7 “Why then,” they asked, “did Moses command that a man give his wife a certificate of divorce and send her away?”
8 Jesus replied, “Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because your hearts were hard. But it was not this way from the beginning. 9 I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another woman commits adultery.”
In the first eleven verses of chapter nineteen the Pharisees try to trap Jesus with questions and a discussion on and about divorce. They were shocked and dismayed at what He had to say to them. As He often did, He turned to scripture Some Pharisees came to him to test him. They asked, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any and every reason?” (v3). Jesus put it to them when He replied
4 “Haven’t you read that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’ 5 and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’? 6 So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.”
Notice in verse three they asked Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any and every reason? There was a Jewish teacher who believed this was correct and many a man followed this teaching leading Moses to require a man give his wife a certificate of divorce so she could rightly and legally marry again. However, Jesus correctly pointed out Moses permitted this because your hearts were hard. It was not supposed to be this way:
If a man marries a woman who becomes displeasing to him because he finds something indecent about her, and he writes her a certificate of divorce, gives it to her and sends her from his house
This was likely a result of living in Egypt where divorce was permitted for any or no cause at all. So Moses set up a way to regulate something offensive to him and God. So what was something indecent or something unclean in other versions? It would be
some filthy or hateful thing, some loathsome distemper of body or quality of mind, not observed before marriage; or some light and unchaste carriage, as this or the like phrase commonly signifies, but not amounting to adultery, which was not punished with divorce, but with death.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
But it did not remain that way. It devolved into divorce for any reason – a burnt meal, a desire for someone more attractive, etc. which truly reflected hard hearts. The hard hearts referenced those who did not wish to follow God’s direction, but seek any possible way around God’s directions both here and elsewhere. This is something we all need to be aware of … are we looking for a way to get around God’s directions? To get around what we know to be true and correct vice what we want in spite of God’s directions? As Christians, we have the Holy Spirit to provide input when we seek to do so if we will be listen when He speaks.
It’s Monday, I hope you have a Great Week and avoid any tendency to turn your heart hard – away from God.