Does the Bible say “God hates divorce”?

The phrase "God hates divorce" is often quoted in discussions about marriage and divorce, but does the Bible actually say these exact words? Let's examine the biblical passages that touch upon divorce to gain a clearer understanding.

In the book of Malachi, Chapter 2, verse 16, it states, "For I hate divorce, says the Lord, the God of Israel." This verse is frequently used to support the idea that God unequivocally hates divorce. However, it is important to consider the context of this passage. The book of Malachi is addressing the unfaithfulness and broken covenants of the Israelites, which includes divorce as an example of this brokenness. Thus, the verse is emphasizing the act of divorcing without valid justification as an action that displeases God.

On the other hand, in the book of Deuteronomy, Chapter 24, verses 1-4, there are instructions regarding divorce and remarriage. This passage allows for divorce under certain circumstances, such as sexual immorality, recognizing the reality that in some situations, divorce may be a reasonable and necessary solution to a broken marriage. This suggests that divorce, when carried out with just cause and in accordance with God's will, may not be inherently condemned by God.

Furthermore, Jesus addresses the topic of divorce in the New Testament, specifically in the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke. Jesus teaches that divorce is not what God originally intended, expressing the importance of marriage as a sacred union. However, Jesus recognizes that due to the hardness of human hearts, divorce was allowed under Mosaic law. He mentions adultery as a permissible reason for divorce, but also emphasizes the importance of forgiveness and reconciliation in marriage.

The overarching message from these biblical passages is that while divorce is not part of God's original design for marriage, it is not explicitly and universally condemned. The emphasis is placed on preserving the sanctity of marriage and pursuing reconciliation, while recognizing that divorce may be a valid option in certain circumstances.