DEUTERONOMY AND CHAPTER 24
RE-MARRYING A PREVIOUS WIFE TODAY?
A friend has emailed me to ask about the law in Deuteronomy
24 and the specific of the law saying a man cannot marry a
This law is contained within the law of Divorce and Re-
We need to keep in mind the basic overall law of divorce and
remarriage. Under Moses God "allowed" divorce and re-marriage for
many reasons. It was relatively easy to give a wife a written
divorce. A divorce could be for just about any reason under the
Old Covenant. Jesus came along and TIGHTENED UP the divorce and
re-marriage law. We see this in Matthew 19. I have covered the
BASIC subject of Divorce and Re-marriage in my study on this
topic, and it is on my Website.
But as my friend told me, it is quite true, I never covered
the law within the divorce law, about NOT being allowed to re-
marry a previous wife.
Jesus made it clear that God "allowed" easy divorce and re-
marriage because of the HARDNESS OF THE HEART!! (Mat.19:8). Then
He went on to "tighten up" the law of divorce and re-marriage.
It was a fact in Jewish history that at least one sect of
Judaism taught you could divorce your wife for things like, she
did not cook your meals as you liked them cooked.
We must then put within this easy divorce law under Moses,
the law of not re-marrying your previous wife.
I think, with a little meditation, you can see that if God
had not put a clause in the easy divorce law (because of the
weakness and hardness of the heart - remember the vast majority
did not have God's Holy Spirit under the Old Covenant - see
Number 11), a clause that said you could not remarry your
previous wife, you can imagine, with such an easy divorce law,
the BACK-AND-FORTH, the MIXED UP physical marriage and family
that would have prevailed in Israel.
You could have had this fellow marrying this gal, having
some children, giving her a bill of divorcement, marrying another
gal, have children with her, then divorcing her for some petty
reason, marrying another lady, divorcing her, going back to
marrying the first gal (who also may have been divorced a number
of times by now) and bringing her children along. Then this guy
later divorces her again, and then re-marries the third one he
divorced, who has had more children and who knows how many times
she was given a bill of divorcement by husbands.
God, under Moses, was allowing "easy" divorce, for the
carnal fleshly hardness of the heart, but in so doing the Lord
had to keep the "lid on things" so to speak in some way of NOT
having the whole situation going crazy and making physical
madness (oh that may have been literal in some cases) within a
physical nation that wanted (because of the hardness of the
heart) easy divorce.
Giving a nation the law of easy divorce and easy remarriage,
the lady, once given a bill of divorce, could go out and be
another man's wife (Deut.24:2). But to add to that easy divorce
law, the law that a man could re-marry a previous wife, who knows
how far down the path of easy divorce path it had been, would
have made the physical family life an utter SHAM, an utter
CONFUSION, an utter MADNESS. At least with a nation of easy
divorce, some SENSE and CONTROL would have been possible by NOT
allowing a man to re-marry a previous wife.
The way the Lord saw what the situation would have been
like, if He had allowed a man to remarry a former wife, is put
this way: "Her 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 you shall not cause the land to
Being allowed to "go back and forth in marriage to the same
woman" under an easy divorce law, would make the marriage law not
only a FULL travesty and mock of norm-ability, but as the Lord
said, it would eventually cause greater sin and simply just be an
ABOMINATION. The Lord had to put SOME CONTROL on the easy divorce
law under Moses.
With such a control on the divorce and re-marriage law under
Moses' economy, it would be far more likely that the female would
find a man that would desire her for the rest of their lives
together. Any other way, such as allowing men to go back and
forth any number of times in marriage to any particular female,
would certainly end up as being an ABOMINATION in many physical
ways, and would cause the people of the land to indeed sin in the
marriage law, way above what God was going to allow in granting
an easy divorce law in Israel, under Moses, because of the carnal
hardness of the heart.
The Lord was saying: "Okay, because of the hardness of your
heart, I will allow divorce and re-marriage, on an easy basis,
BUT I will only GO SO FAR in allowing that law. You will not make
a MOCKERY and/or a GAME of marriage by going back and forth at
will, divorcing, remarrying, divorcing, remarrying, the same
female over and over. There is a LIMIT to what I will "allow" in
divorce and re-marriage. Allowing you to divorce and re-marry the
same female again and again, is just too much for Me to tolerate,
that kind of allowed law would truly be an ABOMINATION!"
