Cain and Abel

Did you know the very first occurrence of domestic violence was documented? Did you know it happened thousands of years ago, and it was not in a marriage? In Genesis, when Cain murdered Abel, we have our first account of domestic violence. See the definitions of domestic violence. It soon becomes clear that domestic violence did not begin with a married couple, and the family (or brother to brother) covenant was not broken as a result of adultery, but rather because of violence.

For so many years I searched and searched for scripture that would give me an “out” from my abusive marriage. I figured the domestic violence was God punishing me. From family, from friends, and especially from clergy, I got “God hates divorce.” You know, the amazing thing is, here I sit, with ministerial credentials, and never realized that is actually in the Bible, in Malachi.

Recently I took a course on Domestic Violence Chaplaincy, and learned some life-altering lessons. One was on that very verse. Yes, God hates divorce. But, let’s take the scripture in context and see what lesson we can learn from it.

Malachi 2:14-16 (NKJV)

14 – Yet you say, “For what reason?” Because the LORD has been witness between you and the wife of your youth, with whom you have dealt treacherously; yet she is your companion and your wife by covenant.

15 – But did He not make them one, having a remnant of the Spirit? And why one? He seeks godly offspring.

16 – “For the LORD God of Israel says that He hates divorce, for it covers one’s garment with violence,” says the LORD of hosts. “Therefore take heed to your spirit that you do not deal treacherously.”

If we take these three verses into context, we realize that God is establishing how He expects and intends for the husband to treat his wife honorably, but He had observed husbands treating their wives “treacherously.” The word ‘treacherous’ denotes deceitful, unfaithful, untrustworthy, underhanded, two-faced, unsafe, dangerous, perilous, hazardous, risky, unstable or unsound.

We go on to read that God hates divorce because it “covers one’s garment with violence… therefore, … do not deal treacherously.” It would appear God is delivering the message that, as a result of the wife being dealt with treacherously, He hates the fact this brings about divorce. Maybe, just maybe, adultery is not the only Biblical leave for divorce? Just food for thought.

Not sure about what domestic violence looks or feels like? Take a look at the Power & Control Wheel


Tampa Bay Parenting Magazine’s Extraordinary Woman, featuring Carolyn. Visit her website at

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