Representative passages on women from the Bible compiled, with notes and headings, by Adam Kotsko


Hebrew Bible (Old Testament)
Genesis 1:26-31 (The creation of humanit in the ima!e of God) In what is known as the first creation account, God creates the world piece by piece over the course of six days. On the sixth day, he creates land animals and then turns to humankind. He is said to create humankind in the “image of God, which will become one of the most important concepts of !hristian theology. One of the ma"or points of debate among theologians is whether “male and female counts as part of the “image of God. 26 Then God said, ‘Let us make humankind in our image, according to our likeness and let them ha!e dominion o!er the "ish o" the sea, and o!er the birds o" the air, and o!er the cattle, and o!er all the wild animals o" the earth, and o!er e!ery creeping thing that creeps upon the earth#$ 2% So God created humankind in his image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. 2& God blessed them, and God said to them, ‘'e "ruit"ul and multiply, and "ill the earth and subdue it and ha!e dominion o!er the "ish o" the sea and o!er the birds o" the air and o!er e!ery li!ing thing that mo!es upon the earth#$ 2(God said, ‘)ee, * ha!e gi!en you e!ery plant yielding seed that is upon the "ace o" all the earth, and e!ery tree with seed in its "ruit you shall ha!e them "or "ood# +,And to e!ery beast o" the earth, and to e!ery bird o" the air, and to e!erything that creeps on the earth, e!erything that has the breath o" li"e, * ha!e gi!en e!ery green plant "or "ood#$ And it was so# +1God saw e!erything that he had made, and indeed, it was !ery good# And there was e!ening and there was morning, the si-th day# Genesis 2:1"-3:2# (The creation of woman and the first sin) #he second creation story has God creating the male human first, only arriving at the idea of a female partner through trial and error. $nfortunately, the woman is beguiled by a snake and breaks God%s command, leading to humanity%s expulsion from paradise. ch# 2 1. The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden o" /den to till it and keep it# 16And the Lord God commanded the man, ‘0ou may "reely eat o" e!ery tree o" the garden 1%but o" the tree o" the knowledge o" good and e!il you shall not eat, "or in the day that you eat o" it you shall die#$ 1& Then the Lord God said, ‘*t is not good that the man should be alone * will make him a helper as his partner#$ 1()o out o" the ground the Lord God "ormed e!ery animal o" the "ield and e!ery bird o" the air, and brought them to the man to see what he would call them and whate!er the man called each li!ing creature, that was its name# 2,The man ga!e names to all cattle, and to the birds o" the air, and to e!ery animal o" the "ield but "or the man there was not "ound a helper as his partner# 21)o the Lord God caused a deep sleep to "all upon the man, and he slept then he took one o" his ribs and closed up its place with "lesh# 22And the rib that the Lord God had taken


"rom the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man# 2+Then the man said, ‘This at last is bone o" my bones and "lesh o" my "lesh this one shall be called 1oman, "or out o" 2an this one was taken#$ 23 There"ore a man lea!es his "ather and his mother and clings to his wi"e, and they become one "lesh# 2.And the man and his wi"e were both naked, and were not ashamed# ch# + 14ow the serpent was more cra"ty than any other wild animal that the Lord God had made# 5e said to the woman, ‘6id God say, 70ou shall not eat "rom any tree in the garden89$ 2The woman said to the serpent, ‘1e may eat o" the "ruit o" the trees in the garden +but God said, 70ou shall not eat o" the "ruit o" the tree that is in the middle o" the garden, nor shall you touch it, or you shall die#8 $ 3'ut the serpent said to the woman, ‘0ou will not die ."or God knows that when you eat o" it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and e!il#$ 6)o when the woman saw that the tree was good "or "ood, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took o" its "ruit and ate and she also ga!e some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate# %Then the eyes o" both were opened, and they knew that they were naked and they sewed "ig lea!es together and made loincloths "or themsel!es# & They heard the sound o" the Lord God walking in the garden at the time o" the e!ening bree:e, and the man and his wi"e hid themsel!es "rom the presence o" the Lord God among the trees o" the garden# ('ut the Lord God called to the man, and said to him, ‘1here are you9$ 1,5e said, ‘* heard the sound o" you in the garden, and * was a"raid, because * was naked and * hid mysel"#$ 11 5e said, ‘1ho told you that you were naked9 5a!e you eaten "rom the tree o" which * commanded you not to eat9$ 12The man said, ‘The woman whom you ga!e to be with me, she ga!e me "ruit "rom the tree, and * ate#$ 1+Then the Lord God said to the woman, ‘1hat is this that you ha!e done9$ The woman said, ‘The serpent tricked me, and * ate#$ 13The Lord God said to the serpent, ‘'ecause you ha!e done this, cursed are you among all animals and among all wild creatures upon your belly you shall go, and dust you shall eat all the days o" your li"e# 1. * will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your o""spring and hers he will strike your head, and you will strike his heel#$ 16 To the woman he said, ‘* will greatly increase your pangs in childbearing in pain you shall bring "orth children, yet your desire shall be "or your husband, and he shall rule o!er you#$ 1% And to the man he said,


‘'ecause you ha!e listened to the !oice o" your wi"e, and ha!e eaten o" the tree about which * commanded you, 70ou shall not eat o" it8, cursed is the ground because o" you in toil you shall eat o" it all the days o" your li"e 1& thorns and thistles it shall bring "orth "or you and you shall eat the plants o" the "ield# 1( 'y the sweat o" your "ace you shall eat bread until you return to the ground, "or out o" it you were taken you are dust, and to dust you shall return#$ 2, The man named his wi"e /!e, because she was the mother o" all who li!e# 21And the Lord God made garments o" skins "or the man and "or his wi"e, and clothed them# 22 Then the Lord God said, ‘)ee, the man has become like one o" us, knowing good and e!il and now, he might reach out his hand and take also "rom the tree o" li"e, and eat, and li!e "or e!er$; 2+there"ore the Lord God sent him "orth "rom the garden o" /den, to till the ground "rom which he was taken# 235e dro!e out the man and at the east o" the garden o" /den he placed the cherubim, and a sword "laming and turning to guard the way to the tree o" li"e# Genesis 6:1-$ (%n!els slee& around with human women' God !ets mad) #his passage is often ignored in retellings of the story of &oah and the flood, perhaps because it%s so strange. !learly the interbreeding between angels 'sons of God( and humans is a problem for God, and the root problem seems to be the attractiveness of human women 'either there are no female angels or else the female angels found human men unappealing, because such unions are not mentioned(. 11hen people began to multiply on the "ace o" the ground, and daughters were born to them, 2 the sons o" God <usually considered to be angels= saw that they were "air and they took wi!es "or themsel!es o" all that they chose# +Then the Lord said, ‘2y spirit shall not abide in mortals "or e!er, "or they are "lesh their days shall be one hundred and twenty years#$ 3The 4ephilim <presumably hal">breed human?angels= were on the earth in those days;and also a"terwards; when the sons o" God went in to the daughters o" humans, who bore children to them# These were the heroes that were o" old, warriors o" renown# . The Lord saw that the wickedness o" humankind was great in the earth, and that e!ery inclination o" the thoughts o" their hearts was only e!il continually# 6And the Lord was sorry that he had made humankind on the earth, and it grie!ed him to his heart# %)o the Lord said, ‘* will blot out "rom the earth the human beings * ha!e created;people together with animals and creeping things and birds o" the air, "or * am sorry that * ha!e made them#$


Genesis 16 (Ha!ar the surro!ate mother) )y this point, God had promised *braham a son who would make him the father of many nations several times, but nothing seemed to have happened yet. +ince both *braham and his wife were getting old, they decided to take matters into their own hands by using the slave woman Hagar as a surrogate mother. #he story of Hagar plays a central role in one of the key works of womanist theology, ,elores -illiams% )isters in the 1ilderness. 14ow )arai, Abram$s wi"e, bore him no children# )he had an /gyptian sla!e>girl whose name was 5agar, 2and )arai said to Abram, ‘0ou see that the Lord has pre!ented me "rom bearing children go in to my sla!e>girl it may be that * shall obtain children by her#$ And Abram listened to the !oice o" )arai# +)o, a"ter Abram had li!ed "or ten years in the land o" @anaan, )arai, Abram$s wi"e, took 5agar the /gyptian, her sla!e>girl, and ga!e her to her husband Abram as a wi"e# 35e went in to 5agar, and she concei!ed and when she saw that she had concei!ed, she looked with contempt on her mistress# .Then )arai said to Abram, ‘2ay the wrong done to me be on youA * ga!e my sla!e>girl to your embrace, and when she saw that she had concei!ed, she looked on me with contempt# 2ay the Lord Budge between you and meA$ 6'ut Abram said to )arai, ‘0our sla!e>girl is in your power do to her as you please#$ Then )arai dealt harshly with her, and she ran away "rom her# % The angel o" the Lord "ound her by a spring o" water in the wilderness, the spring on the way to )hur# &And he said, ‘5agar, sla!e>girl o" )arai, where ha!e you come "rom and where are you going9$ )he said, ‘* am running away "rom my mistress )arai#$ (The angel o" the Lord said to her, ‘Ceturn to your mistress, and submit to her#$ 1,The angel o" the Lord also said to her, ‘* will so greatly multiply your o""spring that they cannot be counted "or multitude#$ 11And the angel o" the Lord said to her, ‘4ow you ha!e concei!ed and shall bear a son you shall call him *shmael, "or the Lord has gi!en heed to your a""liction# 12 5e shall be a wild ass o" a man, with his hand against e!eryone, and e!eryone$s hand against him and he shall li!e at odds with all his kin#$ 1+ )o she named the Lord who spoke to her, ‘0ou are /l>roi$ "or she said, ‘5a!e * really seen God and remained ali!e a"ter seeing him9$ 13There"ore the well was called 'eer>lahai>roi it lies between Kadesh and 'ered# 1. 5agar bore Abram a son and Abram named his son, whom 5agar bore, *shmael# 16Abram was eighty>si- years old when 5agar bore him *shmael# Genesis 1( (%ttem&ted !an!-ra&e' successful incest) *fter reiterating his promise to give *braham a son, God 'represented by three angels( shares his plans to wipe out +odom and Gomorrah for their excessive pride and inhospitality. #hrough a lengthy process of negotiation, *braham is able to convince God to spare the city if ten righteous men can be found. #wo of the three angels go to +odom to do some reconnaissance


work, and the +odomites% inhospitality is on graphic display when they demand that .ot, *braham%s cousin, hand over the angels so that they may “know them 'in the )iblical sense(. .ot offers up his virgin daughters in place of the angels, a gesture that is repeated with variations in the book of /udges. *s a kind of postscript to the story, .ot%s daughters seduce him in order to make sure they will have progeny. 1The two angels came to )odom in the e!ening, and Lot was sitting in the gateway o" )odom# 1hen Lot saw them, he rose to meet them, and bowed down with his "ace to the ground# 25e said, ‘Dlease, my lords, turn aside to your ser!ant$s house and spend the night, and wash your "eet then you can rise early and go on your way#$ They said, ‘4o we will spend the night in the sEuare#$ +'ut he urged them strongly so they turned aside to him and entered his house and he made them a "east, and baked unlea!ened bread, and they ate# 3'ut be"ore they lay down, the men o" the city, the men o" )odom, both young and old, all the people to the last man, surrounded the house .and they called to Lot, ‘1here are the men who came to you tonight9 'ring them out to us, so that we may know them#$ 6Lot went out o" the door to the men, shut the door a"ter him, %and said, ‘* beg you, my brothers, do not act so wickedly# &Look, * ha!e two daughters who ha!e not known a man let me bring them out to you, and do to them as you please only do nothing to these men, "or they ha!e come under the shelter o" my roo"#$ ('ut they replied, ‘)tand backA$ And they said, ‘This "ellow came here as an alien, and he would play the BudgeA 4ow we will deal worse with you than with them#$ Then they pressed hard against the man Lot, and came near the door to break it down# 1,'ut the men inside reached out their hands and brought Lot into the house with them, and shut the door# 11And they struck with blindness the men who were at the door o" the house, both small and great, so that they were unable to "ind the door# 12 Then the men said to Lot, ‘5a!e you anyone else here9 )ons>in>law, sons, daughters, or anyone you ha!e in the city;bring them out o" the place# 1+For we are about to destroy this place, because the outcry against its people has become great be"ore the Lord, and the Lord has sent us to destroy it#$ 13)o Lot went out and said to his sons>in>law, who were to marry his daughters, ‘Gp, get out o" this place "or the Lord is about to destroy the city#$ 'ut he seemed to his sons>in>law to be Besting# 1. 1hen morning dawned, the angels urged Lot, saying, ‘Get up, take your wi"e and your two daughters who are here, or else you will be consumed in the punishment o" the city#$ 16'ut he lingered so the men sei:ed him and his wi"e and his two daughters by the hand, the Lord being merci"ul to him, and they brought him out and le"t him outside the city# 1%1hen they had brought them outside, they said, ‘Flee "or your li"e do not look back or stop anywhere in the Dlain "lee to the hills, or else you will be consumed#$ 1&And Lot said to them, ‘Hh, no, my lords 1(your ser!ant has "ound "a!or with you, and you ha!e shown me great kindness in sa!ing my li"e but * cannot "lee to the hills, "or "ear the disaster will o!ertake me and * die# 2,Look, that city is near enough to "lee to, and it is a little one# Let me escape there;is it not a little one9;and my li"e will be sa!edA$ 215e said to him, ‘Iery well, * grant you this "a!or too, and will not o!erthrow the city o" which you ha!e spoken# 225urry, escape there, "or * can do nothing until you arri!e there#$ There"ore the city was called Joar# 2+The sun had risen on the earth when Lot came to Joar#


23 Then the Lord rained on )odom and Gomorrah sulphur and "ire "rom the Lord out o" hea!en 2. and he o!erthrew those cities, and all the Dlain, and all the inhabitants o" the cities, and what grew on the ground# 26'ut Lot$s wi"e, behind him, looked back, and she became a pillar o" salt# 2% Abraham went early in the morning to the place where he had stood be"ore the Lord 2&and he looked down towards )odom and Gomorrah and towards all the land o" the Dlain, and saw the smoke o" the land going up like the smoke o" a "urnace# 2( )o it was that, when God destroyed the cities o" the Dlain, God remembered Abraham, and sent Lot out o" the midst o" the o!erthrow, when he o!erthrew the cities in which Lot had settled# +, 4ow Lot went up out o" Joar and settled in the hills with his two daughters, "or he was a"raid to stay in Joar so he li!ed in a ca!e with his two daughters# +1And the "irstborn said to the younger, ‘Hur "ather is old, and there is not a man on earth to come in to us a"ter the manner o" all the world# +2@ome, let us make our "ather drink wine, and we will lie with him, so that we may preser!e o""spring through our "ather#$ ++)o they made their "ather drink wine that night and the "irstborn went in, and lay with her "ather he did not know when she lay down or when she rose# +3Hn the ne-t day, the "irstborn said to the younger, ‘Look, * lay last night with my "ather let us make him drink wine tonight also then you go in and lie with him, so that we may preser!e o""spring through our "ather#$ +.)o they made their "ather drink wine that night also and the younger rose, and lay with him and he did not know when she lay down or when she rose# +6 Thus both the daughters o" Lot became pregnant by their "ather# +%The "irstborn bore a son, and named him 2oab he is the ancestor o" the 2oabites to this day# +&The younger also bore a son and named him 'en>ammi he is the ancestor o" the Ammonites to this day# Genesis 21:1-21 (Ha!ar sent awa for !ood) -hen we last saw Hagar, she and her son had been instructed to return to *braham%s camp. -hen +arah has a son of her own, however, she will not put up with the slave woman%s son teasing him and orders that both be sent away0 *braham complies. 1The Lord dealt with )arah as he had said, and the Lord did "or )arah as he had promised# 2)arah concei!ed and bore Abraham a son in his old age, at the time o" which God had spoken to him# + Abraham ga!e the name *saac to his son whom )arah bore him# 3And Abraham circumcised his son *saac when he was eight days old, as God had commanded him# .Abraham was a hundred years old when his son *saac was born to him# 64ow )arah said, ‘God has brought laughter "or me e!eryone who hears will laugh with me#$ %And she said, ‘1ho would e!er ha!e said to Abraham that )arah would nurse children9 0et * ha!e borne him a son in his old age#$ & The child grew, and was weaned and Abraham made a great "east on the day that *saac was weaned# ('ut )arah saw the son o" 5agar the /gyptian, whom she had borne to Abraham, playing with her son *saac# 1,)o she said to Abraham, ‘@ast out this sla!e woman with her son "or the son o" this sla!e woman shall not inherit along with my son *saac#$ 11The matter was !ery distressing to Abraham on account o" his son# 12'ut God said to Abraham, ‘6o not be distressed because o" the boy and because o" your sla!e woman whate!er )arah says to you, do as she tells you, "or it is through *saac that o""spring shall be named a"ter you# 1+As "or the son o" the sla!e


woman, * will make a nation o" him also, because he is your o""spring#$ 13)o Abraham rose early in the morning, and took bread and a skin o" water, and ga!e it to 5agar, putting it on her shoulder, along with the child, and sent her away# And she departed, and wandered about in the wilderness o" 'eer>sheba# 1. 1hen the water in the skin was gone, she cast the child under one o" the bushes# 16Then she went and sat down opposite him a good way o"", about the distance o" a bowshot "or she said, ‘6o not let me look on the death o" the child#$ And as she sat opposite him, she li"ted up her !oice and wept# 1%And God heard the !oice o" the boy and the angel o" God called to 5agar "rom hea!en, and said to her, ‘1hat troubles you, 5agar9 6o not be a"raid "or God has heard the !oice o" the boy where he is# 1&@ome, li"t up the boy and hold him "ast with your hand, "or * will make a great nation o" him#$ 1(Then God opened her eyes, and she saw a well o" water# )he went, and "illed the skin with water, and ga!e the boy a drink# 2, God was with the boy, and he grew up he li!ed in the wilderness, and became an e-pert with the bow# 215e li!ed in the wilderness o" Daran and his mother got a wi"e "or him "rom the land o" /gypt# )*odus 1":2+-21 (The son! of ,iriam- sister of ,oses and %aron) *fter the famous crossing of the 1ed +ea, in which the army of 2haraoh is drowned once 3oses stops parting the waters, the Israelites celebrated with a long song, which is followed by this brief number from 3oses%s sister, 3iriam. *long with other female biblical figures, a later “3iriam 'Hebrew for 3ary(, the mother of /esus, will offer up a similar, though much longer, song. Then the prophet 2iriam, Aaron$s sister, took a tambourine in her hand and all the women went out a"ter her with tambourines and with dancing# And 2iriam sang to themK ‘)ing to the Lord, "or he has triumphed gloriously horse and rider he has thrown into the sea#$ .umbers 12 (,iriam &unished for trash-tal/in! ,oses) * few decades of wandering in the wilderness, however, strains relations among 3oses and his siblings *aron and 3iriam, leading the latter two to start critici4ing 3oses for having a foreign wife and to wonder aloud whether 3oses should be the sole authority for Israel. God becomes very angry at their presumption and punishes 3iriam with leprosy0 curiously, *aron is left untouched. $ltimately, 3iriam dies before reaching the promised land5but so do 3oses and *aron. 11hile they were at 5a:eroth, 2iriam and Aaron spoke against 2oses because o" the @ushite woman whom he had married L"or he had indeed married a @ushite womanM 2and they said, ‘5as the Lord spoken only through 2oses9 5as he not spoken through us also9$ And the Lord heard it# +4ow the man 2oses was !ery humble, more so than anyone else on the "ace o" the earth# 3 )uddenly the Lord said to 2oses, Aaron, and 2iriam, ‘@ome out, you three, to the tent o" meeting#$ )o the three o" them came out# .Then the Lord came down in a pillar o" cloud, and


stood at the entrance o" the tent, and called Aaron and 2iriam and they both came "orward# 6 And he said, ‘5ear my wordsK 1hen there are prophets among you, * the Lord make mysel" known to them in !isions * speak to them in dreams# % 4ot so with my ser!ant 2oses he is entrusted with all my house# & 1ith him * speak "ace to "ace;clearly, not in riddles and he beholds the "orm o" the Lord# 1hy then were you not a"raid to speak against my ser!ant 2oses9$ (And the anger o" the Lord was kindled against them, and he departed# 1, 1hen the cloud went away "rom o!er the tent, 2iriam had become leprous, as white as snow# And Aaron turned towards 2iriam and saw that she was leprous# 11Then Aaron said to 2oses, ‘Hh, my lord, do not punish us "or a sin that we ha!e so "oolishly committed# 126o not let her be like one stillborn, whose "lesh is hal" consumed when it comes out o" its mother$s womb#$ 1+And 2oses cried to the Lord, ‘H God, please heal her#$ 13'ut the Lord said to 2oses, ‘*" her "ather had but spat in her "ace, would she not bear her shame "or se!en days9 Let her be shut out o" the camp "or se!en days, and a"ter that she may be brought in again#$ 1.)o 2iriam was shut out o" the camp "or se!en days and the people did not set out on the march until 2iriam had been brought in again# 16A"ter that the people set out "rom 5a:eroth, and camped in the wilderness o" Daran# 0e1iticus 12 (0aws about se*ual defilement) #hese sexual regulations are strange to modern readers in many ways5but the overarching point to notice is that all the commands, even those touching on women%s behavior, are directed toward men. 1The Lord spoke to 2oses, sayingK 2 )peak to the people o" *srael and say to themK * am the Lord your God# +0ou shall not do as they do in the land o" /gypt, where you li!ed, and you shall not do as they do in the land o" @anaan, to which * am bringing you# 0ou shall not "ollow their statutes# 32y ordinances you shall obser!e and my statutes you shall keep, "ollowing themK * am the Lord your God# .0ou shall keep my statutes and my ordinances by doing so one shall li!eK * am the Lord# 6 4one o" you shall approach anyone near o" kin to unco!er nakednessK * am the Lord# %0ou shall not unco!er the nakedness o" your "ather, which is the nakedness o" your mother she is your mother, you shall not unco!er her nakedness# &0ou shall not unco!er the nakedness o" your "ather$s wi"e it is the nakedness o" your "ather# (0ou shall not unco!er the nakedness o" your sister, your "ather$s daughter or your mother$s daughter, whether born at home or born abroad# 1, 0ou shall not unco!er the nakedness o" your son$s daughter or o" your daughter$s daughter, "or their nakedness is your own nakedness# 110ou shall not unco!er the nakedness o" your "ather$s wi"e$s daughter, begotten by your "ather, since she is your sister# 120ou shall not unco!er the nakedness o" your "ather$s sister she is your "ather$s "lesh# 1+0ou shall not unco!er the


nakedness o" your mother$s sister, "or she is your mother$s "lesh# 130ou shall not unco!er the nakedness o" your "ather$s brother, that is, you shall not approach his wi"e she is your aunt# 1. 0ou shall not unco!er the nakedness o" your daughter>in>lawK she is your son$s wi"e you shall not unco!er her nakedness# 160ou shall not unco!er the nakedness o" your brother$s wi"e it is your brother$s nakedness# 1%0ou shall not unco!er the nakedness o" a woman and her daughter, and you shall not take her son$s daughter or her daughter$s daughter to unco!er her nakedness they are your "lesh it is depra!ity# 1&And you shall not take a woman as a ri!al to her sister, unco!ering her nakedness while her sister is still ali!e# 1( 0ou shall not approach a woman to unco!er her nakedness while she is in her menstrual uncleanness# 2,0ou shall not ha!e se-ual relations with your kinsman$s wi"e, and de"ile yoursel" with her# 210ou shall not gi!e any o" your o""spring to sacri"ice them to 2olech, and so pro"ane the name o" your GodK * am the Lord# 220ou shall not lie with a male as with a woman it is an abomination# 2+0ou shall not ha!e se-ual relations with any animal and de"ile yoursel" with it, nor shall any woman gi!e hersel" to an animal to ha!e se-ual relations with itK it is per!ersion# 23 6o not de"ile yoursel!es in any o" these ways, "or by all these practices the nations * am casting out be"ore you ha!e de"iled themsel!es# 2.Thus the land became de"iled and * punished it "or its iniEuity, and the land !omited out its inhabitants# 26'ut you shall keep my statutes and my ordinances and commit none o" these abominations, either the citi:en or the alien who resides among you 2%L"or the inhabitants o" the land, who were be"ore you, committed all o" these abominations, and the land became de"iledM 2&otherwise the land will !omit you out "or de"iling it, as it !omited out the nation that was be"ore you# 2(For whoe!er commits any o" these abominations shall be cut o"" "rom their people# +,)o keep my charge not to commit any o" these abominations that were done be"ore you, and not to de"ile yoursel!es by themK * am the Lord your God# 3euteronom 22:13-3+ (0aws about se*- marria!e- and ra&e) #hese laws provide a vivid reminder that women were treated as property in the early biblical period5first as property of the father, then the husband. If something happened to disrupt this pattern, restitution had to be made, but not the kind we might expect. 1+ )uppose a man marries a woman, but a"ter going in to her, he dislikes her 13and makes up charges against her, slandering her by saying, ‘* married this woman but when * lay with her, * did not "ind e!idence o" her !irginity#$ 1.The "ather o" the young woman and her mother shall then submit the e!idence o" the young woman$s !irginity to the elders o" the city at the gate# 16 The "ather o" the young woman shall say to the eldersK ‘* ga!e my daughter in marriage to this man but he dislikes her 1%now he has made up charges against her, saying, 7* did not "ind e!idence o" your daughter$s !irginity#8 'ut here is the e!idence o" my daughter$s !irginity#$ Then they shall spread out the cloth be"ore the elders o" the town# 1&The elders o" that town shall take the man and punish him 1(they shall "ine him one hundred shekels o" sil!er Lwhich they shall gi!e to the young woman$s "atherM because he has slandered a !irgin o" *srael# )he shall remain his wi"e he shall not be permitted to di!orce her as long as he li!es#


2, *", howe!er, this charge is true, that e!idence o" the young woman$s !irginity was not "ound, 21 then they shall bring the young woman out to the entrance o" her "ather$s house and the men o" her town shall stone her to death, because she committed a disgrace"ul act in *srael by prostituting hersel" in her "ather$s house# )o you shall purge the e!il "rom your midst# 22 *" a man is caught lying with the wi"e o" another man, both o" them shall die, the man who lay with the woman as well as the woman# )o you shall purge the e!il "rom *srael# 2+ *" there is a young woman, a !irgin already engaged to be married, and a man meets her in the town and lies with her, 23you shall bring both o" them to the gate o" that town and stone them to death, the young woman because she did not cry "or help in the town and the man because he !iolated his neighbor$s wi"e# )o you shall purge the e!il "rom your midst# 2. 'ut i" the man meets the engaged woman in the open country, and the man sei:es her and lies with her, then only the man who lay with her shall die# 260ou shall do nothing to the young woman the young woman has not committed an o""ence punishable by death, because this case is like that o" someone who attacks and murders a neighbor# 2%)ince he "ound her in the open country, the engaged woman may ha!e cried "or help, but there was no one to rescue her# 2& *" a man meets a !irgin who is not engaged, and sei:es her and lies with her, and they are caught in the act, 2(the man who lay with her shall gi!e "i"ty shekels o" sil!er to the young woman$s "ather, and she shall become his wi"e# 'ecause he !iolated her he shall not be permitted to di!orce her as long as he li!es# +, A man shall not marry his "ather$s wi"e, thereby !iolating his "ather$s rights# 4oshua 2 (5ahab the &rostitute sa1es the 6sraelite s&ies) )efore starting the invasion of the 2romised .and, the Israelites% leader, /oshua, sends spies to do some recon. #hey find themselves in trouble and take refuge in the home of 1ahab, a prostitute, who is promised her own safety in return. 1Then Noshua son o" 4un sent two men secretly "rom )hittim as spies, saying, ‘Go, !iew the land, especially Nericho#$ )o they went, and entered the house o" a prostitute whose name was Cahab, and spent the night there# 2The king o" Nericho was told, ‘)ome *sraelites ha!e come here tonight to search out the land#$ +Then the king o" Nericho sent orders to Cahab, ‘'ring out the men who ha!e come to you, who entered your house, "or they ha!e come only to search out the whole land#$ 3'ut the woman took the two men and hid them# Then she said, ‘True, the men came to me, but * did not know where they came "rom# .And when it was time to close the gate at dark, the men went out# 1here the men went * do not know# Dursue them Euickly, "or you can o!ertake them#$ 6)he had, howe!er, brought them up to the roo" and hidden them with the stalks o" "la- that she had laid out on the roo"# %)o the men pursued them on the way to the Nordan as "ar as the "ords# As soon as the pursuers had gone out, the gate was shut# & 'e"ore they went to sleep, she came up to them on the roo" (and said to the menK ‘* know that the Lord has gi!en you the land, and that dread o" you has "allen on us, and that all the


inhabitants o" the land melt in "ear be"ore you# 1,For we ha!e heard how the Lord dried up the water o" the Ced )ea be"ore you when you came out o" /gypt, and what you did to the two kings o" the Amorites that were beyond the Nordan, to )ihon and Hg, whom you utterly destroyed# 11As soon as we heard it, our hearts "ailed, and there was no courage le"t in any o" us because o" you# The Lord your God is indeed God in hea!en abo!e and on earth below# 124ow then, since * ha!e dealt kindly with you, swear to me by the Lord that you in turn will deal kindly with my "amily# Gi!e me a sign o" good "aith 1+that you will spare my "ather and mother, my brothers and sisters, and all who belong to them, and deli!er our li!es "rom death#$ 13The men said to her, ‘Hur li"e "or yoursA *" you do not tell this business o" ours, then we will deal kindly and "aith"ully with you when the Lord gi!es us the land#$ 1. Then she let them down by a rope through the window, "or her house was on the outer side o" the city wall and she resided within the wall itsel"# 16)he said to them, ‘Go towards the hill country, so that the pursuers may not come upon you# 5ide yoursel!es there "or three days, until the pursuers ha!e returned then a"terwards you may go on your way#$ 1%The men said to her, ‘1e will be released "rom this oath that you ha!e made us swear to you 1&i" we in!ade the land and you do not tie this crimson cord in the window through which you let us down, and you do not gather into your house your "ather and mother, your brothers, and all your "amily# 1(*" any o" you go out o" the doors o" your house into the street, they shall be responsible "or their own death, and we shall be innocent but i" a hand is laid upon any who are with you in the house, we shall bear the responsibility "or their death# 2,'ut i" you tell this business o" ours, then we shall be released "rom this oath that you made us swear to you#$ 21)he said, ‘According to your words, so be it#$ )he sent them away and they departed# Then she tied the crimson cord in the window# 22 They departed and went into the hill country and stayed there "or three days, until the pursuers returned# The pursuers had searched all along the way and "ound nothing# 2+Then the two men came down again "rom the hill country# They crossed o!er, came to Noshua son o" 4un, and told him all that had happened to them# 23They said to Noshua, ‘Truly the Lord has gi!en all the land into our hands moreo!er, all the inhabitants o" the land melt in "ear be"ore us#$ 4oshua 6:22-2" (7ollow-u& on 5ahab) *fter God destroys the walls of /ericho due to the Israelites walking around them several times, /oshua%s army sets about completely destroying the city with all its inhabitants5but keeps the promise the spies made to 1ahab. +he will later figure in the genealogy of 6ing ,avid and of /esus, and she will be the only woman in a famous catalogue of heroes of faith in the &ew #estament. 22 Noshua said to the two men who had spied out the land, ‘Go into the prostitute$s house, and bring the woman out o" it and all who belong to her, as you swore to her#$ 2+)o the young men who had been spies went in and brought Cahab out, along with her "ather, her mother, her brothers, and all who belonged to her;they brought all her kindred out;and set them outside the camp o" *srael# 23They burned down the city, and e!erything in it only the sil!er and gold, and the !essels o" bron:e and iron, they put into the treasury o" the house o" the Lord# 2.'ut Cahab the prostitute, with her "amily and all who belonged to her, Noshua spared# 5er "amily has li!ed in *srael e!er since# For she hid the messengers whom Noshua sent to spy out Nericho#


