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Misogyny, Feminism, and the role of women in the church. Does the Bible treat women as inferior? What is the role, or place of women in the church? A MUCH disagreed-about topic.

Scripture and Women

Postby This burns » Wed Nov 12, 2014 12:58 pm

The Scriptures and Women, Part 1 (Old Testament)

We sit in our comfortable chairs in a climate-controlled room, in front of a television and watch the news from around the world beam into our homes. In Africa, 276 girls are kidnapped into slavery and forced marriage (otherwise known as forced rape). In Somalia, a 13 year old girl is raped and then stoned to death for committing adultery after she reports the crime. In Pakistan, a woman is killed by her own family for rejecting an arranged marriage in order to marry a different man that she was in love with.

We shake our heads in disbelief that such horrible things could happen. “Thank goodness,” we smugly say to ourselves, “that we don’t live in such a barbaric culture that treats women so unfairly. Thank God that we don’t believe in those primitive superstitions that allow…no, encourage, such atrocities to be committed against women. Thankfully we live in a civilized Christian nation and our Bible-based morality ensures that our women are treated with deference and respect.”

Really? You actually think that? Have you read the Bible? Whatever gains women have made (and there’s still a long, long ways to go), have come about despite Bible teachings, not because of them.

If you go back to the very beginning, the story starts out nice enough. God creates the world and everything needed to sustain life. He created the first man, Adam, and then worried that Adam might get a little lonely all by himself, he created a helper for Adam, a woman named Eve (Genesis 2:18).

God also created a beautiful garden with all sorts of good things to eat. Adam and Eve didn’t have to work for their food or shelter; they could just run around naked all day in the paradise that God created for them.

There was only one rule in the Garden of Eden: do not eat the fruit of the tree located in the middle of the garden. Satan, in the form of a serpent, shows up and explains it to Eve. If she eats of the fruit, she will gain knowledge and become wise (Genesis 3:3-6). So Eve, wanting that knowledge and everything that came along with it, ate the fruit, and even worse, she got Adam to eat it, too.

When God discovered it, he was seriously ticked off. The serpent was punished severely, even though all he did was tell Eve the truth (Genesis 3:14-15, this is the first recorded instance of Church discipline for somebody whose only crime was telling the truth).

Adam was quick to blame it on Eve, starting a tradition that persists to this day (Genesis 3:12). Adam’s punishment for listening to his wife was that he would now have to work hard to produce the food needed to live, the ground would be cursed with thorns and thistles, and, by the way, he was now going to die someday.

Adam got off easy compared to Eve. Her punishment for the crime of wanting knowledge was that her husband would now rule over her and that God would multiply her sorrow and suffering when bearing children (Genesis 3:16). Ironically, Adam wasn’t the one that wanted knowledge and wisdom, but he was the one that was appointed to be the leader. Even back then, it was better to just obey and not spend too much time thinking about stuff.

Have you ever stopped to think about the concept that God purposefully increased women’s suffering when bearing children, because apparently, being subservient to men wasn’t punishment enough? Other animals bear children much more easily than humans. The birthing process for women is much more painful and dangerous thanks to large skulls that house our big brains (again, too much intelligence is messing us up). Our dogs and cats drop babies up to a dozen at a time without too many problems (usually), but having just one child can really mess up a woman’s day.

Today, even with our medical technology and painkillers, giving birth can be a traumatic experience. For the vast majority of humanity that didn’t live in this day and age, or don’t live in a place with good medical care, giving birth could mean days of agony followed by a tortuous death. Visit any pioneer cemetery and you’ll find a lot of mothers that died horrible deaths at a very young age while giving birth.

So, according to the author of the Book of Genesis, this is God’s punishment to all women because their ancestor who lived 6,000 years ago wanted wisdom. Unfortunately, biblical mistreatment of women doesn’t end with Eve. She’s just the beginning of the tradition of treating women as property to be owned, no different than cattle or sheep.

