Saturday, July 24, 2004

Women and the Bible

It has long been said that the Bible is sexist. Fundamentalist Christians say it is not. They often quote a couple passages that can be interpreted to say that woman is equal to man. To me, these couple passage contradict the blatant message taught by the rest of the Bible: The message that women are inferior to men and that their opinions, teachings, thoughts, and cares are not worthy of respect. Let’s look to the Good Book and see exactly what it says.

Help Meet

The first mention of woman in the Bible is in Genesis.

Genesis 2:20
“And Adam gave names to all cattle, and to the fowl of the air, and to every beast of the field; but for Adam there was not found an help meet for him.”

So we see that God thought Adam didn’t have enough help apparently from the animals, so God puts Adam to sleep and makes a woman out of one of Adam’s ribs. She is made, as we see in the passage above, as a help meet for him. What does this mean? I remember my pastor saying that meet means equal. Well, I can see, as I could then, how the word meet could mean equal. But looking now, I notice that it does not say “…an help meet to him”, but instead says, “…an help meet for him.” It seems obvious here that woman was not created as an equal to man, but as someone created good enough to meet Adam’s needs. It is clear my former pastor was taking this word out of context. Of course, at the time, why would I have questioned him? The lesson here in Genesis 2:20 is that women was as someone adequate to help him.

Soon after she is created, Eve runs into the serpent, which is Satan in disguise. He comes along and tells her to eat the fruit, and she does. She then goes to Adam, and he eats the apple as well. When God finds Adam and Eve (so much for omnipresence and omniscience, huh?) he asks them what they did. Adam, instead of taking responsibility for his own actions, immediately blames Eve.

“And he said, Who told thee that thou wast naked? Hast thou eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee that though shouldest not eat? And the man said, The woman whom though gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat.”

God punishes Adam and Eve with the Original Sin™, and as part of it, woman’s subjugation to man is reinforced (Genesis 3:16). The pair has a couple of sons, and sometime during the next eight hundred years, Adam has some unnamed daughters. This is just about the last time in the Bible that a female’s birth is mentioned.

Women are the Property of Men

The Bible repeatedly talks about women as property and something that is to be traded and exchanged like a donkey or bag of grain. The passages are so numerous that I will just list a few of them here.

First we have Lot offering his two daughters up to a horny Sodomite mod.

Genesis 19:8
“Behold now, I have two daughters which have not known man; let me, I pray you, bring them out unto you, and do ye to them as is good in your eyes”

Here, we see men taking wives. Notice there is not discussion about whether or not these women want to be married. They are just taken.

Genesis 26:34
“And Esau was forty years old when he took to wife Judith the daughter of Beeri the Hittite, and Bashemath the daughter of Elon the Hittite”

Genesis 28:9
“Then went Esau unto Ishmael, and took unto the wives which he had Mahalath the daughter of Ishmael Abraham's son, the sister of Nebajoth, to be his wife”

Genesis 38:2
“And Judah saw there a daughter of a certain Canaanite, whose name was Shuah; and he took her, and went in unto her.”

One of the most well known references to women is in the Ten Commandments. In it, a woman is comparable to his house, slaves, and even an ass.

Exodus 20:17
“Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour's.”

In the following passage, Samson sees a woman he likes, and sends people to get her for him.

Judges 14:1-3
“And Samson went down to Timnath, and saw a woman in Timnath of the daughters of the Philistines. And he came up, and told his father and his mother, and said, I have seen a woman in Timnath of the daughters of the Philistines: now therefore get her for me to wife. Then his father and his mother said unto him, Is there never a woman among the daughters of thy brethren, or among all my people, that thou goest to take a wife of the uncircumcised Philistines? And Samson said unto his father, Get her for me; for she pleaseth me well.”

In the following passages we see women being bought and sold.

Ruth 4:10
“Moreover Ruth the Moabitess, the wife of Mahlon, have I purchased to be my wife…”

Hosea 3:2
“So I bought her to me for fifteen pieces of silver, and for an homer of barley, and an half homer of barley”

I’ll end this section with the following passage, where David buys a woman for the price of two hundred Philistine foreskins!

1 Samuel 18:27
“Wherefore David arose and went, he and his men, and slew of the Philistines two hundred men; and David brought their foreskins, and they gave them in full tale to the king, that he might be the king's son in law. And Saul gave him Michal his daughter to wife”

What about the New Testament?

So other than helping man, what other purposes do women have? It is obvious from the almost countless passages in the Old Testament that women are for bearing children for man, helping man, and deceiving man. Why, even when a man sleeps with an unwed woman, he simply has to pay the father the going price for virgins and all is well!

Exodus 22:16-17
“And if a man entice a maid that is not betrothed, and lie with her, he shall surely endow her to be his wife.If her father utterly refuse to give her unto him, he shall pay money according to the dowry of virgins.”

Well so far, we have only dealt with the Old Testament. According to just about every Christian I talk to, and all churches I’ve ever been to, the Old Testament doesn’t apply anymore (except in cases that suit their needs, such as tithing, but that’s a topic best discussed at a later date). So what does the New Testament say about women? Did Christ’s sacrifice at Calgary liberate women from the archaic, barbaric rituals of the Old Testament? Did his blood wash away the suffering of women and the original sin that makes them servant’s to man? It appears here that Christ’s sacrifice did destroy sin.

Hebrews 9:26
“…but now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself”

Hebrews 9:28
“So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many…”

Let’s look to the New Testament to see what it says regarding the fairer sex and their new role under God’s New Covenant with his people.

