When a man has taken a wife, and married her, and it come to pass that she find no favor in his eyes…
The tendency of the true religion has been to secure and respect the rights of women. Now, we have here women's rights brought under notice in two cases - in a case of separation, and in a case of war. Moses, "because of the hardness of their hearts," allowed divorce, because it prevailed to a lamentable extent in society in his time. He suffered them to divorce their wives, but insisted on a written divorce. Among other nations an oral divorce was sufficient, and so a divorce might be from the flimsiest caprice. Again, Moses forbade any coming together as man and wife again, a custom which prevails among the Arabs when the oral divorce is so lightly undertaken. Hence we notice in this law given by Moses -
I. THE DIVORCE OF THE WOMAN MUST BE DELIBERATE AND FINAL. Woman was not to be the toy of man's caprice; she was not to be lightly sent away, and, when sent away by the husband after deliberately writing her divorce, she was never to be taken back again. In this way Moses really consulted the rights of women. They had a right to a deliberate statement of the grounds of their divorce; they had also a right to be protected from further interference on the part of their former husbands. It was a wise expedient considering the degeneracy of the time. It is an improvement assuredly on the arrangements of Mahomet. Our Lord still further secured the rights of women in ordaining that nothing but infidelity on the part of the wife should dissolve the marriage union (Matthew 5:32).
II. WAR MUST NOT ROB A NEWLY MARRIED WIFE OF HER HUSBAND; SHE HAS A RIGHT TO HIS SOCIETY FOR A YEAR WITHOUT MOLESTATION. This was placing the interests of a single woman above the interests of the State. This was exalting the bride to a throne of highest honor surely. Other systems and the world as well may degrade woman, but God's Law elevates her and enthrones her.
III. NOR IS SHE THROUGH HER HUSBAND'S DIFFICULTIES TO LOSE EITHER OF HER MILLSTONES FOR THE GRINDING OF THE CORN. Here was another right of the housewife. No legal distraint could reach the little mill which ground the corn at home and kept the wolf from the door. Thus in her sorrows and in her joys God stood her Friend, and insisted on her rights. A similar shield should be thrown over her still. It is by securing her in her rights at home that woman's cause shall he advanced. She is intended to be a queen in the household. Everything that makes her position there more secure, everything that makes the home sacred even from the intrusion of a national war at certain times, everything that makes her feel the foundation firm below her, - is in the interests of public weal. But if she is carelessly thrown into the competition with the stronger sex, she will get deteriorated. The rights of women constitute a much longer subject than even Mr. Mill has made it. May the interpreter in due season appear! - R.M.E.
Parallel VersesKJV: When a man hath taken a wife, and married her, and it come to pass that she find no favour in his eyes, because he hath found some uncleanness in her: then let him write her a bill of divorcement, and give it in her hand, and send her out of his house.
WEB: When a man takes a wife, and marries her, then it shall be, if she find no favor in his eyes, because he has found some unseemly thing in her, that he shall write her a bill of divorce, and give it in her hand, and send her out of his house.