Matthew 5:31-32,  on divorce and adultery

5:31 “It was also said, ‘Whoever shall put away his wife, let him give her a writing of divorce,’ {Deuteronomy 24:1}
5:32 but I tell you that whoever puts away his wife, except for the cause of sexual immorality, makes her an adulteress; and whoever marries her when she is put away commits adultery.”

(Matt 5:31-32 WEB)

Making an adulteress

Various prophets depicted the relationship between God and Israel as a marriage in which the Lord was the groom and his chosen people the bride. This bond was intended to ensure absolute fidelity so long as the nation might survive. Therefore, God hates divorce (Mal 2:16).

Moses allowed unilateral divorce, so a man could divorce his wife but not vice-versa. The husband did so by giving his wife a formal bill of divorce. By Jesus’ day Rabbi’s were allowing such bills of divorce to be written for all manner of reasons. Jesus, however, stressed that Moses only permitted divorce because men were not prepared to live up to God’s ideal (Mark 10:4-5).

In Matt 5:43-48, Jesus encouraged his disciples to model their behaviour toward enemies on that of God and to emulate God’s perfection. Here he re- introduces that theme, by condemning unilateral divorce except on the grounds of adultery. The sole exception is allowed because God, after suffering the persistent spiritual adultery of Israel’s Northern Kingdom (i.e. their worship of other gods), wrote a certificate of divorce (Jer 3:8) and left them to their own devices.

A marriage involves vows to God by both the husband and the wife, but in a society where women generally depended upon men for their upkeep, divorce effectively forced a woman to contravene her promise to God and find another partner in order to survive. Unless she had already rendered herself legally dead by committing adultery, the original marriage still existed in God’s eyes. Therefore, anyone marrying her also committed adultery.

. . . commentary continues with Matt 5:33-37