This past Thursday I came across a tweet in my feed by Lindsay H Freeman, a Christian author, who stated,
“No other world religion quotes almost 100 women in its primary source book. The Bible has 93 women who speak.” (pictured below)
Wow! That’s great news for women, right? Obviously the implication here is that they might just want to jump ship from their current dogma and hop on board the female-friendly Bible boat for a sweet ride into the arms of God.
What is interesting to me is what fellow writer Alexis Wesley pointed out while we were discussing Freeman’s tweet:
“If the Bible were a movie, you’d have a crowd of men surrounded by another crowd of men. The casting call would include 1,181 parts for men with names. Men would talk and act most of the movie, while women would only get a whopping 1.1% of the lines. In the credits at the end, of those 93 women who did get to speak, only 49 would have names. The rest would be listed as “Woman, Woman, Woman, Woman, Woman…”
That alone is damning enough against the argument that the Bible is progressive toward women, not to mention the fact that not a single woman’s birth was recorded anywhere within the pages of that book. Because why record the birth of someone’s property, right? But I want to look at things a little more closely.
You see, I’m concerned about the women in the Bible as well. And it’s not so much the ones speaking that concern me–it is the others, the ones who don’t speak—with absolutely no voice at all—that I pay attention to. They’re in there and their numbers far exceed the ones with the gift of gab. These are the ladies I’d like to hear from.
Let’s start with the first book of the Bible: Genesis. We all know the story of Sodom and Gomorrah, right? But did you know that this story begins with a father offering his own daughters up to a crowd of men? Two girls, who don’t have names, are offered to a gang of angry men for their sexual pleasure. All in the name of God in order to protect a couple of (male) angels?
“So Lot went out to them through the doorway, shut the door behind him, and said, “Please, my brethren, do not do so wickedly! See now, I have two daughters who have not known a man; please, let me bring them out to you, and you may do to them as you wish; only do nothing to these men, since this is the reason they have come under the shadow of my roof.” (Genesis 19:6-8 NKJV)
What about the women of Shiloh? Do you remember them (see Judges 21:10-24)? A God-approved kidnapping was arranged so they could be carted off to become the property of men. This was ordered to take place “despite the protests of their fathers and brothers.” I’m betting those girls had names, but I guess they were not considered important enough to document.
Then there are the Midianite women (see Numbers 31:7-18). After God ordered most of them to be killed, he did allow the young virgins to live so they could be “taken” as wives. No specific numbers or names are mentioned here, hmmm….
Oh, and just in case the men weren’t sure exactly what to do with these un-named female victims once they brought them home, there are some handy instructions in Deuteronomy.
“Then you shall bring her home to your house, and she shall shave her head and trim her nails. She shall put off the clothes of her captivity, remain in your house, and mourn her father and her mother a full month; after that you may go in to her and be her husband, and she shall be your wife.” (Deuteronomy 21:10-14 NKJV)
I also want to point out that in this section of scripture it is explained to us how God deems a rape victim worthy of death! She didn’t “cry out” after all.
“If a young woman who is a virgin is betrothed to a husband, and a man finds her in the city and lies with her, then you shall bring them both out to the gate of that city, and you shall stone them to death with stones, the young woman because she did not cry out in the city, and the man because he humbled his neighbor’s wife; so you shall put away the evil from among you. (Deuteronomy 22:23-24 NKJV)
Finally, it’s actually a really good thing that those 93 women got to speak at all, because Paul’s instruction for Christian women is clear! They are not even allowed to speak, especially not in church. Their husband speaks for them. Perhaps this is why we don’t know any of their names?
“Let your women keep silent in the churches, for they are not permitted to speak; but they are to be submissive, as the law also says. And if they want to learn something, let them ask their own husbands at home; for it is shameful for women to speak in church.” (1 Corinthians 14:34-35 NKJV)
These examples are a small sampling of the voiceless women in the Bible. The next time you hear a Christian attempting to make the claim that the Bible is better for women than other religions, you should ask them to justify the misogyny, rape and torture the women of the Bible endured first.
Thank you to our guest contributor for today’s piece, whose name was withheld because she wanted it to be 🙂