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Words of a Fether

Opinions on Faith and Life

Leading Women

No, I’m not talking about acting, but I think it’s a telling sign of society’s prejudice to assume that meaning first. People, especially Christians, believe women must not be in high government positions, believing them to be unsuited for the pressures.

As if being a wife and mother involves no pressure! We’re “merely” teaching children how to walk, talk, relieve themselves, dress themselves, and be good citizens of tomorrow. No pressure. And there is no better training for diplomacy than settling disputes between siblings. But I digress.

I can already hear the male supremacists yelling (in their deepest manly voices), “The pressures of national government are too great for a woman.” Says who? Has it been tried? Yes, and successfully so, just not in this country. Have women done everything else men declared them unable to do? Yes, everything. Can women do worse in national government than men have done? I seriously doubt that.

But only now am I really reaching the point: that men have declared that the Bible says women cannot be national government leaders. I refer to the universally mistranslated Isaiah 3:12:

Youths oppress my people, women rule over them. My people, your guides lead you astray; they turn you from the path. (TNIV)

Here is discussion on the verse by Bible scholar Dr. Katharine Bushnell:

621. I think we find another case of prejudiced translation in Isaiah 3:12. The word translated “children” in this verse in Isaiah, is a plural masculine participle of the verb “to glean,” “abuse,” “practice.” It is translated “glean” in Leviticus 19:10, Deuteronomy 24:21, Judges 20:45, and Jeremiah 6:9. The word has no translation such as “children” anywhere else in the Bible, and it occurs 21 times. Another word altogether is used for “children,” and “child,” in verses 4 and 5 of this same chapter; the sense seems to have been fixed by the supposed context, to correspond with “women.”

As to the word translated “women”: Two words, without the rabbinical vowel “points,” are exactly alike. One is pronounced nosh-im and the other na-shim. In appearance the only difference is a slight mark under the first letter of the Hebrew word na-shim. The first word means “exactors;” the one with a vowel mark under the initial letter means “women.” The entire decision, therefore, as to whether the word means one or the other depends upon OPTION. Those who pointed the word, evidently thought the nation could sink no lower than to pass under women rulers, and then translated the word “children” to match it. Commentators frequently call attention to the alternate reading. See Adam Clarke on the passage. The Septuagint translates: “As for my people, tax-gatherers (praktores) glean them, and exactors (apaitountes) rule over them.

622. There seems little in the context to support the translation “children” and “women.” But study the context as regards the other reading. After complaining of the “gleaners,” (that is, “tax-gatherers”) and “extortioners,” they are threatened in the following language: “The Lord standeth up to plead and standeth up to judge the people. The Lord will enter into judgement with the elders of His people, and the princes (”rulers,“ masculine, not feminine gender), thereof for ye have eaten up the vineyard (the conduct of extortionate tax-gatherers), and the spoil of the poor is in your houses. What mean ye that ye crush (R. V.) my people, and grind the faces of the poor?” Because of this context, we believe that OPTION took the wrong turn when it decided to translate this verse as it stands in our English version; and that this translation would have had a strong showing up of its sophistries, had educated women been on the last Revision Committee. (Source)

Gone in a few paragraphs is the sole proof text for the alleged divine wrath expressed in having women in national government’s top positions. And the Bible does show women as national leaders in good standing (Deborah, Huldah, Miriam). Excuses are offered but the fact remains that the Bible never says women can’t be national government leaders, or even that they shouldn’t be. But most importantly, it does not say that having a woman in such a position is a sign of God’s anger or judgment against a nation. And one only needs to look at how men have run governments to see that if God wanted to show his displeasure with a nation, if anything he’d surely choose a man.

Which is a telling commentary on the current presidential race in America. The fact that we have had a long string of charlatans in all three branches, with no viable alternatives having any chance at being elected, is surely a sign of God’s judgment against our nation. The people who get nominated by one of the two parties are sold out to those parties, not the people, and it matters not what a candidate’s gender or race is.

God looks on the heart, the character. To think God would turn from that and prefer an empty shell with the right “decoration” over a woman of depth and honor, would be to think God is shallow and petty and stupid. I think we should honor God by never attributing such things to him, and start looking on the heart.


A note to those eager to jump to conclusions: I most emphatically DO NOT endorse Hillary. I will never endorse anyone with such contempt for our constitution and our people. I also do not endorse any of the others. We need a Constitutionalist, not a Republican or a Democrat.
ADDED 7-10-08: Check out the LXX translation of Isaiah 3:1:
Behold now, the Lord, the Lord of hosts, will take away from Jerusalem and from Judea the mighty man and mighty woman, the strength of bread, and the strength of water,

Posted 2008-03-14 under Bible Text, Christian Living, women, government, The World, leading, Isaiah