4ud!es # (3eborah- a woman 89ud!e: of 6srael) #he book of /udges tells of the time between the death of /oshua and the installation of the first king of Israel, a period where the Israelites fail to con7uer the 2romised .and and clear8cut it as the .ord had commanded and as a result often find themselves sub"ected to local kingdoms. * series of “"udges arise periodically to set the people free, one of whom, ,eborah, was a woman. The *sraelites again did what was e!il in the sight o" the Lord, a"ter /hud <a pre!ious Budge= died# 2 )o the Lord sold them into the hand o" King Nabin o" @anaan, who reigned in 5a:or the commander o" his army was )isera, who li!ed in 5arosheth>ha>goiim# +Then the *sraelites cried out to the Lord "or help "or he had nine hundred chariots o" iron, and had oppressed the *sraelites cruelly "or twenty years# 3 At that time 6eborah, a prophetess, wi"e o" Lappidoth, was Budging *srael# .)he used to sit under the palm o" 6eborah between Camah and 'ethel in the hill country o" /phraim and the *sraelites came up to her "or Budgement# 6)he sent and summoned 'arak son o" Abinoam "rom Kedesh in 4aphtali, and said to him, ‘The Lord, the God o" *srael, commands you, 7Go, take position at 2ount Tabor, bringing ten thousand "rom the tribe o" 4aphtali and the tribe o" Jebulun# %* will draw out )isera, the general o" Nabin$s army, to meet you by the 1adi Kishon with his chariots and his troops and * will gi!e him into your hand#8 $ &'arak said to her, ‘*" you will go with me, * will go but i" you will not go with me, * will not go#$ (And she said, ‘* will surely go with you ne!ertheless, the road on which you are going will not lead to your glory, "or the Lord will sell )isera into the hand o" a woman#$ Then 6eborah got up and went with 'arak to Kedesh# 1,'arak summoned Jebulun and 4aphtali to Kedesh and ten thousand warriors went up behind him and 6eborah went up with him# 11 4ow 5eber the Kenite had separated "rom the other Kenites, that is, the descendants o" 5obab the "ather>in>law o" 2oses, and had encamped as "ar away as /lon>be:aanannim, which is near Kedesh# 12 1hen )isera was told that 'arak son o" Abinoam had gone up to 2ount Tabor, 1+)isera called out all his chariots, nine hundred chariots o" iron, and all the troops who were with him, "rom 5arosheth>ha>goiim to the 1adi Kishon# 13Then 6eborah said to 'arak, ‘GpA For this is the day on which the Lord has gi!en )isera into your hand# The Lord is indeed going out be"ore you#$ )o 'arak went down "rom 2ount Tabor with ten thousand warriors "ollowing him# 1.And the Lord threw )isera and all his chariots and all his army into a panic be"ore 'arak )isera got down "rom his chariot and "led away on "oot, 16while 'arak pursued the chariots and the army to 5arosheth> ha>goiim# All the army o" )isera "ell by the sword no one was le"t# 1% 4ow )isera had "led away on "oot to the tent o" Nael wi"e o" 5eber the Kenite "or there was peace between King Nabin o" 5a:or and the clan o" 5eber the Kenite# 1&Nael came out to meet )isera, and said to him, ‘Turn aside, my lord, turn aside to me ha!e no "ear#$ )o he turned aside to her into the tent, and she co!ered him with a rug# 1(Then he said to her, ‘Dlease gi!e me a little water to drink "or * am thirsty#$ )o she opened a skin o" milk and ga!e him a drink and co!ered him# 2,5e said to her, ‘)tand at the entrance o" the tent, and i" anybody comes and asks you, 7*s


anyone here98 say, 74o#8 $ 21'ut Nael wi"e o" 5eber took a tent>peg, and took a hammer in her hand, and went so"tly to him and dro!e the peg into his temple, until it went down into the ground;he was lying "ast asleep "rom weariness;and he died# 22Then, as 'arak came in pursuit o" )isera, Nael went out to meet him, and said to him, ‘@ome, and * will show you the man whom you are seeking#$ )o he went into her tent and there was )isera lying dead, with the tent>peg in his temple# 2+ )o on that day God subdued King Nabin o" @anaan be"ore the *sraelites# 23Then the hand o" the *sraelites bore harder and harder on King Nabin o" @anaan, until they destroyed King Nabin o" @anaan# In /udges 9, ,eborah sings a lengthy song similar in spirit to 3iriam%s. 4ud!es 11:2(-3( (4e&hthah;s rash 1ow) :et again, the Israelites have fallen on hard times, and this time it falls to /ephthah, described as “the son of a prostitute, to lead them to victory5inadvertently sacrificing his daughter along the way. 2( Then the spirit o" the Lord came upon Nephthah, and he passed through Gilead and 2anasseh# 5e passed on to 2i:pah o" Gilead, and "rom 2i:pah o" Gilead he passed on to the Ammonites# +, And Nephthah made a !ow to the Lord, and said, ‘*" you will gi!e the Ammonites into my hand, +1 then whoe!er comes out o" the doors o" my house to meet me, when * return !ictorious "rom the Ammonites, shall be the Lord$s, to be o""ered up by me as a burnt>o""ering#$ +2)o Nephthah crossed o!er to the Ammonites to "ight against them and the Lord ga!e them into his hand# ++5e in"licted a massi!e de"eat on them "rom Aroer to the neighborhood o" 2innith, twenty towns, and as "ar as Abel>keramim# )o the Ammonites were subdued be"ore the people o" *srael# +3 Then Nephthah came to his home at 2i:pah and there was his daughter coming out to meet him with timbrels and with dancing# )he was his only child he had no son or daughter e-cept her# +.1hen he saw her, he tore his clothes, and said, ‘Alas, my daughterA 0ou ha!e brought me !ery low you ha!e become the cause o" great trouble to me# For * ha!e opened my mouth to the Lord, and * cannot take back my !ow#$ +6)he said to him, ‘2y "ather, i" you ha!e opened your mouth to the Lord, do to me according to what has gone out o" your mouth, now that the Lord has gi!en you !engeance against your enemies, the Ammonites#$ +%And she said to her "ather, ‘Let this thing be done "or meK Grant me two months, so that * may go and wander on the mountains, and bewail my !irginity, my companions and *#$ +&‘Go,$ he said and sent her away "or two months# )o she departed, she and her companions, and bewailed her !irginity on the mountains# +(At the end o" two months, she returned to her "ather, who did with her according to the !ow he had made# )he had ne!er slept with a man# )o there arose an *sraelite custom that 3, "or "our days e!ery year the daughters o" *srael would go out to lament the daughter o" Nephthah the Gileadite#


4ud!es 1( (%nother woman offered u& for !an!-ra&e) #hroughout the book of /udges, the author emphasi4es the lawlessness of the pre8king period of Israel%s history0 this story and its aftermath provide a fitting climax to this trend of depravity. *s in the story of +odom, a woman is offered as a substitute for a man threatened with rape0 this time, however, the rapists accept the substitute5and things only get worse from there. *n those days, when there was no king in *srael, a certain Le!ite, residing in the remote parts o" the hill country o" /phraim, took to himsel" a concubine "rom 'ethlehem in Nudah# 2'ut his concubine became angry with him, and she went away "rom him to her "ather$s house at 'ethlehem in Nudah, and was there "or some "our months# +Then her husband set out a"ter her, to speak tenderly to her and bring her back# 5e had with him his ser!ant and a couple o" donkeys# 1hen he reached her "ather$s house, the girl$s "ather saw him and came with Boy to meet him# 3 5is "ather>in>law, the girl$s "ather, made him stay, and he remained with him "or three days so they ate and drank, and he stayed there# .Hn the "ourth day they got up early in the morning, and he prepared to go but the girl$s "ather said to his son>in>law, ‘Forti"y yoursel" with a bit o" "ood, and a"ter that you may go#$ 6)o the two men sat and ate and drank together and the girl$s "ather said to the man, ‘1hy not spend the night and enBoy yoursel"9$ %1hen the man got up to go, his "ather>in>law kept urging him until he spent the night there again# &Hn the "i"th day he got up early in the morning to lea!e and the girl$s "ather said, ‘Forti"y yoursel"#$ )o they lingered until the day declined, and the two o" them ate and drank# (1hen the man with his concubine and his ser!ant got up to lea!e, his "ather>in>law, the girl$s "ather, said to him, ‘Look, the day has worn on until it is almost e!ening# )pend the night# )ee, the day has drawn to a close# )pend the night here and enBoy yoursel"# Tomorrow you can get up early in the morning "or your Bourney, and go home#$ 1, 'ut the man would not spend the night he got up and departed, and arri!ed opposite Nebus Lthat is, NerusalemM# 5e had with him a couple o" saddled donkeys, and his concubine was with him# 111hen they were near Nebus, the day was "ar spent, and the ser!ant said to his master, ‘@ome now, let us turn aside to this city o" the Nebusites, and spend the night in it#$ 12'ut his master said to him, ‘1e will not turn aside into a city o" "oreigners, who do not belong to the people o" *srael but we will continue on to Gibeah#$ 1+Then he said to his ser!ant, ‘@ome, let us try to reach one o" these places, and spend the night at Gibeah or at Camah#$ 13)o they passed by and went on their way and the sun went down on them near Gibeah, which belongs to 'enBamin# 1. They turned aside there, to go in and spend the night at Gibeah# 5e went in and sat down in the open sEuare o" the city, but no one took them in to spend the night# 16 Then at e!ening there was an old man coming "rom his work in the "ield# The man was "rom the hill country o" /phraim, and he was residing in Gibeah# LThe people o" the place were 'enBaminites#M 1%1hen the old man looked up and saw the way"arer in the open sEuare o" the city, he said, ‘1here are you going and where do you come "rom9$ 1&5e answered him, ‘1e are passing "rom 'ethlehem in Nudah to the remote parts o" the hill country o" /phraim, "rom which * come# * went to 'ethlehem in Nudah and * am going to my home# 4obody has o""ered to take me in# 1(1e your ser!ants ha!e straw and "odder "or our donkeys, with bread and wine "or me and the woman and the young man along with us# 1e need nothing more#$ 2,The old man said,


