Tag Archives: marriage

Marriage Is Not Rape — Post by Michael J. Findley

ruth boaz

Occasionally I encounter a secularist position so bizarre that I have never encountered it before. While the position I am describing below might be common among journalists, I certainly have never personally encountered someone who believed it before.

He wrote a commentary on Numbers 31:16-18 “Behold, these caused the sons of Israel, through the counsel of Balaam, to trespass against the Lord in the matter of Peor, so the plague was among the congregation of the Lord. Now therefore, kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman who has known man intimately. But all the girls who have not known man intimately, spare for yourselves.”

And Deuteronomy 21:10-13: “When you go out to battle against your enemies, and the Lord your God delivers them into your hands and you take them away captive, and see among the captives a beautiful woman, and have a desire for her and would take her as a wife for yourself, then you shall bring her home to your house, and she shall shave her head and trim her nails. She shall also remove the clothes of her captivity and shall remain in your house, and mourn her father and mother a full month; and after that you may go in to her and be her husband and she shall be your wife.”

These are his words: “how to prepare a newly captured slave girl (after murdering her whole family) before RAPING her, and that you can just let her go if she doesn’t please you (clearly not a wife, with that condition, right?).”

To keep you from being confused, God gave us two entire books of the Bible on this issue from the woman’s point of view. Before considering the books of Ruth and Esther, we must understand two very important points. Killing people in war is not murder. That point is a lie. No sugar coating is possible. Second, liberal immorality has its own standards. Though liberals reject the authority of the Word of God and the sins condemned in the word of God, they elevate other behaviors to the status of sin which are either not called sins in the Word of God or are not severely condemned in the Word of God. Blasphemy, fornication, lying, stealing and neglecting your parents are all perfectly acceptable behavior (when no one gets hurt). Smoking and obesity are elevated to major sins, along with neglecting the homeless and probably the worst sin of all, exposing their hypocrisy.

In the Bible, corporal punishment is commanded. Prisons are condemned. Of course the sanctimonious hypocrisy of unbelievers arrogantly condemns any form of corporal punishment. They viciously condemn anyone who dares to disagree with their inflated sense of self-righteousness.

Which leads to their idea of the greatest sin, slavery. Probably slavery is such a great sin in the mind of liberals because we no longer have slavery in this country and also because specific conditions of slavery are spelled out in the Mosaic Law. Their condemnation of slavery is quite an ego boost. Slaves, according to the Word of God, were property. While we cannot support the caricature of slavery portrayed in Uncle Tom’s Cabin, responsible owners usually treat property very well.

The following linked article actually has some good points about the differences between worldly standards and understanding of slavery and how it is actually handled in the Bible http://kgov.com/what-does-the-bible-say-about-slavery

Slavery in Bible had two important features which differ from the slavery we are familiar with. Slavery for a Hebrew male was intended to be temporary. According to the Law, every Hebrew slave was to be released after seven years Exodus 21:2) and upon the year of Jubilee, every fiftieth year.

What seems bizarre to a liberal unbeliever is the provision for a bondslave. When the year of Jubilee came, a slave might choose, of his own free will, to remain a slave. Once the slave made that choice, he would remain a slave to the same master forever. Under the Law, a bondslave was not to be sold. Also, being a Jew was religious as well as national origin. Jewish convert slaves were to be release on the year of Jubilee as well. The failure of property owners to free their slaves was major issues under the ministries of Jeremiah and Nehemiah. This was one of the major sins which lead to the Babylonian captivity. They refused to free their slaves, so they became slaves.

Slavery for women was intended to be marriage. This is why unbelievers rant that this is rape. Since secularist thinking so dominates our culture, we will examine how two women, Ruth and Esther handled this Law. First, Jesus condemned the practice of more than one wife with these words “from the beginning of creation, God made them male and female. For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother, and the two shall become one flesh; so they are no longer two, but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate.” Mark 10:6-9.So according to the Law of Moses and the divine commentary by Jesus, to purchase a female slave meant the same as to acquire a wife.

A Hebrew man with a Hebrew wife and two Hebrew sons from the tribe of Judah and the city of Bethlehem traveled around the Dead Sea to the country of Moab. His two sons married Moabite women. The man and his two sons died. His widow, Naomi, and the two daughters in law started back to Bethlehem, but one woman returned to Moab. Ruth rejected the gods of Moab and accepted the God of Israel. Back in Judah, Ruth gleaned in fields as a slave girl, or a homeless woman even below the status of a slave. She requested and received redemption from a wealthy landowner named Boaz. This redemption made Ruth, a foreigner and either a slave or below a slave, his wife. She likely had to undergo the purification rites described in Deuteronomy 21. David was the great-grandson of Ruth and Boaz.

