A Cry For Justice

Awakening the Evangelical Church to Domestic Violence and Abuse in its Midst

Malachi 2:16, ancient versions and English translations, and how they apply to domestic abuse — a paper by Barbara Roberts

The translation and application of Malachi 2:16 is very significant when dealing with domestic abuse. I have published a paper Malachi 2:16, ancient versions and English translations, and how they apply to domestic abuse.

The paper examines and compares the ancient textual witnesses to that verse, how the verse has been variously translated into English, and how the verse applies to situations where a husband abuses his wife. It weighs the evidence and concludes that Myles Coverdale’s translation of Malachi 2:16 (published in 1535 in the Coverdale Bible) best conveys the meaning of the Hebrew text and is most consistent with the heart and character of God.

The paper is published at Academia.edu. You may have to sign in to Academia to read the paper. It is free to sign in. You don’t need to have an academic qualification or be working in an academic institution to sign in. The sign in options are email address, Facebook, or Google.

Go here to read the paper: Malachi 2:16, ancient versions and English translations, and how they apply to domestic abuse.

I hope you will share the paper with church leaders, Christian counselors and seminary teachers.

9 Comments

  1. It’s interesting that no one has commented on this post since it was published four days ago. However, I have had some encouraging responses on Facebook, by email, and by private message on academia.edu. Almost all those responses have said thank-you, or words to that effect. One gave more specific praise — that one was on the Biblical Christian Egalitarians FB group which is a group you have to ask to join.

    I’m only putting this comment here because otherwise people who come to this blog might mistakenly think that the most recent comment by Ruth Magnusson Davis was made on THIS post. To clarify: Ruth’s comment was made at my previous post, the one where I re-published Appendix 7 of the first edition of Not Under Bondage.

    • Janice

      Barbara, I am a long time reader of this blog and now a first time responder.

      This site has been very helpful to me as I navigated through a legal separation after over 2 decades of marriage. Your research and study of biblical passages pertaining to divorce have been much appreciated as I sought wisdom and counsel in this area. The “God hates divorce” mantra was something my mom espoused even after she found out about my father’s sexual abuse of me. I am grateful for your commitment to this study as it has freed me from harmful beliefs.

      I see more clearly the harm to women the church (not all but many) has inflicted by claiming these doctrines based on faulty biblical translations / interpretations. God’s kindness and compassion provides for relief when a husband has repeatedly broken his vows to his wife. In my case it was his unwillingness to “leave parents (family of origin) and cleave to his wife”.

      Thanks again for all you do, it is much appreciated.

      [Length of marriage lightly airbrushed for protection. Paragraph breaks added to enhance readability. Editors.]

      • Thanks Janice! Bless you. 🙂

      • Linda

        I have perused your biographical information and, as a Christian woman, feel sick in hearing what you went through and the response or lack of support from some in the church. As an older woman, it does remind me of the struggles of a few other women I knew. I also know a young man who has been dealing with this form of betrayal and wounding from the church.

        I believe in the 3 A’s as grounds for divorce: Abuse (self-defense), Addiction (desertion / self defense), Adultery (including pornography), and Fraud (deception significant enough to void the contract).

        I am glad to see you find this problem to be genderless and that you include a definition of abuse, when often, that is vague, or a fill-in-the-blank. I would encourage you to do the following about these two things:

        1. Put more time and emphasis on abuse from women. (I know, like many things, it appears predominantly a male problem.) This would gain support from those abused by women. Sometimes you come across as only a man-hater, and your compelling story takes a backseat.
        2. Emphasize that labels (i.e. controlling) can be used inappropriately to control, for example. Jay Adams was right in advising hearing both sides, though it was unfortunate he didn’t have the man be the fictional abuse victim to get his point across.

        You are a gifted speaker and writer and many people listen to you. I would like to see the problem of what I call, ‘fraud’ addressed – i.e. people crying ‘abuse’ who are using this to control and manipulate. People who want to be believed no matter what with no fact-checking by neutral parties.

