Sample Religious Essay on Women in Patriarchal Society

Women in Patriarchal Society

Introduction

The creation of Eve is an event that took place after the six days of creation. The bible records that Eve was the first woman to exist following her creation in the Garden of Eden. God made Adam sleep deeply then formed Eve from one of his ribs (Gen 2:21-22). Adam gave her the name Eve, meaning a product of his bones and flesh or rather an extension of his body while God called her a helper. The ancient patriarchal society in the bible stands as one of the most criticized in the modern world. This is major because of the view that it gave too much power to the man and downplayed the relevance and importance of the woman. However, I believe that this view does not represent the whole truth on the nature of the patriarchal society. This is because the word helper did not mean that women had a subordinate status. In fact, the word helper is also used to refer to God (Psalm 33:20). This only stems from the fact that that word in no way intended to underrate the woman. Therefore, I do not agree with this worldview.

This nature of affairs evidently repeats itself all through the history of recorded events of the Bible. The ancient nation of Israel, therefore, passes out as a patriarchal society where men had carried the day insofar as the running of the daily affairs of both the family and the nation was concerned. Eve for example makes a perfect example of the kind of life that women would ascribe to in the future. Mentioning the lives of women such as Sarah, Rachel, Leah, and Deborah among others would help in creating a broader understanding of this topic of discussion.

The Role of Women in the Plan of God

The scriptures, in the Pentateuch expressively present the woman as a helper to the man. Genesis clearly records that God thought of man as lonely. This is because man did not find anything in all the wonderful creations of God to offer the much-needed companionship. Therefore, His decision to create the woman had the fundamental intention of giving the man meaningful companionship. It is important to recognize the fact that God saw it fit to declare that a man would have the duty of leaving his parents to rejoin his flesh in form of a marriage where the two would become one in symbolism. In addition, God pronounced a benediction on them and instructed them to multiply and populate the earth.

The woman, to this day, has the duty to conceive and bring new life to the world after nine months of pregnancy. This task, often viewed as noble also extends to taking care of the child until the independent stages. It is therefore deductively possible to assume that God gave her the duty to take care of her family as far as bringing up the children was concerned. Equally, the man had an integral role in bringing up a family.

The Understanding of Bible Authors on the Role of the Woman/ Wife in the Family

Authors of the bible predominantly fall on the male side of gender. Given their status as the people who recorded the inspirational words of God, they supposedly had the insight of God in their view of the role of women or wives in the family. Additionally, their description of the role of wives assumed the patriarchal orientation where the instructions of God did not spell them out word for word. The betrothal of women such as Rebecca and Leah indicate that the women nearly had no choice over the men they had to marry. This is despite the Bible recording that their opinion was to be respected (Gen 24:5).

The declaration Jesus made that Moses gave the laws of divorce because of the hard hearts of the people reveals that some of the laws came up without the consent of God. In addition, a quick view on the law of divorce reveals how much Moses curtailed to favor the man as opposed to the woman (King James Version Deut. 24:1-4). This means that the laws did little to protect the plight of the woman. Therefore, their writings bear witness that they must have viewed women as people who must submit to the authority of their husbands.

The Perspective of the Women

The women in this society profoundly accepted their position as the will of God. The women on many occasions accepted their fate and settled for the laws without challenging them. Once in her new family, the woman had the sole duty of taking care of the affairs of the house including kitchen affairs. However, this was just but a small portion of the bigger picture.

The woman ideally had to preoccupy herself with the duty of bearing children to her husband with a male child as the preferred firstborn. The account of the lives of wives such as Sarah and Rachel brings out the reality of the agony barren women underwent in society. Ideally, the blame squarely lay on the woman in case of the absence of a child. The first joy of the woman therefore squarely lay in her childbearing ability. Therefore, the role of the woman seldom extended beyond her home.

Women in this society had a lower status as compared to men. They could not assume a leadership position in most of the specialized areas in society. The laws for example forbade them from inheritance (Numbers 27:1-11). In addition, they could only go as far as the entrance of the tent of meeting in their service at the tabernacle (Exodus 38:8) The bible mentions just but a few of the women who managed to scale the ranks normally held by men. Women such as Miriam and Deborah managed to join the men in performing such crucial religious and governance-oriented duties. The Bible records Deborah, in addition to serving Israel as a prophet, as the only female judge during the reign of Judges (Judges 4:4-5). Miriam served as a prophet alongside Moses and Aaron.

People of a lower status also have a way of circumnavigating the system to get something they cannot achieve on a normal platform. In as much as whoredom stood as one of the sins that could face the punishment of up to death by stoning (Leviticus 19, 21), women such as Tamar used it to obtain justice (Deuteronomy 23:17-18), (Genesis 38:21). Other women such as Shiphrah, a midwife during the harsh rule of the pharaoh in Egypt opted to disobey the pharaoh in secret and preserved the lives of the Israelite boy children (Exodus 1:15). The women had to use these means because the systems of government never allowed them justice. They, therefore, had to take matters into their own hands and risk their lives to accomplish their mission.

God Using Women

God has throughout the ages not only used men but also women. The most notable among the many occasions include preserving the lineage of Jesus using women such as Rahab and Ruth. These women, though they were not Israelites in addition to having low social status, found favor in the eyes of the almighty. He used women to preserve the lives of people such as Moses to accomplish His purposes. He used Deborah and Jael to bring the house Jacob back from the rule of the Canaanites. Deborah, by the Spirit of God, commanded Barak to form an army and go against the Canaanites. In addition, she accompanied him to the war front. However, because of the doubt in Barak, God chose to use Jael to kill Sisera, the commander of the army of Canaan.

God finds women equally noble instruments of use because of His loving nature. In the bible, God comes out as just and loving, showing no favor to anyone over the other. The punishments He issued out at the Garden of Eden show an even distribution of His anger. In addition, God uses women to prove that he can work through anyone regardless of gender. This helps in giving an explanation of the nature of God in comparison to the patriarchal state of ancient Israel. God also used women in winning battles. The use of Jael for example displayed the greatness of God. He brought shame to the Canaanites by using a mere woman to kill Sissera.

Conclusion

In conclusion, it is important to point out that despite the prevalent conditions that gave the women little exposure to realizing their potential especially in leadership, biblical history still sings some of their names. The likes of the midwives during the times of Exodus could not sin against God in allowing the death of Israelite children. Therefore, women hold a special part in the kingdom of heaven.

There is no better way of describing the greatness in the daughter of Jephthah. She displayed the highest degree of selflessness by accepting her fate when her father had already given up. This further inspires stories of the fulfillment in laying down our lives for the sake of others, a rare commodity in the human race. Israelites and Jews remember her selfless act to this day and celebrate the event (Judges 11:34-40).

Finally, though not the last in the endless list comes Ruth. A foreigner by birth, she bravely followed her mother-in-law back to her country despite all the unfortunate events. Today, history lists her among the grandmothers of Jesus. Therefore, the five law books demonstrate that the Bible protected the rights of women. Women as demonstrated above had rights over their preferred spouse. The Bible further protected their endeavors that went outside the norms such as judging Israel.

 Works Cited

Bible, Holy. “King James Version.” Texas: National Publishing Company (2000).