Comments/Questions from Readers

Question #35: You make a (seemingly good) case for the Hebrew word "ervah" being akin to whoring / virginity fraud but I am a little curious as to why this verse would mean that when Deuteronomy 22:13-21 already covers the case of a man accusing his wife of virginity fraud. Is it merely to address the case where a man was not sure about her virginity so rather than run the risk of being "stuck" with her for life if she was, he simply decided to put her away instead? And thus the hardness of man's heart that is mentioned in Yahushua's discourse with the Pharisees? ie. because if the man had a soft heart he would have loved his wife all the days of hs life even if he thought she wasn't a virgin??

Yes, your understanding of the Deut. 24 passage is correct. As you noted, Deut. 22 addresses the issue of virginity fraud (both actual fraud as well as a false claim of fraud). In fact, the only two places in Scripture that specifically forbid a husband from putting away his wife is where he has taken a virgin and made her a non-virgin by having intercourse with her (verses 19 and 29). I think this fact speaks volumes regarding the conditions by which a husband was actually permitted to put away his wife.

In both places where it has been established that she was virgin (or the fact could no longer be established due to his preemptive actions), the husband is prohibited from ever putting her away. Since we do not properly understand or appreciate the value of virginity or purity in our culture, we generally have a hard time seeing just how important it would be for a man to desire an untouched bride. Finding that one's new bride was not actually a virgin on their wedding night would be exceedingly distasteful. It was for this reason that Joseph was going to put away Mary, as he was falsely under the assumption that she could only have become pregnant by whoring prior to their coming together.

You are also correct that the "hardness of man's heart" was a direct reference to a husband who no longer desired his wife due to her having lost favor in his eyes for her prior whoring. This is the heart of unforgiveness. Putting her away in such a case was permitted by Moses, but Yahushua's words in Matthew 19 also make it clear that man's hard heart was the underlying reason for him putting her away. Certainly nothing in the Torah REQUIRED the husband to put her away in such a case.

Maybe it's because of our sexually permissive culture, or maybe it's because I have a softer heart in this regard than many men in Biblical times, but speaking for myself, I would have valued my wife equally, regardless of her sexual past. I believe this is the heart that we Believing men should have towards our repentant wives, especially considering the perverse world we have all been raised in. I know I need His forgiveness for my sordid past, and I would desire to extend the same forgiveness to my wife/wives. God was extremely patient with Israel for her continual whoring during the "betrothal period", and I believe we should follow His example.




"...In essentials we maintain unity, in opinions liberty, and in all things love..."

Your comments are welcome!