The first we hear much about divorce in the Old Testament is in the Law. Divorced individuals are clearly considered defiled and often rejected.
The Priests are instructed to not marry a divorced woman.
Leviticus 21:7 They shall not marry a prostitute or a woman who has been defiled, neither shall they marry a woman divorced from her husband, for the priest is holy to his God. ESV
13 And he shall take a wife in her virginity.
14 A widow, or a divorced woman, or a woman who has been defiled, or a prostitute, these he shall not marry. But he shall take as his wife a virgin of his own people,
15 that he may not profane his offspring among his people, for I am the Lord who sanctifies him.” ESV
Notice also that a Priest was not able to marry a widow either. This was so that a Priest’s children may not be profaned but would be sanctified by the Lord.
Many treat the Bible as two completely different books that really have no connection with one another. Often you will hear someone refer to the God of the Old Testament and the God of the New Testament as if they are totally different individuals. Or worse you will hear someone say they do not like the God of the Bible but they love Jesus. You cannot do that! You cannot separate the God of the Old Testament from the New Testament God; they are one and the same. Nor can you separate God and Jesus because they are one and the same.
People love to hear about the Love, Grace and Mercy portrayed in the New Testament, yet to them the God in the Old Testament is harsh, cruel and unloving. But they are wrong; there is judgment portrayed in the NT just as there is Love, Grace and Mercy portrayed in the OT.
The God we see portrayed in the Old Testament exhibits the Grace and Mercy of the Father to His people and even to Gentiles at times. Grace and Mercy was extended even to those who were divorced.
12 If a priest’s daughter marries a layman, she shall not eat of the contribution of the holy things.
13 But if a priest’s daughter is widowed or divorced and has no child and returns to her father’s house, as in her youth, she may eat of her father’s food; yet no lay person shall eat of it. ESV
This series of verses in Leviticus (Leviticus 22:1 -16) is explaining who may eat of the Holy food that was given to the Priests.
- No layman may eat of it.
- No foreigner.
- No hired hand.
- No unclean person.
However, a daughter of the Priest that returns to her Father’s house may eat of the Holy food even when she was considered defiled or profane due to the divorce.
Do you see the beautiful picture of Grace extended to a daughter of the Priest?
There is no doubt that God hates divorce, that God considers divorce sin and that sin has consequences.
Yet even in our sin God offers us His Grace and Mercy. Just as the Priestly Father would take back the impure daughter so also our Heavenly Father will take back His daughter. Not as a hired servant, but as a restored member of the family who may partake of the Holy Things. Oh, that we would all return to our Father’s House.