Scripture reference: John 8:3–11 Bible Search Tool
The situation. One day some scribes and Pharisees brought to Jesus a woman who had been caught in adultery, “in the very act” (John 8:4). They quoted Moses’ Law, which called for stoning, and asked Jesus, “ ‘But what do You say?’ ”
Several things make this approach to Jesus unusual:
• The woman was caught “in the very act.” Where was the man who was also subject to stoning?
• Where would a person go to catch someone “in the very act”? How would the Pharisees, noted for their claim to holiness, have known where to go?
• While Mosaic Law prescribed stoning for adultery, this penalty was not imposed in the first century. Rabbinic courts rigorously avoided imposing the death penalty.
• A panel of rabbis, not an individual, would deal with such a case. Besides, the scribes and Pharisees did not recognize Jesus’ authority. Continue Reading Here
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Scripture references: Luke 1:5–7, 36–45, 57–61
Date: 5 b.c.
Name: Elizabeth [ee-LIZ-uh-buth: “God is my oath”].
Main contribution: She gave birth to John the Baptist, whose prophetic ministry prepared for Jesus’ appearance.
Elizabeth was the wife of a priest named Zacharias. She was selected by God to give birth to John the Baptist whom Jesus called the greatest of the Old Testament prophets. John met the conditions necessary to be identified as the prophet whose appearance preceded the establishment of God’s earthly kingdom (Mal. 4:5, 6). Continue Reading Here
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The “Rabbinic” View of Women in the New Testament Era, and the Contrast with Jesus’ Interactions with them
The rabbis of Jesus’ day had little use for women. Their attitude, reflected in the sayings and rulings of the sages recorded during the two centuries after Christ, seem especially strange today. Take for example the dictum of Yose b. Yohanan of Jerusalem, “Talk not much with womankind” (mAbot 1.5). Rabbinic writings contain many comments on this pronouncement. The Mishna (IV, 493) notes, “They said this of a man’s own wife; how much more of his fellow’s wife,” while the Talmud says, “It was taught: Do not speak excessively with a woman lest this ultimately lead you to adultery” (bNed.201). Continue Reading Here
Women of The Bible - Lesson 13
THE WITCH OF EN DOR
Scripture references: 1 Samuel 28:5–25
We know little of the “witch of En Dor,” who was a medium, a woman who had contact with a familiar spirit. It is not at all certain that this woman was a Hebrew. During the conquest, En Dor was a Canaanite stronghold that the Israelites had not been able to possess (Josh. 17:11). The city did lie in Israelite-controlled territory, however, and Saul, in obedience to Deuteronomy 18’s condemnation of occult practices of every kind, had set out to exterminate all mediums and spiritists (1 Sam. 28:9).
However, when the Philistines invaded Israel, and every attempt of Saul to seek counsel from the Lord was refused, the desperate king demanded that his servants find him a medium. When one was located at En Dor, Saul went there in disguise to consult with the demon that was her spirit contact.
The woman was reluctant to conduct a seance for the disguised Saul. When promised immunity, however, she did as asked. Even then, when Samuel actually appeared, the woman “cried out with a loud voice” (v. 12). Her reaction showed that the spirit that appeared was not the familiar spirit she had called upon, but Samuel himself, who then informed Saul that he was destined to die in the coming battle with the Philistines. Her reaction shows the true “happening” of séance’s; namely, that the so-called “loved one” who appears is actually a demon in disguise. The voluntary acceptance of demonic presence opens a person up to spiritual deception and destruction. Continue Reading Here
Scripture references: Judges 10; 11
Date: About 1250 b.c.
Main contribution: Jephthah’s daughter illustrates the limitations on women’s freedom of self-determination.
Jephthah was the illegitimate son of an Israelite who was expelled by his family and clan after his father’s death. But Jephthah was an exceptional leader, and when the Ammonites attacked the Israelites, Jephthah was recalled to lead them in battle.
When Jephthah was about to lead the attack on the enemy forces he made a vow to the Lord, that “whatever comes out of the door of my house to meet me when I return in triumph from the Ammonites will be the Lord’s, and I will sacrifice it as a burnt offering” (Judg. 11:31 niv).
To Jephthah’s dismay, his only child, a daughter, was the first to come out to meet him! Crushed and miserable, Jephthah told her of the vow “that I cannot break” (Judg. 11:35 niv).