The traditional view of Esther is that she was in the line of Saul, with the social status of a noblewoman. The Babylonians dragged her family into slavery, along with all the Jews. When the Persian King, either Xerxes according to Jewish tradition, or Artaxerxes his son according to the LXX, wanted a new Queen, he forcibly put Esther into the harem. Most of the women put into the harem would have sex one time with the king and be isolated from all men for the rest of their lives. One, and only one woman, whom the king would choose would be Queen. But the woman chosen to be Queen could be killed or exiled at any time, based on the whim of the king. What rational woman would want this? Unlike the Jewish purification rites of thirty days, as recorded in Deuteronomy 21, Esther had to undergo twelve months of purification rites. Also under the Mosaic Law, if a slave woman was taken to be a wife, the man was responsible to provide for her the rest of her life, even if he took another woman as a wife. The Persian concubines who the king rejected had food and clothing but lived in isolation. Under Mosaic Law, a rejected woman could be freed, a freedom the rejected women of the Persian harem would love to have had.

So while secular humanist sneers, “clearly not a wife,” the truth is, not only was she a wife, but she was better off than the concubines in the harem of the Persian Court.

Image credit Ruth and Boaz by David Wilkie Wynfield Date painted: 1879  Oil on canvas, 101.5 x 162.5 cm Collection: Harris Museum & Art Gallery

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Permission to Fail?

Our daughter told me about a Bible study where the teacher mentioned Proverbs 31 and said something like, “We all know that the Virtuous Woman is an ideal. She’s too good to be true.” Suppose a military commander gives his troop an order. The men whisper to the lieutenant, “Permission to fail, sir?” The lieutenant whispers back, “Permission to fail granted.”

The chapter isn’t stated like a commandment. In fact, the writer laments, “Who can find a virtuous woman?” Yet I believe the Scriptures are our “orders.” We should not give ourselves and those we teach permission to fail.

Let’s assume she meant that it’s not likely that anybody will achieve all that is listed for the virtuous woman. Perhaps it’s a composite of all the godly traits to aspire to. Some of the parables are not literal events. That doesn’t mean He was giving suggestions or passing the time. I would take the possibly composite traits and treat them like a “to do” list. Maybe you won’t check off every item but you’d better be working on the list. A Bible study teacher should not hand out a pre-license to smile and say “Wow, I could never be all that woman was. Nobody could.”

In Old Testament times, rubies were the crown of jewels. That’s how a man was supposed to be able to think of his woman. His heart was supposed to be able to “safely trust in her.” Everyone’s heard songs and stories of jealous men. This man never heard of such nonsense. Oh, to so capture and captivate a man’s heart. Even a Christian man can have his doubts, especially if a temptress works to make herself attractive. But not this man, it would appear. The passage also says he “has no need of spoil.”

I know that in the Iliad, ancient Greek poem about the Trojan War, spoils were frequently women as well as valuables. Didn’t seem to matter to Agamemnon that he was already married when he took Cassandra as a spoil of war. His wife was unfaithful to him, as well, but this Proverbs couple shines like the sun with fidelity. Whether it’s riches or sexual rewards, this man needed nothing beyond what he had. They say men are hard to satisfy, and that it is hard to conquer their hearts. Yet Proverbs is a book about relationships between the sexes, good and bad, and the power a woman has to captivate a man, for good and for bad.

Modesty, whether it is true or feigned, teaches women to undervalue their power and influence, but it is there. Men are girl-watchers for more than just great gams and other parts. “Behind every great man is a great woman” is not just a saying. Women have been making and breaking their men throughout history, beginning with Eve. Do you suppose it’s just barely possible that Adam valued Eve’s company more than God’s when he envisioned what would happen to his disobedient little wife? The Bible says Eve was deceived but Adam was in the transgression. Part of his transgression may have been choosing Eve over God.