Romans 1:27
“And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet”
(My emphasis added)

Notice the bolded text here. Paul is writing the church in Rome, warning them of their sins. In this specific passage, he is addressing the fact that people in Rome have partaken of homosexual acts. By seeking sexual pleasure from men instead of women, they have left “…the natural use of the woman…” which is clearly implied to be sexual pleasure here. Okay, so obviously women aren’t freed from their role as sexual objects meant to be used mainly just for child bearing and pleasure. Well, let’s see if they’ve been liberated in any other way.

What about their opinions? What about their cares and wants? Are they free to express themselves anywhere they want, whenever they feel it appropriate? The New Testament answer is no. Paul writes in 1 Peter 3:1-2 that women are still subject to their husbands, and to remain loyal to God, so that their husbands will not fall. Obviously, Paul is also of the belief that Eve was the cause of Adam’s fall. In 1 Peter 3:6-7, Paul identifies women as the “…weaker vessel…”, or “…weaker sex...” in the Revised Standard Edition.

1 Peter 3:1-2
“Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives; While they behold your chaste conversation coupled with fear”

1 Peter 3:6-7
"Even as Sara obeyed Abraham, calling him lord: whose daughters ye are, as long as ye do well, and are not afraid with any amazement. Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered”

On a slight off-topic subject, I would just like to take an aside and point out the wisdom of Paul. In 2 Peter 2:8 he tells us that Lot was a “…righteous man…” Remember, Lot was the one who offered his virgin daughters to a mob of Sodomites. Later, Lot had sex with his daughters and impregnated them. See my article on parenting for more about this story. Back onto the subject, we see that women were obviously not included in the many of Hebrews 9:28 that had their sins taken away by Jesus. Paul continues to instruct the followers of Jesus on how women are to act in other letters.

Colossians 3:18-19
“Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as it is fit in the Lord. Husbands, love your wives, and be not bitter against them”

So husbands are to love their wives and not be bitter against them. What are women to do? Should they love their husbands? No, they just have to submit to their husbands.

Ephesians 5:22-23
“Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.”

Here, women are told again to submit to their husbands. Paul adds here that they should submit to their husbands as if their husband was God.

1 Corinthians 11:3
“But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God”

Here Paul says that Christ is the leader of man, and man is the leader of woman.

1 Corinthians 11:7-9
“For a man indeed ought not to cover his head, forasmuch as he is the image and glory of God: but the woman is the glory of the man. 8 For the man is not of the woman: but the woman of the man. Neither was the man created for the woman; but the woman for the man.”

Now Paul says that man is the glory of God, but woman is the glory of man. He blatantly states that women are from men, and that they are created for men.

1Corinthians 14:34-35
“Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience as also saith the law. And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church.”

Women aren’t supposed to talk in church. If they have questions, they are to wait until they get home to ask their husbands about it. It’s a shame for women to speak in church. Remember this, Christians, next time your grandmother asks you for a tissue while you’re in church.

1 Timothy 2:11-15
“Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection. But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence. For Adam was first formed, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression. Notwithstanding she shall be saved in childbearing, if they continue in faith and charity and holiness with sobriety”

In this passage, Paul teaches that women must sit in church, and learn. They cannot teach, and may not “…usurp the authority over a man…”, but must be quiet. Why? Well, because Adam was made by God first. Paul reminds us again that it was not Adam’s fault that there was Original Sin™, but Eve’s. But God has made it okay, because a woman can be saved! How, you ask? Why, by bearing children of course! We come full circle again to the “…natural use of the woman…” (Romans 1:27).

Well if a woman’s natural use is to give sexual pleasure and children to men, then what happens if her husband dies? Surely a woman whose husband dies is free to continue her life attempting to find happiness after the loss of her mate, right? Well, in case this is what you were thinking, I’ll let Paul tell you otherwise.

1 Timothy 5:5-6
“Now she that is a widow indeed, and desolate, trusteth in God, and continueth in supplications and prayers night and day. But she that liveth in pleasure is dead while she liveth.”

So we see that a widow is someone who is desolate and trusts God, while praying day and night. If she tries to find pleasure, she is “…dead while she liveth.”

Soon after teaching us this, Paul tells us in 1 Timothy 5:9-15 that the church should only help a widow if she is over “…threescore years old…”, was “…the wife of one man…”, has “…brought up children…”, is “...Well reported of for good works…”, has “…lodged strangers…”, has “…washed the saints feet…”, has “…relieved the afflicted…”, and has “…diligently followed every good work.” If a widow is younger than “…threescore years…” she must not be allowed into the church, for she will remarry and be damned.

Going back over these passages more than reaffirms my stance that the Bible is a hateful, cruel book. The only good thing it says towards women is that husbands should love their wives. But also remember, that this “God of Love” is the one who commands us to stone our children in public if they are disobedient.

Deuteronomy 21:18-21
"If a man has a stubborn and rebellious son, who will not obey the voice of his father or the voice of his mother, and, though they chastise him, will not give heed to them, then his father and his mother shall take hold of him and bring him out to the elders of his city...and they shall say to the elders of his city, 'This our son is stubborn and rebellious, he will not obey our voice; he is a glutton and a drunkard. Then all the men of the city shall stone him to death with stones; so you shall purge the evil from the midst"

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Kristof says:

AS for Deuteronomy 21:18-21

So much for: Thou shalt not Kill (murder)

11:10 AM  

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