Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Divorce: A Biblical Response To Beating Your Wife?

Scripture is clear that adultery & death are the only acts by which marriage may be broken. What then of abusive husbands? If they seperate they deny one or the other of relations and this is only allowed if agreed upon by the two for times of fasting (not due to beating). If they divorce is it acceptable in the sight of God?

Remember the passage in the old testament where the Israelites went out to destroy neighboring towns and a people of far away lands with worn out shoes, old bread and worn out wineskins came to them and made a pact with the Israelites. The Israelites agreed to the pact and gave their word to not attack or destroy them before ever consulting the elders or God Himself. Later on, they were out destroying other cities and came across the people they made a pact with. They were not of distant lands, but a neighbor. They were reminded of their pact and do you remember their response? It wasn't, "You lied to us so therefore our agreement is null and void", but it was, "out of fear of the Lord, they honored the agreement and did not destroy them...". (Joshua 9)

So, what is the proper biblical response to a man habitually beating his wife?


misawa said...

I'm not sure I have an answer for this. Clearly, God "hates divorce" (Malachi). However, He also puts forth just how a wife is to be treated (Colossians 3:19 and others). Obviously, if a person is being beaten, their life (and, in my opinion, the life of their children) is/are in peril and they should leave, immediately. After that, biblically speaking, it gets foggy (at least to me it does).

j razz said...

In Christendom, families go out on the mission field in dangerous places to proclaim the gospel of Christ. I wonder if it would be any different for a Christian woman in an abusive relationship with her unbelieving husband? Could she not stay in that hostile environment, keep her oath before the Lord concerning marriage and live out what it means to be a Christian enduring persecution administered by the one she married? Again, let me put this disclaimer out there: I do not know the right answer on this, I just know what scripture says concerning divorce. If men did not beat their wives, this would not be an issue, but they do and it is. I do not think it wise to stay in a relationship where you are getting beat, but the world also doesn't think it wise for people to go out to other hostile cultures and sacrifice their lives for the gospel. And upon examining the Joshua 9 text, I did not think it wise to honor the oath made before the Lord as they were decieved, but that just goes to show you what I know.

j razz

Laz said...

jrazz, I hear what you're saying.

Of course, the rest of the world would probably think you are out of your mind and equate you with Islamic fundamentalists just for merely posting that comment (which I happen to agree with).

Then again Jesus' often forgotten words of "hating your father and mother" would also be seen as extreme by the world, so we can really base ourselves on popular opinion.