(In the Bible)
Michael S. Sayen
(Second book of the: “Divorce: In the Bible”)
Copyright ©2016 by Michael S. Sayen
This book’s design is to help Christians take the next step after their divorce.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
Shakespir Edition, License Notes
This ebook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This ebook may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each recipient. If you’re reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, then please return to your favorite ebook retailer and purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.
Published in St. Paul, MN
Printed in the U.S.A.
Marriage and Divorce
I wanted to write a few short paragraphs of what the Bible said about divorce and why this understanding was so hard and challenging for the Gentiles coming to faith in Jesus. Gentiles did not look through the eyes of the Jews but of other Gentiles. Hence, this teaching fell short and did not survive the test of time.
Imagine if you will, the destruction of Israel in 70 AD; the primarily Jewish council in Jerusalem, where James and the elders resided, dismantled and dispersed abroad. Gentile Churches no longer having a central hub now appear to answer questions on their own. Without a great understanding of marriage from its Jewish roots, divorce and remarriage became a highly debated subject in the first early years of Christianity.
This writing is from a Jewish perspective using both New and Old Testament Scripture. Documentation shows that the Jewish people had primarily only allowed the man to initiate the divorce since the Torah. They still practice this today in the State of Israel according to Orthodox Jewish Rabbis.
Christian scholars agree up to this point so far. As I asked the question “why” the Jews only allowed the man to initiate the divorce, I was quite surprised with their answer. They gave similar reasons that us Christians use for teaching about headship and submission both in the home and in church leadership. In my research, this is what I found.
The reason Jewish leaders believed only the man was allowed to put away his wife was said to be for, “Well…because Deut. 24:1 said so!” When looking deeper in Jewish sources I found that this belief was from their understanding of Gen. 3:16. That is, the role of woman and the rule of man. The understanding of man’s unilateral divorce really stems from God’s makeup, design and principles of marriage seen all throughout the Torah.
Man typically paid a bride price for his wife in Scripture. This practice was from the belief that a man leaves his father and mother and cleaves to his wife. The woman did not usually leave the home (Num. 30:9). The man had to request a wife from the home of her father, which we still practice today. A suitor asks the father for his daughter’s hand in marriage in which, if accepted, eventually walks her down the aisle and symbolically “gives her away.”
After a man paid the bride price for his wife, the Jews believed she was therefore “acquired” by the payment. Although payment was a bilateral transaction between the groom and the bride’s father, the contract simultaneously created a “unilateral” marriage covenant between the man and his wife. Scripture says a bride price was required to pay for the Church, “Which [Jesus] hath purchased with His own blood” Acts 20:28. Since the father had authority over his daughter after he made the contract she legally and culturally could not refuse. The woman was not required to sign the marriage certificate but the father, groom, and two witnesses.
Although, traditionally there was payment given directly to the father of the bride, the Orthodox Jews accept a gold wedding ring (Rebecca’s gold nose ring) very similar to our engagement ring. Many people believe these principles were the reasons the Church quickly embraced this type of marriage proposal from the man, which formally came from possible pagan and Roman practices. Many cultures believed that the bride price created the rights for a unilateral divorce that only the husband can initiate. For, in theory, how shall someone who paid the bride price be divorced? At this point, it is all about authority and not about ownership.
Traditionally, either the father or the groom did not always ask the daughter for her consent or her hand in marriage. Scripture, on the other hand, suggests the father did ask her prior to the betrothal period. The Jews practice this by offering the bride a drink of the “wine of acceptance.” Only in rare cases were the daughter’s wishes not respected or considered but it still took a volunteered “acceptance” consummation to begin the marriage.
The Jews and Israel still practices the “unilateral” marriage covenant and call it the Ketubah. One side only presented unilateral meaning oaths and promises. The woman was not required to make vows of her own; she only had to accept his offer to enter into the marriage covenant. The father of the bride and the groom discussed and agreed to the terms of the covenant. The Ketubah in the first century was to offer the woman financial security after a divorce in lieu of a large bride price prior to the marriage.