Some years later, Abram and his wife Sarai journeyed to Egypt. Worried that the Egyptians would see his hot wife and then kill him and take her, Abram instructs Sarai to tell everyone that she is his sister. Sure enough, Pharaoh sees her and takes her into his house (after all, he thinks she’s single). The Lord curses Pharaoh with plagues and when he learns the truth, Pharaoh is furious with Abram for his deception. She must have either married Pharaoh, or become engaged to him, because if she was just a housekeeper or a cook, Pharaoh wouldn’t have been that mad. Abram basically gave Pharaoh his wife to do whatever he would with her (Genesis 12:10-20).

Once re-united with Abram and driven out of Egypt, Sarai was unable to have children, so she gave him her servant Hagar, to have children with (nobody asked Hagar what she thought of this). Abram gets Hagar pregnant, but then Sarai has a change of heart. She becomes jealous and starts to treat Hagar harshly. Sarai discusses this with Abram and Abram basically says, “OK, I’ll give her back to you. Do whatever you want with her.”

So Sarai treated her servant pretty harshly and Hagar ran away. She’d had enough. God sends an angel to stop her. The angel commands Hagar to return and submit to her owner, so she goes back and delivers Ishmael, Abram’s son (Genesis 16:1-16).

Unfortunately, this is not a “happily ever after” story. Once Ishmael is born, Sarah (formerly known as Sarai) miraculously bears Abraham (formerly known as Abram) a son named Isaac. This was bad news for Hagar and Ishmael. Sarah asked Abraham to cast them out so Ishmael won’t be a joint-heir with her son Isaac. This bothered Abraham but he prayed about it and God told him it was totally cool, so he gave them a loaf of bread and a bottle of water and kicked them out into the wilderness (Genesis 21:1-21).

Meanwhile, while this soap opera was playing out, Abraham’s adult nephew, Lot, was living through some interesting times. Lot and his family were living in Sodom when two angels came to visit him. Lot offered the heavenly messengers his hospitality and invited the angels to stay with his family for the night. In the Middle East, the worst insult you could deliver to another man was to use him as a woman. It would be a blatant violation of the code of hospitality which is still common in that area today.

The men of Sodom wanted to have their way with the two angels. Lot was horrified by this, but came up with a solution to appease the men of Sodom. He offered to send out his two virgin, teenage daughters so the men could gang rape them. The men of Sodom declined his offer and were about to break down the door of his house to get the angels, when the angels suddenly remembered they were angels, and started acting like angels, and smote the men with blindness.

The angels instructed Lot and his family to flee without looking back because God was going to open up a big can of whup-ass right on top of Sodom and it wasn’t going to be pretty. As they fled across the desert, they probably heard all sorts of interesting sounds as the city was destroyed. Lot’s wife was too curious and she turned around to take a peek…and was immediately turned into a pillar of salt (whatever that means).

Lot and his virgin daughters escape but now his daughters were sad. They would be unable to fulfill their main purpose in life (having children) because there are no men around. So they take turns getting their father drunk and seducing him so they can become pregnant.

As a side note, when using the story of Sodom and Gomorrah to condemn homosexuality, keep in mind that Lot (who offered his daughters up to be gang raped and later committed incest with them) is the good guy in the story. God saved him when he destroyed the wicked places. You should think long and hard about using this story as a base for any of your moral beliefs (Genesis 19:1-38).

Several generations later, a woman named Tamar is married to a man named Er. Er is wicked and God kills him and Tamara becomes a widow, but it’s OK because God is going to have Er’s brother Onan marry Tamara, not because Tamara is a widow and she needs a husband, but so his wicked dead brother will have posterity. So Onan takes Tamara and has sex with her, but he has second thoughts about everything and he pulls out before the deed is complete and spills his semen onto the floor instead of into Tamara. This displeases God who instantly strikes Onan dead.

