Adultery and the “Put Away” Wife

From the earliest of ages, men have transgressed God’s laws and forced women into abusive situations, stripping them of the protections that God put in place for them. Men have manipulated, twisted and changed scripture in order to use “God said” as a weapon of force against women. The damage done is huge!  As a result of this inequality, women the world over have been subjected to physical abuse, sexual abuse and exploitation, sex trafficking, prostitution, rape, incest, polygamy, child rape and abuse, sexual mutilation, torture physically and emotionally and, the list goes on. It is religion that has caused a race of people to be treated in-humanely for centuries. It is time for the lies, the twisting, the corruption to be exposed and women given their equality, honor and dignity back. Laws must be changed in the process to protect women and children in all settings of religious and secular society. The old stigmas that religion has placed on women will only disappear when MEN realize the magnitude of what they have done and take action to reverse it. Sadly, it all starts with the corruptions that still exist in our modern day Bibles, the corruptions preached from the pulpits of America and the world, the corruption of doctrines based on opinions of men, being set right. These changes that have been purposely done to give men the preeminence and force women into subjugation, are the ultimate “hate crime.” It has removed “accountability” away from men and allowed for them to do as they please against women in most cultures. These corruptions have been used to proliferate abusive attitudes in men, against women and young girls, throughout history. If we begin to set right what has been corrupted, then I genuinely believe that the attitudes regarding women will change slowly but surely and, the abuses will lessen against us and, our equality, honor and dignity will be restored. This will allow for laws to be put in place, and enforced, that protect women from the abuses mentioned. Men will then be held accountable for their crimes against women and young girls.

On this blog, it has been my goal to not only give victims of religious abuse a voice, but, to “unmask” these corruptions of the religious system, “unmask” the twisting of scripture through “implied” meaning by men, to set right what man has corrupted. The following excerpt is from Every Woman & Child, by Adele Hebert, and is used by permission from the author. It is a follow up to the article I put out several days ago called, “God does NOT Hate Divorce.” If you have time to read that article, I promise that it will be the most enlightening truth you will ever learn.  It is worth the read for every Christian and non-Christian no matter the religious sect, just as this article is.

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ADULTERY AND THE “PUT AWAY” WIFEdivorce

You will never read a bible study quite like this one.

Jesus gave some radical new teachings about adultery and the “put away” wife which are rarely mentioned, let alone explained. Even though these teachings do not apply to us exactly, they are extremely vital points and must not be dismissed. You will see how Jesus completely eradicated the stigma of the put away wife. You will also find out how Jesus liberated women from the penalty of adultery and turned it onto the men. It was very demeaning for the men to be called adulterers.

Nowadays we don’t use the word adultery much; we say people are having ‘an affair.’ It seems that the sacredness of marriage is not as valued as it used to be, and it is not only men who ‘fool around.’ In most countries, there is no punishment for committing adultery anymore; people just get divorced and carry on with their lives. (Tragically, not all countries.)

Matt. 5:32 – But I say to you, Whoever puts away his wife, apart from a matter of fornication, causes her to commit adultery. And who ever shall marry the one put away commits adultery. (KJ3)

In the Old Testament and right up until Jesus’ day, adultery was the most serious accusation for a woman. It meant certain death.

Jesus declared that if a woman is only “put away” (separated but not divorced), then her husband “makes her,” “causes her” to commit adultery (Matt 5:32). This is equivalent to a parent who starves a child on purpose, (making them, causing them) forcing them to steal food. The parent is responsible for the child, therefore the parent is guilty.

Jesus maintained that the husband is responsible for taking care of his wife until he divorces her, therefore if he simply sends her away, he is now declared guilty for “her” adultery! “Whoever puts away his wife, causes her to commit adultery.” This was outrageous! In reality, Jesus was saying, “Don’t just send your wife away or you’ll be blamed and held accountable for what she does.” Imagine men being told they are guilty for their wife’s future actions!

Then Jesus takes the matter one step further, to avoid any exploitation of the woman. Jesus stated that the man who takes her who is only “put away,” is also guilty of adultery, like a partner in crime. “And who ever shall marry the one put away commits adultery.” This was shocking! Men better not even look at a single woman without seeing her divorce certificate first. What protection! The original husband cannot get off the hook, and the second husband better not act impulsively. Like any other business transaction, there is justice and order. Women were not to be tossed around and taken by men, to be used and then thrown away.

The first husband was not allowed to go free of his responsibility until he paid his wife in full. That’s the procedure. A similar analogy would be if a person owed the bank some money on the mortgage. Another person cannot just come along and take the property without the first owner paying the bank all the money they owe. Jesus reinstated marriage as a serious business, a holy covenant, with the utmost protection and provision for the woman. Men cannot cheat women or play games with God.

Mark 10:11 –  And he saith unto them, Whosoever shall put away his wife, and marry another, committeth adultery against her.

Even if a man sent away his wife and he married another woman (which men allowed themselves at the time, for any excuse), he was also guilty of committing adultery “against her,” meaning his original wife (Mark 10:11). Who ever heard of that? The men had never been accountable to women. Jesus blamed men for committing adultery in every situation. That was unbelievable! This would certainly have elevated the status and dignity of women, but can you imagine the men who heard this?

Please read this slowly. So, no matter if the “put away” wife found another man, the husband is guilty for “her” adultery. Or if another man took the “put away” wife, before she got her divorce, then that man is guilty of adultery. Or if the husband “put away” his wife and found another woman, the husband is guilty of adultery “against” his original wife. Unless the woman was divorced, Jesus declared that the men were always to blame! Even if the “put away” wife committed the adultery, Jesus indicted the husband! The women were completely exonerated! How revolutionary! These words would have infuriated the men. In all these situations, Jesus declared that the men were guilty of adultery, never the woman.