Many have concluded from this dialog that Jephthah did kill and burn his daughter as a sacrifice. However, this is unlikely, in view of the wider context of Scripture. What actually did happen is suggested in the following: Continue Reading Here
ACHSAH, CALEB’S DAUGHTER
Scripture reference: Joshua 15:13–19
Date: About 1400 b.c.
Name: Achsah [ACK-sah, meaning ankle-chain, or anklet]
ACHSAH’S ROLE IN SCRIPTURE
Achsah was the daughter of Caleb, one of the two spies who forty years earlier had urged the Israelites to trust God and invade Canaan (Num. 13). Only Caleb and his companion Joshua survived the thirty-eight years of wandering in the wilderness. Caleb, as filled with faith in his old age as he had been four decades before, attacked the Canaanite strongholds on the lands that were to be his portion after the conquest. Eager to have son’s-in-law as courageous and faith-filled as himself, Caleb promised his daughter Achsah to the man who would attack and take Kirjath Sepher.
Othniel, Caleb’s nephew, accepted the challenge and won Achsah’s hand. While Achsah had no legal right to hold land in her own name, her influence with her husband and father was critical in providing for her family. Continue Reading Here
THE “DAUGHTERS OF MEN” Noah’s Wife Sarah (Scripture reference: Genesis 6:1–5)
The phrase “daughters of men,” from Genesis 6:2, is easy to overlook but fascinating to study. The central issue in this passage is the identity of “the daughters of men” and of the “sons of God.” Some scholars have assumed that the passage describes intermarriage between the godly line of Seth and the line of Cain. There are, however, problems with this interpretation.
First, why use the phrase “sons of God” for Seth’s line, which like Cain’s line has been corrupted by the Fall?
Second, how would this union have produced “giants” (Gen. 6:4)?
Third, the phrase “sons of God” in other Old Testament Scriptures doesn’t seem to refer to humans at all!
Should this passage suggest an unnatural union of women with fallen angels, the role of these women was significant indeed. For this strange practice is closely associated with the Flood which shortly afterward destroyed life on earth.
One phrase in Genesis 6 seems to exonerate the women involved in this practice from personal fault. The text says that the sons of God “took wives for themselves of all whom they chose” (Gen. 6:2). Women did not take the initiative in this relationship, whatever it was. If we can find any parallels in Greek and Roman mythological tales of their deities’ involvement with human women, we can be confident that the “taking” was often by rape, sometimes by deceit, and never to the advantage of the women involved.
The women portrayed in Genesis 6 were victims, not partners in the betrayal of their race, for the beings who “took” them so wickedly were far more powerful than any human. Continue Reading Here
“Mother of all Living” (Scripture Reference: Genesis 2:18 & Genesis 3:21 )
The Creation Of Eve (Chap. 2)
In the process of naming the animals and birds, Adam would have noticed that there were males and females. Each one had a mate that was similar to itself, yet different. This prepared Adam for a helper who would be comparable to himself. His bride was formed from one of his ribs, taken from his side as he slept. So from Christ’s side, His Bride was secured as He shed His life’s blood in untold agony.
God gave headship to man before sin entered. Paul argues this fact from the order of creation (man was created first) and the purpose of creation (woman was made for the man) (1 Cor. 11:8-9). Also, although it was Eve who sinned first, it is by Adam, the head, that sin is said to have entered the world. He had the position of head and was thus responsible.
With the words of verse 24 God instituted monogamous marriage. Like all divine institutions, it was established for man’s good and cannot be violated with impunity. The marriage bond illustrates the relationship that exists between Christ and the church (Eph. 5:22–32). Continue Reading Here
For most of the Old Testament era the majority of people lived a rural life. This was certainly the case in the time of the judges, which extended roughly from the 1370s, after the death of Joshua and the elders who ruled with him, to David’s provision of a united monarchy around 1000 b.c. Even afterIsraelbecame a united nation, daily life changed little for most men and women. The majority lived in small village settlements, not in cities. Most people grew their own food and met other needs within the household. A few developed household industries such as making pottery or catching and drying fish.
Life in the age of the judges was difficult inIsrael. Hebrew armies under Joshua had put down organized resistance inCanaanand divided the land among the twelve Hebrew tribes, but pagan strongholds still existed. God ordered the tribes to drive out the remaining Canaanite peoples as their own population grew and they needed additional land. However Judges 1:19 sums up in a single verse the reality of the situation. Continue Reading Here