So now Tamara is a two-time widow with no children, which basically means she’s useless and not fulfilling her purpose. She goes to live in the household of her father-in-law, Judah. Eventually Judah’s wife dies and he becomes a widower. One day Tamara hears that Judah is going into town. She’s so desperate to get pregnant and be useful that she covers her face with a veil and hurries ahead of him and sits down next to the road to wait for him.

Eventually, her old father-in-law comes along, sees a woman out by herself with a covered face and comes to the obvious conclusion that she’s a prostitute. Judah may be a widow, but he’s not dead yet so he decides to negotiate for her services. They agree upon the price of a young goat, but unfortunately Judah had forgotten to put a goat in his wallet when he left home. Tamara, being a trusting sort of prostitute, decides to extend credit to him but insists he give her his signet, bracelets and staff for collateral.

Their transaction completed, Judah continues about his business. Later, he sends his friend to deliver the goat but the prostitute can’t be located. Three months later, it comes to his attention that his unmarried daughter-in-law, Tamara has become pregnant. Judah, being the wise patriarch that he is, orders them to bring his whore daughter-in-law to him so they can burn her to death. “Waitasecond!”, she says and whips out Judah’s signet, bracelets and staff. Judah realizes who the prostitute is and what had happened and being the kind soul that he is, spares her life (Genesis 38:1-26).

All of this happens in the Book of Genesis. If you think these five stories are as bad as it gets in the Old Testament, you are wrong. It’s just getting started:

6- After the Lord hardens Pharaoh's heart (Exodus 11:10), the Lord kills the firstborn of all the Egyptian women (Exodus12:29).

7- When giving the Ten Commandments, the Lord gives the commandment not to covet your neighbor's property, including his wife, house, ox or anything else that your neighbor owns (Exodus 20:17).

8- If a slave-owner gives his slave a wife, when it's time to give the slave his freedom, the slave's wife and children must stay with the slave-owner. If the slave doesn't want to leave his wife and children, then he must stay a slave forever (Exodus 21:2-6).

9- The Lord gives rules for selling your daughter into slavery and rules for slave-owners that want to marry their slaves (Exodus 21:7-11).

10- The Lord gives rules for seducing virgins and paying reluctant fathers who do not want to give their daughters away (Exodus 22:16-17).

11- When a woman gives birth to a son, she is considered unclean for a week. When she gives birth to a daughter, she is considered unclean for two weeks. In both cases, the mother must avoid holy places and things until she offers a sin offering, because we all know that giving birth is sinful (Leviticus 12:2-8). On the other hand, if a man is having sex and gets a little semen on himself, he is also unclean, but only until he cleans himself up. No sin offering is needed (Leviticus 15:16-18).

12- When a woman is menstruating, she is unclean and anything she touches is unclean. She must live somewhere off by herself while having her period. If somebody touches something she touched, this person is then also unclean. After her period is over, she must then offer a sin offering (Leviticus 15:19-30).

13- If a man has sex with a female slave that is engaged to another man, she will be whipped severely, but he will only have to offer a ram for trespassing upon the other man's property. Once he does this, he will be forgiven with no other punishment (Leviticus 19:20-22).

14- If a man marries his mother-in-law, in addition to killing the man and his mother-in-law, his wife must also be killed (Leviticus 20:14).

15- Female children are only worth 60% as much as male children (Leviticus 27:6).

16- If a man is jealous and suspects his wife has cheated on him, but has no proof, she must undergo an elaborate ritual involving magical testing and a jealousy offering because she made her husband jealous. It doesn't matter whether she actually cheated or not (Numbers 5:11:31).

17- Aaron and Miriam murmur against Moses which makes the Lord mad. He punishes Miriam by giving her leprosy for a week. Aaron escapes punishment (Numbers 12:1-15).

18- Daughters only get an inheritance if there are no sons. Sisters only get an inheritance if there are no brothers (Numbers 27:8-11).

19- Fathers can disallow the vows of daughters, but not sons. Husbands can disallow the vows of wives (Numbers 30:1-16).

