Sometimes I use this platform so I don’t have to keep typing the same thing over and over.
Several years ago, I posted about Malachi 2:16 “God hates divorce?”
And I followed it up here:
Every few years, someone brings up objections to my exegesis. If they are not reviling me (which is fairly common) I answer them. Generally like this:
Every translator translated it like I mentioned until the King James, and then they all followed suit. It became hallowed with use, but it, respectfully, is wrong.
The KJV also translated it assuming that the word “to send away” was an infinitive construct, as you do.
The problem is that the hebrew almost always uses the preposition “lamed” attached to the verb to indicate it as a helping verb. For an infinitive construct to stand alone without a preposition (as is the case here) it only admits of a very few uses, and a helping verb is not one of them. The infinitive construct without a verb is relatively rare in Hebrew.
So, when I translated this some years ago, I struggled with it. It was awkward, it wasn’t how Hebrew was normally used.
And then it occured to me – the 2s imperative has the exact same spelling and vowel points. Why do we assume it is an infinitive construct when the imperative is spelled exactly the same?
So I looked at the semantics that way
“Because” – or “that” (depends on context)
“He hates” – really can’t be translated honestly any other way – but I’ve read comments that say that it is a mistake, and the first person consonant dropped off by scribes centuries ago….)
Run a quick search, with vowel points, on the word “send away” with the exact same spelling.
it comes up about 10 times, if I remember, and every time it means “set loose” send away, and almost always it was used by Moses while speaking to Pharaoh.
Thus sayeth the Lord “Let my people go”
Translated, let go, in this instance.
In Deuteromony 24 – the word to send away and the word “divorce” are contrasted to one another and not identical.
Quite frankly it just doesn’t mean what the KJV said it meant – other modern translations kept it the same because most evangelicals (those who buy bibles) don’t want to hear it. It is their favorite verse.
I know that I lost friends, lost church members, and was reviled publicly because of it. That is hard to go through.
But the Hebrew says what it says.
And thank you for the discussion. I have been reviled on it so many times, that an honest and intelligent discussion on it is a breath of fresh air.
Anyway, one other point – the “he”, which is the subject of “hates” can only refer to the treacherous man.
If it is referring to God, why does the Lord God refer to himself in the third person? Sometimes that is the case, but then it is clear that he is speaking of his triune persons. Here it is not at all that clear.
Also, if the first clause IS referring to God, “he hates”, then why does the second clause revert back to the treacherous man “For he covers violence with his garment…”
So the whole context – he is speaking in the third person of the treacherous man and then, all of the sudden, for three words, he is referring to the Lord God of Israel, and then back to the treacherous man.
It is just awkward.
This is why one grammar that I was checking on it posited that the “aleph” indicating first person must have dropped off in the copying process over the centuries and it REALLY says, “For I hate (to send away) – which, by the way, STILL doesn’t say, I hate divorce.
You would then have to change the infinitive construct to a participle to get it there and say, For I hate THE sending away – )
And that is closer, but still not there….so let’s make “send away” the same as “divorce”
For I hate divorce…”
And now you have something that isn’t there at all, but is repeated over and over and over again until it is believed to be biblical.
A couple of final points:
It matters. If you translate it correctly, you have not become a “liberal”, you have not become a white knight, and you are not, all of the sudden, against marriage and for easy divorce. Please try to separate what the scripture says from your modern social agenda.
What God hates is the treachery that leads up to divorce. What God hates is covenant breaking and hard hearts that sometimes makes divorce necessary.
What God hates is twisting his words to call the innocent guilty and the guilty innocent.
When you translate the verse correctly, you see God’s heart in this difficult passage. God hates treachery, violence, and hatred and he will come to judge the living and the dead. He is giving the opportunity for repentance, “Take heed to your spirit and do not act treacherously.”
To twist this around to “God hates divorce”, you turn it into a catch phrase to turn against the suffering and to send them back to their abuser.
“God hates divorce. So you have to suffer for his sake, just like Jesus did.”
Absolutely horrible and it really has to stop. WE’VE become the treacherous man that God is so strongly condemning.
Why do you think so many are willing to suffer so much reviling to get this passage right?