In this Newsletter, the place of women in God´s divine plan is discussed. It presents discussions on the need to see both men and women as vessels God uses without discrimination. He speaks and listens to all without regards to whether one is a male or female. The cases of Manoah and his wife and the daughters of Zelophehad are presented.
“And the Angel of Jehovah appeared to the woman and said to her, Behold now, you are barren and do not bear. But you shall conceive and bear a son. And now, please take heed, and do not drink wine nor strong drink, and do not eat any unclean thing. For lo, you shall conceive and bear a son. And no razor shall come upon his head. For the child shall be a Nazarite to God from the womb. And he shall begin to deliver Israel out of the hand of the Philistines. And the woman came and told her husband, saying, A man of God came to me, and His face was like the face of an Angel of God, very terrifying. But I did not ask Him where He came from, neither did He tell me His name” (Jdg 13:3-6).
As indicated in the above quote, Manoah and his wife prayed together but the Lord God sent angels to bring response to the woman. It is read that Manoah prayed to God to see the angel himself so that he would instruct them about how to care for the child the Lord had promised them. The Lord answered his prayer but the angel came again to his wife (Jdg 13:8-9). When Manoah´s wife got his husband to see the angel, Manoah demanded of the angel to tell them what to do, but the angel told him that of all that he had said to the woman she should observe to do that (Jdg 13:13).
It is believed that the appearances of the angel of the Lord in the Old Testament are pre-incarnation appearances of our Lord Jesus Christ himself, because the identity of the angel seems to be that of Yahweh Himself. On the other hand, it may be that the angel’s visit is considered to be as if Yahweh were Himself present, since He conveys Yahweh’s words directly (The Preachers’ Commentary ). Why should God choose to communicate with the woman directly but not with her husband? This presupposes that God chooses whoever He chooses to speak with irrespective of their gender. Manoah´s wife was blessed to have an encounter with God. The role of this woman here is similar to that of a spiritual leader over her husband. This represents a perfect example of women empowerment.
If a wife does not understand something in the Bible or has a question to ask, she should ask from her husband (1Co 14:35) but in the case of Manoah and his wife the reverse was true. It might be said that this has nothing to do with the work of the ministry or the five-fold ministry of the Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, Pastors and Teachers (Eph 4:11). God using women as His faithful prophetesses have already been detailed in our previous Newsletter.
Daughters of Zelophehad: Mothers of Women´s Rights
It is worth nothing that discrimination of all forms against women is not the will of God. The verdict on the plight of these daughters, as detailed below, is a clear example. As the daughters of Zelophehad stood before the tabernacle of the congregation, they petitioned Moses and Eleazar, the Priest and said:
“Our father died in the wilderness, and he was not in the company of those who gathered themselves against Jehovah in the company of Korah, but died in his own sin, and had no sons. Why should the name of our father be taken away from among his family, because he has no son? Therefore give us a possession among the brothers of our father” (Num 27:3).
The daughters of Zelophehad broke a tradition because they had a just petition to present to their leaders. Moses, recognizing that the women´s case was laudable but because the law does not allow that, decided to approach God for His instruction. Many of the people of God today may only insist or make a decision based on what they feel about the situation. When Moses consulted with God, he was told that the women speak right, so he should give them a possession of an inheritance among their brethren and that the portion of their father must pass to them (Num 27:7). Hitherto, women in those times, in Israel, did not have any inheritance. Moses was further instructed by God to make it a law, that if a man dies and have no son, his inheritance should pass to his daughters (Num 27:8).
It is believed that if some of the Israelite women had petitioned Moses and the leadership of Israel again, that, it is unfair for their brothers to inherit land or property from their fathers while they inherit nothing, God might have asked Moses to distribute a person´s wealth, in the event of his/her death, equally among all his children regardless of their sex or gender. God hates unjust scale (Pro 11:1, Pro 20:23), but people must supplicate to Him for Him to act in their favor.
It could be said that, the fight for women´s right by women, is an old-age phenomenon. Our interpretations of scriptures make it appear that the world leaders are wiser and justice seekers than God. God forbid! Women´s rights or gender equality is God´s own original idea so no one should take credit for it.
Prayer: May God give us the wisdom we need, to live together as equals, while respecting and valuing each other as the image of God. Dear Lord, may your word impact our cultures to see your will for all mankind. In the name of Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen!