1. Exposition

Which law of Moses permitted a man to write a certificate of divorce?

Mark 10:4 (ESV)

4 They said, “Moses allowed a man to write a certificate of divorce and to send her away.”

The only instructions that Moses gave regarding divorce are found in Deuteronomy 24:1–4. In this passage, Moses teaches that if a man divorces a woman, he must give her a certificate of divorce. Moses’ teaching only regulates what must happen after a divorce has taken place. A certificate of divorce had to be written and signed and given to the wife. It authenticated her release from the marriage contract and it was a means of protection for the woman who had been repudiated by her husband.1 This certificate also allowed a woman to retain her dowry that could then also be passed on to her children.2