When it comes to how they relate to women, the Bible portrays at least three types of men: the horny, the ornery and the honorable.
The ornery are know-it-alls who have no use for the wisdom of their wives. They see them as mere adornments. Take Xerxes for example. You can read all about him in the book of Esther. You can also read about him in history books. He was extremely tall and he came from an extremely brutal lineage.
The book of Esther opens with a pair of massive parties, thrown by the king. All the men of Xerxes’s kingdom were invited to attend – presumably so he could get them onboard with his plans to invade Greece.
The party dripped with opulence, alcohol and testosterone.
In the middle of one of the feasts, Xerxes had an impulse to show off his amazingly beautiful wife, Vashti. He called for her to come and parade herself in front of him and all his drunken guests, wearing her crown. She refused to come because a.) She was busy hosting a party of her own and couldn’t exactly leave her guests, and b.) It was in poor taste.
Some commentaries say she was to come wearing only her crown, but I don’t think so. Even fully clothed it would have been improper for her to parade herself in front of the cat calls of a bunch of drunken men.
Scripture doesn’t say in what manner she refused the invitation – perhaps it was tactful, perhaps it was not. But it does say that Xerxes made an angry, drunken, impulsive decision based on the advice of his seven drunken advisors. A decision that Scripture hints he may have regretted (Esther 2:1).
Unfortunately, guys like Xerxes don’t admit they made a mistake, and they don’t act against the approval of their buddies. His buddies wanted him to set an example for all the men of the kingdom by subduing his wife right off the throne.
So he did.
He booted Vashti and replaced her with another beautiful ornament. His choice of a new queen had brains as well as beauty. If you know the story of Esther, you know that she was really God’s choice and that God chose her for a specific reason.
You also know that Xerxes’, evil advisor, Haman, hated the Jews. So with his slimy, slithering, forked tongue, he manipulated Xerxes into issuing a decree to destroy them. The decree was signed and sealed – no taking it back – and the annihilation of the Jews was imminent.
But yay for God!
He used Esther to outsmart Haman, save His people, and keep Xerxes from doing something very regrettable. She was the kind of divine help Genesis 2 is talking about.
Xerxes was a lame and impulsive know-it-all. The kind who will take the advice of his buddies without consulting his queen.*
Have you known anyone like that? I have.
Some churches are full of men like that.
Some churches insist upon men being like that.
Some churches teach that Adam’s sin was in listening to his wife. And they extrapolate that into teaching that godly men are the head of their homes and they make all the decisions and they don’t listen to their wives. Ever.
But not so fast. In Genesis 21:12 God told Abraham to listen to his wife.
There was nothing wrong with Eve speaking and Adam listening to her.
The problem was that Adam listened to his wife in general, the problem was that he chose to listen to her even though what she said was in direct opposition to what God had specifically told him.
In the NIV, verse 17 reads, “Because you listened to you wife and ate from the tree about which I commanded you…” I think God emphasized the “you”.
Remember, Eve did not get the command first hand, Adam did.
It’s time to stop telling men to “man up” when manning up means ignoring the wisdom of their wives. Men feel pressure from their buddies or from their church to get control of their wives when deep down they know they can’t and shouldn’t. But the pressure is there, so they pretend in public and then they sometimes turn to pornography in private. Phone sex girl is not going to give anyone a hard time – unless some poor soul pays her to do so. But that’s a post for another day.
– excepted from my Bible study © 2010