‘Deace be to you# * will care "or all your wants only do not spend the night in the sEuare#$ 21)o he brought him into his house, and "ed the donkeys they washed their "eet, and ate and drank# 22 1hile they were enBoying themsel!es, the men o" the city, a depra!ed lot, surrounded the house, and started pounding on the door# They said to the old man, the master o" the house, ‘'ring out the man who came into your house, so that we may ha!e intercourse with him#$ 2+And the man, the master o" the house, went out to them and said to them, ‘4o, my brothers, do not act so wickedly# )ince this man is my guest, do not do this !ile thing# 235ere are my !irgin daughter and his concubine let me bring them out now# Ca!ish them and do whate!er you want to them but against this man do not do such a !ile thing#$ 2.'ut the men would not listen to him# )o the man sei:ed his concubine, and put her out to them# They wantonly raped her, and abused her all through the night until the morning# And as the dawn began to break, they let her go# 26As morning appeared, the woman came and "ell down at the door o" the man$s house where her master was, until it was light# 2% *n the morning her master got up, opened the doors o" the house, and when he went out to go on his way, there was his concubine lying at the door o" the house, with her hands on the threshold# 2&‘Get up,$ he said to her, ‘we are going#$ 'ut there was no answer# Then he put her on the donkey and the man set out "or his home# 2(1hen he had entered his house, he took a kni"e, and grasping his concubine he cut her into twel!e pieces, limb by limb, and sent her throughout all the territory o" *srael# +,Then he commanded the men whom he sent, saying, ‘Thus shall you say to all the *sraelites, 75as such a thing e!er happened since the day that the *sraelites came up "rom the land o" /gypt until this day9 @onsider it, take counsel, and speak out#8 $ #he rest of the Israelites agree that the behavior of the )en"aminites is outrageous and go to war with them, nearly wiping them out and cursing anyone who gives their daughter in marriage to a )en"aminite. -hen they reali4e that they are about to destroy an entire tribe, however, they decide to allow the )en"aminites to repopulate themselves by hiding outside the town of +hiloh and kidnapping and raping the women of that town. '#he tribe of )en"amin later went on to produce +aul, the first king of Israel, as well as +t. 2aul the *postle.( )<e/iel 23 (The &arable of two &romiscuous women) #he Israelite prophets make fre7uent use of the metaphor of adultery to castigate Israel for its unfaithfulness to God. #his passage is among the most graphic and extreme. 1The word o" the Lord came to meK 22ortal, there were two women, the daughters o" one mother +they played the whore in /gypt they played the whore in their youth their breasts were caressed there, and their !irgin bosoms were "ondled# 3Hholah was the name o" the elder and Hholibah the name o" her sister# They became mine, and they bore sons and daughters# As "or their names, Hholah is )amaria, and Hholibah is Nerusalem# . Hholah played the whore while she was mine she lusted a"ter her lo!ers the Assyrians, warriors 6clothed in blue, go!ernors and commanders, all o" them handsome young men, mounted horsemen# %)he bestowed her "a!ours upon them, the choicest men o" Assyria all o" them and she de"iled hersel" with all the idols o" e!eryone "or whom she lusted# &)he did not


gi!e up her whorings that she had practiced since /gypt "or in her youth men had lain with her and "ondled her !irgin bosom and poured out their lust upon her# (There"ore * deli!ered her into the hands o" her lo!ers, into the hands o" the Assyrians, "or whom she lusted# 1,These unco!ered her nakedness they sei:ed her sons and her daughters and they killed her with the sword# Nudgment was e-ecuted upon her, and she became a byword among women# 11 5er sister Hholibah saw this, yet she was more corrupt than her sister in her lusting and in her whorings, which were worse than those o" her sister# 12)he lusted a"ter the Assyrians, go!ernors and commanders, warriors clothed in "ull armor, mounted horsemen, all o" them handsome young men# 1+And * saw that she was de"iled they both took the same way# 13'ut she carried her whorings "urther she saw male "igures car!ed on the wall, images o" the @haldeans portrayed in !ermilion, 1.with belts around their waists, with "lowing turbans on their heads, all o" them looking like o""icers;a picture o" 'abylonians whose nati!e land was @haldea# 161hen she saw them she lusted a"ter them, and sent messengers to them in @haldea# 1%And the 'abylonians came to her into the bed o" lo!e, and they de"iled her with their lust and a"ter she de"iled hersel" with them, she turned "rom them in disgust# 1&1hen she carried on her whorings so openly and "launted her nakedness, * turned in disgust "rom her, as * had turned "rom her sister# 1(0et she increased her whorings, remembering the days o" her youth, when she played the whore in the land o" /gypt 2,and lusted a"ter her paramours there, whose members were like those o" donkeys, and whose emission was like that o" stallions# 21Thus you longed "or the lewdness o" your youth, when the /gyptians "ondled your bosom and caressed your young breasts# 22 There"ore, H Hholibah, thus says the Lord GodK * will arouse against you your lo!ers "rom whom you turned in disgust, and * will bring them against you "rom e!ery sideK 2+the 'abylonians and all the @haldeans, Dekod and )hoa and Koa, and all the Assyrians with them, handsome young men, go!ernors and commanders all o" them, o""icers and warriors, all o" them riding on horses# 23They shall come against you "rom the north with chariots and wagons and a host o" peoples they shall set themsel!es against you on e!ery side with buckler, shield, and helmet, and * will commit the Budgment to them, and they shall Budge you according to their ordinances# 2.* will direct my indignation against you, in order that they may deal with you in "ury# They shall cut o"" your nose and your ears, and your sur!i!ors shall "all by the sword# They shall sei:e your sons and your daughters, and your sur!i!ors shall be de!oured by "ire# 26They shall also strip you o" your clothes and take away your "ine Bewels# 2%)o * will put an end to your lewdness and your whoring brought "rom the land o" /gypt you shall not long "or them, or remember /gypt any more# 2&For thus says the Lord GodK * will deli!er you into the hands o" those whom you hate, into the hands o" those "rom whom you turned in disgust 2(and they shall deal with you in hatred, and take away all the "ruit o" your labor, and lea!e you naked and bare, and the nakedness o" your whorings shall be e-posed# 0our lewdness and your whorings +,ha!e brought this upon you, because you played the whore with the nations, and polluted yoursel" with their idols# +10ou ha!e gone the way o" your sister there"ore * will gi!e her cup into your hand# +2Thus says the Lord GodK 0ou shall drink your sister$s cup, deep and wide you shall be scorned and derided, it holds so much# ++ 0ou shall be "illed with drunkenness and sorrow#


A cup o" horror and desolation is the cup o" your sister )amaria +3 you shall drink it and drain it out, and gnaw its sherds, and tear out your breasts "or * ha!e spoken, says the Lord God# +.There"ore thus says the Lord GodK 'ecause you ha!e "orgotten me and cast me behind your back, there"ore bear the conseEuences o" your lewdness and whorings# +6 The Lord said to meK 2ortal, will you Budge Hholah and Hholibah9 Then declare to them their abominable deeds# +%For they ha!e committed adultery, and blood is on their hands with their idols they ha!e committed adultery and they ha!e e!en o""ered up to them "or "ood the children whom they had borne to me# +&2oreo!er, this they ha!e done to meK they ha!e de"iled my sanctuary on the same day and pro"aned my sabbaths# +(For when they had slaughtered their children "or their idols, on the same day they came into my sanctuary to pro"ane it# This is what they did in my house# 3, They e!en sent "or men to come "rom "ar away, to whom a messenger was sent, and they came# For them you bathed yoursel", painted your eyes, and decked yoursel" with ornaments 31 you sat on a stately couch, with a table spread be"ore it on which you had placed my incense and my oil# 32The sound o" a raucous multitude was around her, with many o" the rabble brought in drunken "rom the wilderness and they put bracelets on the arms o" the women, and beauti"ul crowns upon their heads# 3+ Then * said, Ah, she is worn out with adulteries, but they carry on their se-ual acts with her# 33 For they ha!e gone in to her, as one goes in to a whore# Thus they went in to Hholah and to Hholibah, wanton women# 3.'ut righteous Budges shall declare them guilty o" adultery and o" bloodshed because they are adulteresses, and blood is on their hands# 36 For thus says the Lord GodK 'ring up an assembly against them, and make them an obBect o" terror and o" plunder# 3%The assembly shall stone them and with their swords they shall cut them down they shall kill their sons and their daughters, and burn up their houses# 3&Thus will * put an end to lewdness in the land, so that all women may take warning and not commit lewdness as you ha!e done# 3(They shall repay you "or your lewdness, and you shall bear the penalty "or your sin"ul idolatry and you shall know that * am the Lord God#

,atthew 1":21-22 (The =anaanite woman) #hough this story is in many ways appalling, it is noteworthy that this woman 'and the parallel figures in other gospels( is the only person who ever persuades /esus to change his mind about anything. 21 Nesus le"t that place and went away to the district o" Tyre and )idon# 22Nust then a @anaanite woman "rom that region came out and started shouting, ‘5a!e mercy on me, Lord, )on o" 6a!id 1&

my daughter is tormented by a demon#$ 2+'ut he did not answer her at all# And his disciples came and urged him, saying, ‘)end her away, "or she keeps shouting a"ter us#$ 235e answered, ‘* was sent only to the lost sheep o" the house o" *srael#$ 2.'ut she came and knelt be"ore him, saying, ‘Lord, help me#$ 265e answered, ‘*t is not "air to take the children$s "ood and throw it to the dogs#$ 2%)he said, ‘0es, Lord, yet e!en the dogs eat the crumbs that "all "rom their masters$ table#$ 2&Then Nesus answered her, ‘1oman, great is your "aithA Let it be done "or you as you wish#$ And her daughter was healed instantly# ,atthew 26:26-2( (6nstitution of the 0ord;s su&&er) * ma"or point of dispute in the debate about women%s ordination comes down to the institution of the .ord%s supper 'or communion, or ;ucharist(. #raditionalists argue that only the <= 'male( apostles were present at the final supper where !hrist instituted the sacrament of communion, meaning that only males could subse7uently administer it. -omen%s ordination advocates point out that the wording is often unclear5some gospels refer only to the “disciples, and it%s clear that /esus had woman followers5and that in any case, women should be counted among the apostles because all the gospels agree that women were the first witnesses of the resurrection and therefore the first to deliver the good news 'one of the definitions of an apostle, which comes from a root word meaning “sent (. 26 1hile they were eating, Nesus took a loa" o" bread, and a"ter blessing it he broke it, ga!e it to the disciples, and said, ‘Take, eat this is my body#$ 2%Then he took a cup, and a"ter gi!ing thanks he ga!e it to them, saying, ‘6rink "rom it, all o" you 2&"or this is my blood o" the co!enant, which is poured out "or many "or the "orgi!eness o" sins# 2(* tell you, * will ne!er again drink o" this "ruit o" the !ine until that day when * drink it new with you in my Father$s kingdom#$ ,atthew 2$:""-22:1+ (>omen sta with 4esus durin! crucifi*ion- witness resurrection) *ll the gospels agree that while /esus%s male disciples were busy betraying, denying, or abandoning him, women followed him all the way to his death and even showed up to give him proper burial rites, making them the first to receive the news that /esus had risen from the dead 5and the first to see the resurrected /esus firsthand. ch# 2% .. 2any women were also there <where Nesus was cruci"ied=, looking on "rom a distance they had "ollowed Nesus "rom Galilee and had pro!ided "or him# .6Among them were 2ary 2agdalene, and 2ary the mother o" Names and Noseph, and the mother o" the sons o" Jebedee# .% 1hen it was e!ening, there came a rich man "rom Arimathea, named Noseph, who was also a disciple o" Nesus# .&5e went to Dilate and asked "or the body o" Nesus then Dilate ordered it to be gi!en to him# .()o Noseph took the body and wrapped it in a clean linen cloth 6,and laid it in his own new tomb, which he had hewn in the rock# 5e then rolled a great stone to the door o" the tomb and went away# 612ary 2agdalene and the other 2ary were there, sitting opposite the tomb#


