Posts Tagged ‘abuse of women’

God’s View of Women

May not be what you believe it is! Perhaps it’s time to put aside preconceived ideas built on this present world and seek Biblical understanding for what it means to God for you to be a woman protected and provided for by Him.

In the Beginning

In Genesis 2:21-24, a woman was created from the rib portion of man. The man’s name was Adam, meaning from the ‘red earth,’ and the woman’ name was Chavah, meaning to ‘give life.  When the man saw the woman, he knew she was bone of his bone and flesh of his flesh. 

This is why a man leaves his mother and a woman her home.  They are to ‘leave and cleave’ and become ‘one flesh.’   They were ‘one’ person; one flesh. In the Garden of Eden, they were spiritually ‘equal’ in the eyes of God. The were physically equal because Chavah was made as a helpmeet or partner for Adam.

Matthew Henry, a nonconformist minister and author, was born in Wales but spent much of his life in England. He is known for his volumes of biblical commentary of the Old and New Testaments. He wrote this now-famous poem about man and woman in their perfect created state:

“Women were created from the rib of man to be beside him, not from his head to top him, nor from his feet to be trampled by him, but from under his arm to be protected by him, near to his heart to be loved by him.”

God put high value on women because they bring forth life. It is also promised that through the Seed of Woman redemption for all mankind would come.

After the Fall

Once sin entered the world, the relationship between man and woman flip-flopped.  Because the woman did not heed the command of God, but enticed her husband to sin, she would now have authority over her – to protect her from being deceived again. Though the woman would desire equality with her husband, he would rule over her.  In Genesis 3:16 God explains this consequences of sin to the woman:

“To the woman he said, “I will greatly increase your pain in childbirth. You will bring forth children in pain. Your desire will be toward your husband, but he will rule over you.”

Inequality between man and woman came about because of sin.  It is the consequence of disobedience to God.  This inequality is manifested in the world today through the broken male/female relationships and marriages.

 From a more deeply-rooted sin came the idea of ownership of women.  This is not a Biblical view, but a godless view.  Nations other than Israel bought and sold women especially when they were collateral damage from war. Kings  made alliances with other kings through intermarriage of their daughters without considering the value of their own flesh and blood. This is how King David accumulated so many foreign wives and, these intermarriages caused great dysfunction within his family. When he finally married Bat-Sheva, he achieved what God ultimately wanted from him – a kingly lineage.

Abuse of Women

As part of the Torah governing the community of Israel, everyone was to be treated with respect and kindness. The Ten Commandments mandate good treatment—from the intimate relationship of marriage to relationships in the marketplace (Exodus 20:1-17). For example, if a man took a second wife, he was not to deprive the first of “her food, clothing, and marital rights” (Exodus 21:10). 

In Exodus 21:22 “If two men are fighting with each other and happen to hurt a pregnant woman so that her unborn child dies, then, even if no other harm occurs, the man must be fined. He must pay the amount set by the woman’s husband and confirmed by judges.”

In Deuteronomy 22:13-29 a woman’s purity and propriety was protected by her father, brother or husband. In our day, women have lost all sense of propriety – moral behavior.   Virginity is frowned upon if not blatantly mocked in western civilization.   Sexual activity outside of marriage whether it is fornication or adultery has become normative rather than remaining a sin. What was once sacred between a husband and wife has become less and less valued.

God put in place consequences for men who rape virgins or married women.   It is the man who must to take responsibility for their actions against women.  It may seem a little absurd that marriage would be required for raping a virgin, but if we still lived by such a simple rule of law, perhaps fewer men would rape women and fewer women would flaunt themselves before men.

Unfortunately in this ‘modern era,’ women no longer want to be under the protection of their father or brothers or even husbands.   Instead, they act and speak like men or as my mom would have said, ‘sailors.’ When they are treated rudely or roughly by men, they refuse to look within themselves and how they lowered their own standards of womanhood. These regulations were given by God in order to restore the relationship between man and woman after sin destroyed that partnership. What is wrong with being protected by a brother?  a husband?  Should God protect women if they choose to live contrary to His commands for purity and morality?

The Lie of Abraham

Why did Abraham tell Sarah to lie to the Pharaoh about being his wife?  He didn’t want her taken from him and raped. This is what foreign kings did to women. They took whomever they wanted. They raped and pillaged. Sarah had a better chance of being safe from such barbarianism if she were his sister because men knew they had to ask for a daughter or sister’s hand.

