Judeo-Christian God Demanded Mass Divorce in Old Testament

“Samson and Delilah,” by Peter Paul Rubens (1609-10)
“Samson and Delilah” by Peter Paul Rubens


Wow.  I am reading Bible scholar Bart Ehrman’s university Biblical Studies textbook, “The Bible, a Historical and Literary Approach”.  I am learning things about the Bible I had never heard of when I was a Christian.  Hmm.  Now…I wonder why I was never taught about Ezra chapter 10 in Sunday School?

How can Christians (and Jews) call the God of the Bible moral, when he orders fathers to abandon their children (and their wives)?  What an immoral book and ideology!


Ezra chapter 10

While Ezra prayed and made confession, weeping and throwing himself down before the house of God, a very great assembly of men, women, and children gathered to him out of Israel; the people also wept bitterly. Shecaniah son of Jehiel, of the descendants of Elam, addressed Ezra, saying, “We have broken faith with our God and have married foreign women from the peoples of the land, but even now there is hope for Israel in spite of this. So now let us make a covenant with our God to send away all these wives and their children, according to the counsel of my lord and of those who tremble at the commandment of our God; and let it be done according to the law. Take action, for it is your duty, and we are with you; be strong, and do it.” Then Ezra stood up and made the leading priests, the Levites, and all Israel swear that they would do as had been said. So they swore.

Foreign Wives and Their Children Rejected

Then Ezra withdrew from before the house of God, and went to the chamber of Jehohanan son of Eliashib, where he spent the night.[a] He did not eat bread or drink water, for he was mourning over the faithlessness of the exiles. They made a proclamation throughout Judah and Jerusalem to all the returned exiles that they should assemble at Jerusalem, and that if any did not come within three days, by order of the officials and the elders all their property should be forfeited, and they themselves banned from the congregation of the exiles.

Then all the people of Judah and Benjamin assembled at Jerusalem within the three days; it was the ninth month, on the twentieth day of the month. All the people sat in the open square before the house of God, trembling because of this matter and because of the heavy rain. 10 Then Ezra the priest stood up and said to them, “You have trespassed and married foreign women, and so increased the guilt of Israel. 11 Now make confession to the Lord the God of your ancestors, and do his will; separate yourselves from the peoples of the land and from the foreign wives.” 12 Then all the assembly answered with a loud voice, “It is so; we must do as you have said. 13 But the people are many, and it is a time of heavy rain; we cannot stand in the open. Nor is this a task for one day or for two, for many of us have transgressed in this matter. 14 Let our officials represent the whole assembly, and let all in our towns who have taken foreign wives come at appointed times, and with them the elders and judges of every town, until the fierce wrath of our God on this account is averted from us.” 15 Only Jonathan son of Asahel and Jahzeiah son of Tikvah opposed this, and Meshullam and Shabbethai the Levites supported them.

16 Then the returned exiles did so. Ezra the priest selected men,[b] heads of families, according to their families, each of them designated by name. On the first day of the tenth month they sat down to examine the matter. 17 By the first day of the first month they had come to the end of all the men who had married foreign women.

18 There were found of the descendants of the priests who had married foreign women, of the descendants of Jeshua son of Jozadak and his brothers: Maaseiah, Eliezer, Jarib, and Gedaliah. 19 They pledged themselves to send away their wives, and their guilt offering was a ram of the flock for their guilt. 20 Of the descendants of Immer: Hanani and Zebadiah. 21 Of the descendants of Harim: Maaseiah, Elijah, Shemaiah, Jehiel, and Uzziah. 22 Of the descendants of Pashhur: Elioenai, Maaseiah, Ishmael, Nethanel, Jozabad, and Elasah.

23 Of the Levites: Jozabad, Shimei, Kelaiah (that is, Kelita), Pethahiah, Judah, and Eliezer. 24 Of the singers: Eliashib. Of the gatekeepers: Shallum, Telem, and Uri.