NOW FOR TODAY
Jesus most definitely tightened up the divorce and re-
marriage law for the New Testament times. It was within all that
He came to do. Many laws just in the letter of the law under the
Old Covenant were made "spirit and letter" under the New Covenant
... much more binding. A child reading Matthew chapters 4,5,6,7,
can see Jesus came to MAGNIFY and make the laws of God SPIRITUAL,
in the heart and mind, and not ONLY in the letter, or physical of
Divorce and Re-marriage needed to be tightened up, IT WAS
TIGHTENED UP under Jesus. Now under the New Testament, divorce
and re-marriage is NOT AT ALL like it was under Moses or the Old
Covenant. Divorce is narrowed done to relative FEW reasons under
the New Testament. I have covered those reasons under my study
called "Divorce and Re-marriage."
So EASY divorce is OUT today! Hence the law within easy
divorce, that of not being able to re-marry a former wife is also
not in the equation today. Most of us within or without the
Church of God do not literally apply the law within Deuteronomy
24:5. Most of us today cannot take a year off to "cheer up" our
just married wife. It sure would be nice to do so, but in reality
the vast majority of us cannot do such a thing, unless you are
born into a rich family, or have won the lottery (not that you
should play the lottery - gambling is covered in a study on this
Website - I speak as a matter of speaking).
As a nation under God, being governed by the laws of God, from
Moses down, then such laws as Deut.24:5 could be the law of the land.
Individuals today, not under a nation that follows the laws of God,
would hardly find Deut.24:5 able to be applied, unless as stated, you
are wealthy or have won the lottery.
Today, there are many things a person has to meditate on,
within the New Testament law of marriage and divorce, BEFORE they
marry period. Do the two people find they are within the New
Testament law of divorce and re-marriage? What was the situation
of each of them finding themselves "un-married"? Has their former
mate died? Has their former mate committed adultery? Has their
former mate decided they do not want God or Christ or their way
of life, in their life, and wish for a divorce. Is the situation
of being divorced or having to walk away from a wife or husband
because of uncontrolled abuse, mentally, physically, emotionally,
sexually? Is the situation of being single once more, under the
New Testament guidelines for divorce and possible re-marriage?
I've covered in detail, all the principles of the law of
divorce and re-marriage under the New Testament Covenant, in my
in-depth study on "Divorce and Re-marriage."
The situation of both parties may well come under the New
Testament standards. As there is no longer any "easy" divorce and
re-marriage as under Moses' economy, as there will be, or should
be, any carnal, for the hardness of the heart, going back and
forth in divorce and re-marriage, as it could have been under
Moses, if God had not specifically given a law against such
conduct. Then today I would find that such a law as "not
marrying" a former wife, as contained in the marriage law of
Deuteronomy 24, would not be in force any more than the law it
was contained within.
Hence my judgment is that neither law of Deuteronomy 24:1-4
is applicable today.
I do want to stress that BOTH parties, whether never married
before, or married and divorced, or married and divorced from
each other at some point in the past, DO MEDITATE ON THEIR
SITUATION TO MAKE SURE THEY COME UNDER THE LAW OF
DIVORCE AND RE-MARRIAGE, AS NOW EXPOUNDED UPON BY THE NEW
TESTAMENT SCRIPTURES! CERTAINLY THOSE NEVER MARRIED BEFORE
SHOULD TRY TO ASCERTAIN THE MARRIAGE THEY WOULD ENTER IS
A MARRIAGE THAT WOULD HAVE THE BLESSING OF THE LORD. SUCH
TECHNICAL ANALYTICAL MEDITATION MAY TEND TO TAKE AWAY THE
"SWOONING OF THE HEART-STRINGS" BUT IT SHOULD BE DONE BY
THOSE WHO WANT TO ENTER MARRIAGE. THERE ARE STUDIES ON
THIS WEBSITE TO HELP YOU FIND THE RIGHT MATE.
Keith Hunt, May 2009