Whenever I see something that causes my soul to despair the opening line of Paint it Black (Rolling Stones) hums in my head.
This morning, skipping church to look after Dixie, I had a little internet with my coffee and I discovered that the same people who brought us The Mask You Live In (the trailer of which I shared with you yesterday), also did a documentary entitled Miss Representation. Based on its trailer, it’s about the distortions our culture teaches boys and girls about the value of women.
I’m not going to share the trailer, though, because it might be hard on those who are struggling to overcome a pornography addiction.
Sad, sad, sad: A documentary on what we teach boys and girls about the value of women and the images in the first half of the trailer are so pornographic I can’t show it to you.
I see a red door and I want it painted black.
The trailer blames advertising and the media, I blame the church.
More accurately I blame the devil, who declared war on women way back in the beginning. I blame the church for playing into his crafty hands.
I’ve written about this before. Search “War on Women” at the top of my blog if you’re interested (or click here).
The Fabled Rib
In Purple Reign I explained that, contrary to popular belief, God did not create woman as an afterthought. She was not created merely to meet man’s need for companionship. Man and woman were created together, at the same time, and given a joint purpose.
Now let me explain about the fabled rib.
Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man. Genesis 2:22
The word translated rib here is the Hebrew word tsela’. It is an architectural term that means “side, beam, plank, leaves of a door” (think 2 sides of a double door). The only place tsela’ is translated as “rib” is here in Genesis 2.
Anytime a word is translated a certain way only once, it raises a red flag. Especially when the 41 other times it is used it is translated as side, plank, beam, etc.
Actual ribs are mentioned only once in the Bible. Daniel 7:5 refers to three ribs of an animal. That portion of Daniel was written in Aramaic so we cannot do a direct word comparison but the Aramaic word translated “rib” in Daniel is ‘ala.
So how and why was tsela’ mistranslated in Genesis 2:22?
The idea that Eve was made out of one of Adam’s ribs has its origin in rabbinical lore. One story says, “Eve was made out of a tail which originally belonged to Adam.”
Rav, the great head of the Babylonian rabbinical school, declared, “Eve was formed out of a second face, which originally belonged to Adam,” and another rabbi declared, “Instead of a rib taken from Adam, a slave was given him to wait upon him.”
(Remember when I told you the Hebrew word translated “suitable” or “help meet” in Genesis 2:20 is neged? And that neged means “in front of, in the sight or presence of, before the eyes of, face to face”? I’m guessing Rav got his “second face” from a misinterpretation of neged – “face to face.”)
But it’s Rabbi Joshua’s disdainful commentary that has provided the fable which has been most promulgated by Christian Bible commentators.
Rabbi Joshua wrote: “God deliberated from what member He would create woman, and He reasoned with Himself thus: I must not create her from Adam’s head, for she would be a proud person, and hold her head high. If I create her from the eye, then she will wish to pry into all things; if from the ear, she will wish to bear all things; if from the mouth, she will talk much; if from the heart, she will envy people; if from the hand, she will desire to take all things; if from the feet, she will be a gadabout. Therefore I will create her from the member which is hid, that is the rib, which is not even seen when man is naked.”
This is the inane fable which lies at the basis of the idea that Eve must have been made out of Adam’s rib, a fable still being told in the church today.
(Info on the rib fable taken from Dr. Katharine Bushnell’s, God’s Word to Women, paragraphs 42 and 43.)
A misogynistic Rabbi wrote a fable which was included in the Talmudic teachings (the Talmud was not Scripture, it was more like a collection of rabbinical commentaries), and those teachings have worked their way into the church.
“Be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees,” Jesus warned His disciples. (Matthew 16:5-12)
But someone, some many were asleep at the switch.
Need proof that the yeast of the Pharisees has permeated our Christian bread?
Open your Bible to 1 Corinthians 14 and read verses 26-35.
Now shift your eyes back up to verse 34, “[Women] are not allowed to speak, but must be in submission, as the law says.”
Law? What law?
Notice the lower case l.
The “law” to which the verse is referring was likely the Talmud (remember: not Scripture but a collection of rabbinical teachings.) Here is a sampling of those Talmudic teachings: “Out of respect to the congregation, a woman should not herself read in the law.” “It is a shame for a woman to let her voice be heard among men.” “The voice of a woman is filthy nakedness.”
The upper case “Law” is the Torah. The Torah is Scripture, it’s the first five books of the Bible, aka the Pentateuch.
Search your memory, search your concordance, search God in prayer. Can you come up with one instance when the Law or the Prophets or Jesus said that women are not allowed to speak in church?
Can you come up with a single instance when any of them said a woman must be in submission?
I couldn’t come up with one either, and believe me, I searched and researched.
I did, however, find plenty of instances where women were allowed to speak, and where God elevated their status above the culturally prescribed submission. Here’s my list:
Sarah (Genesis 21); Miriam (Exodus 15); Deborah, a judge and a prophetess through whom God spoke (Judges 4 and 5); the daughters of Zelophehad (Numbers 27); Huldah, another prophetess through whom God spoke (2 Kings 22); Job’s daughters, whom Job elevated once he saw the Lord clearly (Job 42); Anna, another prophetess through whom the Lord spoke (Luke 2); the various women Christ compelled to speak in public (Luke 8:47, Luke 13:13, John 4:1-42, John 20:1-18); the females whom Jesus invited into His church’s very first small group (Acts 1:12-24). There are plenty more but I’ll save them for you to add.
So here we are in 2017 despairing of a dire and dangerous Miss Representation of women and it’s all because of a misrepresentation of Scripture and a failure to beware the yeast of the Pharisees.
Failure because some like the yeast.
Failure because some chose a long time ago to side with the devil in his war on women.
I see our misread Bread and I want it painted right…
Sing with me.