The unilateral marriage covenant is common for most Jewish marriages today. The Jews have documentation that it had very little changes for 2,400 years. Overall, these symbols are the foundations and making of a marriage covenant but now the scripture of Deut. 24:1 supported an abolishment. Once the covenant has become obsolete, and the woman released from her husband, she now has the freedom to marry another.
Solomon had 700 wives and 300 concubines. The Scripture does not say it was unlawful or immoral for a man to have more than one wife; although, it does say that it was unlawful for a woman to have more than one husband (Rom. 7:1-4). If women divorce their husband according to Deut. 24:1 than men would not be able to multiply wives the way they did in the Old Testament.
Jesus paid a bride price for the church (leaving us an example of a biblical marriage) and offered a unilateral covenant to the Church with one-sided promises. Abraham was also offered a unilateral covenant by God (God went between the slain animals- not Abraham). In contrast, Scripture tells us the Jewish leaders went through the slain animals to enter into their “bilateral” covenant with God through Moses. This made the Mosaic Covenant of “Blessings and Cursing” different from Abraham’s. Since our Covenant was one sided all we had to do was accept the covenant through faith to enter in, much like Abraham’s covenant.
The New Testament supports the doctrine that only the man can initiate the divorce and not the woman. The Jews asked Jesus (according to Deut. 24:1) if it was lawful for a “man” to put away his wife for any reason. Jesus did not answer their question directly but rather that Moses permitted it outside of God’s original design. Later in private, Jesus told His disciples that if the man put away his wife for sexual immorality that he would not be guilty of adultery if he married another. Matthew’s gospel written primarily to the Jewish audience is the reason why the exception clause was here.
9 “And I say to you, whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery; and whoever marries her who is divorced commits adultery.”10 His disciples said to Him, “If such is the case of the man with his wife, it is better not to marry.”
The reason Mark has an account of a woman putting away her husband in 10:12 is this book was a letter that was written to Gentiles living in Rome. Because it emphasized that this was a “private” account of Jesus we can understand the author is speaking directly to the Gentile audience, which allowed easy divorces (evident by Harold unlawfully marrying Phillip his brother’s wife and the Samaritan woman having married 5 times).
“10 When they were in the house again, the disciples asked Jesus about this. 11 He answered, “Anyone who divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery against her. 12 And if she divorces her husband and marries another man, she commits adultery.”
We can also see further evidence that only the man was allowed to initiate the divorce by 1 Cor. 7:10-11. Paul said the departed wife is to “remain unmarried or to be reconciled to her husband.” A woman bound in a way that many thought she was never to marry again (vs. 39). The reason Paul said a divorced woman is not to marry another man is because the only way for a woman to depart from her husband was to do it outside of scriptural concessions. So, Paul wanted to make this point clear both with the particular Greek words that he chooses to use and the very clear command (giving her only two options) of not allowing her to marry another man.
“10 Now to the married I command, yet not I but the Lord: A wife is not to depart from her husband. 11 But even if she does depart, let her remain unmarried or be reconciled to her husband. And a husband is not to divorce his wife.”
Paul spoke about Jesus’ command saying the wife not to depart from her husband and the man is not to divorce his wife in 1 Cor. 7:10-11. Paul used the very common Greek word “depart” which comes from the same root word used earlier by Jesus when He said, “Do not (separate or depart) what God has joined together.” Since scripture permitted man to put away his wife for porneia and marry another, Paul used a rare and formal Greek word not typically seen in the New Testament. He did this in order to describe a more traditional style Roman divorce (11b).
Josephus used both of these Greek words in a story about a couple who divorced. He showed that the “depart” Greek word was to describe a general leaving or a more informal type of Greco-Roman divorce while the “divorce” word similar to Paul’s in 1 Cor. 7:11b was used by the Greek speaking Jews who wished to obtain a Get (Writ of Divorcement).
