Thursday, July 21, 2016

Violence and Marriage (1)

The common teaching that wives must submit to their husbands, even when they are violent is wrong. Godly submission does not require a woman to be a punching bag.

Malachi has been misused to support this view.

Every Christian knows that God hates divorce, but few bother to read what the scriptures really say. The passage in Malachi is not really about divorce, but is directed at violent men. These men were complaining because their prayers were not answered. God responds by saying,

The Lord has been a witness between you and the wife of your youth. You have acted treacherously against her, though she was your marriage partner and your wife by covenant (Mal 2:14).
The Lord is a witness to every marriage. He has observed the treacherous way them men have treated their wives, so he gives a stern warning.
So watch yourselves carefully, and do not act treacherously against the wife of your youth (Mal 2:15).
God hates mistreatment of wives, because it leads to divorce.
For I hate divorce,” says the Lord, the God of Israel, “and him who covers his garment with violence,” says the Lord of hosts. “So take heed to your spirit, that you do not deal treacherously” (Mal 2:16).
God does not like divorce, but primarily he hates the husband who puts on a garment of violence and treats his wife treacherously. Some translations tone this down, but the Hebrew word is a strong one. It refers to “violence or maltreatment”. The man who attacks his wife with violence has broken his covenant with his wife. God is the witness who speaks against him.

The message of Malachi is not that God hates divorce, but that he hates violence in marriage and its treachery to the marriage covenant that often leads to divorce.

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