The Biblical Role of Women Part I

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© Dunca Daniel

Role of Women Main Page

Bereshit or Genesis is irrefutably the foundation for the entire Bible. We would not only expect to find the start or “beginning” of all things, but also God’s original design, purpose, and function for His creation. We often forget that the world as we see it has been in a state of corruption for thousands of years. This of course is due to the fall of man and the ensuing reign of sin and death. But amidst all the chaos, our loving God, from the beginning, has had a plan of redemption in place for us and His creation. His focus is always on RESTORATION.

It is within that spirit that I write. My hope is for both men and women to find God’s restoration within their most intimate relationship: marriage. But in order for us to work toward that restoration, we need to understand God’s original design of the male and female. We can begin this process by committing to come to the Word of God with fresh eyes and willing hearts. We cannot allow cultural norms and centuries of tradition to have more weight than the Word of God. If we can agree on the previous two statements, then we are in a place where the power of the Word can effect real change in our lives (and the body of Messiah) for the better.

Male and Female He Created Them

Male

What does it mean to be male or female? The Hebrew text suggests much more than gender. The Hebrew word for male is “zakar”. This is the same word for “to mark or to remember”. As I’ve mentioned in other places on this blog, to “remember” in Hebrew is much more than a mere mental assent. It involves action; to remember is to act on behalf of someone or something. Zakar is used in the Ten Commandments in regard to the Sabbath: “Remember the Sabbath day”. This commandment is not telling us to “think about” or “recall” the Sabbath; it is telling us to DO something— and that something is to enter into REST.

Therefore, being male is the very same (in Hebrew) as “remembering” or “acting on behalf of”. In a restored state, the male remembers the commandments of God; that is, he keeps and guards the Word of YHWH. This is further demonstrated in the Ancient Hebrew Lexicon of the Bible under the entry for zakar (male/remember).

AHLB # 2121: Remember co: Male ab: Memorial: A recalling of events of the past or to act upon a past event. To remember in thought as a memorial or mention through speech. Also to act or speak on behalf of another. Male: The one of the family that remembers and passes down the family history through story and family name. Also the one who acts and speaks for the family.

When we see these seemingly unrelated ideas together in this manner, the Hebrew mindset starts emerging. While we are used to the Greek mindset and worldview that describes the appearance or form of a noun, the Hebrew’s focus is always on FUNCTION. Thus, a man is called male (zakar) for one reason in Hebrew. His designed function is to remember who YHWH is, what YHWH requires, and then act on this knowledge. Likewise, he is the one that ACTS on behalf of his wife and children. A “male” passes his knowledge of the Creator to his children and they receive the “name” of their father.

Female

Genesis chapter 1 uses the Hebrew word neqevah that we translate as female. Neqevah is the counterpart to zakar. These two must become “one flesh” to properly display the image of Elohim (God). The Ancient Hebrew Lexicon of the Bible defines our term this way:

AHLB# 2430: Pierce: To make a hole by piercing. Also to curse in the sense of piercing through. Curse, express, blaspheme, bore, name, pierce, appoint, hole, strike Hole: Female: As with a hole. Female, woman, maid.

Other than the obvious sexual connotations, this word also implies walls, structure, and boundaries. This can easily be visualized if we think of a “hole”; it is surrounded on all sides. This is precisely why neqevah has cognates that mean to designate and a setting (as in the setting of a precious stone). Dr. Moen suggests that these Hebrew words describe the function of a female; she is a natural boundary setter or protector of boundaries. As we examine the Hebrew account of Genesis and the woman, his suggestion becomes more of a matter of fact as we shall see.

So far we have discovered:

  • A male (zakar) is designed to remember who YHWH is, what He requires, and then act upon that knowledge.
  • A female (neqevah) is designed to be a protector/guardian of boundaries.

God’s spoken purpose for mankind was to rule and subdue the earth and all its many creatures. In order to fulfill this mandate, Adam and Chavah (Eve) would have to multiply and fill the earth with their offspring. (Gen.1:26-28) YHWH is more specific in Genesis chapter 2 in reference to man’s purpose. He is to dress and keep the garden (vs.15, NASB). The Hebrew terms are avad and shamar. Avad means to work or serve; shamar means to hedge, protect, or guard. In other words, man’s obligation to God is to “work” by serving the creation. This is a holy act of worship. When man fulfills his function, he not only serves the creation, but himself. This is the natural result of his service to the creation or garden. You might even say Adam’s work (deeds) brings him blessings. This is a symbiotic relationship, perfectly designed by the Creator. As Adam works the adamah (ground), the very substance of his being, he is also worshipping the Creator.

The Ezer Kenegdo

In Genesis chapter 2, God tells us how the one adam became two – male and female – with the introduction of Chavah (Eve). God calls her an ezer kenegdo (suitable helper). This was her divinely designed purpose. She has a special role to play in the life of Adam.

Looking at the text line by line, we see first that God places the man He had made in the garden and immediately gives the first commandment. It’s a dietary law: “From any tree of the garden you may eat freely; but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you will surely die.” (Gen. 2:16-17 NASB)

Keep this context in mind as to what God says and does in the next verse: Then the LORD God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone; I will make him a helper suitable for him.” (Gen. 2:18 NASB)

How many of us have stopped and considered the implications of these verses being juxtaposed together like this? Why does YHWH give Adam the first commandment and then IMMEDIATELY tell us that Adam needs an ezer kenegdo (suitable helper)? Dr. Moen also asks, “How can we ignore the obvious conclusion that the purpose of the ezer kenegdo is somehow connected to the command for Adam to obey[1]”? This is where the story in the Hebrew gets really interesting.