        Another thing I find helpful is to mention that sometimes people and their actions need to be viewed in the context of their time and place in ongoing history. What is rightly stunningly inappropriate by today’s standards, might have been widely accepted practices (like the use of cocaine) in another time and place, and not conscious attempts to do evil.

        I am no one significant, and I will not be offended if you do not reply.
        A fellow Christian – Linda

        [Paragraph breaks added to enhance readability. Editors.]

      • Hi Linda, thank you for taking the time to compose your comment.

        Your comment was submitted as reply to Janice, but I gather from what you said in your comment that you are probably responding to me, not to Janice. Misunderstanding can easily happen when replying to someone in cypberspace, so I don’t blame you Linda. 🙂

        I would agree with the way you phrased this: “The 3 A’s as grounds for divorce: Abuse (self-defense), Addiction (desertion / self defense), Adultery (including pornography), and Fraud (deception significant enough to void the contract).” Divorcing on grounds of abuse is indeed a form of self defence. And in my view, indulgence in pornography ought to be included in any ethical definition of adultery.

        Regarding your point 1 which was ——
        “Put more time and emphasis on abuse from women. (I know, like many things, it appears predominantly a male problem.) This would gain support from those abused by women. Sometimes you come across as only a man-hater, and your compelling story takes a backseat.

        I don’t know how much of this blog you have read. This item in our FAQs is especially for male survivors of intimate partner abuse: Do you have resources for male victims?

        We also have posts and comments written by individuals whose primary abuser was their mother. For example:
        A Story of Lifelong Abuse by a Narcissistic Parent — And the Path to Freedom

        Could you please explain how and why you have formed the impression that I sometimes come across as only a man-hater.

        Regarding your point 2 which was ——
        “Emphasize that labels (i.e. controlling) can be used inappropriately to control, for example. Jay Adams was right in advising hearing both sides, though it was unfortunate he didn’t have the man be the fictional abuse victim to get his point across.”

        I believe I do emphasise that labels (such as ‘controlling’) can be used inappropriately to control. For example, I do that here: Defining domestic abuse by a list of behaviours is never going to capture it

        Regarding fraud, where the fraud is falsely claiming to be the victim when in fact one is the perpetrator, I believe this is addressed in many places on this blog. For example:

        The language of abusers who portray themselves as victims — Vagueness & Contradictions

        How to Spot an Abuser Who Claims to be the Victim

        Does the victim recognize the abusive patterns? Yes, and no. And then, by degrees, YES!

        Also see this article (link takes you to another website):
        The myth of women’s false accusations of domestic violence and rape and misuse of protection orders

        I believe Jay Adams demonstrated his lack of understanding of the dynamics of intimate partner abuse when he advised hearing both sides. His advice was dangerous to victims for several reasons.

        Jay Adams said “It is essential for both parties to be present when talking about the actions of one another.” In other words, the counselor ought to do COUPLE COUNSELING — both parties in the same room with the counselor. Click here to learn more: Couple counseling is dangerous for the victim.

        Furthermore, Jay Adams gave little to no advice to counselors about how to recognise when a male intimate abuser is portraying himself as a victim of abuse by his wife.

        If you want to learn more about how to recognise a male intimate abuser who is portraying himself as the victim, I recommend Don Hennessy‘s work.

        By the way, I have two good male friends and several good female friends. By no means am I a man-hater. I like all people who are willing to show respect for others and are interested in similar topics to what I am interested in, and / or can enjoy a laugh with me.

  2. Sister

    Barb, I just completed reading your paper. Well done! I cannot imagine the number of hours of research it took to know what to write and how to present it. Thank you for all you do to free those oppressed by the church. You have the heart of God to set the captive free. How sad it is, that all too often it is professing Christians that enforce bondage, rather than setting the captives free.

  3. Linda

    I joined Academia.edu and downloaded your academic paper on this subject. Well done. I had done a deep dive on this verse and found there was a different translation for it, not well-known, until now. I know it has been used to keep the victim in the relationship. So, this thorough investigation was welcomed. Thank you. -Linda

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