And if a woman shall put away her husband
Not that there was the same law, or the same sufferance by the law of Moses, for a woman to put away her husband, as for the husband to put away the wife; nor was it practised among the Jews, unless it came to be in use about this time, in their declining state, having taken it from the Gentiles; of whom they say F19, that
``they divorce one another: says R. Jochanan, (wtvrgm wtva) , "his wife divorces him", and gives him the dowry.''So Salome, the sister of Herod the Great, sent a bill of divorce to her husband Costobarus; and in this she was followed by Herodias, the daughter of Aristobulus, as Josephus F20 relates; and which his own wife also did. And by such examples the practice might prevail among the Jews: and we have a story told F21 us of a holy man, and a holy yeoman, who were married, and had no children, (hz ta hz wvrgw) , "and they divorced one another"; and the one went and married a wicked woman, and she made him wicked; and the other went and married a wicked man, and she made him righteous but I do not find that this practice was approved, or established by any rule, or canon. They allow F23 indeed a woman to write her husband's divorce of her, with proper witnesses; and they also oblige one, that was espoused in her minority, and refuses her husband, when adult, to write a bill of refusal; the form of that, and the rules about it, take as follow F24:
``they do not allow one to marry a minor; he that marries a minor that is fatherless, and she is not pleased with her husband, lo! she may refuse, and go away, and she has no need of a divorce from him, because the espousals of a minor are not perfect espousals, as we have explained: and so a minor, whom her father marries, and she becomes a widow, or is divorced whilst she is a minor, lo! she is as one fatherless, in, her father's life time; and if she marries whilst she is a minor, she may refuse--how does she refuse? she says before two witnesses, I do not like such an one my husband; or I do not like the espousals with which my father, or my brother, espoused me; and such like words.--The two, before whom the minor refuses, write for her; on such a day, such an one, the daughter of such an one, refused, before us, such an one her husband; and they seal, and give it to her: and this is the body, or substance of a bill of refusal--in such a week, on such a day of the month, in such a year, such an one, the daughter of such an one, refused before us, and said, that my mother, or my brother, forced me, and married me, or espoused me, and I, a minor, to such an one, the son of such an one; and now I reveal my mind before you, that I do not like him, and I will not abide with him: and we have searched such an one; and this is manifest to us, that she is yet a minor, and we have written, and sealed, and have given this to her, for her justification, and a clear proof;''``Such an one, the son of such an one, witness. Such an one, the son of such an one, witness.''
And such a writing was called, (Nwaym jg) , "a bill of refusal", and sometimes (Nynwaym yrjv) , "letters of refusal" F25, but a bill of divorcement given by a married woman to her husband, I have not met with. Justin Martyr speaks F26 of a Christian woman that, (repoudion) (dousa) , "gave a bill of divorce" to her husband: such things, therefore, have been done, and might be done in Christ's time, to which he refers; and concerning which he says, that if a woman do so,
and be married to another, she committeth adultery;
with the man she marries, and against, and to the injury of her former husband, unjustly left by her.
F19 Bereshit Rabba, sect. 18. fol. 15. 3.
F20 Antiqu. l. 15. c. 11. & 18. 7.
F21 Bercshit Rabba, sect. 17. fol. 14. 4.
F23 Misn. Edict. c, 2. sect. 3.
F24 Maimon. Hilch. Gerushim, c. 11. sect. 1, 8, 9, 11.
F25 Misn. Bava Metzta, c. 1. sect. 8.
F26 Apolog. 1. p 42. Yid. Euscb. Eccl. Hist. l. 4. c. 17.