Yes, Yes; No, No; Men are Men; Women are Women; Numbers 30 – part 2

(Click here to see part 1).

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.

– Yosef

Yes, Yes; No, No; Men are men; Women are Women. Numbers 30 – part 1

(Due to the length of this post, it is split over two postings.  This is part 1.)

Numbers chapter 30 is perhaps one of the more ignored chapters of the Bible.  In our culture today this chapter is considered antiquated and degrading to women.  Why?  Because it makes a clear distinction between men and women, and there can be no argument about it.  But this distinction between the roles of man and woman is not a new topic for this chapter; it occurs throughout the Bible.  Many will try to discount such chapters by saying that it was for those cultures back then when women were viewed as under men.  One commentary (Mathew Henry Commentary) even goes so far as to say that women didn’t own anything, so they couldn’t be held to a vow.  Oh, I forgot to mention, Numbers 30 has to do with taking vows.  This chapter makes a big deal about taking vows.  Why?  This first part of the post deals with vows.  The next part deals with why men and women are treated differently.

Yeshua (Jesus) makes the statement, “Let what you say be simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything more than this comes from evil.”  Matthew 5:37  (ESV)

Taking a vow (in colloquial language, ‘swearing to do something’) is taken very seriously by God.  One of the “10 Statements” (10 Commandments) states, ‘do not take the name of Yehovah (the LORD) your God in vain.’  I know most of Christianity views this as only having to do with saying His name (which most Christians don’t actually even know), but this statement has long been viewed as having two separate meanings.  The first is that if you take a vow, be sure to keep it!  (Numbers 30:2).  [The second does have to do with misusing His name.]

If you make a vow to Yehovah (the LORD) your God, you shall not delay fulfilling it, for Yehovah (the LORD) your God will surely require it of you, and you will be guilty of sin.  But if you refrain from vowing, you will not be guilty of sin.  Deuteronomy 23:21-22 (ESV).

Yeshua (Jesus) was simply restating what was already written: don’t swear to do something and then don’t do it!  God does not like that.  Better not to swear (vow) at all.

This command has nothing to do with being unsure about doing something (and I have heard people use those words of Yeshua (Jesus) to try and say that you can’t ever be unsure or doubt).  No! The words have to do with taking vows (swearing).

It is such an important topic to God that many of the sacrifices that God proscribed have to do with completing vows (and weren’t for sin).  In “those days”, a vow would often sound like, “As Yehovah (the LORD) lives, I …”.  People would use His name in their vow.  Today, the equivalent would be something like this, “I swear to God …” or “I promise to do…”.   So, don’t do it!  Simply let your ‘yes’ be ‘yes’ and your ‘no’ be ‘no’.  To vow (swear / promise) and not do it is a sin against God!  It even applies to how we speak to our children.  So let’s watch our speech for this reason (as well as other reasons highlighted in scripture).

This may not seem like an important topic for today, but that is only because it is ignored, and as seen in Numbers chapter 30, the vow topic highlights the difference between men and women.

The fact that men and women are being treated differently in this scripture section is dealt with in part 2 of this posting.

  • Yosef

(Part 2 will show up in a couple days.)