20- The Israelites go to battle against the Midianites and kill all of the males as the Lord commanded. They take all the women and children captive as prizes of war. Moses then commands them to kill every male child and every woman that isn't a virgin. The soldiers are allowed to keep and rape 32,000 young girls as booty from war (Numbers 31:1-35).

21- Kings are forbidden to multiply their property: horses, wives and precious metals (Deuteronomy 17:16-17).

22- When waging war, soldiers must kill all the males, but are allowed to take women, children (which I assume are girls since they killed all the males) and cattle to enjoy as spoils of war (Deuteronomy 20:12-14).

23- When a soldier captures a pretty woman during war and desires her, he must take her home, shave her head, and allow her to mourn her parents (who, if the soldiers followed the usual pattern, are now dead) for a full month before raping her. Then if it turns out the soldier really doesn't care for her after all, he can't sell her into slavery because she's already suffered enough indignation and is now properly humbled (Deuteronomy 21:10-14).

24- If a man marries a girl and then realizes she isn't a virgin, he shall return her to her father's home and the men of the city will stone her because she's a whore (Deuteronomy 22:13-21).

25- If a married woman is raped, both the rapist and woman shall be killed. If an engaged girl is raped, and if she doesn't cry out for help, then both she and the rapist shall be killed. If she does cry out, then only the rapist shall be killed. If a man rapes a virgin, then he must pay her father fifty shekels and marry her. Neither she nor her father have any choice in the matter (Deuteronomy 22:22-29).

26- There is a process for a man to divorce his wife, but there is no corresponding process for a wife to divorce her husband (Deuteronomy 24:1).

27- If a wife's husband dies, she must marry his brother (Deuteronomy 25:5).

28- If two men are fighting and a wife tries to help her husband by grabbing the private parts of the man he is fighting, you must cut off her hand and not feel bad for her (Deuteronomy 25:11-12).

29- A mighty soldier vows to sacrifice the first thing he sees when he returns home if the Lord delivers his enemies into his hands during battle. With the Lord's help he is victorious and he returns home in triumph. His only child, a young daughter sees him returning home and runs out to greet him, thus becoming the first thing he sees when he returns home. He's sad, but he's made a promise to God and can't go back on it. He allows her two months to go live up on a mountain top and mourn the fact that she will die a virgin. At the end of two months, she returns home and her father kills her, as he promised the Lord he would do (Judges 11:29-39).

30- Under threat of death, Samson's wife tricks him into revealing the answer to a riddle and causes him to lose a bet. Samson got pretty mad and killed 30 men in order to pay off the bet. His father-in-law, assuming that Samson will stay angry at his wife, gives her to another man and refuses to give his daughter back to Samson. He offers his younger daughter to Samson but Samson refuses and goes off to battle which eventually causes his enemies to burn his wife and father-in-law to death (Judges 14:12 to Judges15:6).

31- A man, his concubine and a few other people are traveling to a strange city. An old man offers him and his party lodging. When night falls the men of the city come to rape the man. His host is horrified that they want to abuse his guest, so he offers his young daughter and the man's concubine to the crowd so they can rape them. The men of the city aren't happy about it, but they take the man's concubine and they gang rape her all night long, killing her in the process. In the morning, when the man realizes his concubine has been raped to death, he pulls out his knife and cuts her body into 12 pieces and sends her pieces throughout Israel (Judges 19:9-30).

32- The tribe of Benjamin goes to war against the city of Jabesh-gilead. They are victorious, so they kill all the males and non-virgin females and keep 400 young virgins alive to rape, but there aren't enough virgins for everyone to rape so they sneak over to Shiloh, where a feast is being held. They hide and when the young women come out to dance, they snatch them and run off with them. Now every rapist has a victim and all is well (Judges 21:10-23).

33- The Lord gave many wives to David (2 Samuel 12:7-8).

34- Solomon had 700 wives and 300 concubines. If he spent each night with a different one, each wife or concubine would get their turn once every 2.7 years (1 Kings 11:3).

