[VIDEO BELOW] We know God meant marriage to be loving, faithful, and lifelong. And many of us have heard from childhood that "God hates divorce" using the words of Malachi 2:15-16.
But does that mean that all divorce is prohibited? If so, how do you square that with the words of Jesus Christ allowing divorce for sexual immorality, and the apostle Paul allowing for divorce for abandonment? Or the Law of Moses that allows for divorce for sexual indecency (immorality), abuse, and neglect?
As you know, most of the Bible was written in Hebrew. The Old Testament (Hebrew Scriptures) was written in that ancient language more than 2500 years ago.
Does Malachi 2:15-16 say "God hates divorce" (or "I hate divorce") in the Hebrew text?
No, it doesn't.
It doesn't say that in the Hebrew text, and if you look at many of the major modern translations from Hebrew into English, done by the world's finest scholars of ancient languages, they don't say that either
Instead they translate Malachi 2:15-16 as pointing out violent, unjust, and hate-filled men who want to divorce their wives without just cause.
Watch the 5-minute video to see how Malachi 2:16 is translated in these three major Bible translations: NIV, ESV, and CSB.
For more on God and divorce, such as "Is divorce the unpardonable sin?" or "Does God allow divorce for any reason," see Myth 18.
For a definition of life-saving divorces, read the book, What is a Life-Saving Divorce?
Chapter 6 of that book is entirely on "What Does the Bible Say About Divorce." It explains all the divorce passages in Scripture.
Malachi 2:16 – Hasn’t the Bible Always Said,
“God Hates Divorce”? No!
|ENGLISH TRANSLATIONS of Malachi 2:16||Who does the hating?||What does he hate?||What should
|Wycliffe Bible 1395||The husband||his wife||when thou hatest her, leave thou her, saith the Lord God of Israel.|
|Coverdale Bible 1535||The husband||his wife||Yf thou hatest her, put her awaye, sayeth the LORDE God of Israel|
|Bishop's Bible 1568||The husband||his wife||If thou hatest her, put her away, saith the lorde God of Israel:|
|Geneva Bible 1587||The husband||his wife||If thou hatest her, put her away, sayeth the Lorde God of Israel,|
|King James Bible 1611||God||divorce||For the LORD, the God of Israel, saith that he hateth putting away|
|Young’s Literal Translation 1862||God||divorce||For [I] hate sending away, said Jehovah, God of Israel,|
|English Revised Version 1881||God||divorce||For I hate putting away, saith the LORD, the God of Israel,|
|American Standard Version 1901||God||divorce||For I hate putting away, saith Jehovah, the God of Israel,|
|Revised Standard Version 1973||God||divorce||"For I hate divorce, says the LORD the God of Israel,|
|New International Version 1984||God||divorce||“I hate divorce,” says the Lord God of Israel,…|
|New American Standard Version 1989||God||divorce||"For I hate divorce," says the LORD, the God of Israel,
|New Revised Standard Version 1989||God||divorce||For I hate divorce, says the Lord, the God of Israel,|
|New Living Translation 1996||God||divorce||“For I hate divorce!” says the Lord, the God of Israel. “|
|Christian Standard Bible 2003||The husband||his wife||“If he hates and divorces [his wife],” says the Lord God of Israel,|
|New International Version 2011||The husband||his wife||“The man who hates and divorces his wife,” says the Lord, the God of Israel,
|English Standard Version 2011||The husband||His wife||“For the man who does not love his wife but divorces her, says the Lord, the God of Israel,|