62 The ne-t day, that is, a"ter the day o" Dreparation, the chie" priests and the Dharisees gathered be"ore Dilate 6+and said, ‘)ir, we remember what that impostor said while he was still ali!e, 7A"ter three days * will rise again#8 63There"ore command that the tomb be made secure until the third day otherwise his disciples may go and steal him away, and tell the people, 75e has been raised "rom the dead8, and the last deception would be worse than the "irst#$ 6.Dilate said to them, ‘0ou ha!e a guard o" soldiers go, make it as secure as you can#$ 66)o they went with the guard and made the tomb secure by sealing the stone# ch# 2& 2&A"ter the sabbath, as the "irst day o" the week was dawning, 2ary 2agdalene and the other 2ary went to see the tomb# 2And suddenly there was a great earthEuake "or an angel o" the Lord, descending "rom hea!en, came and rolled back the stone and sat on it# +5is appearance was like lightning, and his clothing white as snow# 3For "ear o" him the guards shook and became like dead men# .'ut the angel said to the women, ‘6o not be a"raid * know that you are looking "or Nesus who was cruci"ied# 65e is not here "or he has been raised, as he said# @ome, see the place where he lay# %Then go Euickly and tell his disciples, 75e has been raised "rom the dead, and indeed he is going ahead o" you to Galilee there you will see him#8 This is my message "or you#$ & )o they le"t the tomb Euickly with "ear and great Boy, and ran to tell his disciples# ()uddenly Nesus met them and said, ‘GreetingsA$ And they came to him, took hold o" his "eet, and worshipped him# 1,Then Nesus said to them, ‘6o not be a"raid go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee there they will see me#$ ,ar/ 3:31-3" (4esus;s true famil ) In this passage and its parallels in other gospels, many see /esus working to displace the patriarchal family as the primary social bond, a key goal of feminism. +1 Then his mother and his brothers came and standing outside, they sent to him and called him# +2 A crowd was sitting around him and they said to him, ‘0our mother and your brothers and sisters are outside, asking "or you#$ ++And he replied, ‘1ho are my mother and my brothers9$ +3 And looking at those who sat around him, he said, ‘5ere are my mother and my brothersA +. 1hoe!er does the will o" God is my brother and sister and mother#$ ,ar/ 1#:3-( (% woman anoints 4esus) #his story provides the title for ;li4abeth +ch>ssler8?ioren4a%s magnum opus *n 2emory o" 5er, which attempts to excavate the evidence for women%s role in the origins of !hristianity. 3any identify the woman in this story with 3ary 3agdalene0 I am not convinced. + 1hile he was at 'ethany in the house o" )imon the leper, as he sat at the table, a woman came with an alabaster Bar o" !ery costly ointment o" nard, and she broke open the Bar and poured the ointment on his head# 3'ut some were there who said to one another in anger, ‘1hy was the ointment wasted in this way9 .For this ointment could ha!e been sold "or more than three hundred denarii, and the money gi!en to the poor#$ And they scolded her# 6'ut Nesus said, ‘Let


her alone why do you trouble her9 )he has per"ormed a good ser!ice "or me# %For you always ha!e the poor with you, and you can show kindness to them whene!er you wish but you will not always ha!e me# &)he has done what she could she has anointed my body be"orehand "or its burial# (Truly * tell you, where!er the good news is proclaimed in the whole world, what she has done will be told in remembrance o" her#$ ,ar/ 16:1-2 (The resurrected 4esus a&&ears to the women) #his is the earliest ending to the Gospel of 3ark, believed to be the earliest gospel. 3any believe that the abruptness of the ending indicates that the original conclusion has been lost, and a few variations were appended by later editors. #his story complicates the vision of women as the first apostles somewhat0 virtually no one knows what to do with it, though. 11hen the sabbath <a"ter Nesus was cruci"ied= was o!er, 2ary 2agdalene, and 2ary the mother o" Names, and )alome <also a woman= bought spices, so that they might go and anoint him# 2And !ery early on the "irst day o" the week, when the sun had risen, they went to the tomb# +They had been saying to one another, ‘1ho will roll away the stone "or us "rom the entrance to the tomb9$ 3 1hen they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was !ery large, had already been rolled back# .As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man, dressed in a white robe, sitting on the right side and they were alarmed# 6'ut he said to them, ‘6o not be alarmed you are looking "or Nesus o" 4a:areth, who was cruci"ied# 5e has been raised he is not here# Look, there is the place they laid him# %'ut go, tell his disciples and Deter that he is going ahead o" you to Galilee there you will see him, Bust as he told you#$ &)o they went out and "led "rom the tomb, "or terror and ama:ement had sei:ed them and they said nothing to anyone, "or they were a"raid# 0u/e 1:26-"6 (The stor of the ?ir!in ,ar ) #he @irgin 3ary is an ambivalent figure for feminist theologians51osemary 1adford 1uether devotes an entire chapter of her )e-ism and God>Talk to 3ary, concluding that 3ary is best viewed as an advocate of liberation, as evidenced by her song 'known as the 3agnificat(, which echoes the songs of 3iriam, ,eborah, and others. #he dark side of the @irgin 3ary for women is that her perfect faith and virginity set up a model that no other woman can attain. 26 *n the si-th month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee called 4a:areth, 2% to a !irgin engaged to a man whose name was Noseph, o" the house o" 6a!id# The !irgin$s name was 2ary# 2&And he came to her and said, ‘Greetings, "a!ored oneA The Lord is with you#$ 2('ut she was much perple-ed by his words and pondered what sort o" greeting this might be# +,The angel said to her, ‘6o not be a"raid, 2ary, "or you ha!e "ound "a!or with God# +1And now, you will concei!e in your womb and bear a son, and you will name him Nesus# +25e will be great, and will be called the )on o" the 2ost 5igh, and the Lord God will gi!e to him the throne o" his ancestor 6a!id# ++5e will reign o!er the house o" Nacob "or e!er, and o" his kingdom there will be no end#$ +32ary said to the angel, ‘5ow can this be, since * am a !irgin9$ +.The angel said to her, ‘The 5oly )pirit will come upon you, and the power o" the 2ost 5igh will o!ershadow you there"ore the child to be born will be holy he will be called )on o" God# +6And now, your relati!e /li:abeth in her old age has also concei!ed a son and this is the si-th month "or her who was


said to be barren# +%For nothing will be impossible with God#$ +&Then 2ary said, ‘5ere am *, the ser!ant o" the Lord let it be with me according to your word#$ Then the angel departed "rom her# +( *n those days 2ary set out and went with haste to a Nudean town in the hill country, 3,where she entered the house o" Jechariah and greeted /li:abeth# 311hen /li:abeth heard 2ary$s greeting, the child <Nohn the 'aptist= leapt in her womb# And /li:abeth was "illed with the 5oly )pirit 32and e-claimed with a loud cry, ‘'lessed are you among women, and blessed is the "ruit o" your womb# 3+And why has this happened to me, that the mother o" my Lord comes to me9 33 For as soon as * heard the sound o" your greeting, the child in my womb leapt "or Boy# 3.And blessed is she who belie!ed that there would be a "ul"illment o" what was spoken to her by the Lord#$ 36 And 2ary said, ‘2y soul magni"ies the Lord, 3% and my spirit reBoices in God my )a!ior, 3& "or he has looked with "a!or on the lowliness o" his ser!ant# )urely, "rom now on all generations will call me blessed 3( "or the 2ighty Hne has done great things "or me, and holy is his name# ., 5is mercy is "or those who "ear him "rom generation to generation# .1 5e has shown strength with his arm he has scattered the proud in the thoughts o" their hearts# .2 5e has brought down the power"ul "rom their thrones, and li"ted up the lowly .+ he has "illed the hungry with good things, and sent the rich away empty# .3 5e has helped his ser!ant *srael, in remembrance o" his mercy, .. according to the promise he made to our ancestors, to Abraham and to his descendants "or e!er#$ .6 And 2ary remained with her "or about three months and then returned to her home# 0u/e $:26-2:3 (The woman anoints 4esus' women then follow him) In this variation on the story of the woman anointing /esus, we get more of a picture of the controversy she causes and are also told that after this incident, a group of women begin following /esus from place to place, providing for /esus and his other disciples. #his may echo the social reality of many early !hristian communities, where independently wealthy women often served as patrons. ch# % +6 Hne o" the Dharisees asked Nesus to eat with him, and he went into the Dharisee$s house and took his place at the table# +%And a woman in the city, who was a sinner, ha!ing learned that he