An ezer is literally an aid, a help, a guard, and a protector. In nearly all of its uses in the Tanakh (O.T.), ezer is used in reference to YHWH (the LORD).

Ex. 18:4  The other was named Eliezer, for he said, “The God of my father was my help (EZER), and delivered me from the sword of Pharaoh.”

Dt. 33:26 “There is none like the God of Jeshurun, Who rides the heavens to your help (EZER), And through the skies in His majesty.

Ps. 33:20  Our soul waits for the LORD; He is our help (EZER) and our shield.

Ps. 70:5  But I am afflicted and needy; Hasten to me, O God! You are my help (EZER) and my deliverer; O LORD, do not delay.

Hos. 13:9 It is your destruction, O Israel, That you are against Me, against your help (EZER).

What are we supposed to make of this? Why does the Bible use language in the creation of Eve that is normally only used in reference to YHWH? Have we made a tragic mistake in assuming that Chavah (Eve) was created to be a simple domestic assistant to Adam? Following the hermeneutic rule of complete mention demonstrates that Eve’s role is far more important than our cultural norms exhibit. Is Chavah’s purpose and function to be a help to Adam in a similar way that God is a help to us? The Hebrew text implies the affirmative. In other words, Chavah is a type of spiritual guide to Adam. Her entire existence is to “help” Adam fulfill his divinely created purpose – to obey the Words of YHWH. It is in this way she aids and protects Adam.

But there is more to this story as we have only examined the ezer. The Hebrew kenegdo is actually a compound of two prepositions, ki and neged. Neged can mean before, in front of, corresponding to, against, opposing, and opposite[2]. Ki usually means like or as. When we put ezer with this peculiar compound preposition, the implication is a help/protector/rescuer that opposes or is against. That may sound like a contradiction. However, the commentator Rashi makes a rather eloquent point about this text, “If he [Adam] is worthy, [she will be] a help [ezer]. If he is not worthy [she will be] against him [kenegdo] for strife.”

Do we not also see Israel’s ezer, YHWH, helping us in this same manner? When we are walking uprightly He is our help, but when we stray is He not against us? YHWH performs the role of ezer to steer us toward righteousness. His desire even when He is “against” us is to turn us back to repentance. In similar fashion, that is the God ordained purpose of the woman[3]. Dr. Moen describes it this way:

The text suggests that she is designed for the specific purpose of maintaining obedience between her man and God. She is his intercessor. She is to guard his relationship with the Creator, support him when he embraces God’s direction and oppose him when he does not. She is the helper-opposite in the only arena where he needs additional attention. Not work, not world-changing assignments, not dominion, not stewarding – but spiritual awareness and obedience. Without her, the man is at great risk and particularly vulnerable[4].

If this is God’s original design for woman, what then happened at the fall?

Continued in Part II


 

[1] See Guardian Angel, p.74

[2] See Guardian Angel, p. 108

[3] Before jumping right to the New Testament scriptures to “prove” this is not the case, we must finish our examination of the beginning. We cannot read our personal convictions and dogma back into the Genesis text. We must carefully handle the Word of truth. We cannot let our current paradigm interpret the Word; rather, we must let the Word interpret itself.

Categories: Women | Tags: , , , , , , | 29 Comments

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29 thoughts on “The Biblical Role of Women Part I

  1. Pingback: A Mighty Warrior | Homesteading

  2. My interest is piqued! Now to go to Part II….

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  3. Pingback: More Than a Womb-Man | GRACE in TORAH

  4. Shalom Yiska, and thanks for the follow. Skip Moen’s, “Guardian Angel,” is a very important book that could prevent a lot of misunderstanding and heartache. Just thought I’d mention, the Hebrew for the lovely song, “El Shaddai,” is a mess. I have been thinking of writing an article about it. 🙂

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    • Shalom, Chaya

      I totally agree about Skip’s book Guardian Angel! I haven’t heard or thought about the El Shaddai song in quite some time. I’m curious to see what you post about it! Thanks for coming over and having a look. I just happened to put my mouse over your name in comments from Skip’s blog and found yours. I’ll be browsing your blog tomorrow. (:

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  5. Pingback: The Biblical Role of Women Part VIII | GRACE in TORAH

  6. Lorena Hill

    Interesting

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  7. Reblogged this on Wholeness 4 Love and commented:
    The Most High’s Role for Women

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  8. Pingback: Moonbeams and the Moedim Part I | GRACE in TORAH

  9. Pingback: Moonbeams and the Moedim Part II | GRACE in TORAH

  10. Hello, I think your blog might be having browser compatibility issues.
    When I look at your website in Chrome, it looks fine but when opening in Internet Explorer, it has some
    overlapping. I just wanted to give you a quick heads up!
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    Liked by 1 person

  11. Pingback: The Biblical Role of Women Part X | GRACE in TORAH

  12. Pingback: The Biblical Role of Women Part XI | GRACE in TORAH

  13. Barbara Slate

    Are these teachings on dvd .?
    If so where can I order them?
    Thankyou
    Barbara Slate

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Pingback: The Biblical Role of Women Part I | Obadiah's Cave

  15. Okay, so after reading the part about Eve being the one who is supposed to be Adam’s helper who opposes Him when he goes against YHWH. How do we reconcile that to,

    “Wives, likewise, be submissive to your own husbands, that even if some do not obey the word, they, without a word, may be won by the conduct of their wives,” 1 Peter 3:1 ?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Valerie,

      Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to comment. You have a great question! I hope that you will continue reading the series as it explains much more as it progresses. We have to start at the beginning of the Bible to understand the end. This ensures that we have the “whole story”, which makes us less likely to take verses out of context or to make them fit a paradigm or framework of a particular persuasion.

