Real widows - who are they?

Institutional churches often treat the divorced as if their plight is their fault, regardless of the circumstances. Do you agree? Do we do the same in non-institutional churches?

I found this information at a site called http://www.divorcehope.com. It from an ebook there. I would like to share a small portion here if that is alright. Thank you.

    The True Widow

The reason that the Church in general has blackballed those who have gone through a divorce is because they do not categorize them properly. This is done through misunderstanding of the Scriptures.

The Bible says there are “...the unmarried ...the widows ...[and] the married…”(1 Corinthians 7:8-10). The “married” are just that: a man and a woman together in a marriage union. The “unmarried” (which is a general term) are those who are not married: those who were never married, and those who were divorced and never remarried. “Widows” are those who have been married but now do not have a husband because of death or divorce. IN GOD’S EYES, DIVORCE AND DEATH ARE EQUAL.

Because this ministry to the widow is so greatly neglected and misunderstood by the Church, yet so dearly loved by God, it is best to establish what qualifies a woman as a widow.

As used in the Bible, “widowhood” and “widow”, are both from one Hebrew word, alman, which means “discarded (as a divorced person), forsaken.”

The root meaning of being a “widow” is that you are divorced or forsaken by your husband. The method by which the spouse is left without a husband is immaterial. 

In the Bible, when a woman identified herself as a widow, depending for what purpose, she indicated specifically HOW she was widowed. 

For instance, in 2 Samuel 14:5, as a woman addresses the king, she said, “I am a WIDOW woman, AND MY HUSBAND IS DEAD” (KJV). Being a widow meant more than being without a husband. It meant you had a husband but he either died, he deserted you, or you were divorced. This woman had to be specific in identifying how she was widowed to the king. If being a widow did not include being a divorced person as well, it would have been very foolish for her to say, “My husband is dead and my husband is dead.” That’s what it would have sounded like to the king, if “widow” only meant “my husband is dead.” 

That woman experienced widowhood because her husband died. In the next situation, these women experienced widowhood WHILE THEIR FORMER HUSBANDS WERE STILL ALIVE.

Again, the king was involved. This time, it was not a widow addressing him, but he was making his concubines into “widows”. “And the king took the ten women, his concubines whom he had left to keep the house, and put them in seclusion and supported them, but did not go in to them. So they were shut up to the day of their death, LIVING IN WIDOWHOOD” (2 Samuel 20:3). These women, being separated from their husband David, became widows while David was STILL ALIVE. 

Widowhood has the connotation of the breaking of the “sex union” by death, divorce or desertion. For King David “did not go in to them”. A marriage is more than just living under the same roof together; it’s a loving and physical relationship with our spouse. For “...they are NO LONGER TWO but one flesh” (Matthew. 19:6a).

Replies (2)
  • Readers, it has been called to my attention by someone more knowledgeable than myself that the site -- the one I referred to above -- is not faithful to the scriptures in some of the teachings. I am passing this caution on to others so that all things will be proven.

    I still wonder about what the bible means when it speaks of widows. Is an unmarried divorced woman a widow?

    • Widows and orphans alike are defined by the severance of a relationship by death; the widow by the death of a spouse and orphan by the death of the parents.  A scriptural description of this is found in Exodus 22:22-24 where the Lord states in vs 24, "and My anger will be kindled, and I will kill you with the sword, and your wives shall become widows and your children fatherless".  A divorced woman is not a widow since her spouse still lives; if he dies, then she would be a widow.  A divorced woman is separated from her covenant spouse who is still living.  Unmarried is one who has never entered the covenant of marriage. 

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