It is not lawful for thee to have thy brother’s wife

Posted: March 24, 2010 in christian living
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For Herod himself had sent forth and laid hold upon John, and bound him in prison for Herodias’ sake, his brother Philip’s wife: for he had married her.  For John had said unto Herod, It is not lawful for thee to have thy brother’s wife.  ~Mark 6:17-18 NKJV

Looks like Herod took care of that judgmental legalist named John the Baptist.  Under what authority did he tell Herod that it was not lawful for him to have his brother’s wife?  Why, after all, Herodias had filed papers with the state, and then had the good preacher at First baptist church of Galilee perform a ceremony for a small fee and give his blessing to them.  Didn’t John know that God cared most about Herod and Herodias’ happiness?  I don’t know all of the ins and outs of what to do in case of remarriage before you were saved, and all the other “what ifs” surrounding this topic.  I do know however that blatant divorce and remarriage among professing believers is no more lawful then Herod’s “marriage” in the sight of God.

  1. Greg says:

    What constitutes “blatant” divorce and remarriage?

    • fleebabylon says:

      Great question, and one that I can’t fully answer. Many people tend to go to extremes beyond the word of God on this topic. I believe most have not heard clearly from God but only man and hold great zeal in these matters without having much knowledge. Looking at Herod though, we can see that a women leaving her husband to go be with another man (even if the leaving involves a certificate of divorce and the being with involves a new certificate of marriage) is adultery in the site of God and is unlawful. If this was the case with Herod then how much more a professing believer who goes and gets a certificate of divorce from their current spouse and is joined with a certificate of marriage to another? This is what I meant as blatant, an example similar to herod but among a professing believer.

      In closing I would say we should not pass judgment unless we are 100% sure that our judgment will pass through the fire of Gods judgment on that day. Better to give to much grace then not enough. For instance I would STRONGLY warn any brother that was thinking about getting married but had been previously divorced not to. (To stay single in accordance with 1 Corinthians 7 especially given the uncertainty of the lawfulness of it). If that brother had already gotten married though I would not dis-fellowship him because of an action committed in ignorance. Just some thoughts I wanted to write since I am talking about this again.

      Blessings to you – Jim

      • Greg says:

        If you are saying that getting a divorce for the sole purpose of marrying another is the condition that makes a divorce/remarriage unlawful, then I would agree. We should note, however, that this implies that lawful divorce/remarriage is possible, with which I also agree.

  2. fleebabylon says:

    Mar 10:2 And the Pharisees came to him, and asked him, Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife? tempting him.
    Mar 10:3 And he answered and said unto them, What did Moses command you?
    Mar 10:4 And they said, Moses suffered to write a bill of divorcement, and to put her away.
    Mar 10:5 And Jesus answered and said unto them, For the hardness of your heart he wrote you this precept.
    Mar 10:6 But from the beginning of the creation God made them male and female.
    Mar 10:7 For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and cleave to his wife;
    Mar 10:8 And they twain shall be one flesh: so then they are no more twain, but one flesh.
    Mar 10:9 What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.
    Mar 10:10 And in the house his disciples asked him again of the same matter.
    Mar 10:11 And he saith unto them, Whosoever shall put away his wife, and marry another, committeth adultery against her.
    Mar 10:12 And if a woman shall put away her husband, and be married to another, she committeth adultery.

    • Greg says:

      Here, Jesus is reminding us of the sanctity of marriage and warning us that, although divorce is lawful, leaving our spouse in order to marry another is adultery. He is not speaking to the issue of divorce and remarriage in general.

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