“But some time afterward, when Salome happened to quarrel with Costobarus, she sent him a bill of divorce and dissolved (similar to “divorce” in 1 Cor. 7:11b, 12, 13) her marriage with him, though this was not according to the Jewish laws; for with us it is lawful for a husband to do so; but a wife; if she departs [(_]similar to “departs” in 1 Cor. 7:10, 11a, 15a, 15b[) from her husband, cannot of herself be married to another, unless her former husband put her away.” (Josephus Ant. 15.7.10, 259 emphases added)_]
Since the man did have allowances for remarriage Paul did not command him to likewise “remain unmarried or to be reconciled” 1 Cor.7:11. Paul latter says a man “loosed” from his previously “bound” wife will not sin if he marries, and if a virgin marries they will not sin (1 Cor. 7:27-28). Paul calls the men in these teachings “unmarried” men (vs. 32) but refers to the unmarried woman as a “virgin” (vs. 34). Paul says the woman is no longer “bound” to her husband when he dies (vs. 39). This is the first occurrence of a woman scripturally loosed from her husband.
“26 I suppose therefore that this is good because of the present distress that it is good for a man to remain as he is: 27 Are you bound to a wife? Do not seek to be loosed. Are you loosed from a wife? Do not seek a wife. 28 But even if you do marry, you have not sinned; and if a virgin marries, she has not sinned…”
Paul uses the formal Greek word for divorce again in both 1 Cor. 7:12 and verse 13 (evidently the women had an improper understanding of gender equality in this church 1 Cor. 11:2-16 and 1 Cor. 14:34-36) because the women must have felt that they had every right to divorce as a man in certain Scriptural mandated situations.
“12 To the rest I say this (I, not the Lord): If any brother has a wife who is not a believer and she is willing to live with him, he must not divorce her. 13 And if a woman has a husband who is not a believer and he is willing to live with her, she must not divorce him.”
Therefore, when the question about the Law of Ezra 10:3 came up, among these believers, the women thought they were to obey this Law. They thought they were to put away their unbelieving husband, as the men put away their unbelieving wife. That is, in order to keep the seed pure, “godly offspring” (Mal. 2:15).
“14 For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband; otherwise your children would be , but now they are holy.”
We know this is in reference to Ezra 10:3 because Paul says in 1 Cor.7:14 that the children would otherwise be “unclean.” The believers were later told to separate from the unbelievers and not to be “unequally yoked” together with them 2 Cor. 6. But even with this general understanding (do not touch what is unclean) already becoming popular in the Corinthian Church, Paul said if the unbeliever wished to stay married than stay married to them since they are now sanctified by the Holy Spirit.
1 Cor. 7:15 “depart” (same word used by Paul in 1 Cor. 7:10-11a) is in the present tense which demonstrates that the only allowance for a believer to divorce an unbeliever is if the unbeliever has already initiated the divorce according to cultural laws. Paul using the Greek word “departs” in 1 Cor. 7:15a he was demonstrating to the believer that he was authorizing the divorce even if it was for unscriptural reasons.
“15 But if the unbeliever departs, let him depart; a brother or a sister is not under bondage in such cases. But God has called us to peace. 16 For how do you know, O wife, whether you will save your husband? Or how do you know, O husband, whether you will save your wife?”
Paul responds by commanding the believer not to fight or resist the divorce but to give them this unlawful divorce even if previously commanded not too according to the Law (1 Cor. 7:10-11, 12-14). This is why Paul said that the believers are no-longer in bondage but rather to be at peace with the unbelievers by honoring their request (1 Cor. 7:15c). Paul (Gal. 4) typically referred to the Law as bondage or slavery.
Paul did not speak about remarriage in these last few passages because the Church, being familiar with the Law of Moses and Jesus teachings in the Gospel already, only had to address new situations/questions concerning the equality of divorced Gentile women according to Roman law (1 Cor. 7:11) and those who are married to non-Christians (Ezra 10:3). Besides this, they had no other questions in regards to being “loosed” according to Deut. 24:1.
Paul ends by giving a logical argument in verse 16 to release them from guilt or compulsion by explaining to the believer that we can never know if holding onto the marriage would ever lead to converting their spouse. Therefore, God called us believers to be at peace with the unbeliever and let them go. Paul is not giving his express permission to remarry.