      However, I haven’t directly spoken to the verse you mentioned, so I will do that now. I’m going to be fairly thorough for the sake of other readers, so please don’t think I’m directing all of this right at you! 🙂 At some point in the future, I will blog about the few verses that seem to trip us up. For now, this response is going to be long for the benefit of others until I have time to give this topic proper treatment.

      I suppose the answer depends on your definition of submission. Does submission mean never questioning and always agreeing or going along with another person or authority? Or does submission mean having a heart that is willing to yield to another person out of love and respect? Which one does the Bible teach?

      The context for the verses in chapter 3 begins back in chapter 2. This is why Peter begins with the Greek adverb homoios, which means, “likewise/similarly/so”. He’s making a comparison. The second part of chapter 2 deals with general submissiveness to authority. The character of those that follow the true G-d of Israel should be marked by good behavior or “well-doing” (1 Pet. 2:15). Peter’s discourse on this even begins with the directive to “submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake…” (1 Peter 2:13) In other words, we (men and women) are to be obedient to the authorities that govern us.

      Before we get to the verse you mentioned, I actually have a question. If we are to submit to every ordinance of those that govern us, what do we do when those ordinances oppose the Word of YHWH? Is Peter saying to submit anyway— no matter what? Because if we answer in the affirmative, there are many scriptural examples that we now must ignore or redefine with some pretty fantastic theological gymnastics. And one of those examples is from Peter himself!

      “But Peter and the other apostles answered and said: “We ought to obey God rather than men.” (Acts 5:29)

      I don’t believe that Peter is schizophrenic. I believe that he was discerning, practical, and used plenty of common sense. A heart that is set on serving and loving YHWH will go the distance to be a good witness, a loving neighbor, and even a good citizen. But, that doesn’t make a servant of the Most High a doormat. Nor does it mean that we must submit to evil decrees, governors, headships, or kings. While a child of YHWH shouldn’t be known for being rebellious, sometimes rebellion is necessary in order to be obedient! That may sound like an oxymoron, but we have plenty of examples of this.

      Consider the midwives that rebelled against Pharaoh’s decree to kill the male Hebrew babies. Or Moses’ parents that hid him as a child. Or Abigail going behind her husband’s back to meet David. Or Daniel praying to/petitioning YHWH even though it broke the law of the Medes and Persians. Or the Maccabees rebelling against the Seleucid rulers. Or the disciples ignoring the Jewish ruling authority’s mandate to not preach in the name of Yeshua.

      Obviously, there is a HUGE difference between outright rebellion (which is witchcraft) and opposing the laws of men that are contrary to the Word of YHWH. I believe the scripture is clear on this. We are to submit to those in authority over us because YHWH is the one that placed them in these positions in the first place. Just because we disagree with or dislike the way that government operates or rules isn’t rebellion. And as long as these authorities do not force us to abandon the Law of G-d, then we do need to submit to their authority. However, YHWH is not a sadist. He in no way expects us to obey laws or decrees that are contrary to His Word, knowing it will bring curses upon us. If the government demands you kill your child or desecrate His Temple, you ought to obey YHWH rather than men. Otherwise, you are in outright rebellion to YHWH.

      Peter relates these thoughts to “wives, be submissive to your husbands”. Wives are to do so in order that an unbelieving or disobedient husband may become convicted by their chaste conduct/behavior/conversation. Most people that use this verse as a blanket statement for women fail to point out that in context Peter is referring to an unbelieving/disobedient husband. And they typically equate submission with always agreeing with/never questioning the man. But this isn’t what Peter says.

      Disagreeing with or questioning an authority, ruler, king, or even YHWH is NOT rebellion, nor does it negate submission. You might not understand or “like” one of G-d’s commandments or agree with it, but may submit and obey out of reverence. You are even free to question Him and ask “why”. He may or may not answer, but at least we can rest in the fact He is perfect and infallible. We can trust Him completely.

      Humans, however, are fallible, even those in authority. A man (or other authority) that will not be questioned or counseled has a major issue with pride (which is rooted in fear). They are not YHWH. They need accountability. And if they refuse counsel, that should be a HUGE red flag for us.

      To assume that these questions and counsel cannot come forth from the mouth of a woman (especially one’s other half/wife – the one that should know him best) is mind-boggling. Absolute power corrupts absolutely. YHWH placed checks and balances to ensure everyone us has culpability.