Part 2 of this essay, focusing on the New Testament, will be posted at a future date.
This burns

Re: Scripture and Women

Postby jimwalton » Wed Nov 12, 2014 1:00 pm

Thank you very much for the courtesy of a reply, and allowing me the opportunity to dialogue. I appreciate it. In your article you have covered the entire OT. There's no practical way, in a post limited to 10,000 characters, that I can respond to every misunderstanding, but I can at least start in.

Genesis 2.18. First, you have to grasp the overriding point of Genesis 2, which is to show that the man and the woman are co-equals and equivalent co-regents, as is taught in Gn. 1.26-28. They were blessed equally with the mandate to "be fruitful and multiply," and they were mandated equally with "rule and subdue." In Gn. 2.7, the point is not the manufacture of an individual, but to reveal that the species ("the adam"—the definite article showing it to mean the species, not the name of an individual) was mortal—"made of dust". "Dust" is a symbol of humanity's mortality (Gn. 3.19; Ps. 103.14, not a material of manufacture.

Continuing, in Gn. 2.15, we again have the definite article ("the adam", the archetypal humanity) and vested them with priestly roles and functions. ("Work it" and "take care of it" are priestly terms, not agricultural ones. It is the function of humanity to care for sacred space—here the earth [as in Gn. 1.28]).

When, in Gn. 2.18, we hear for the first time that something is *not good*, it means it is not yet a fully functioning system. The "alone" part speaks of the fact that, because of his creation in God's image (male and female), a union is called for of someone who is like him.

The word for "helpmeet"—a helper suitable for him—is *'ezer kenegdo*. Of the other 20 times the word 'ezer is used in the OT, 17 of them are about God, and refer to God as our helper. It's a term of strength and capability. God is the one who watches over Israel without sleeping, who cares for her and is her strength and shield. This is anything but a term of inferiority. No stronger word could be used to explain how she is every bit his equal, and was designed to be that way. Rather than man's little assistant, the narrator intends that we see her as the one who rescues man from his lack of being a fully functioning system. All is incomplete without her. Stanley Grenz comments, "Whatever the distinctive contributions of women and men may be, one conclusion runs throughout the various proposals: Men and women exist to empower each other and hence need to discover expressions of their fundamental interdependence that empower both sexes."

Adam is well aware of this and declares for all humanity to hear loud and clear: She is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh. It's an exclamation of commonality, interrelatedness, interdependence, and equality in being and worth. The two shall be one flesh: the unity of humankind.

So, contrary to what you say, she is not his helper, she is his equal.

> God also created a beautiful garden with all sorts of good things to eat. Adam and Eve didn’t have to work for their food or shelter; they could just run around naked all day in the paradise that God created for them.

It was the function and role of the man and the woman to care for sacred space. They were to rule the earth and subdue it. Now, as I said before, Gn. 2.15 says they were to "work it." They had responsibility, and things to do. They were not exempt from work. There was no magic in Eden; gardens don't take care of themselves. Humanity's role is meaningful labor, in this case primarily that of preserving order. They are to preserve its holiness and its character. It is not just landscaping and farming, but participating with God in the ongoing task of maintaining the cosmos.

> They could just run around naked all day...

This is pretty reductionistic. The Hebrew word for naked (*'arummim*) is a word play with the word "crafty" in the very next verse (*'arum*). While it was probably actually the case that they were naked (though not essentially so), the point is in their "non-craftiness" in contrast to the craftiness of the serpent. It's an indication of their moral state more than of their physical state (though they probably were also naked).

Clothing has great symbolism in the Bible. All through the stories of Joseph, Aaron, the parable of the Prodigal Son, the whole book of Revelation, and many other places we get the idea that clothing has tremendous symbolism in these stories. Here, with the man and woman naked we get a clear picture of their moral innocence. Gn. 2.25 serves as a significant "before" picture to the "after" picture of Gn. 3.7. It's misrepresentational to make it sound as if all they did was dance around like nubile nymphs in a primeval paradise.