was eating in the Dharisee$s house, brought an alabaster Bar o" ointment# +&)he stood behind him at his "eet, weeping, and began to bathe his "eet with her tears and to dry them with her hair# Then she continued kissing his "eet and anointing them with the ointment# +(4ow when the Dharisee who had in!ited him saw it, he said to himsel", ‘*" this man were a prophet, he would ha!e known who and what kind o" woman this is who is touching him;that she is a sinner#$ 3, Nesus spoke up and said to him, ‘)imon, * ha!e something to say to you#$ ‘Teacher,$ he replied, ‘speak#$ 31‘A certain creditor had two debtors one owed "i!e hundred denarii, and the other "i"ty# 32 1hen they could not pay, he cancelled the debts "or both o" them# 4ow which o" them will lo!e him more9$ 3+)imon answered, ‘* suppose the one "or whom he cancelled the greater debt#$ And Nesus said to him, ‘0ou ha!e Budged rightly#$ 33Then turning towards the woman, he said to )imon, ‘6o you see this woman9 * entered your house you ga!e me no water "or my "eet, but she has bathed my "eet with her tears and dried them with her hair# 3.0ou ga!e me no kiss, but "rom the time * came in she has not stopped kissing my "eet# 360ou did not anoint my head with oil, but she has anointed my "eet with ointment# 3%There"ore, * tell you, her sins, which were many, ha!e been "orgi!en hence she has shown great lo!e# 'ut the one to whom little is "orgi!en, lo!es little#$ 3&Then he said to her, ‘0our sins are "orgi!en#$ 3('ut those who were at the table with him began to say among themsel!es, ‘1ho is this who e!en "orgi!es sins9$ .,And he said to the woman, ‘0our "aith has sa!ed you go in peace#$ ch# & 1)oon a"terwards he went on through cities and !illages, proclaiming and bringing the good news o" the kingdom o" God# The twel!e were with him, 2as well as some women who had been cured o" e!il spirits and in"irmitiesK 2ary, called 2agdalene, "rom whom se!en demons had gone out, +and Noanna, the wi"e o" 5erod$s steward @hu:a, and )usanna, and many others, who pro!ided "or them out o" their resources# 4ohn #:"-#2 (The @amaritan woman) #he +amaritans were a kind of splinter group from the /ews, following their understanding of the law of 3oses with a different center of worship. #he /ews hated +amaritans and would not associate with them5particularly not their women. /esus%s enigmatic teaching catches the +amaritan woman%s imagination and she goes on to win her entire village to the cause of /esus, providing another example of a woman as an “apostle.

)o he came to a )amaritan city called )ychar, near the plot o" ground that Nacob had gi!en to his son Noseph# 6Nacob$s well was there, and Nesus, tired out by his Bourney, was sitting by the well# *t was about noon# % A )amaritan woman came to draw water, and Nesus said to her, ‘Gi!e me a drink$# &L5is disciples had gone to the city to buy "ood#M (The )amaritan woman said to him, ‘5ow is it that you, a New, ask a drink o" me, a woman o" )amaria9$ LNews do not share things in common with )amaritans#M 1,Nesus answered her, ‘*" you knew the gi"t o" God, and who it is that is saying to you, 7Gi!e me a drink8, you would ha!e asked him, and he would ha!e gi!en you li!ing water#$ 11 The woman said to him, ‘)ir, you ha!e no bucket, and the well is deep# 1here do you get that li!ing water9 12Are you greater than our ancestor Nacob, who ga!e us the well, and with his sons


and his "locks drank "rom it9$ 1+Nesus said to her, ‘/!eryone who drinks o" this water will be thirsty again, 13but those who drink o" the water that * will gi!e them will ne!er be thirsty# The water that * will gi!e will become in them a spring o" water gushing up to eternal li"e#$ 1.The woman said to him, ‘)ir, gi!e me this water, so that * may ne!er be thirsty or ha!e to keep coming here to draw water#$ 16 Nesus said to her, ‘Go, call your husband, and come back#$ 1%The woman answered him, ‘* ha!e no husband#$ Nesus said to her, ‘0ou are right in saying, 7* ha!e no husband8 1&"or you ha!e had "i!e husbands, and the one you ha!e now is not your husband# 1hat you ha!e said is trueA$ 1( The woman said to him, ‘)ir, * see that you are a prophet# 2,Hur ancestors worshipped on this mountain, but you say that the place where people must worship is in Nerusalem#$ 21Nesus said to her, ‘1oman, belie!e me, the hour is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Nerusalem# 220ou worship what you do not know we worship what we know, "or sal!ation is "rom the News# 2+'ut the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, "or the Father seeks such as these to worship him# 23God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth#$ 2.The woman said to him, ‘* know that 2essiah is coming$ Lwho is called @hristM# ‘1hen he comes, he will proclaim all things to us#$ 26Nesus said to her, ‘* am he, the one who is speaking to you#$ 2% Nust then his disciples came# They were astonished that he was speaking with a woman, but no one said, ‘1hat do you want9$ or, ‘1hy are you speaking with her9$ 2&Then the woman le"t her water>Bar and went back to the city# )he said to the people, 2(‘@ome and see a man who told me e!erything * ha!e e!er doneA 5e cannot be the 2essiah, can he9$ +,They le"t the city and were on their way to him# +1 2eanwhile the disciples were urging him, ‘Cabbi, eat something#$ +2'ut he said to them, ‘* ha!e "ood to eat that you do not know about#$ ++)o the disciples said to one another, ‘)urely no one has brought him something to eat9$ +3Nesus said to them, ‘2y "ood is to do the will o" him who sent me and to complete his work# +.6o you not say, 7Four months more, then comes the har!est89 'ut * tell you, look around you, and see how the "ields are ripe "or har!esting# +6The reaper is already recei!ing wages and is gathering "ruit "or eternal li"e, so that sower and reaper may reBoice together# +%For here the saying holds true, 7Hne sows and another reaps#8 +&* sent you to reap that "or which you did not labor# Hthers ha!e labored, and you ha!e entered into their labor#$ +( 2any )amaritans "rom that city belie!ed in him because o" the woman$s testimony, ‘5e told me e!erything * ha!e e!er done#$ 3,)o when the )amaritans came to him, they asked him to stay with them and he stayed there "or two days# 31And many more belie!ed because o" his word# 32 They said to the woman, ‘*t is no longer because o" what you said that we belie!e, "or we ha!e heard "or oursel!es, and we know that this is truly the )a!ior o" the world#$ 4ohn 2:2-11 (The woman cau!ht in adulter ) #his story includes one of /esus%s most famous 7uotes. *s with any woman of 7uestionable morals who appears in the )ible, some have identified this woman with 3ary 3agdalene. &oteworthy here is that, as shown in the laws 7uoted above, both the man and the woman caught


in adultery should have been killed5so it is possible to read this story as showing /esus%s ob"ection to a double standard for men and women.

/arly in the morning he came again to the temple# All the people came to him and he sat down and began to teach them# +The scribes and the Dharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery and making her stand be"ore all o" them, 3they said to him, ‘Teacher, this woman was caught in the !ery act o" committing adultery# .4ow in the law 2oses commanded us to stone such women# 4ow what do you say9$ 6They said this to test him, so that they might ha!e some charge to bring against him# Nesus bent down and wrote with his "inger on the ground# % 1hen they kept on Euestioning him, he straightened up and said to them, ‘Let anyone among you who is without sin be the "irst to throw a stone at her#$ &And once again he bent down and wrote on the ground# (1hen they heard it, they went away, one by one, beginning with the elders and Nesus was le"t alone with the woman standing be"ore him# 1,Nesus straightened up and said to her, ‘1oman, where are they9 5as no one condemned you9$ 11)he said, ‘4o one, sir#$ And Nesus said, ‘4either do * condemn you# Go your way, and "rom now on do not sin again#$ 4ohn 2+:1-12 (4esus a&&ears first to ,ar ,a!dalene) Of all the gospel accounts, /ohn%s is most emphatic in insisting that women are the first to see the resurrected !hristA the two primary male disciples come and go before /esus appears to 3ary 3agdalene. 1/arly on the "irst day o" the week, while it was still dark, 2ary 2agdalene came to the tomb and saw that the stone had been remo!ed "rom the tomb# 2)o she ran and went to )imon Deter and the other disciple, the one whom Nesus lo!ed, and said to them, ‘They ha!e taken the Lord out o" the tomb, and we do not know where they ha!e laid him#$ +Then Deter and the other disciple set out and went towards the tomb# 3The two were running together, but the other disciple outran Deter and reached the tomb "irst# .5e bent down to look in and saw the linen wrappings lying there, but he did not go in# 6Then )imon Deter came, "ollowing him, and went into the tomb# 5e saw the linen wrappings lying there, %and the cloth that had been on Nesus$ head, not lying with the linen wrappings but rolled up in a place by itsel"# &Then the other disciple, who reached the tomb "irst, also went in, and he saw and belie!ed ("or as yet they did not understand the scripture, that he must rise "rom the dead# 1,Then the disciples returned to their homes# 11 'ut 2ary stood weeping outside the tomb# As she wept, she bent o!er to look into the tomb 12 and she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body o" Nesus had been lying, one at the head and the other at the "eet# 1+They said to her, ‘1oman, why are you weeping9$ )he said to them, ‘They ha!e taken away my Lord, and * do not know where they ha!e laid him#$ 131hen she had said this, she turned round and saw Nesus standing there, but she did not know that it was Nesus# 1. Nesus said to her, ‘1oman, why are you weeping9 For whom are you looking9$ )upposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, ‘)ir, i" you ha!e carried him away, tell me where you ha!e laid him, and * will take him away#$ 16Nesus said to her, ‘2aryA$ )he turned and said to him in 5ebrew, ‘CabbouniA$ Lwhich means TeacherM# 1%Nesus said to her, ‘6o not hold on to me, because * ha!e not yet ascended to the Father# 'ut go to my brothers and say to them, 7* am ascending to


my Father and your Father, to my God and your God#8 $ 1&2ary 2agdalene went and announced to the disciples, ‘* ha!e seen the Lord$ and she told them that he had said these things to her#