In conclusion: the authority of man, the biblical allowances of polygamy and the general concept of the bride price all point to the woman not being allowed to initiate a divorce by design. On the testimony of two or three witnesses, every word is established. Amen!
“Bound” or “Loosed” According to the Scripture
Question: If a man divorces his wife inappropriately being that she was the one that was the one sinned against, can she remarry?
Answer: The answer is “no” because in Matt. 5:31 it says that he would have caused her to commit adultery. Meaning, if she expectedly remarries after her husband treacherously divorced her, she will be guilty of committing adultery herself. If a man divorces his wife inappropriately, and the woman remains unmarried, it always allows a chance for reconciliation of the former marriage. Unless the woman remarried, and her second husband died or divorced her, than there can be no reconciliation of the former marriage, according to the law Duet. 24:2-4.
Question: If a man divorces his wife inappropriately and she enters into an unlawful second marriage, can he then marry another woman himself?
Answer: Since he cannot reconcile with his wife because of Deut. 24:2-4 (the law of remarriage) he is loosed to marry another wife without being charged again with committing adultery “against” her by his new marriage for he was already charged with “adultery” by causing her to commit it (Matt. 5:32).
Question: If the wife initiates the divorce (which is against the Law of Moses for a woman to do) can her husband remarry?
Answer: If the wife divorced her husband than the man should either wait until she remarries or to have committed sexual immorality inside/outside the marriage before he is “loosed” according to the Law to marry again. This conduct would allow the unlawful divorce a chance to reconcile to its original state. For, at this stage they are still “bound” by covenant to one another since the marriage was not abolished by scriptural allowance (Matt. 19:9). Paul used very specific verbiage in 1 Cor. 7:27 stating that a man must first be “loosed” from a wife before he remarries another. This is not a general term but referring back to the scriptural mandates of ending the marriage.
According to the Law, however, a man can be married to two women at the same time. Therefore, it would not be unlawful or considered adultery for a man to still be “bound” to his first wife and take on another new wife in theory. Jennifer Fineman in her article “A Jewish Divorce” (2016) talks about the Jewish people who choose a civil divorce not according to the Law of Moses, “If the woman does remarry (without a “get”), she is considered an adulteress… However, Jewish men who remarry without getting a “get” don’t suffer the same consequences. Because traditional Jewish law permitted polygamy, these men are not considered adulterers.”
Therefore, it would seem according to the law that a man would not be committing adultery “against” his wife if right after she unlawfully divorced him he was to find a new wife to marry. Although it was not his fault or “cause” for the divorce (Matt. 5:32) it would be closing a door for reconciliation of that original marriage by replacing her with another. Jesus indicated that replacing a wife after an unscriptural divorce is committing “adultery” against her (Matt. 9:19, Mark 10:11-12 and Luke 16:18). Besides, the Law (multiplying wives) and Paul seemed to frown upon the practice of polygamy in the Church (1 Tim. 3:2, 12, Titus 1:6 “one wife”).
Paul indicated that it is not a “sin” for a man to marry when he is biblically “loosed” from a wife. Paul’s opposing point in 1 Cor. 7:26-28 is that if a divorce was not loosed according to Moses’ law than the Christian man must always be in a place to allow for the original reconciliation to occur and to give the wife a chance to return. God is into reconciliation and saving a marriage whenever possible.
Deut. 24:4 principles are only applicable for the man (being an abomination for him to return to his former wife after she married another). The man marrying another woman would not “loosen” his first wife from the covenant that she made to him since a man having more than one spouse at the same time is not against the law. It would not be a sin if after his second marriage ended that his first wife returned to him since Deut. 24:4 is as gender specific as Deut. 24:1.
A man who is married would be guilty of committing “adultery” against his wife if he lusts after another woman (Matt. 5:27-30) but where polygamy is allowed by the State he would not guilty of committing adultery if he would have married her right away (King David, and other scriptural examples). Therefore, according to the Bible, a man looking for another wife to marry while married was considered to be adulterous in heart (Matt. 5:27) but marrying one at the spur of the moment was not. But, even though, Paul made it clear that he definitely wants you to be “free” from one marriage before you start another!