Now, this is my response to merely your first 5 sentences, and I haven't even gotten to the controversial points yet! Suffice it to show, however, that you set off on the wrong foot and go wildly further astray with every paragraph.

I can talk about your next paragraph(s) as you wish, but I don't want to write too much at once. Then it becomes a burden to read. I would be pleased to continue the conversation as you wish, but won't force myself on you. We would have to deal with each piece separately, however, or the whole discussion will quickly become massive and unmanageable.
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Re: Scripture and Women

Postby This burns » Thu Nov 13, 2014 9:22 am

Let me do a little reading in Genesis and get back to you. If you don't mind my asking, are you still a Christian?
This burns

Re: Scripture and Women

Postby jimwalton » Fri Dec 19, 2014 11:56 am

Absolutely. Since there's an open window here, let me walk the next step with you.

> Satan, in the form of a serpent, shows up and explains it to Eve.

I'm not so sure about this. The Hebrew word for serpent is *nahash*, which is indeed the common word for snake, but it also possibly means "able to stand upright." There are all kinds of verbal possibilities here. For instance, nahash is the same root as *nehoset*, which means "bronze." So the shiny, upright snake in Number 21.9 is the same root: it was a literal thing, but a spiritual symbol. "Snake" could also be a word play, because the Hebrew word for "deceive" is very close to it, and is the same root as for magic and divination. Snakes in the ancient world were very much associated with spiritual powers, magic, and cultic rituals. So what if this "thing" (the nhs) was a spiritual power, represented to the woman as a bright creature, speaking "spiritual wisdom", and yet was deceiving her—the word for snake?

> When God discovered it, he was seriously ticked off. The serpent was punished severely, even though all he did was tell Eve the truth (Genesis 3:14-15, this is the first recorded instance of Church discipline for somebody whose only crime was telling the truth).

In Gn. 3.1, the crafty one starts off with "Did God really say, 'You must not eat from any tree in the garden'?" There is an implied jeer, calling into question the reasonableness of God's command. But there's a lie embedded in his sentence. God most certainly did NOT say, "You must not eat from any tree in the garden." He's not asking a question, but deliberately distorting a fact by misrepresenting (and lying about) what God said. He changed God's positive invitation to eat from all trees except one into a universal negative prohibition.

You'll notice that the woman corrected him with the truth: "Oh, we're allowing to eat from the trees." But then she changed something God said also, adding to his prohibition that they weren't allow to eat from one particular tree, or even touch it (which is not what God had said either).

But then in 3.4, the crafty one directly contradicts Eve's version of what God said with a lie. "You will not surely die." The Hebrew construction is emphatic. His wording is a suggestion that there is nothing to worry about, another lie.

In Gn. 3.5, he tells the truth, sort of. Their eyes will be opened, and they will know good and evil, but they won't be like God. That's a misrepresentation, and a lie. What he is claiming is not characteristic of YHWH.

I know we're still not to your accusations of misogyny, but your first few paragraphs seem to set the stage that the woman was created a lesser being and she was told the truth but flubbed up anyway, like a ditz. If that was your approach, I think it's tremendously misleading and setting the stage with all the wrong props, creating a different script than the one that is there.
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Re: Scripture and Women

Postby twinB » Mon Jan 04, 2016 1:58 pm

So what about the ancient laws about women being raped and then marrying him? From a first glance, it seems pretty mean, and I would like to hear your thoughts about the laws.

Re: Scripture and Women

Postby jimwalton » Mon Jan 04, 2016 3:42 pm

You're probably referring to either Dt. 22.22ff. or Ex. 22.16-17. My guess is the Exodus passage, so that's what I'll talk about. If it's the other one, just say so and I'll talk about that one too. The first thing to say is that the text is primarily aimed at the protection of women, not the insignificance or the abuse of them.