      Not performing an ordinance, request, or law of an authority that violates YHWH’s laws is NOT rebellion. In fact, it is actually submitting to an even higher authority — YHWH. This is true for husbands and wives too. If a husband directs his wife to violate a commandment of YHWH, whom should she obey? Obviously, I’m not condoning an attitude of strife, bitterness, or hatred towards a wayward spouse. There are wrong ways and right ways to deal with the most important human relationship on earth. We can be so right that we are wrong. The way we speak to others — especially our spouses— DOES matter greatly. Nevertheless, we need to obey YHWH and not man. We must prayerfully consider how to approach one another in love.

      I believe that with YHWH’s help, we can oppose our spouse when they are wrong. In fact, I believe we SHOULD oppose our spouses when they are wrong. This is a big part of what marriage is about. We learn and grow together as one flesh. Iron sharpens iron. If both spouses are believers and serving YHWH, then this is the ideal.

      The bottom line is that simple discernment is the KEY to submission. YHWH gave us the capacity to think and reason for a purpose. The motives of our hearts will determine how we view, interpret, and act upon the many scriptural examples of biblical submission. If we have a relationship where there is complete trust and no fear, but real respect and love, then a verse like this won’t throw us for a loop. A man and wife will seek to please and serve one another in earnest. There is no “power” struggle because respect and love reside at the heart of the marriage, which casts out fear (pride). When issues do arise, they are dealt with peaceably. When one is called out for disobedience to the Word or for a poor decision, there is no fear that someone will get hurt. They know it comes from a place of great love and it is received as divine instruction of correction. When we really feel loved (as women) or respected (as men), submission is natural. No one has to tell you to “submit to one another”. (Eph. 5:21)

      But, I know what you might be thinking. What about Ephesians 5:22-33?

      Wives, be subject to your own husbands, as to the Lord. (Eph. 5:22)

      Again, the topic seems to be about women being submissive. At least that’s usually why this passage is quoted. Rarely is it used to teach Paul’s main idea. Paul claims that the entire point of his discourse is to show us a mystery. In other words, he is using the natural institution of marriage to teach us something spiritual about Messiah and His assembly:

      This mystery is great; but I am speaking with reference to Christ and the church. (Eph. 5:32)

      Marriage is used as parable for Messiah and His Body (Assembly). The most intimate relationship on earth between a man and woman is meant to teach us about our relationship with the Messiah. No marriage is perfect and therefore cannot properly reflect this reality. Yet, we can imagine it. And we can strive for this great intimacy not only with Messiah but also within our own marriage covenants. The “how” is the real question and is the reason for so many marriage self-help books, marriage counselors, marriage retreats, etc.

      The answer is found in love and respect. We just don’t know how to “DO” love and respect very well.

      Nevertheless, each individual among you also is to love his own wife even as himself, and the wife must see to it that she respects her husband. (Eph. 5:33)

      Paul reiterates this in Colossians, so I’ll add that here.
      Wives, be subject to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. Husbands, love your wives and do not be embittered against them. (Col. 3”18-19)

      We get hurt because we don’t feel loved or respected and so we build walls around our hearts and try to protect our wounds by being indifferent, contentious, nagging, silent, argumentative, apathetic, jealous, suspicious, etc. The list goes on and on. The more we experience these emotions and actions the thicker the walls of our hearts become.

      Sometimes past hurts from familial or other personal relationships are brought into the marriage covenant and haven’t been dealt with, which also causes all of the emotions and actions above, creating a vicious cycle. Nearly all relationships suffer from this malady and will continue to be a problem until deliverance has taken place.

      All people are broken in one way or another. If marriage is supposed to mirror our relationship with the King of the Universe, then your bond with your spouse is designed to build up and bind up all of these wounds, so that you can walk as ONE overcoming flesh. But this cannot happen without two willing participants that serve YHWH as one. G-d is the only one that can truly heal, we are mere vessels.

      This side of the World to Come, we are all human with a fallen nature that wars against us. A man should love a woman as Messiah does, but he isn’t perfect. He will fail. A woman should respect and reverence her husband like the Assembly does Messiah, but a woman is also human. She will fail. We have to have mercy, patience, and long-suffering attitudes with one another or our marriages are doomed.

      Though a healthy marriage between two spiritually healthy people can be glorious, few experience it. Some expect the other partner to “fix” them (fix their brokenness). Some think that if the other person would just do what “I want” then everything would be perfect. Others think that they are the perfect one; it’s their spouse that is the whole problem. Some truly have been seriously wronged by their spouse or are living with extreme abuse (physical, emotional, or spiritual) because they believe the lie that they cannot divorce. You get the idea. Marriage is hard; and sadly, religious spirits and the doctrines of men only make it harder.

      The truth is that we can’t change another person. The ONLY person you have control over is yourself. The only person that you CAN change is yourself. No man has the power to change a woman; no woman has the power to change a man. Now, a man can physically overpower a woman. She might physically fear him after this and conform to something he demands, but her heart has not changed — at least not for the better (tov). No deliverance comes through abuse; rather abuse creates a need for deliverance.

      Thus, when Paul urges a woman to submit to her husband, he is not insinuating that she becomes his slave. She is not “lessor” than the man. She is not his child. A woman wasn’t made in the image of Elohim to hang on a man’s every word and whim and never question his actions, motives, or decisions. The Hebrew of Genesis literally places her face to face with the man like a mirror. Together they reflect the image of Elohim (or they should).

