Is there a biblical basis for separation or divorce?
This is what the Jewish law originally stated:
When a man takes a wife and is intimate with her, and it happens that she does not find favor in his eyes because he discovers in her an unseemly matter, and he writes for her a document of severance, gives it into her hand, and sends her away from his house. She leaves his house and goes and marries another man -- Deuteronomy 24:1-2.
This is supposed to have been changed by the words placed in Jesus' mouth in Matthew's gospel (Matt. 19:3-9).
3 Some Pharisees came to him to test him. They asked, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any and every reason?”
4 “Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’[a] 5 and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’[b]? 6 So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.”
7 “Why then,” they asked, “did Moses command that a man give his wife a certificate of divorce and send her away?”
8 Jesus replied, “Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because your hearts were hard. But it was not this way from the beginning. 9 I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another woman commits adultery.”
As I'm sure everyone appreciates, the written gospels were authored a couple of decades after Jesus' death. How much do you remember from someone's speeches given 20 years ago?
So why the change?
Do you think it may have had something to do with the changes to Roman divorce law made by the Emperor Augustus?
Quote: Marriage in ancient Rome was a strictly monogamous institution: a Roman citizen by law could have only one spouse at a time. The practice of monogamy distinguished the Greeks and Romans from other ancient civilizations, in which elite males typically had multiple wives. ... It is one aspect of ancient Roman culture that was embraced by early Christianity, which in turn perpetuated it as an ideal in later Western culture. (Reference: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marriage_in_ancient_Rome
If Matthew 19 reflects Roman law rather than Jewish law, we may conclude that the "divinity' behind the change was not YHWH. or even that secondary divinity JESUS, but the ROMAN DIVINITY, Caesar Augustus!
It also tells us something of the processes that produced the NT.