@tA Baul (authentic)
.etters attributed to +t. 2aul make up a large chunk of the &ew #estament, but modern scholars believe that only a few of them51omans, < and = !orinthians, Galatians, 2hilippians, < #hessalonians, and 2hilemon5were actually written by the historical 2aul0 the others were written by later followers in his name. *s will become clear, however, the “bad stuff is not limited to the pseudonymous letters. Galatians 3:23-22 (.o more male and female) #he concluding verse of this passage is a call for radical e7uality5unfortunately, 2aul does not always seem to follow up on this insight. 2+ 4ow be"ore "aith came, we were imprisoned and guarded under the law until "aith would be re!ealed# 23There"ore the law was our disciplinarian until @hrist came, so that we might be Busti"ied by "aith# 2.'ut now that "aith has come, we are no longer subBect to a disciplinarian, 26"or in @hrist Nesus you are all children o" God through "aith# 2%As many o" you as were bapti:ed into @hrist ha!e clothed yoursel!es with @hrist# 2&There is no longer New or Greek, there is no longer sla!e or "ree, there is no longer male and "emale "or all o" you are one in @hrist Nesus# Galatians #:21-31 (Baul;s inter&retation of the Ha!ar stor ) In this passage, 2aul is trying to displace the privileges of the “insiders 'in this case, /ews(, who claim descent from the child of the promise, by claiming that it is really the “outsiders who are now inheriting the promise. However liberating such language might have felt in context, it later served to underwrite the scapegoating of /ews5and even taking context into account, it still continues the oppression of Hagar even in an argument intended to include those who had been excluded. 21 Tell me, you who desire to be subBect to the law, will you not listen to the law9 22For it is written that Abraham had two sons, one by a sla!e woman and the other by a "ree woman# 2+Hne, the child o" the sla!e, was born according to the "lesh the other, the child o" the "ree woman, was born through the promise# 234ow this is an allegoryK these women are two co!enants# Hne woman, in "act, is 5agar, "rom 2ount )inai, bearing children "or sla!ery# 2.4ow 5agar is 2ount )inai in Arabia and corresponds to the present Nerusalem, "or she is in sla!ery with her children# 26 'ut the other woman corresponds to the Nerusalem abo!e she is "ree, and she is our mother# 2% For it is written, ‘CeBoice, you childless one, you who bear no children, burst into song and shout, you who endure no birth pangs "or the children o" the desolate woman are more numerous than the children o" the one who is married#$ 2& 4ow you, my "riends, are children o" the promise, like *saac# 2('ut Bust as at that time the child who was born according to the "lesh persecuted the child who was born according to the )pirit, so it is now also# +,'ut what does the scripture say9 ‘6ri!e out the sla!e and her child "or the 26

child o" the sla!e will not share the inheritance with the child o" the "ree woman#$ +1)o then, "riends, we are children, not o" the sla!e but o" the "ree woman# 1 =orinthians 11:2-16 (Gender and hairst le) In addition to arguing for a clearly hierarchical relation between the sexes, this passage demonstrates that 2aul is the first of many !hristian theologians to display a pronounced anxiety about maintaining clear expectations for gender difference in dress and hairstyle. 2 * commend you because you remember me in e!erything and maintain the traditions Bust as * handed them on to you# +'ut * want you to understand that @hrist is the head o" e!ery man, and the husband is the head o" his wi"e, and God is the head o" @hrist# 3Any man who prays or prophesies with something on his head disgraces his head, .but any woman who prays or prophesies with her head un!eiled disgraces her head;it is one and the same thing as ha!ing her head sha!ed# 6For i" a woman will not !eil hersel", then she should cut o"" her hair but i" it is disgrace"ul "or a woman to ha!e her hair cut o"" or to be sha!ed, she should wear a !eil# %For a man ought not to ha!e his head !eiled, since he is the image and re"lection o" God but woman is the re"lection o" man# &*ndeed, man was not made "rom woman, but woman "rom man# (4either was man created "or the sake o" woman, but woman "or the sake o" man# 1,For this reason a woman ought to ha!e a symbol o" authority on her head, because o" the angels# 114e!ertheless, in the Lord woman is not independent o" man or man independent o" woman# 12For Bust as woman came "rom man, so man comes through woman but all things come "rom God# 1+Nudge "or yoursel!esK is it proper "or a woman to pray to God with her head un!eiled9 136oes not nature itsel" teach you that i" a man wears long hair, it is degrading to him, 1.but i" a woman has long hair, it is her glory9 For her hair is gi!en to her "or a co!ering# 16'ut i" anyone is disposed to be contentious;we ha!e no such custom, nor do the churches o" God# 1 =orinthians 1#:33b-3$ (>omen be silent) #his is one of the most infamous biblical passages wielded against women%s ordination. 3any scholars regard it as a later interpolation, as it does not appear to fit in context, and the &ew 1evised +tandard @ersion places it in parentheses. As in all the churches o" the saints, +3women should be silent in the churches# For they are not permitted to speak, but should be subordinate, as the law also says# +.*" there is anything they desire to know, let them ask their husbands at home# For it is shame"ul "or a woman to speak in church# +6Hr did the word o" God originate with you9 Hr are you the only ones it has reached9

@tA Baul (&seudon mous) C Other .ew Testament Te*ts
=olossians 3:12-2" (The =hristian household) #his is one of many “household codes from the &ew #estament, which recommend that !hristians imitate the hierarchical model of the broader society. +ome interpreters attempt to


soften the blow by pointing out that this author 'probably not the real 2aul( is not completely one8sided, as he insists that husbands not abuse their authority. 1& 1i!es, be subBect to your husbands, as is "itting in the Lord# 1(5usbands, lo!e your wi!es and ne!er treat them harshly# 2, @hildren, obey your parents in e!erything, "or this is your acceptable duty in the Lord# 21 Fathers, do not pro!oke your children, or they may lose heart# 22)la!es, obey your earthly masters in e!erything, not only while being watched and in order to please them, but wholeheartedly, "earing the Lord# 2+1hate!er your task, put yoursel!es into it, as done "or the Lord and not "or your masters, 23since you know that "rom the Lord you will recei!e the inheritance as your reward you ser!e the Lord @hrist# 2.For the wrongdoer will be paid back "or whate!er wrong has been done, and there is no partiality# )&hesians ":21-33 (The =hristian household a!ain) #his is a more detailed version of the passage above, believed to be written by a later imitator of 2aul. #he image of the church as the bride of !hrist will become very influential. 21 'e subBect to one another out o" re!erence "or @hrist# 22 1i!es, be subBect to your husbands as you are to the Lord# 2+For the husband is the head o" the wi"e Bust as @hrist is the head o" the church, the body o" which he is the )a!ior# 23Nust as the church is subBect to @hrist, so also wi!es ought to be, in e!erything, to their husbands# 2. 5usbands, lo!e your wi!es, Bust as @hrist lo!ed the church and ga!e himsel" up "or her, 26in order to make her holy by cleansing her with the washing o" water by the word, 2%so as to present the church to himsel" in splendor, without a spot or wrinkle or anything o" the kind;yes, so that she may be holy and without blemish# 2&*n the same way, husbands should lo!e their wi!es as they do their own bodies# 5e who lo!es his wi"e lo!es himsel"# 2(For no one e!er hates his own body, but he nourishes and tenderly cares "or it, Bust as @hrist does "or the church, +,because we are members o" his body# +1‘For this reason a man will lea!e his "ather and mother and be Boined to his wi"e, and the two will become one "lesh#$ +2This is a great mystery, and * am applying it to @hrist and the church# ++/ach o" you, howe!er, should lo!e his wi"e as himsel", and a wi"e should respect her husband# 1 Timoth 2:2-1" (>omen be silent and don;t dress li/e sluts) #his passage, from a letter supposedly written to 2aul%s young companion #imothy, combines the concern for men%s authority with anxiety about dress in one tidy package, and it innovates in connecting this issue to ;ve. & * desire, then, that in e!ery place the men should pray, li"ting up holy hands without anger or argument (also that the women should dress themsel!es modestly and decently in suitable clothing, not with their hair braided, or with gold, pearls, or e-pensi!e clothes, 1,but with good works, as is proper "or women who pro"ess re!erence "or God# 11Let a woman learn in silence


with "ull submission# 12* permit no woman to teach or to ha!e authority o!er a man she is to keep silent# 1+For Adam was "ormed "irst, then /!e 13and Adam was not decei!ed, but the woman was decei!ed and became a transgressor# 1.0et she will be sa!ed through childbearing, pro!ided they continue in "aith and lo!e and holiness, with modesty# 1 Timoth ":3-16 (How to mana!e the widows of the church) In early !hristian communities, widows appeared to be a large and especially problematic group, which later formed the basis for women%s monastic groups. Here “2aul provides “#imothy with advice on how to manage them. + 5onor widows who are really widows# 3*" a widow has children or grandchildren, they should "irst learn their religious duty to their own "amily and make some repayment to their parents "or this is pleasing in God$s sight# .The real widow, le"t alone, has set her hope on God and continues in supplications and prayers night and day 6but the widow who li!es "or pleasure is dead e!en while she li!es# %Gi!e these commands as well, so that they may be abo!e reproach# & And whoe!er does not pro!ide "or relati!es, and especially "or "amily members, has denied the "aith and is worse than an unbelie!er# ( Let a widow be put on the list i" she is not less than si-ty years old and has been married only once 1,she must be well attested "or her good works, as one who has brought up children, shown hospitality, washed the saints$ "eet, helped the a""licted, and de!oted hersel" to doing good in e!ery way# 11'ut re"use to put younger widows on the list "or when their sensual desires alienate them "rom @hrist, they want to marry, 12and so they incur condemnation "or ha!ing !iolated their "irst pledge# 1+'esides that, they learn to be idle, gadding about "rom house to house and they are not merely idle, but also gossips and busybodies, saying what they should not say# 13)o * would ha!e younger widows marry, bear children, and manage their households, so as to gi!e the ad!ersary no occasion to re!ile us# 1.For some ha!e already turned away to "ollow )atan# 16*" any belie!ing woman has relati!es who are really widows, let her assist them let the church not be burdened, so that it can assist those who are real widows# Titus 2:3-" (How to handle women- bro/en down b a!e) #his comes from another letter in which “2aul gives advice to a young pastor. + Likewise, tell the older women to be re!erent in beha!ior, not to be slanderers or sla!es to drink they are to teach what is good, 3so that they may encourage the young women to lo!e their husbands, to lo!e their children, .to be sel">controlled, chaste, good managers o" the household, kind, being submissi!e to their husbands, so that the word o" God may not be discredited# Hebrews 11:31 (The one woman in a catalo!ue of heroes of faith) #he inclusion of 1ahab in the famous catalogue of heroes of faith in Hebrews << is noteworthy, as she is the only woman and is also a woman of “loose morals. Here the unnamed author is perhaps echoing /esus%s consistent privileging of prostitutes in the Gospels.



'y "aith Cahab the prostitute did not perish with those who were disobedient, because she had recei!ed the spies in peace# 5e1elation 1$:1-6 (The >hore of Bab lon) #he )ook of 1evelation follows up on the Hebrew prophets% use of female imagery and takes it up a notch. 1Then one o" the se!en angels who had the se!en bowls came and said to me, ‘@ome, * will show you the Budgment o" the great whore who is seated on many waters, 2with whom the kings o" the earth ha!e committed "ornication, and with the wine o" whose "ornication the inhabitants o" the earth ha!e become drunk#$ +)o he carried me away in the spirit into a wilderness, and * saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast that was "ull o" blasphemous names, and it had se!en heads and ten horns# 3The woman was clothed in purple and scarlet, and adorned with gold and Bewels and pearls, holding in her hand a golden cup "ull o" abominations and the impurities o" her "ornication .and on her "orehead was written a name, a mysteryK ‘'abylon the great, mother o" whores and o" earth$s abominations#$ 6And * saw that the woman was drunk with the blood o" the saints and the blood o" the witnesses to Nesus# 1hen * saw her, * was greatly ama:ed#


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