In conclusion: After an unlawful divorce by either spouse if the former husband remarried in adultery his former wife is still directed by scripture to “remain unmarried” if she is unable to “reconcile” back with him (1 Cor. 7:10-11). She must at this point, wait until he dies (1 Cor. 7:39) before she is loosed from the “bonds” of the “law of her husband” since the divorce was never approved by God’s law. This woman is truly considered an agunot (chained woman) according to Scripture. And this is why Matt. 5:31-32 said the former husband “causes” her to commit adultery by putting her in this seemingly impossible situation.
Question: Who can remarry if the man divorces his wife for adultery/fornication?
Answer: Both can remarry after the abolishing of the marriage covenant according to scriptural allowances (Deut. 24:1).
Further situations: If a woman’s previous husband (divorced lawfully or not) married another woman then divorced her lawfully (for sexual immorality) than the first wife can still return back to her former husband because the Law of second marriages (Deut. 24:2-4) does not apply to the man in remarriage as it does to the woman.
If you are in an adulterous (moichatai – present tense of adultery) marriage God does not want you to break another marriage or to return to your former one else Scripture would have indicated it (1 Cor. 7). That is, unless, it is a type of marriage that is considered an abomination or not recognized as a marriage i.e. homosexual marriage, marriage to children, a man married to two women that are related (Lev. 18 and 20) or a woman having more than one husband at the same time (Rom. 7:1-4).
I have noticed that the different Christian theories of “Divorce and Remarriage” sounds much like a Scientist trying to explain the “big bang theory.” It just sounds foolish in wisdom and circular in thought.
Statement: You can divorce for abuse.
Answer: Jesus only spoke about “sexual immorality” in the Gospels and Paul only spoke about “abandonment” (which really was not abandonment but a desire and initial response of the unbeliever to end the marriage). Trying to get abuse out of sexual immorality or abandonment takes a lot of scripture twisting. Jesus or Paul never mentioned the Greek words associated with physical “abuse”.
Statement: You can divorce but not remarry anyone else.
Answer: I have two scriptural points to address this doctrine. First, Deut. 24:2 did not say it was a “sin” for the woman to remarry her second husband. In addition, God had made a covenant with Abraham/Christ and another with Moses 400 years later. Gal. 3:17, “And this I say, that the covenant, that was confirmed before of God in Christ, the law, which was four hundred and thirty years after, cannot disannul, that it should make the promise of none effect.” God divorced Israel and Judah in Heb. 8:8-13 making that covenant “obsolete” while the marriage covenant of Jesus and the Church began. Otherwise, the Jews and Christians could attain salvation at the same time by two entirely different covenants and biblical standards.
Statement: You can divorce but only the innocent party can remarry.
Answer: When two people divorce lawfully, the marriage covenant or contract becomes “void”. When a man releases his wife from the marriage, he gives her freedom to marry another man. It says so on the Jewish divorce document itself. It would just sound silly that God would allow one person to marry, have kids, dog and the picket fence will the other one is bound to a life of singleness. Besides, even if that were the case, if the guilty person was foolish enough to commit sexual immorality in the marriage chances are they would be foolish enough to remarry. Especially, if they found out their former spouse already married someone else.
Statement: “Sexual immorality” (Porneia) mentioned in Matt. 19:9 was only for the betrothal period and not the marriage.
Answer: Moses concession/permission is about a woman who was married to a husband, than marries a second husband, was not to return to her original husband. This scripture is all about marriage and not about betrothal. This is what Jesus and the Jewish religious leaders were clearly talking about in Matt. 5:32-33 and 19:9 when they asked “Can a man put away his wife for any reason?” Jesus was simply answering the question.
If Jesus never answered this question, than this question would have never really have been fully known this day. What is Moses’ concession and can a man put away his wife for this? Jesus was not addressing Deut. 22 but Deut. 24:1. This was the controversy of Hillel and Shammai. Besides, God divorced Israel and Judah for their unfaithfulness in the marriage (Heb. 8:8-12).