      Woman came from the side of a man as an equal co-ruler of YHWH’s creation. She is bone of his bone and flesh of his flesh. This is WHY the man is admonished to LOVE her like his own BODY. Because that’s what she is. They are one. He protects her one way and she protects him another way.

      The man is also commanded to love his wife as Messiah loves the Assembly— to be willing to die for her. This is sacrificial love at its finest and I don’t know any woman that wouldn’t greatly respect a man willing to die for her. This kind of love cannot be faked, and engenders a reverence like no other. You don’t have to be perfect to love or respect the way Paul is suggesting.

      What is real submissiveness?

      Messiah doesn’t rule over us with an iron fist. He never abused women (or men). He wasn’t a narcissist. He didn’t have a “power-trip”. He LISTENED to others. He answered questions. He exercised EXTREME mercy. Rather than punish the disobedient —- He DIED for them, taking their death penalty Himself.

      Men are to emulate Messiah, but they are NOT the Messiah. The parable or metaphor Paul used can only be taken so far. Women are NOT to worship their husbands, or replace their relationship with the Messiah with their husband.

      The conclusion is that a woman is to submit to a man as far he emulates Messiah. This is a reciprocal mandate. So long as the man walks and follows in the steps of Yeshua, then the woman follows also. But the minute the man follows his own flesh, a lying spirit, or veers to the left or to the right, a woman is not required to blindly follow or submit to the man. Or else they both will fall into the ditch.

      Sadly, I ‘ve seen this happen in many marriages. Believing they were being biblically “submissive”, these women failed to hold their husbands accountable, knew their decisions were costly, and they tumbled down a path of destruction together. All because they really believed that had no right to say anything about the behavior and decisions of their “man”. After all, they were only women. I’m so very thankful that Queen Esther didn’t remain silent. Or Deborah. Or Abigail. Or the daughters of Zelophehad. Or Ruth. Or Yael. Or Hannah. Or Mary Magdalene. Or Priscilla. Or Lydia. Or Huldah. Just to name a few.

      I hope our understanding of real biblical submissiveness and authority continues to grow. The more I study the Bible, the more I am amazed by just HOW much YHWH values women. This theme runs in the background behind nearly every story. And why wouldn’t this be the case? Isn’t the whole Book about Him and His Bride?

      Shalom,
      K

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      • I genuinely appreciate your response and the time you took to reply. Thank you. But, I still have questions about submission. Going back to 1 Peter 3:1,

        “Wives, likewise, be submissive to your own husbands, that even if some do not obey the word, they, without a word, may be won by the conduct of their wives,”

        i understand your point about submitting to a man as long as he isn’t contradicting YHWH’s commandments and it does make a lot of sense. But, I still think about the second part of this verse.
        “…that even if some do not obey the word, they, without a word, may be won by the conduct of their wives,”

        This seems to imply that by a woman being silent, her unbelieving husband may be won over by the *conduct* of his wife – by her actions, not words.
        For this reason, I still question whether it is biblical to oppose or go against her husband when he is being disobedient to YHWH.

        This idea seems to be supported by other parts of the same section in, 1 Peter 3…

        “rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God. 5 For in this manner, in former times, the holy women who trusted in God also adorned themselves, being submissive to their own husbands, 6 as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord, whose daughters you are if you do good and are not afraid with any terror.” Verses. 4-6

        This verse suggests things like a wife should have the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and *quiet* spirit. It also gives the example of Sarah who obeyed Abraham. Recalling back in Genesis, when Abraham and Sarah visited Egypt, Abraham told Sarah to withhold the fact that she was Abraham’s wife. She obeyed Abraham, even though what he asked her to do didn’t seem like a wise thing to do.

        Please understand, I’m not trying to be combative or start a heated debate. I bring these things up because I’m trying to understand and possibly gain clarification.

        Liked by 1 person

        • I’m more than happy to have a peaceful discourse with you. 🙂 This particular topic is close to my heart as you’ve probably guessed. Have you had the time to read the entire series yet? That’s important as it will give a much better idea of my position and may answer some of your questions.

          You’re right; Peter is speaking directly about a woman with an unbelieving husband. I lumped the Pauline passages with this one because I still feel like they are related. However, for this reply, I’ll just stick with Peter for clarity. Who was Peter writing to? His audience was primarily former pagan Gentiles. Apparently, more women had turned to Messiah than had their husbands. And they needed some instruction.

          Peter’s words aren’t something new. The Word of YHWH is always concerned with our deeds, not our creeds. Actions really do speak much louder than words. This is because we act out what we really believe or what is really in our hearts. I can talk to someone until I’m blue in the face, but it is my deeds and actions that reveals the truth (or lack thereof) of what I’m saying.

          Thus, Peter’s advice for wives to lead their husbands to Messiah by their walk/actions/lifestyle is true for far more than just “husbands”. This works on people in general because it reveals authentic faith, love, and respect. “You will know them by their fruit”… not their words or creeds. As new believers in the Jewish Messiah, these women would be walking and living quite contrary to the culture around them. Hopefully, their husbands would see a stark change in their behavior and the ensuing blessings as a result and this would win their husbands. (But hopefully, this would win more than just their husbands, but also other family members, friends, and neighbors!)

