Deut. 24:1-4 written in STORY FORM

by Sharon Henry, guest blogger

Sharon is a Christ-follower who while not previously married, wed a divorced man whose covenant wife had divorced him and had remarried adulterously.   After 17 years, she became convicted that her civil marriage was biblically adulterous because she realized that despite the errant teaching of the contemporary evangelical church, that her husband’s original sacred matrimony covenant with God remained unbroken by anything but death.    She made the painful decision to come out of that otherwise happy marriage in 2012, releasing her civil husband back to the opportunity for reconciliation with the covenant wife of his youth as God commands.    It was a deep act of laying down her own life so that her beloved noncovenant husband might not die in the sin of remarriage adultery.  Sharon maintains, based on a corrected interpretation of scripture, that such an act of obedience is not compounding the sin as many pastors today like to counsel, but is the very essence of repentance.   (What pastor would counsel a homosexual, in light of 1 Corinthians 6:9-10, to stay in a sodomous “marriage” so as not to commit a second “sin”?) 

 Sharon has since devoted herself to a deep understanding of Hebrew and Greek scriptural translation with overlooked cultural context, and she faithfully stands with those who obey 1 Cor. 7:10-11,  encouraging them in restoration of their covenant marriages and redemption of their prodigal spouses.    She addresses one of the most commonly misapplied scriptures  that today is used by the apostate evangelical church to rationalize the continuation of noncovenant civil marriages.   She does so out of deep concern for souls.  – SIFC  FB profile 7xtjw


DEUTERONOMY 24:1-4 does not address a particular case, but general scenarios of Jewish husbands wanting to dispose of a fully married wife. The Hebrews learned to divorce during their 400 years in Egypt and fine-tuned it to divorce for any cause, even for falling out of love with a wife (Deut. 24:3).  God does not condone a divorce for hate or incompatibility.



There are three types of (unlawful) marriages that are forbidden by Moses. (DABAR means commandment.)

1. DABAR, Z’NUT (playing the harlot) Deut. 22:13-22 If a betrothed wife deceives her husband and is found not to be a virgin on her wedding night, she is stoned or divorced.

2. DABAR ERVAH (incest) Deut. 24:1 Torah ervah, or doubtful ervah (if the relationship is not clear, then he may divorce her). Ervah occurs 54 times of which 31 times it refers to incest.

3. DABAR (Deut./DABARIM 7:3-4) against marrying idolatrous foreign wives (Deut. 7:3-4, 11, Ezra 10 – divorced).


Otherwise, if a man divorces his wife not according to these Mosaic Law, the courts would penalize him with a hefty divorce settlement to the forsaken wife.


Read the scenario put into story form of a man (fictitious name, but true to the text) who has second thoughts about the wife he married based on Deut. 24:1-4, Jewish marriage customs, and courts.


His bride, Tamar, is from a good Hebrew family, and was a virgin when Joe took her and married her. She is not that beautiful, but neither was he that handsome. She soon fell into disfavor with him and Joe decided to divorce her, but he is a young man with little money. The Court demands a costly settlement if a wife is put away for frivolous reasons and not according to the law. Joe thinks, “Which law should I use? Tamar is not a foreigner, so I can’t use that law.” He thought about bringing an evil name upon Tamar for not being a virgin, (DABAR, Z’NUT) but her parents would bring forth the token of virginity (the wedding nightgown) and he would be whipped 40 strokes save one, and fined 100 shekels of silver. This made Joe think again.


Maybe he could use the DABAR ERVAH law to divorce her. According to the Rabbis, “These are the forbidden unions that stem from ervah (incest), those from the Torah (Old Testament) and those from the rabbis. Those that are from the Torah, kiddushin (betrothal/marriage contract) does not take effect. Those that are from the rabbis, kiddushin does take effect and you must deliver a get (divorce). And likewise a betrothal with a doubtful ervah also needs a get (divorce).”  He researches Tamar’s genealogy and lo and behold!  His grandmother married her great uncle. Tamar’s husband now goes to the court and asks for a get (a divorce), based on a doubtful ervah, that their marriage is a possible incestuous union.  It is granted and Tamar is sent out of the house with a writ of divorcement.


An older man marries Tamar, now a young divorcee with no children. Perfect! Soon his heart turns away from her. She is unlucky in love. Since he is well-to-do, he can afford to pay the high divorce settlement required by the court. He pleads no law, but just pays the divorce settlement to get rid of her. Tamar’s former husband hears that she is divorced again, and in the money. He thinks, ”I need her money to start a business. I will push her buttons and win her back!”  So you may ask, “What about the incest issue and their doubtful ervah?” That doesn’t stop Joe. His greed has taken over again. He determines to remarry her, regardless whether she is a close relative or a “doubtful ervah [kin].”  Then he hears the bad news!  Deut. 24:4!  He can’t take her back! He divorced her for Incest, so she is defiled to him. He is prevented from twisting the law to fulfill his greed and ever changing heart. He is told that it is an abomination to misuse God’s laws for personal gain or for frivolous divorce!


Deut 24 cultural depiction


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One thought on “Deut. 24:1-4 written in STORY FORM”

  1. Deuteronomy 24:1-4
    1When 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 [ERWAT DABAR] in her: then let him write her a bill of divorcement, and give it in her hand, and send her out of his house. 2And when she is departed out of his house, she may go and be another man’s wife. 3And if the latter husband hate [HIS HEART TURNS AWAY] her, and write her a bill of divorcement, and giveth it in her hand, and sendeth her out of his house; or if the latter husband die, which took her to be his wife; 4Her former husband, which sent her away, may not take her again to be his wife, after that she is defiled; for that is abomination before the LORD: and thou shalt not cause the land to sin, which the LORD thy God giveth thee for an inheritance.

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