In part 1, the topic of vows was discussed. Now for a very short discussion on the topic of women in the Bible. Both topics are very relevant to Numbers chapter 30.
The trouble today is that feminism today would say that men and women are the same (well, that is the end result of what they are saying). But men and women are different.
The apostle Paul states,
“There is neither Jew nor Greek, …, there is no male and female…”
What does he mean? He goes on,
“for you are all one in Christ.” Galatians 3:28 (ESV)
And that is the key. Men and women are different, but in terms of God’s salvation, treated equally.
Take a good look throughout the Tanakh (“Old Testament”). Yes, there is a definite distinction between men and women and the roles they have in this life. Even God gives different laws to men as to women. Traditionally, this is read as proof that the Bible demeans women. But let’s look at one example:
In Numbers chapter 12 we read the story where both Aaron and Miriam oppose Moses, but only Miriam gets in trouble! Why is that? I put the following forth (my opinion):
Miriam got in trouble because, as the woman, her disobedience would affect many more people, and affect future generations. She was the more important person there.
“But Aaron was the high priest”, you might say. True. God put the details and daily minutia of following the Law in men’s hands because they need it more. Read through the law and you’ll note that much of it doesn’t even necessarily apply to women.
God gave women a special role in life (and this next statement is bound to raise some hackles). Women’s “main” role is that of child bearing, nurturing, and caring. Men’s “main” role is that of providing and keeping to the Law. (Before you get really upset, remember the completely non-understandable statement from the apostle Paul, “Yet she will be saved through childbearing.” 1 Timothy 2:15 (ESV).) And by ‘main role’ I don’t mean ‘only role’.
If you approach the Bible looking for places where women are viewed as less important, you will find what you are looking for. Not because it is there, but because of the mindset with which you approach the scriptures.
But if you take the whole picture into account, you will see that women have a special role that only they can do, and a special status. Think about it: women can do pretty much anything a man can do, but men can’t do everything a woman can do. Men can’t give birth or breast feed.
The Law of God does treat women differently. Why? They are less likely to run after other gods then men and that is one of God’s biggest hates: when we run after other gods.
To sum this up, yes, the Bible makes distinctions between men and women, not because men are considered ‘better’ but because men need more fences and guidelines to remain true to Yehova (the LORD). Throughout scripture you will find women being elevated if you look.
Remember, though, that the Bible has many stories, showing both what is right, and what is wrong. We need to learn to tell the difference, and when we do, you will discover that women are very highly regarded indeed in scripture, and entrusted with, but not limited to, a very important role.
In summary, to bring the discussion back to Numbers 30, it may seem that men are being put above women as they have the right to nullify a vow made by a woman. Think again. It is the man’s role to ensure that the Law is followed (remember, he “needs it more.”) A ‘vow’ is a specific form of committing to do something ‘in God’s name.’ In other words, invoking the Law. Makes sense, then, the man can nullify a woman’s vow.
Before feathers are ruffled, realize again what I said.
A ‘vow’ is a specific form of committing to do something ‘in God’s name.’
This has nothing to do with daily life or business. Consider the 2nd half of Proverbs 31. It may be interesting to note that in the Jewish tradition, the man reads that section of scripture over his wife every Friday night (at the beginning of the Sabbath) in praise to his wife, and before his children.
Scripture neither limits, nor denigrates, women. Actually the opposite.