Picture the scene earlier on in Proverbs, that adulterous wife grabbing a gullible fool by his proverbial nose ring and leading him off, ox-like, to the slaughter. How must her husband have lived his life? In jealousy, dread and rage. “No one who touches her shall go unpunished,” we are told, but clearly the woman was out on the prowl and a man cannot trust his heart to such a wife, no matter how many of her conquests he punishes. He might have had a purse full of money but oh, how empty his heart. The next time you even think about turning the head of some fool, lady, think about this woman who seems to have been doorkeeper at the mouth of Hell. Not somebody you want to emulate.

The evil Duessa from the Faerie Queene by Edmund Spenser

The Scriptures are clear about even entertaining wrong thoughts, in the woman’s mind or in the man’s. Captivate your husband, and nobody else. Don’t be responsible for a man’s fall. Don’t hurt your husband’s heart. Be those rubies, and far more, to that man, and keep him and all the other men safe. Well, that’s just one or two points on the to-do-list, unfortunately, but it’s enough to meditate on. Be far above rubies. Be that thing a man can trust his heart in. Be powerful for God, ladies. Never forget that you have power, whether you acknowledge it or not, and put it on your to-do list to use it Wise-Woman Proverbs style.

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Giants, Genetics and Original Sin

After the death of Virgil in the First Century BC, the Roman Emperor Augustus Caesar posthumously published his Aeneid. Caesar Augustus loved this book because it took the history of Rome, romanticized it and treated it as “prophecy.” Virgil built on an existing legend about the founding of Rome. He expanded a story around that legend based on the Odyssey. The most famous part of the book is the story of the Trojan Horse.

The hero of the Aeneid, Aeneas, son of Venus, was one of Hector’s commanders. He fled Troy with a small band of Trojans when it fell to the Greeks. They built ships and sailed to Italy, with many adventures along the way. They were commanded by the gods to join with the existing people in Italy and to build Rome. Aeneas and the Trojans were opposed and attacked by the Latins, led by Turnus. Turnus is described by some scholars as having a mother who was a nymph, and the Aeneid states that his sister was a nymph. In the final scene, Turnus and Aeneas fought to the death for Lavinia, the daughter of the old Latin King. By killing Turnus and marrying Lavinia, Aeneas united the Trojans with the Latins.

Both Turnus and Aeneas are described as giants. Aeneas challenged Turnus to single combat soon after the arrival of the Trojans, but Turnus was afraid of the larger Aeneas, so Turnus repeatedly stirred up many cities against the Trojans.

At the end of the duel, Turnus picks up and throws a stone with one hand which Virgil describes as requiring 12 men of today to lift. Though the giant Turnus was stronger with one arm than 12 of Caesar’s legionnaires, he was no match in size or strength to Aeneas. Yet the Iliad repeatedly describes the giant Hector as much larger than any other Trojan. Hector’s mother, Hecuba, is described by some accounts as being the daughter of a river god.

Hector was equally fearful of facing Achilles in single combat because he was so much smaller than Achilles, son of Thetis. Thetis is described by some accounts as a nymph, by some as equal to Neptune and one of the descendants of the Titans, and by others a creator-goddess. Though no other Greek was able to stand before Hector, the larger and stronger Achilles humiliated and defeated Hector in single combat.

That the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose. And the LORD said, My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years. There were giants in the earth in those days; and also after that, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bare children to them, the same became mighty men which were of old, men of renown. Gen 6:2-4

“Sons of God” has two possible meanings. It either means that line of Adam’s son Seth, spoken of in the Scriptures as having descendants who “began to call upon the name of the Lord” polluted itself by intermarrying with pagans. or that the “Sons of God” were fallen angels.

Normal men filled with the Spirit of God did superhuman feats of strength. Jacob and Moses both lifted a great stone off a well that seems normally to have required many people to move. Samson (although he does not exemplify the best in God’s servants) performed stunning feats of strength. So it is possible that the descendants of these earlier, formerly godly people, who intermarried with pagans, might have produced “giants” or “mighty men which were of old, men of renown.”

Many ancient sources claim that the “giants” and “mighty men of old” were pagans who believed in many gods and goddesses. Their parents were at least part “divine.” The phrase “Sons of God” is the also found in beginning of the book of Job where the phrase clearly means angels or demons. Some say that Gilgamesh of ancient Mesopotamia, who was said to be “two thirds god,” Hercules, the son of the god Zeus, and other ancient “superheroes,” Herakles in the Indus Valley of India, the Viracocha of the Incas, and even Nimrod of the Scriptures, may have all been the same person or his descendants.