25 And of Israel: of the descendants of Parosh: Ramiah, Izziah, Malchijah, Mijamin, Eleazar, Hashabiah,[c] and Benaiah. 26 Of the descendants of Elam: Mattaniah, Zechariah, Jehiel, Abdi, Jeremoth, and Elijah. 27 Of the descendants of Zattu: Elioenai, Eliashib, Mattaniah, Jeremoth, Zabad, and Aziza. 28 Of the descendants of Bebai: Jehohanan, Hananiah, Zabbai, and Athlai. 29 Of the descendants of Bani: Meshullam, Malluch, Adaiah, Jashub, Sheal, and Jeremoth. 30 Of the descendants of Pahath-moab: Adna, Chelal, Benaiah, Maaseiah, Mattaniah, Bezalel, Binnui, and Manasseh. 31 Of the descendants of Harim: Eliezer, Isshijah, Malchijah, Shemaiah, Shimeon, 32 Benjamin, Malluch, and Shemariah. 33 Of the descendants of Hashum: Mattenai, Mattattah, Zabad, Eliphelet, Jeremai, Manasseh, and Shimei. 34 Of the descendants of Bani: Maadai, Amram, Uel, 35 Benaiah, Bedeiah, Cheluhi, 36 Vaniah, Meremoth, Eliashib, 37 Mattaniah, Mattenai, and Jaasu. 38 Of the descendants of Binnui:[d] Shimei, 39 Shelemiah, Nathan, Adaiah, 40 Machnadebai, Shashai, Sharai, 41 Azarel, Shelemiah, Shemariah, 42 Shallum, Amariah, and Joseph. 43 Of the descendants of Nebo: Jeiel, Mattithiah, Zabad, Zebina, Jaddai, Joel, and Benaiah. 44 All these had married foreign women, and they sent them away with their children.[e]

7 thoughts on “Judeo-Christian God Demanded Mass Divorce in Old Testament

  1. Looking at Rahab in Joshua, and the verses in the Torah that tell Israel to treat the sojourners well, these women could have stayed, if they had cleaved to the God of Israel.

    Since they were sent away, it’s obvious that they refused to submit to the true God, but rather wanted to serve the false gods, the worship of which had already caused the ruin if the inhabitants of the land, Israel’s destruction, and Judah’s exile.


    1. You are making an assumption (the Christian belief system is built upon so many) that the foreign women were given the option of converting and refused. The text itself says nothing about this option being offered. Bottom line: Children were made fatherless by the “righteous, just, and good” Yahweh, the Judeo-Christian god, simply because their mothers were not racially pure.

      What a sick belief system.

      You did not comment, Liam, under my post regarding Exodus 21:7-8. What moral justification can you make for Yahweh, your god, giving permission to fathers to sell their daughters to other men as sex slaves?

      When a man sells his daughter as a slave, she shall not go out as the male slaves do. If she does not please her master, who designated her for himself, then he shall let her be redeemed; he shall have no right to sell her to a foreign people, since he has dealt unfairly with her. —Exodus 21:7-8

      Liked by 1 person

      1. First you make the foolish assumption and mistake of knowing anything about the Torah like your Christian contemporaries do… so…what does the Torah say about foreigners? The Torah says that a foreigner who joins himself to Israel(whether male or female doesn’t matter) becomes part of the community. So, for a jew (The bible is by jews for jews mind you son…So don’t expect to understand it unless youre a jew or have studied jewish culture and belief) it is common sense to know that since these women were called foreigners that they rejected to join themselves to Israel if they didn’t they would be seen as natives. So stop babbling when you don’t have a clue…For example…Nowhere does it say in the text of The Books of The Torah what Israel did during the 40 years of the wilderness concerning the feasts.. Yet for any jew it would be common knowledge to know that during those years Israel did observe all feasts. Just like with these women. I as a messianic jew find no error with this only you guys who don’t have a clue about our Scriptures find these silly objections that are based on your western perspective that is incompatible with the jewish perspective…And your definition of slave and our definition are different like the sky and night son…Stop babbling nonsense …Literally…Stop..BTW… we don’t seek converts so that’s why the books aren’t written for non jews who lack the knowledge of a jew..Of course anyone who wishes to become a part of Israel can do so by completing the necessary tasks if he can and it is done…Now you understand?


        1. Did or did not Ezra tell the Jewish men to divorce their non-Jewish wives and to leave/abandon their children, mothered by these non-Jewish wives, so that their children would become father-less orphans?


          1. What he did was rebuked by God son… And I explained this all now…My previous reply was incomplete…Do not jump to conclusions when I wasn’t even finished yet…


      2. and also because the divorce was so massive and not done in the spirit of the Torah(which is love, mercy, righteousness etc) the prophet Zachariah who lived in this time rebuked the people for doing this divorce in God’s Name….What I meant with the previous reply with seeing no error was that according to the letter of the Torah their deed was correct. But according to the Spirit of the Torah their deed was incorrect and God rebuked them….(Ezra was not a prophet and so was Nehemiah. .their books are historical not prophetical which is another mistake you made assuming it as a prophetical book )


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