This past Sabbath, the pastor gave a sermon fitting for Mother’s Day. He pointed out that Mother’s Day gives an opportunity to express sincere appreciation for the women in our lives, esp. our mothers and wives.
This actually dovetails nicely into another study I am doing on some of the more evils aspects of what we see in Scripture. The maltreatment of women in many parts of Scripture were not examples of the right way to treat women, and the actions of Jesus while on earth as well as some of Paul’s writings prove that point.
Adam was not complete by himself. This is the great lesson that human beings need to understand. God created Adam “perfect” in every physical way, but he was not emotionally complete. In a similar fashion, human beings are not spiritually complete. Human beings need a spiritual additive: The Holy Spirit. Even a lot of religious people do not understand these truths.
Adam and Eve were created to compliment each other. While all human beings are different, with a wide range of differences even within each sex, there are certain generalities that can be drawn. Let’s face it: If there weren’t differences, would the sexes be attracted to each other so easily?
The idea of compliments runs throughout human philosophy. Perhaps the best example is Yin and Yang. While the black and white portions of the circle represent opposites, the circle is not complete without both. Even the idea of “balance” gravitates towards a left side and right side, each of a certain weight.
Yes, the Bible indicates that a man shall be a leader of his family. That does not mean he dominates all women, however. It does not make him superior, either. It simply means that someone has to break all ties, and he gets the job and the responsibility. Yet, being a leader is so much more than clubbing someone over the head with authority.
Josephus wrote that Adam was punished by God for listening to a woman.1 Likewise, this past Sabbath’s sermon pointed out that women were not allowed to speak to men on the street. Indeed, a husband was not even to listen to his wife in public. I immediately thought of how this may shed some light on Paul’s writings about a woman speaking in church, if for no other reason than his abruptness.
And yet, as can be seen in the Gospels, Jesus not only spoke with women, but He also listened to them. Not only did He speak to women in public, He spoke to a Samaritan woman in public. He not only let women touch Him, something no self-respecting Pharisee would do, but He even let a prostitute wipe His feet with her tears. He did not treat women as inferior.
So, how is it that we also see women so mistreated in the Bible? The answer is that it is the same reason that so many others were mistreated in the Bible. Adam and Eve rejected God’s way in the Garden of Eden. From then on, everything, including the relationship between men and women, was corrupted.
Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.
~ Ge 3:16
There are 2 things going on here.
- Her “desire” would be to her husband, in a manner similar to how sin “desired” Cain (Ge 4:7). However, Cain was told to “rule over it”, which implied that sin’s desire was to make a slave of Cain. What we see is that Eve’s rebellious spirit was not going to quite down. She would “desire”, “teshuwqah”, or desire as a beast would desire to devour its food. She would desire to rule over her husband.
- In spite of that, the general rule of thumb would be the husband would “rule over” the woman. However, “rule” in this case doesn’t mean guide. “Mashal” implies a harsh rulership.
In short, the balance would be upset. Humans are good for going to extremes, and this would be another case where the natural balance would be upset.
We will revisit this in the study of the Book of Judges.
- Koppenborg, Ria & Hanegraff, Wouter J. Female Stereotypes in Religious Traditions. Retrieved from http://books.google.com/books?id=7TyPBGH8rBUC&pg=PA43&lpg=PA43&dq=ancient+jewish+women+stereotypes&source=bl&ots=7a2bTNPk-6&sig=SHQJT_1p0Mpv6d4Fgi62MKl6lBk&hl=en&ei=4JkHSpqhJNfHtgf0n5DtBg&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=5#PPA46,M1