This is food for thought, a point on which good men can disagree. The “superpowers” described in ancient documents could be the remnants of God’s great blessing, or they could be indications that the great deceiver, Satan, used his rebellious angels to try to corrupt man beyond his fall and drive a greater wedge between the Creator and His creatures. In any case, the “superpowered” actions governed by enormous pride, the conflicted beliefs about God or “the gods,” and the despairing or outright evil decisions made by these demigods and heroes of old, and the people who lived around them, indicate the workings of our fallen nature and Satan, the “accuser.”

Understanding genetics can help us understand what the sin nature is and how sin is passed on. Some scholars arrive at the interpretation of the Sons of God being Seth’s line because they do not believe that angels or demons have the power to interact with the human race genetically. This position requires belief that the genetic character of original sin literally makes man “born in sin” only because of Adam’s sin.

In the passage in Genesis these “sons of God” are clearly male, spoken of as taking wives. If they were angels or demons, this would call into question the genetic character of Adam’s original sin. Man could not be held fully responsible for his need for redemption if these were non-humans introducing corruption into the genetic material.

In many ancient cultures, most notably the Egyptians, inheritances of property and position passed from mother to daughter. Mitochondrial DNA is DNA in a cell outside a nucleus. It is passed from mother to daughter without any genetic recombination. This explains Christ’s redemptive power, as the “one born of woman,” having Mary’s mitochondrial DNA passed on but not Adam’s original sin.

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All Glorious Within

Psalm 45 is a beautiful passage of Scripture. It describes a king which certainly seems to be the Messiah, Jesus Christ. In verse nine it begins to talk about women, and there are lessons for Christian women and their earthly relationships with men and others in the descriptions found here.

First, though, we witness the anointing of the king with “oil of gladness.” The scents from his garments are of “myrrh, aloes and cassia.” The mentions of these and the “ivory palaces” are stirring descriptions of beauty for multiple senses — touch, sight, smell, and a delight for the emotions as well. It’s easy to see why “they have made thee glad.” Woman, this man and his dwelling-place are being prepared for you, as if for you alone. Are you blessed, or what?

This Psalm is aiming toward a point, and I think that point is a “pre-echo,” if you will, of the Marriage Supper of the Lamb. Sure enough, verse nine states that “Kings’ daughters were among thy honorable women,” (attendants at a wedding) and the queen is on his right hand, in gold of Ophir.

Mention of Ophir goes all the way back to Genesis and it is an ancient source of the highest-quality gold. I think that could mean that Christ loved His Bride from ancient times and set aside ornaments for her wedding day just as God planned salvation “before the foundation of the world.”

Verse ten is another “pre-echo,” this time of the statement of Christ that if one does not love father and mother more than Him, or even hate them, he is not worthy to be a disciple. So the daughter, or bride, is urged to “forget thine own people, and thy father’s house.” Just after the creation of Eve, before there were mothers or fathers, or perhaps even houses, Adam says that a man will leave these things and “cleave” to his wife.

The passage says that by doing this, the bride will cause her king to “greatly desire thy beauty.” She will be irresistible to her man as she is wholly committed to Him alone. And verse twelve has a great by-product of being the king’s bride. She gets presents! Tyre is certainly not known historically or biblically for being a good or godly kingdom, but its princess will have to show respect for this bride. All the richest and most powerful kingdoms on Earth want to get on her good side.

Now we get to the really good part! Verses thirteen and fourteen say “The king’s daughter is all glorious within: her clothing is of wrought gold. She shall be brought unto the king in raiment of needlework.” I’m told that “within” means within her chamber, that is, while she’s getting ready for the wedding. She gets to put on wrought gold and that magnificent tapestry brocade you see in ancient portraits. No sweatpants, no bluejeans, no sir! The king’s daughter, who is now also the wife of a king, shines like the sun in the most beautiful and best workmanship. She is glorious, mind you, not glitzy. No bling here. The virgins, young girls, follow her, and you can bet they follow her example of godly beauty, too because they are accompanying her to her Lord and theirs with “gladness and rejoicing.”

Like many Scriptures this is a “here and now” as well as prophetic passage. The godly earthly queen will have children who can take the place of her forefathers as princes, leaders of kingdoms. In our sinful world we too often see children fall away from following their parents’ example and teaching. Not so here. The influence of this godly queen is solid because she worships her Lord with her whole heart. The memory of a woman who can produce generations of godly children will always be praised.