But let's start with the words. "If a man seduces..." "Seduces" is the Hebrew word patah. The term implies that the woman, though perhaps misled, has given her consent to the sexual liaison. In other words, technically this pressure/seduction could not be called forcible rape. This law is based, at least to some extent, on the assumption that there was some level of agreement from the girl. It's more like our law of statutory rape: she may have wanted it to, but it's still wrong, and the man would bear the responsibility for the act.

Secondly, we need some cultural information. In those days, in that cultural, a woman around the house was a distinct economic asset to the household. In a day when everything had to be done or made by hand, she was a valuable commodity. When he gave her up for marriage, a dowry was paid for her to compensate for his economic loss. This wasn't selling her as property, but it did accomplish two things: (1) he got recompense for his economic loss that was now gain for the other clan, and (2) there was now collateral in the event of some problem, so that she was not left destitute.

Third, marriage in those days was not for love, but it was often economically defined. One got married to survive and prosper. Marriages were arranged, love often had nothing to do with it, and economics had everything to do with it.

Now let's go back to the text. If a man rapes a woman, then leaves her (as if she were just a sex toy), just is far less marry-able—she is considered "damaged goods" in the neighborhood. No suitors, no marriage, no children, and "the worst of all possible worlds." It would be much more difficult for a woman to find a husband if she had been sexually involved with another before marriage, and her bride price—her future financial security—would be in jeopardy. This text is protecting her. If a man seduces her, even if she was complicit, he can't just toss her aside like a piece of bologna. He has to pay the bride price, take her to be his wife, and take care of her. In other words, he has to take full responsibility for his act and not just exploit the girl and discard her. Only if the father or the girl opposes the marriage is a money settled substituted to compensate for the wrong done. Again, protecting the woman.

Essentially what is happening here is one of two things:

1. If Dad and girl both agree, the seducer must marry her (they probably had somewhat of a love for each other anyway to be messing around sexually with each other) and provide for her all her life without the possibility of divorce. The girl is being protected. But she isn't required to marry him, so again she is protected.

2. If the Dad or the girl don't want the marriage, the guy has to pay up the bride price anyway, so that she has financial security. The girl is being protected. This is no foul treatment of her, or a lack of concern. Her well being is actually the underlying theme. The law regulated illicit premarital sex by forcing the guy to own up to what he has done and marry the girl, or to pony up the bucks to provide for her.

Deuteronomy 22.23ff. is the same law, but expanded.

V. 23: If the rape happens within a town, it brings the death penalty, assuming the woman had a chance to cry out and get help. If she didn't cry out, it implies some level of consent on her part, therefore it's adultery. But if she's raped in a town, but there is no cry for help, and no witnesses to testify that she was forced, then it is considered adultery and falls under those laws (v. 24).

v. 25-27: But if they're out in the country, it is assumed to be rape. The law protects the woman, gives her the benefit of the doubt, assuming that she may have screamed for help and no one heard her. In this case the man is punished but not the woman. She is protected.

Scenario 3 starts in v. 28, and is like the Exodus 22 passage. There's nothing sexist about them, or unfair. It is all oriented to protect the woman from abuse, shame, and financial ruin. This law is actually attempting to correct a problem in their sexist environment. There was nothing mean about it. It was providing security and protection for the woman—the innocent victim.

What further questions do you have based on what I've said?
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Re: Scripture and Women

Postby twinB » Tue Jan 05, 2016 12:39 pm

Whoa. Thank you for your research and answers! What resources do you use?

Re: Scripture and Women

Postby jimwalton » Sat Jan 16, 2016 2:58 am

I do my own research, mostly from books in my library. I go to conferences and take notes, have conversations (both face-to-face and email) with people, and keep reading reading reading magazines, journals, reference works, and books.

I have put all my Bible notes on the website for people to use as resource, and you are welcome to use them as resource as well. Not at the top of the website where it says, "Bible Studies", but at the bottom where it says "Bible Notes and Commentary." That's where you'll find the helpful stuff. Massive amounts of stuff are there for the personal study of other people. I add to them daily.

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