          None of this implies that these women never SPOKE a word, took a vow of silence, or became a mute. What it does mean is that these women didn’t harp on their men to “know Jesus”, nor did they nag them or give them guilt trips. All of these tactics are forms of manipulation. And these actions are not of Elohim, nor do they produce godly fruit. This is true no matter the situation, circumstance, or predicament. Neither a man nor a woman should use their mouth for this purpose regardless of whether they have a believing or unbelieving spouse.

          As to the opposing… I don’t think you understand what I mean by “oppose”. By “opposing” I never suggest for a woman (or a man) to cause strife, contention, become argumentative, mean spirited, or the like. Those are all issues of the flesh, which should be in subjection to the renewed spirit-man (ruach) of a believer. Perhaps an example will be helpful.

          Let’s say a man comes home to his wife and says, “I’m going to take our life savings to buy a red sports car”. Does YHWH expect this woman to say, “Yes, dear, whatever you want”. If this was their entire life savings, a decision like this is indeed an unwise and ungodly way to spend the provision YHWH has provided. By remaining silent, the woman is agreeing to this decision. If the woman were to point out the folly of this type of decision to her man, it just might help him to come to his senses and spare them from the consequences of this bad decision.

          If Esther had remained silent when her husband “signed” the edict to kill the Jewish people, we wouldn’t even be having this conversation. Esther’s tactics should be noted as a good example. She respectfully approached the king (though unannounced and at the risk of her life). She then invited him to a private wine banquet. Twice! — Before SPEAKING her heart. She didn’t oppose him by berating, yelling, or scorning him. Instead, she wined and dined him and created some mystery, which intrigued the king. He was prepared to give her up to half of his kingdom!

          What does Peter mean by a meek/gentle and *quiet* spirit?

          But let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God. (1 Pet. 3:4)

          The Greek word often translated as “quiet” in this verse is hesuchios. Strong’s defines it thus:

          G2272 ἡσύχιος A prolonged form of a compound probably of a derivative of the base of G1476 and perhaps G2192; properly keeping one’s seat (sedentary), that is, (by implication) still (undisturbed, undisturbing): – peaceable, quiet.

          Peter isn’t talking about not talking. He doesn’t expect these women to not speak to their husbands. Those that follow the G-d of Israel should be known by their gentle/meek and quiet/peaceable/tranquil SPIRITS or dispositions. In other words, they aren’t the ones that are causing strife, divisions, or arguments. This is true for men and women, king and layperson as this very SAME Greek word is used in the following in verse 2:

          1Ti 2:1 First of all, then, I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men,
          1Ti 2:2 for kings and all who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity.
          1Ti 2:3 This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior,
          1Ti 2:4 who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.

          I can’t help but to notice that Paul (in the above verses) is essentially saying the same thing that Peter is saying in 1 Peter 3. Our BEHAVIOR (regardless if we are male or female) is what wins the lost. We should be known for our kind, gentle, and peaceable (quiet) lifestyle. Paul expresses his heartfelt prayers for this to be especially true in the lives of those in AUTHORITY. Their example is a witness to even more lives that YHWH desires to come to the truth.

          In both cases with the Greek word hesuchios, translated as quiet, the meaning has nothing to do with “not speaking”. The basic meaning has to do with “keeping one’s seat”. In other words, true followers of YHWH are not those that cause disturbances. They are not trouble makers. They do not offend easily. Rather, they are peacemakers that desire a tranquil lifestyle. It is the nephesh (flesh/emotions/instincts) that gets us all fired up to cause harm, mischief, or debauchery. These (if they indeed even believe at all) are in need of milk because their flesh controls rather than the spirit. Peter (and Paul) reminds us that the fruit we should produce is peaceable/tranquil and *quiet* — in spirit.

          As to Sarah… the example you gave is one in a beautiful story of many “to-dos” and “don’ts”. One of the wonderful things about the Word of YHWH is that it doesn’t gloss over or ignore the ugly parts. Men and women are depicted so… HUMANLY. They screw up, they fall, they overcome, and they bring glory to Adonai. All aspects of human nature are revealed to us in Holy Writ. And even a great sinner like David can be called a “man after G-d’s own heart”. I find this most refreshing, realistic, and hopeful. Abraham our father and Sarah our mother made many mistakes but ultimately followed YHWH.

          Sarah indeed yielded to Abraham on occasion, but she also spoke her mind when she felt compelled. (For example, see Gen. 16:5) YHWH once even told a distressed Abraham to LISTEN to whatever Sarah told him:

          But God said to Abraham, “Do not be distressed because of the lad and your maid; whatever Sarah tells you, listen to her, for through Isaac your descendants shall be named. (Gen. 21:12)

          Abraham lying to two kings about the identity of his wife wasn’t a wise or godly decision. Sarah’s virtue could have so easily been compromised. Abraham was reacting from a place of fear in these instances, not love and certainly not the sacrificial love (willing to die for another) that Paul encourages men to have for their wives. As such, following the example of Abraham and Sarah lying and consenting to lying in any form wouldn’t be using good discernment or judgment on our parts either. It would be “missing the point” of the whole story. Abraham’s lies and Sarah’s consent were both examples of what NOT to do. Praise YHWH for DIRECTLY intervening in both of these occasions!