Israel was never to do such things as kings or in war.   In fact, many times the Israelite warriors were to destroy everyone, including women, so immoral practices wouldn’t happen.  If by chance an Israelite man ‘took’ a foreign captive woman for his own, there were ‘rules.’ The woman had to be allowed a month long time of mourning the loss of her family so she could faithfully enter the community of Israel.

What About Hagar?

Hagar was Egyptian and most likely served Sarah when she lived in Pharaoh’s palace in Egypt. She returned with Abraham and Sarah to Canaan when they left Egypt and became Sarah’s maid.   There are some scholars who suggest that Hagar was actually Pharaoh’s daughter and given to Abraham, as a wife, as an appeasement for the debacle with Sarah. Again, a foreign king gives his daughter to make a peace alliance.

Hagar does become a wife of Abraham and births Ishmael. Eventually she is sent away because her son ‘played’ with Isaac.  The Hebrew word for Ishmael’s actions is the same word as ‘rape’ found in the account of Dinah.  Ishmael was not a good influence on Isaac and Abraham had to make a difficult decision regarding his son. Ishmael means “God Hears” so even though Hagar is sent away, she is not left alone. Ishmael’s descendants have become numerous because of the promise to Abraham and his offspring.

The Rape of Dinah

The account of Dinah is found in Genesis 34. Dinah, the only daughter of Jacob mentioned in Scripture was raped by Shechem, a Hittite, who became the enemies of God’s people.  Though Shechem loved Dinah and wanted to marry her, Jacob couldn’t think of an acceptable bride price.  Her brothers came up with the ‘price’ that all the men in the city of Shechem should become circumcised.  Shechem, the man, agreed because he wanted to marry Dinah.  While all the men in the city were in pain from circumcision, the brothers of Dinah, the sons of Israel, killed all of the men and removed their sister from the city.   This is how Dinah’s brothers avenged their sister after a rape.

Paying for a Bride

A bride price is something of value the future husband gives to the father of the bride.  This is not about buying and selling a woman, but giving to the father an agreed amount for the loss of his daughter.  It also shows how much the man desires to marry the woman. Shechem, a gentile, was willing to be circumcised to have Dinah as his wife. Jacob worked seven years to marry Rachel and then seven more when he was deceived into marrying Leah.

“You should be aware that the ransom paid to free you from the worthless way of life which your fathers passed on to you did not consist of anything perishable like silver or gold; on the contrary, it was the costly bloody sacrificial death of the Messiah, as of a lamb without defect or spot” (1 Peter 1:18-19).

The Bible says that we are not bought with gold or silver, but with the precious blood of Messiah.   This means that Yeshua paid a bride price for us so we could become his Bride. He paid the bride price to our ‘father the devil’ with his body, blood and his life. Does this make us less valuable or more valuable to him? 

Queen Esther

As a captive in the land of Persia (Iran), Esther was taken to the palace to be prepared to become the next Queen of Persia.   King Xerxes was from a pagan culture and used women for his pleasure. When he was done with them, he removed them just as he did with his wife Vashti.

After years of preparation and the possibility of ending up a concubine never to marry or have children, Esther became Queen. This position in the kingdom gave her the power to sway Xerxes to have favor on her Jewish people and to stand against the treachery of Haman.   God’s Hand of protection was over Esther, and because of her courage, the Jewish lineage of Messiah was not exterminated. Though Esther could have been abused by this king, God used her to save a nation.

Deborah, the Judge

In Judges chapter 4 and 5 is the account of Deborah who was a Judge in Israel because there were no men who were courageous enough to fight the Canaanites.  The Canaanites used temple prostitution to appease their gods.  This was not done in Israel nor could it be done in the Promised Land.  Deborah’s ‘song’ is recorded in Judges 5.  There are not many songs recorded the Bible– The Song of Moses, The Song of the Lamb, The Song of Miriam and Song of Deborah

The Moabitess

Ruth was from Moab, one of the descendants of Lot and his oldest daughter. The Moabites (and the Ammonites) worshipped Chemosh who required child sacrifices.  The King of Moab offered his child, the crown prince, as a sacrifice (2 Kings 3:27).   This was not to be done in Israel though two kings from Judah fell into this abominable practice.

Growing up Ruth lived with child sacrifice as well as temple prostitution.  She would have seen and known families who offered their children on the altar of fire.  Maybe she even watched as brother or sister was put on the burning altar to appease Chemosh. When she had the opportunity to leave Moab with her mother-in-law Naomi, she didn’t just leave, she embraced Naomi’s God, people and country. In this ‘foreign’ land, she would no longer have to appease a god who required murdering children. She would have the opportunity to find protection and ultimately marriage with a kinsman-redeemer in Boaz. Her baby would not be sacrificed on a burning altar, but grow up to be the grandfather of King David.

