In the whole of Luke’s gospel, there is just one context in which the verbs “divorce” and “marry” appear together. That passage—only one verse—ought to contribute to a correct understanding of Jesus’ attitude toward divorce and remarriage; however, there exists no scholarly consensus on the passage’s meaning.
Any man who divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery, and a man who marries a woman divorced from her husband commits adultery. (Luke 16:18)
In the first half of Luke 16:18, Jesus appears to teach that a man who has divorced his wife should not remarry. In the verse’s second half, Jesus seems to say that no man should marry a divorced woman. Does this simplistic interpretation of a difficult verse do justice to Jesus’ approach to Torah?
Luke 16:18 is very “Semitic,” that is, it is full of Semitic idioms, an indication that Jesus may have uttered the saying in Hebrew or Aramaic. Many scholars in Israel have learned that the most effective way to approach a passage from the synoptic gospels is, first, to put its Greek text into Hebrew, then, study the resultant Hebrew reconstruction in light of first-century Jewish exegesis.
-  Thus, apparently, Jesus would not consider a man an adulterer if he divorced his wife but did not remarry. ↩
-  The conclusions presented in this article grew out of a study of the nuances of the Hebrew word -ו (vav, and) that I carried out in the mid-1980s. I found that many of these Hebraic nuances were displayed in the Gospels by καί (kai, and), vav‘s Greek equivalent. The results of this study were initially published in 1987 (David Bivin, “The Hebrew Connection: Vav,” Dispatch from Jerusalem [1st Quarter, 1987]: 7), then revised and republished in 1989 (idem, [“Hebrew Nuggets” series,] “Lesson 17: ‘Vav [Part 1],’” Jerusalem Perspective 17 [Feb. 1989]: 3; “Lesson 18: ‘Vav [Part 2],’” Jerusalem Perspective 18 [Mar. 1989]: 3). ↩