          I’ll get to the other “silent” verses in the next reply. 🙂

          Like

      • I’d also like to bring up these verses,

        “11 Let a woman learn in silence with all submission. 12 And I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man, but to be in silence. 13 For Adam was formed first, then Eve. 14 And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression. 15 Nevertheless she will be saved in childbearing if they continue in faith, love, and holiness, with self-control.” 1 Timothy 2:11-15

        Is this suggesting a wife is not allowed to teach her husband? Is it suggesting that a woman is not allowed to teach men in general, or does it only apply to her own husband? Is a man above receiving knowledge and wisdom from his wife or women in general?

        Liked by 1 person

        • 1 Timothy 2:11-15 has probably caused the more controversy and dogma against women than any other passage in Scripture. First, we HAVE to remember that Paul is writing a letter in response to a letter that he received. He is answering questions and giving advice to specific issues —- of which, we only have half of the conversation. Second, it also must be noted that Paul was writing to Timothy, not an entire assembly.

          TRUMP Verse?

          *1 Timothy 2:12 is the ONLY verse in the Bible that “seems” to state that women cannot teach men.*

          I said “seems”, because the above verse is used like some sort of trump card by those that desire to keep half of the Assembly or Body of Messiah gagged and controlled.
          It’s interesting just how much time Yeshua spent with women. Not once do we see Him silencing them. Instead, He divinely chose to give the GOOD NEWS that He had risen, first to a WOMAN. But much like those that desire to keep our mouths bound today, the disciples failed to believe or listen to the Gospel come from the lips of the women.

          But these words appeared to them as nonsense, and they would not believe them. (Luke 24:11)

          I took that tiny excursion to make a point. We cannot view a passage like 1 Timothy 2 from a vacuum. The entire counsel of YHWH must be considered. Otherwise, we might conclude something that Paul or YHWH never said.

          There a many great books written on this passage that give it the treatment it deserves. I’ll link to some at the end of this reply and encourage you to take the time to read from these scholars. I will merely give you some highlights that cannot be ignored. The context of the letter and the culture of the people that Paul was writing to are paramount to understanding his message. Without these considerations (proper hermeneutics), we can make the Bible say just about anything our flesh desires or our traditions support. And people do so all the time.

          First, whom was this letter written to?
          What was the culture like there?
          What were the primary ideologies?
          Is it possible that these new believers struggled with all the baggage of a lifetime of walking/living/believing this pagan worldview?

          Paul wrote the book in question to Timothy. Paul had left Timothy in Ephesus. Paul wrote this letter to combat heresy in the assembly at Ephesus. The many problems of the assembly in Ephesus are mentioned throughout the letter. (1 Tim. 1:6-7; 1:20; 4:1-3; 4:7; 5:15; 6:2-10; 6:20) In Acts 20, Paul had warned the Ephesian elders that false teachers would come in, including some men who would distort the truth.

          There are two main cults that Paul could have been warning Timothy about, and both were rampant in the region at that time. One was the worship of Artemis. This was a female dominated fertility cult. They believed that Artemis was born before her twin brother Apollo, making females superior to males. There is much more to explore, but for the sake of brevity, I’ll keep to the main points.

          The other cult is thought to be Gnosticism. They believed in secret or hidden knowledge and reverenced women. They even had their own distorted view of creation, which placed Eve in a higher spiritual position over Adam. Both of these twisted ideologies could have influenced the assembly in Ephesus.

          I’m not going to go into all the Greek words and grammar of 1 Timothy 2; I’ll let the scholars do that. There is a reason that my posts on women start at the beginning in Genesis and not the “problem” passages of the New Testament. This is simply because if we twist the message in the beginning, we will certainly have a kinked cord of truth at the end.

          I will, however, look once again at the word for “silence” in 2:11. It’s the exact same Greek word we looked at before, hesuchios. It is just written in the feminine form, hēsuchia. This word doesn’t mean to zip your lips and never speak. If it did, Paul teaches with a forked tongue (G-d forbid) because he encourages both men and women in the assembly to use their mouths and lips to give a psalm, teaching, revelation, etc.

          What is it then, brothers and sisters? Whenever you come together, each one has a psalm, a teaching, a revelation, a tongue, an interpretation. Let all things be done for edification. (1 Cor. 14:26 TLV)

          I chose the Tree of Life version because the translator’s chose to translate the Greek word adelphos, usually translated as brethren, as brothers and sisters. The root of adelphos is delphos, which is the womb. Although it can mean brothers, it also denotes siblings of both sexes in mixed company. The Hebrew word bnai, literally “sons”, but translated as “children” (as in the children of Israel) functions the same way. In mixed company (sexes) the masculine noun is used.

          In other words, women most certainly “spoke” in the assemblies. BUT, if a woman was teaching the heresy of female domination like the Ephesians were accustomed to from their pagan past beliefs, and these things were being mixed and mingled with the Word of YHWH, then there was a BIG problem that needed to be squashed immediately. Women were not created to dominate a man no more than a man was created to dominate a woman. The very idea of domination is flesh-based wickedness. An animal likes to dominate its territory. We are called to rule over the animal kingdom and these animalistic impulses of the flesh.