Obscure Strong, Courageous Women

There are many other strong, courageous women in Scripture. Asher’s (one of the sons of Israel) daughter, Serach, is believed to have sung for Jacob when he was told that Joseph was alive in Egypt. Her singing revived his spirit.

Miriam was first a little girl who watched her brother Moses float in the Nile River.  She followed him and asked the Egyptian princess if she should find a nurse. After crossing the Red Sea, Miriam took out the tambourine and danced. She was called a prophetess.

Ya’el, in the book of Judges,  killed Sisera by slamming a stake through his head delivering Israel from the troops of King Jabin.

Hannah, after waiting many years,  gave her son Samuel to the priest to be raised in the Temple.  He became a powerful prophet in Israel and anointed David to be King.

The widow of Zaraphath experienced a never-ending supply of oil from the prophet Elijah.

Anna was a widow and prophetess who saw Yeshua at the redemption of the firstborn in the Temple. She told people that the liberation of Jerusalem was at hand.

Miriam became filled by the Spirit of God and became pregnant out of wedlock. She remained faithful to the call on her life and gave birth to the Messiah. 

Women found the empty tomb and shared the message of his resurrection.   A woman washed Yeshua’s feet because of his forgiveness.  Martha had faith to believe that Yeshua could raise her brother from the dead.

Who was Tamar (Genesis 38)?  What made her an honorable woman?Who is Asenath (Genesis 41:45)?  What did she have to overcome?
Who was Rahab (Joshua 2:1-24)?  What did she do for Israel?Who is Huldah?  (2 Kings 22:14-20).  What is named after her?
Who is Jemimah (Job 42:14)?  How is she honored by her father? 
Who is Phoebe (Romans 16:1)? What was her role in the early Messianic community?   
Who was Lydia of Thyatira (Acts 16:14-15)?  What made her unique in the Body of Messiah? Who was Jezebel? (1 Kings 16, 18, 19).  How has her ‘spirit’ influenced women throughout history?

 The world in which we live has a view of women that is skewed and the church, which doesn’t truly study the Torah, has embraced this view. Young girls are taught that their God-given role as wives, mothers, grandmothers, women who teach the next generation about faith in God has become obsolete. Yet, this is how Timothy learned – on his grandmother’s knee.Women crave equality through ‘the women’s movement’ while God and His ways actually give women equality and dignity.

Women have been sold a lie called ‘careerism.’ They fight for ‘equal rights’ and claw their way up the corporate ladder among men and fail.  They fail because they were not created to compete with men contrary to the rhetoric spouted by truly unredeemed women.

God never commanded women to have careers outside of the home.
Titus 2:3-5 outlines the roles of older and younger women. The word ‘keeper’ in Greek is ouros and means ‘guardian’ of the home.  Seeking to rule over men, contrary to the consequence of their sin, women have relinquished their guardianship over their home. Instead of guarding their homes from the evil ways of the world, they open the door and walk out. They leave their children with others to ‘guard’ them while rationalizing their need for ‘freedom.’

Women and Authority

Because of woman being deceived in Genesis, she needs rulership. First Corinthians 11 explains that line of authority: God, Messiah, Man and Woman.  This is how God’s Kingdom works in this realm to restore order from chaos. This doesn’t mean woman has no authority and is a ‘doormat,’ just that she is under authority just like a man is under the authority of Messiah.   Remember the Centurion, who told Yeshua that he didn’t need to come to his home to heal his servant?  He said that he was a man under authority and understood that when a command is given, it is followed (Matthew 8:9). 

How does it make you feel as a woman to know you are ‘under authority?’ Does it make you feel safer? What is rebellion?  How does rebellion against God’s authority affect the world, the individual, the family?

To understand how God views women, we have to transform our thoughts from this world’s upheaval and dysfunction to His Kingdom.

“Do not be conformed to this world (this age), [fashioned after and adapted to its external, superficial customs], but be transformed (changed) by the [entire] renewal of your mind [by its new ideals and its new attitude], so that you may prove [for yourselves] what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God, even the thing which is good and acceptable and perfect [in His sight for you]” (Romans 12:2 Amplified Version). 

Even though women are considered weaker than men, that does not make them less valuable, less courageous or even weak. It means they are different and in their difference, they bring forth a uniqueness to life in this world.

When Messiah returns, everything will be restored as it was in Eden only better. Until then, there is a restoration that comes through faith in Messiah Yeshua. Women are not unequal, but co-heirs. In Messiah Yeshua there is no male or female, Jew or Greek, slave or free. We are all One (Galatians 3:28).

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