Statement: No one can get divorced.
Answer: God divorced Israel in Jer. 3:8-9. If God could do it then it is clear that it is scriptural under certain circumstances. Moses would not have given the law of divorce if it were never to be available. The man should only divorce an unrepentant wife who will not return home and is currently living in adultery. In addition, if a professing unbeliever no longer wants to be married to you, that is, a Christian (a believing man or a believing woman). Nevertheless, remarriage allowances are always according to the Law of Moses.
Statement: Even though the Jewish people only allowed the man to initiate the divorce, Gentiles now have freedom to allow both sexes to divorce each other.
Answer: This goes completely against everything Paul and Jesus taught about headship, submission, authority and the Law of the husband. We teach that the man has authority from Gen. 3:16. This is where the Jews believe only the man can initiate the divorce, have authority in the home and leadership in the Synagogue. It is just foolish for Paul to say the woman is submissive to the man because of Adam and Eve, but she can ultimately rebel against his (rule) authority and put him away. It would be like an employee firing his boss, a robber arresting a police officer, or a slave being able to put his master in chains.
Jesus said that, “in the beginning (divorce) was not so.” At one time, neither person were to divorce their spouse for uncleanness but when the Law came and Moses mediated for his people, God allowed the man to put away his wife (out of his home) for violating this simple concept of keeping her body for him alone. Man was never restricted from marrying in polygamy, according to the Old Testament, because he was not under the law of his wife as she was under the “law of her husband” (Rom. 7:1-2). The rule of man prevented the wife from putting away her husband or multiplying husbands in polyandry (Gen. 3:16).
Statement: A man must not deprive the wife of her food, clothing and marital rights otherwise; she can sue for (get) a divorce!
Answer: Although this scripture does carry some biblical weight it is in reference to a man who sells his daughter as a slave, probably to release off some debt, then the master gives this slave-girl to his son as a wife who has married (or will eventually marry) a free woman. Now yes, I agree these three aspects are common sense and no woman should be lacking any of these moral rights. This was a protection for women who are slaves. This girl did not get the opportunity to refuse the marriage, she was not given by her loving father in marriage, and generally she has very little rights. It would be easy for a man (or his other free wife) to treat such a person as a second-class citizen (Sarai and Hagar).
Other passages speak about the law of slaves seemingly regarding them as property of their Master. The Scripture also protects women who are captured by war and became wives by force (Deut. 21:14). Since these women either were purchased or taken by acts of war, they will get their freedom if neglected and unwanted according to the commandments of scripture because they were humbled sexually in the marriage.
If it were not for this biblical protection, it is foreseeable that a displeased master could divorce and ultimately sell her again. Exodus 21:10 only speaks about the slave wife and not the free wife. The scripture offers the free wife protection in certain situations by not allowing her husband to divorce her and honoring the covenant he made with her forever.
In conclusion: adultery is ALWAYS committed in a divorce and remarriage. Meaning, it takes an act of adultery for a man to end the marriage or any subsequent remarriage by either person would be adulterous. The Jewish believers told the Gentile Churches/ Believers to abstain from “sexual immorality” (Acts 15:19-20). Any remarriage, apart from the concession of Moses, would clearly be breaking this requirement.
“19 Therefore I judge that we should not trouble those from among the Gentiles who are turning to God, 20 but that we write to them to abstain from things polluted by idols, from sexual immorality, from things strangled, and from blood.”