          1Ti 2:11 Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection.
          1Ti 2:12 But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence.
          1Ti 2:13 For Adam was first formed, then Eve.
          1Ti 2:14 And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression.
          1Ti 2:15 Notwithstanding she shall be saved in childbearing, if they continue in faith and charity and holiness with sobriety. (KJV)

          Notice that Paul “corrects” the Ephesians understanding of the Genesis creation account. Why would he need to do this? Because both Artemis worship and Gnosticism had very twisted views and teachings of the beginning. Crap runs downhill. If the beginning is tainted, those things much further down the mountain will be very muddy.

          To prove that we have to carefully consider the REAL and TRUE meaning of Paul’s words to Timothy, let’s consider verse 15. What does this mean? If taken at face value or very literally, “a woman” is SAVED by childbearing. Is this true? Consider the entire Bible. Where does it say that having a child saves a woman? Does salvation come from giving birth? What about a woman that cannot have a child? Is she lost forever? What about evil, wicked women? Can they just give birth and be saved? Obviously, the answer is NO. The Word doesn’t teach this message. What in the world is Paul talking about? And why does this passage about being silent and not usurping men end with a salvation through childbirth?

          We cannot shrug off these questions and focus only on the part that seems to make sense to us. The answers aren’t too difficult to find once we discover the surrounding culture and ideologies, and it becomes particularly clearer when the Greek grammar is examined.

          Here are some articles and books that explore these topics:

          First, I highly recommend Dr. John Garr’s book series on women: Feminine and Free

          LOST IN TRANSLATION: A LOOK AT 1 TIMOTHY 2:12-15

          Insight into Two Biblical Passages: Anatomy of a Prohibition I Timothy 2:12, the TLG Computer, and the Christian Church

          I Suffer Not a Woman: Rethinking I Timothy 2:11-15 in Light of Ancient Evidence

          Man and Woman, One in Christ: An Exegetical and Theological Study of Paul’s Letters

          Paul, Women, and Wives: Marriage and Women’s Ministry in the Letters of Paul

          What Paul Really Said About Women: The Apostle’s Liberating Views on Equality in Marriage, Leadership, and Love

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          • Well, I will certainly read the rest of this teaching, as well as look into where I can find those books you recommended. I am new to observing the Torah and exploring the Hebrew Roots and how they’re still important today. I have been a Christian since 2003 where over the years, I had been taught that a woman is supposed to be silent and completely obedient to her husband, even when he’s doing something YHWH would not approve of. Often times, they used the example in Genesis where Abraham told Sarah to tell them that she was his sister, and she listened. The used Sarah as an example to illustrate that a woman is supposed to be submissive in all obedience to her husband, even when what he told her to do was wrong. So, to say that this teaching has the capacity to completely change what I believed about the role of women is a huge understatement.
            Even just a few days ago, I was having a biblical discussion with a man. He was saying that humanity is not born sinful, that we have to knowingly choose to sin to be a sinner. I was telling him he was wrong and mentioned specific verses in scripture to which he quoted that passage in 1 Timothy 2 as to say I had no business teaching him, which is why I thought to ask for your insight on that passage, considering that what you said in response to my first comment made a lot of sense.
            I do appreciate you taking the time to respond to me with a lot of thought and considerations. Thank you.

            Liked by 1 person

            • Valerie,

              I was raised Baptist and was taught the same thing you were in the Church. After coming to Torah, I still believed this way but this was always a niggling question on the back burner of my mind. I continued to study and study and study. If it were true then I wanted to be obedient. But if this was another doctrine/tradition handed down through the ages that was contrary to the message of Scripture, then I wanted to be set free from it. Obviously, you can guess what happened.

              I am married to a very strong and valiant man. He is no pushover. In fact, some people might even find hi intimidating, lol. However, I am the more spiritually minded of the two of us, which fueled my research. My heart’s desire is for him to continue to grow and rise up and become even more obedient than I am. Meanwhile, what I am I to do? I have to say that my husband is 100% supportive of my ministry and convictions. He is a strong rock in my life and walk. And He vehemently protects me. He is a believer and loves YHWH, so I’m not exactly in the shoes of the women 1 Peter 3. But I understand their plot. My husband would be devastated if I all of a sudden stopped being his springboard in matters of life’s decisions. Not because he is weak, but because he fully believes we are a team (one flesh), that we need one another desperately. We pray together. We decide together. We correct one another and who better to do that than the one who knows you most intimately? And who loves and respects you more than anyone else?

              I just published a new page called “Q & A”, found in the heading menu. In it, I’ve included our discourse without your name. I did this because I get a lot of questions like yours in emails and in comments. I haven’t had much time to write lately, so I thought other readers would benefit from this common theme.

              By the way, be sure to add Guardian Angel by Dr. Skip Moen to that list. He and Dr. Garr (of the Feminine and Free series) are both Torah observant men that champion women. 🙂

              Like

  16. Pingback: The Biblical Role of Women Part II | GRACE in TORAH

  17. Pingback: Submission and Authority Part I | GRACE in TORAH

  18. Reblogged this on Obadiah's Cave and commented:
    Woman came from the side of man. She is bone of his bone and flesh of his flesh. The author of Grace in Torah gives much wisdom in these amazing researched and well fleshed out blogs on the Biblical role of women. Read the whole series for complete understanding. Husbands will learn much as well from these amazing blogs. Check out Kisha Gallagher’s BEKY book “The Biblical New Moon,” for more amazing insight.

    Liked by 1 person

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