Hasn't the Bible Always Said, "God hates divorce"? No.

This is a table that compares 16 English translations of the Bible verse Malachi 2:16 and shows they conflict greatly. (1) “If you hate your wife, divorce her,” (2) “God hates divorce,” and (3) “If he hates and divorces [his wife].”

Bottom line: No one can claim with authority that Malachi 2:16 says, “God hates divorce.” These 18 major Bible translations have offered three vastly conflicting ways of translating this verse into English because the Hebrew is unclear. (1) “If you hate your wife, divorce her,” (2) “God hates divorce,” and (3) “If he hates and divorces [his wife].” There are two ancient Hebrew manuscripts, and neither is easy to interpret. The later translation (3) is based on the Dead Sea Scrolls.


For a technical discussion that shows and compares the two Hebrew texts (the Masoretic and the Dead Sea 4QXIIa), see: https://focusmagazine.org/he-hates-or-god-hates-the-text-of-malachi-216.php.

Summary: “So what can we conclude about which translation best reflects the original text? At present, I don’t think we can determine that.”

For a pastoral discussion, see https://margmowczko.com/divorce-malachi-2/ "God on Divorce: Malachi 2:16"

Summary: "Divorce is hard, horrible, and heartbreaking, but we should stop saying that God hates divorce, as this is misquoting and misrepresenting scripture. Moreover, pronouncing that “God hates divorce” brings only hurt, confusion, and feelings of condemnation to Christians who are divorced or contemplating divorce. This pronouncement does nothing to help the church’s mission of bringing healing and hope through the gospel. Furthermore, we simply must stop using Malachi 2:16 to coerce or guilt a wronged or abused spouse to remain in a harmful marriage."


Malachi 2:16 – Has the Bible Always Said, “God Hates Divorce”?  No!

16 ENGLISH TRANSLATIONS of Malachi 2:16 Who does the hating? What does he hate? What should he do?
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,

Are you going through a life-saving divorce and need support?  I’d like to invite you to my private Facebook group, "Life-Saving Divorce for Separated or Divorced Christians." This is a group for women and men of faith who have walked this path, or are considering it. Allies and people helpers are also welcome. Just click the link and ANSWER the 3 QUESTIONS.


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