Mark 10:12 – And if a woman shall put away her husband, and be married to another, she committeth adultery.

The final extreme teaching about being “put away” is in Mark 10:12, where Jesus announced that a woman could also “put away her husband.” Traditionally, only men could put away their wives. Women had been totally at the mercy of men. This was all completely new! What radical equality! That meant women could leave if they were being abused! And still get a fair settlement! Wouldn’t that make the men stand up? I am surprised that these teachings even made it in the gospels…very surprised.

To the men, Jesus was saying, “No!” “No, you can’t just throw her away without giving her a divorce.” “No, you can’t just take her before she has her settlement.” “No, you can’t just send her away and marry another woman, that’s cheating against your wife.” “No, you can’t hurt your wife; she can leave you.” “No more abuse! These women are daughters of God.” “No excuses or loopholes! Either you love her or you hand over the money, and give her a divorce!”

To the women, Jesus was saying, “No more!” “No more blame for adultery, if he sends you away.” “No more tolerating abuse in marriage; you can leave him.” “No more being cheated out of your property; it’s your entitlement.” “No more condemnation for women, if they are put away.” (“No more condemnation” did not give women permission to cheat on their husbands. Jesus was advocating for the wives who were abandoned, sent away.) No more shame or blame for women …at last!

Every detail of every possible scenario was looked after, to give women their full dignity and protection. Every hint of shame and blame was taken away from women and put on the men. Jesus made men respect women as equal partners in marriage and divorce. He made men give women their share of the matrimonial property. Notice that Jesus also acknowledged getting married again, confirming remarriage (only after getting divorced). Jesus did more for women’s rights than we can ever know. What an outstanding champion and defender of women!

These teachings were more than earth shattering for the men! Their entire culture had revolved around men making their own rules with few responsibilities towards the women. Now Jesus reminded men of the old rules, which had great responsibilities, to protect the women. Jesus’ teachings go completely against all the traditions of blaming women; He blamed the men. No wonder the men thought it was better not to marry, if they had to be that responsible for a wife (Matt 19:10).

For the rejected women, all these teachings were elevating and completely liberating! What an awesome Savior! Society was forced to start seeing women as equal. Unfortunately, Jesus’ declarations were not accepted by the men at that time, but His Words were not forgotten. It took two thousand years before women won their matrimonial property rights, but the battle is still not over. The patriarchal leaders are determined to keep Christian women from getting divorced and remarried.

It takes a long time for people to change attitudes. Many lives have been lost for the emancipation of women. Many court battles were fought for the freedom women have today. Two thousand years later, Jesus’ words are the basis for our divorce laws. But we still have a long ways to go.

If men listen to the false teachings of the boy’s club (church), marriage can be a nightmare for women and children. If men follow Jesus, marriage can be fulfilling for everyone: men, women and children, too.

As for women wanting to commit adultery, do you really think there were many at that time, knowing they would get stoned to death? I believe the woman in John 8 was very likely a hungry, put away wife, who was set up, so that men could trap Jesus. She was legally married or she would not have been accused of adultery. And why were there so many men witnesses and accusers? And where was he??

Jesus never condemned the woman caught in adultery because she was not guilty. She was a victim. Men had “caused” her to be in that situation, whatever the circumstance. Jesus simply wrote in the sand, and each of those male accusers left, from oldest to youngest. Then He spoke to her alone, and told her she was free. She was no more at the mercy of men. What a wonderful Savior!

The most overlooked point about the woman caught in adultery is that she was a believer. When Jesus asked, “hath no man condemned thee?” she said, “No man, Lord.” (John 8:11) This poor woman has been given a pornographic reputation throughout the centuries, and is always portrayed horribly in art. She was a believer and Jesus loved her.

Ann Brown wrote a wonderful book, Apology to Women, (Inter-Varsity Press, 1991), where she “confesses that the Bible has often been used to devalue women, illustrating this fact with abundant examples from Christian writing and art through the centuries.” I was truly blessed by her title.

There is a definite connection between the teachings of the church and how women are treated in the home, behind closed doors. These teachings affect all of society, just like the attitudes and oppression in the days of slavery. A Wife’s Submission, is a fantastic blog http://hupotasso.wordpress.com/; Charis Hart examines the toughest passages using Greek and Hebrew word studies. Charis Hart’s new website is Christian Egalitarian Marriage http://2hold.wordpress.com/. Submission Tyranny, in Church and Society, by Waneta Dawn, is another great blog.

You will want to read Woman Submit by Jocelyn Anderson, (One Way Café Press, 2007), an excellent book about the dynamics of religion, family and community towards an abused woman. Another awesome book is A Woman’s Place? Leadership in the Church by C. S. Cowles (Beacon Hill Press, 1993). Other recommended authors include: Lundy Bancroft, Patricia Evans, Gilbert Bilezikian, J. Lee Grady, Susan C. Hyatt, Aida Spencer, Alvin J. Schmidt, Tikva Frymer Kensky…. The best reference I can give is Christians for Biblical Equality http://www.cbeinternational.org for books, articles and the CBE Scroll.

One Way Press is proud to announce that in Spring of 2013, Shirley Taylor will be releasing her book, Dethroning Male Headship, Because it Doesn’t have a Leg to Stand on. You will definitely want to check out her website, Baptist Women for Equality. Shirley has an excellent resource page.

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