Does God actually hate divorce, as we have often heard?
The older rendering of Malachi 2:16, “I hate divorce," is taken to imply that the Lord disapproves of all divorce (or most divorce). However, this translation (as in the NKJV and NRSV), is far from certain.
The Hebrew does not say “I hate,” but “he hates.” It refers to the husband: he is treating his wife hatefully. Better translations are the ESV and the (current) NIV.
- “The man who hates and divorces his wife,” says the Lord, the God of Israel, “does violence to the one he should protect,” says the Lord. So be on your guard, and do not be unfaithful.” NIV
- But if you hate [your wife] and put her away, says the Lord God of Israel, then ungodliness shall cover your thoughts, says the Lord Almighty: therefore take heed to your spirit, and forsake [them] not.
- LXX (the Greek version of the OT, made a couple of centuries before Christ, and which was the Bible for most Jews in the time of Jesus, as the majority lived outside the land of Israel.)
Mal 2:16 is still a strong passage against divorce, but it is not a passage forbidding divorce.
The material above has been excerpted from the short series on Divorce & Remarriage (talk 2).