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Analyze, Analyze, Analyze

A message to parents and students:

Never, ever, ever read a book, watch a movie, or see or hear a play or story or poem performed without answering these questions:(Don’t read a book to your child or let anyone read a book to you without doing this, either.)

Do “wise” and “good” people in the story believe that spirits inside everything can guide people?

Do they follow a religion that is supposed to be older than Christianity or the Bible and therefore “better”?

Do they live “close to the earth” in simple lives without technology and don’t believe in any kind of killing, even for food or to punish great evil?

Do they believe that tribal people and animals are smarter and nobler than civilized people?

Does the work say to “listen to your heart” or “trust your feelings” because that’s how you’ll know what the right thing to do is?

Does it emphasize separating children from adults and forcing them to trust themselves to make extremely important decisions? (An exception to this is if a child is separated from parents but can rely on the biblical training he received from them, not just his own emotions, abilities and reason.)

Do children go through much of the work relying on other children?

Do children distrust adults in conventional authority positions (parents, teachers, police, community leader)? Is this presented as “the only choice” and at the end of the book “the right thing to do”?

Do children rely on very unconventional people who live outside accepted systems of moral values and mature practices? (Some examples are the uneducated or dropouts, street people, former criminals who are “streetwise” young, inexperienced persons in lower authority positions (like a “cool” teacher in a very strict school)?

Does it say that things are going to happen for reasons that nobody can control (not even God’s overall plan)?Does it imply that whether what someone does is right and wrong is just a matter of opinion?

Does it encourage strong expressions of anger, grief and depression when things don’t go the way a character wants? Does it say having an adventure, joining a secret club, or helping friends can be more important than being with your family or doing what you’ve been told?

Are the men (dads or male principals or bosses) bad, stupid or weak?

Are the women strong and smart and good?

Are any good men unable to help, dead or far away?

Does it make fun of traditional hard work and self-discipline?

Is training for a job or learning to play an instrument boring, stupid or pointless?

Are young people encouraged to cut classes or skip work for something more important?

By contrast, does it glorify martial arts and Eastern religious practices as superior to any western or Christian-based discipline? (This is not to say that unarmed self-defense and fighting skills are wrong or evil in themselves, but they are frequently taught along with Yoga, meditation and eastern religious practices in opposition to Christianity.)

Are people who have a lot of education boring?

Are military people excessively strict, bad-tempered or stupid?

Are people who quote from the Bible or classic Christian-origin works treated as odd or foolish?

Are strong emotions emphasized and encouraged, no matter how extreme or out-of control they may be?

Is self-control de-emphasized and made to seem wrong or unnecessary?

Are manners old-fashioned and respect for adults non-existent?

Is concern for and service to others not as important as “making time for yourself”?

Does it have a good, strong story, or is it just a bunch of exciting, scary, mysterious or funny things with no real purpose or ending?

Does it seem to leave out anything to do with faith or praise people who don’t believe in anything?

If you have to answer yes to more than a couple of these questions, ask yourself if you should have anything to do with this work. It may have won all kinds of awards. The best educational authorities may recommend it. But it may be very wrong and get you thinking wrong.

Everyone seems to know that four things are obvious to avoid: violence, sex, drug abuse and bad language. But examine each of these points and consider whether our perspective on these is even correct.

What about displays of affection and a degree of intimacy between husband and wife? These are almost non-existent but should be common. In most cultures of the world girls marry very young, and marrying an older man is considered normal and desirable. We consider it practically incest. Husbands and wives seek comfort, understanding and fulfillment with friends instead of each other. Husbands are plain, rather stupid, and have no clue about how to treat their wives. They want sex all the time and ask for it boorishly. They are at least mildly incompetent at their jobs. Wives are attractive, smart, make jokes at their husbands’ expense, and keep everything running smoothly, from finances, housework and careers to discipline and child-psychology. These anti-marriage concepts fill the pages and the screens of what we accept as desirable family fare. Movie insiders say actors who are married in real life cannot play a creditable husband and wife in a movie. There is no “chemistry” unless there is an adulterous flavor to the screen romance. These works do everything they can to justify adultery. A person is trapped in a terrible marriage with an abuser or an insane or terminally ill spouse and must seek consolation with a lover. Parents who restrict or forbid dating and young romance are always unreasonably strict, have no good reason for forbidding this young love, and punish supposedly far out of proportion to the action.

“Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable; if anything is excellent or praiseworthy think about such things” Philippians 4:8

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