Love you guys,
God bless my daughter and family. I bless you Padah. Amen. Michael Sayen
Calvin College Computer Science website. The Christian Classic Eternal Library, CHAPTER 7. HOW HEROD SLEW SOHEMUS AND MARIAMNE AND AFTERWARD ALEXANDRA AND COSTOBARUS, AND HIS MOST INTIMATE FRIENDS, AND AT LAST THE SONS OF BABBAS ALSO. Retrieved Sept. 23, 2016 from [+ http://www.ccel.org/ccel/josephus/complete.ii.xvi.vii.html+]
Fineman, J. (2016, January). A Jewish Divorce: The Importance of a “Get”. Retrieved from
Sayen, M.S. (2016, Feb.). Divorce: In the Bible. Saint Paul, MN: Publisher Michael S. Sayen
From Divorce: In the Bible – I am convinced that Matt. 19:9 was Mark’s 10:11-12 account of what Jesus said in the “house” in private for three reasons. First, the continuation recorded in Matt. 19:10 are His Disciples speaking to Him seemingly in private. Secondly, Jesus never answers the religious leaders with a direct answer when tested. For it does not seem logical for Jesus to answer the Pharisees and Scribes indirectly in Matt. 19:8 then answer them again directly in the next verse. And thirdly, it doesn’t seem logical for Jesus to say Matt. 19:9 in public then repeat the exact same thing to the Disciples in private (Mark 10:10-11) without added clarity. It looks like the verse Mark 10:10 “In the house His disciples also asked Him again about the same matter” is the account between Matt. 19:8 and Matt. 19:9.
A man can marry another woman if his wife committed sexual immorality after she unlawfully divorced him. Even though the covenant was never properly abolished by Scripture, or she did not marry another man, he would not be guilty of committing adultery “against” her since she was unfaithful to him in the likeness of Deut. 24:1 and defiled herself (Deut. 24:4 “after that she is defiled”, Jer. 3:1 “polluted”). It is always best to give the wife time to repent, seek forgiveness and reconcile her back to the marriage (Jer. 3:14).
Deut. 24:4 said the wife was “defiled” in her body by the second marriage so it would seem that Moses was implying that she was previously not defiled by the “uncleanness” in her first marriage or, so it would seem. Moses leaves out details in this story so we would not be distracted from its main point (Jer. 3:1). This is why the Pharisees and Scribes presumed the permission of Moses was for an act other than defilement. When a woman lies with another man who is not her husband, she defiles herself (Num. 5, Jer. 3:9). The Sermon on the Mount was usually the misapplied laws of Moses brought to such a point of shock that it seemed impossible to live up to its standards. Even for the religious leaders (“be perfect as your Father in heaven is perfect”). This explains why the Disciples responded in Matt. 19:10 saying it is better not to marry understanding the Judgements of God.
For 3,300 years the Jews only allowed the man to initiate a divorce. Three important questions that are not being asked... 1) Was there a Scriptural basis for it? 2) Does those Scriptural principles mean anything to us Christians? 3) Was it taught in the New Testament by Jesus and Paul? The answer is "yes" to all three! There are many ethics and doctrines that we obtain from scripture and incorporate it into the Church and into Gentile’s lives that are turning to Jesus. Marriage, divorce and remarriage are one of those doctrines. God made a unilateral covenant with Abraham and his Seed by symbolically going between the slain animals. Jesus paid the bridal-price by being broken Himself and made a unilateral covenant with the Church. The Jewish people practice this unilateral marriage covenant called the ketubah. It establishes the marriage promises of the husband to his now betrothed wife. Some of the Jewish people believed since the marriage covenant was unilateral it allowed the man to unilaterally divorce his wife. While others (including various cultures) believed that acquiring a wife by means of a bridal-price (mohar) allowed the unilateral divorce. Although payment was traditionally given to the father the Orthodox Jews except a gold wedding ring as a form of payment under the law similar to our engagement ring. But ultimately - all Jewish people and religious leaders agree that since the Torah said a woman is under the “rule” of her husband (Gen. 3:16) the laws of Deut. 24:1 were gender specific. Therefore; they believed only man could initiate the divorce and his wife could not. Paul now informs the Gentiles coming to Christ that a wife is not to divorce her husband (1 Cor. 7:10). But if she did divorce a husband, being that it was not lawful for her to do so, she cannot remarry another man (1 Cor. 7:11a). And Jesus commanded a man not to use the law as a vice to divorce his wife as the Jews did before him (1 Cor. 7:11b). This book answers the "What now?" questions after a divorce.