU LEFT OUT of Bible Translations!

We’re going to take a look now at why the Church has been deceived regarding the only reason for divorce, resulting in millions of adulterous marriages!!

As we covered earlier, the Greek clearly uses the word ‘logou’ in Mat 5:32 and it is properly translated in the Aramaic Bible. However, let’s compare several OTHER Bible translations found in the Parallel tab at Notice EVERY ONE OF THEM LEAVES OUT THE WORD ‘LOGOU’(*). Not only THAT, but many of them, if we were to reverse-translate the English into Greek, actually use DIFFERENT GREEK WORDS to CHANGE the meaning of porneias (fornication)!


Hebrew zanah/z'nut Greek porneuo/porneias (correct in using fornication)

KJB (Cambridge)/American KJV/ASV/ERV saving for the cause of * [fornication]
KJ2000B/WEB except for the cause of * [fornication]
DRB excepting for the cause of * [fornication]
DBT except for cause of * [fornication]
YLT save for the matter of * [whoredom]


H naaph; G moicheuó (adultery)

NIV except for * [marital unfaithfulness]

H zimmah; G aselgeia

ISV except for * [sexual immorality]
ESV/WNT except on the ground of * [sexual immorality]
HCS except in the case of * [sexual immorality]
NAS except for the reason of * [unchastity]
WBT saving for the cause of * [lewdness]

H satah; G apistos

NLT unless she has been * [unfaithful]
GWT for any reason other than * [unfaithfulness]

So, if naaph/moicheuó (adultery), zimmah/aselgeia (sexual immorality) and satah/apistos (unfaithfulness) are NOT the only reason for divorce, and Jesus said that one who divorces for ANY reason other than for zanah/z'nut / porneuo/porneias (fornication) and marries another commits naaph/moicheuó (adultery), and that to stay in that remarriage constitutes non-repentant adultery, we know Satan's gone out of his way to deceive multitudes of God's children, for 1 Cor 6:9 (and many other passages) tell us no one who practices adultery will enter the kingdom of God. It is important to STUDY and SHAMA (listen/obey)...REPENT/PREVENT.

Ketubah - the Marriage Contract
Ketubah - the Marriage Contract


All throughout the Old Testament, we see YHWH calling the nation of Israel a Harlot (fornicator or prostitute) and Adulteress (betrothed fornicator). We must understand that the whole Bible is written in such a way as to reflect the Marriage of Christ to His Bride, beginning with Adam and Eve. The choosing of Israel (Shiddukhin), the marriage contract (Ketubah) at Mt. Sinai (Ex 19:8) and the payment for Her (Mohar), which is the highest price the Groom could pay (shedding of blood) show where they are in the stages of betrothal. The betrothal to Israel in all its stages was fore-ordained since the foundation of the world (Rev 13:8; Heb 9:26). Because Israel is a betrothed 'Wife', both terms are used accordingly.

I believe Israel, at the time God gave Her a ‘bill of divorcement’ in Jeremiah 3:8, was in the Ketubah phase of the betrothal (Jer 2:2 and Hos 2:19-20). According to the Law of Deut 22:23a, He could have destroyed Her, but like Joseph did in Mat 1:19, God chose to give Her a 'bill of divorcement' instead. However, we must understand that God has not forsaken Israel (Rom 11:1), for in Jer 3:14 He declares He is yet married to Her! Nor, did God grant Israel permission to 'marry' another! They are in Covenant! Those who have not yet received the Mohar (the shed blood of Christ), subsequent Mikveh (baptism in His name) and Eyrusin (vow to die to the flesh and live in the Spirit) will not be taken (John 14:3) to (His angels do the gathering – Mat 24:31) the Bridegroom or partake of the Marriage Feast of the Lamb (Rev 19:7-9).

About Covenant Marriage and Adultery/Abandonment

There’s one book of the Bible I highly recommend reading: the book of Hosea, the prophet. In Hosea 1:2 God told Hosea, “Go marry a prostitute who will bear illegitimate children conceived through prostitution.” This surely happened. Gomer, an Israelite woman, was a prostitute when Hosea married her. They conceived a son and named him Jezreel. However, she committed adultery and bore two illegitimate children named Lo- Ruhamah (no compassion) and Lo-Ammi (not my people). Hosea raised them as his own. Eventually, she abandoned all of them and returned to prostitution, only to be sold into slavery.

If Hosea were alive today, according to our ignorant teachings, Hosea could divorce Gomer for adultery. He could remarry because his “unbelieving" spouse abandoned him, and especially because Gomer returned to her immoral lifestyle. IS this what God told him to do? Hosea 3:1-2 “Then the LORD said to me, ‘Go again, love a woman who is loved by her husband, yet an adulteress, even as the LORD loves the sons of Israel, though they turn to other gods and love raisin cakes. So I bought her for myself for fifteen shekels of silver and a homer and a half of barley.”

Hosea obeyed the dabar/logos of God as it is to be understood. There is NO cause for divorce of a covenant marriage. When he suffered adultery, he remained faithful. When she conceived illegitimate children, he parented them. When he suffered abandonment, he remained chaste and faithful to his marriage (1 Cor 7:12-15). When God told him to go buy his wife back, he did just that. At that point, Gomer was legally a ‘slave’ to Hosea and he could have her killed if she ever departed. He didn’t buy her back so she could be his slave. In every way, he redeemed her! She was his wife! He loved her. Even her illegitimate children were then renamed to legitimate names, Ammi and Ruhamah (Hos 2:1). Now, may we understand the prophetic words of our Husband in Hosea 2:16 “It will come about in that day," declares YHWH, "That you will call Me Ishi [loving Husband] And will no longer call Me Baali [Lord/ Master/Property-Owner/Husband].”


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