Markus Zehnder


In this study it is argued that the main thrust of Mal. ii 13-16 is against those men within the YHWH-congregation in Yehud, who expel their first, "Israelite", wives in order to marry women of foreign faiths. In the context of a fresh exegesis of the passage, a reinterpretation of the textually difficult verse 15a is offered. As it stands, the MT is most adequately rendered by: "And no one who has acted that way, has a remnant of spirit". With slight emendations, however, the text can be reconstructed as referring to God's creation of man and woman in Gen. i-ii. This reconstruction makes good sense in the context of the dispute in which Malachi is engaged, providing an additional argument against the dissolution of marriage. Though verse 16a does not contain a general prohibition of divorce, the reconstructed text of verse 15a should be understood as a general argument for the indissolubility of marriage.