The message is clear that Eve sinned and therefore she should not act in any of those roles mentioned or utilize any gifts for the corporate body. Adam in this verse is an innocent.
Timothy I & II are commonly attributed to Paul and it is suggested the books were written about 60 C.E. – some thirty years after the death of Jesus. This statement, however, appears to contradict other statements by Paul found in Romans (dated to the 50’s C.E.).
Let’s review the account of the sin in Genesis 3. The Tempter in the guise of the serpent came to the woman. Why the woman? This section falls directly after the second creation account explaining her origins and after how they are now to be ‘one flesh’ She had been told the rule…but apparently not taught its significance yet. The couple eats of the fruit, move from a state of innocence to one of awareness, and hide from God. When God locates them, he asks by what means they came to lose their state ignorance and innocence. The man then says, “The woman you gave me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat.” A strong argument of ignorance can be made for the woman but for the man is a conscious decision to both do that which he knew to be wrong and then to try to avoid his own responsibility.
In God’s eyes, the HUMAN was both male and female crafted in the image of God. Only later, through rabbinic commentaries, philosophers, and other writings will Adam be shown in the same light as in 1 Timothy. Indeed, some writings show Adam as an “angel” who remained untainted despite Eve’s fall.
Romans 5.12-21, carries a discussion of sin and the need and means of repentance. In verse 12 Paul writes “by one man sin entered into the world” and v.17 ‘by one man’s offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace…” and v. 19 “for as one man’s disobedience many were made sinners.” In 1 Corinthians 15: 21-2 Paul clearly writes “For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of them that slept. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.” The word used is quite often the more generic Greek term, meaning humans or humankind. It is thus clear, that Paul’s understanding in Romans was that by the first human (seen as one flesh and thus gender was unimportant?) sin entered into the world
Why then would Paul say something so diametrically opposed to his early statements? Why would he switch the blame to Eve in such a manner? Paul refers to Eve in 2 Corinthians 11:3 but clearly says by his great subtlety the serpent “beguiled” Eve and he was fearful that the Christians at Corinth might be equally deceived. To be “beguiled” is to deceive, to give false impressions, or to present oneself as something different. The word is found elsewhere in reference to someone being deceived by riches, by false teachers, etc.
Looking at the section in 1 Timothy in context it is apparent something else may be at work. The verses preceding it . Chapter 2 begins with a call to prayer for the blessings of kings that all may live “quiet and peaceable life”.
In verse 8, the writer calls for all men to “lift up holy hands, without wrath and doubting”. Then the writer plunges into verses 9-15 dealing with the conduct of women “professing godliness”. Issues of hair and appearance are in verse 9 “modest apparel”, “not with braided hair” or “gold, or pearls, or costly array”. These were not normally a part of the grooming of women at that time. Indeed, if 1st Corinthians 11 actually teaches, as some suggest, that Paul demands women be veiled – why this directive at all? Why does not the apostle simply say to the women “wear a veil”?
It is known that in the late 1st century and into the early part of the 2nd century the Roman Flavian dynasty (see images at http://www.vroma.org/~bmcmanus/flavian.html) set a trend with a flamboyant hairstyles on aristocratic women. They were so elaborate and strange that the satirist Juvenal even wrote about them.
The section just following this, verses 11-14, contradict Pauline statements in 1 Corinthians 11 and elsewhere. Rather than women being forbidden to speak, teach, or be active in other ways, Paul accepts as a norm in 1 Corinthians 11 that women will preach and pray (the prophecy refers to communication, or speech, of a divine imperative). Why does Paul contradict himself?
Finally, verse15 is a confusing and troubling verse that has vexed scholars for centuries. It infers that women are saved, not through faith in the salvation work of Jesus Christ, but through having children. This directly conflicts with Peter’s statements in Acts 4:12 that “neither is there salvation in any other…” Childbirth, clearly is not a means to salvation.
All this would suggest that the section in question may be a later addition to the letter or the letter may be a letter written by someone using the authority of Paul’s name (a common practice in the time). If not, there is a troubling contradiction of Paul’s writings and theology. Given the fact that a later time is suggested by the reference to the ornate hair styles, there is contradictory theology present in v. 15, and the fact that in the very next chapter (I Tim. 3) is a discussion of “offices” in the church, it is probable that the book was written later.
So, who sinned first? If one believes to be deceived is a sin then the text is that Eve sinned first. If one believes that that to be deceived is an act of ignorance and that to intentionally do that which is understood to be wrong, than Adam clearly sinned first. Yet, the emphasis is not one or the other. Both were seen to have sinned, both received punishments, and both had to be redeemed.
In the O.T., she was the Priestess-Queen from Tyre married to Israel’s King Ahab. As a daughter of a foreign king, no doubt trained from birth, she could be described as being politically forceful and astute, she exercised a real position of authority (based on her use of the a royal seal and her hosting the false prophets at her own table), and being committed to, and actively engaged in, her pagan faith. As a religious leader (priestess) in this pagan religion, she actively promoted it, threatened the prophets of God, played host to the priests of the pagan faith, led the worship in this pagan faith, and actively persecuted the prophets of God. (Brenner, Athalya. The Israelite Woman. JST, 1985).
The next instance of the name, crops up in Revelation 2, where it is symbolically to represent a false leader in the church at Thyatira. The characteristics of this false leader are claiming prophetic authority to teach “fornication” and “to eat meat sacrificed to idols.” The person represented by the term Jezebel (it may be a man or a woman) has emerged from a church filled with good works (love, faith, service, and patience endurance, and obvious growth in discipleship).
Several ideas of interpretation exist concerning the book of Revelation. One is that the messages of the book are directed more to the time period and not to future events. If that is the case, it is known that several strands of Gnosticism and Montanism (an ecstatic philosophy of personal revelation and prophesy) were at work in the communities around Thyatira. It is also interesting to note that the terms “fornication” and “meats offered to idols” are in Acts 15:22-29 where the Jerusalem Council asked that of all the new Gentile believers they only follow those “essentials”.
So it seems most logical that the “Jezebel” of Revelation was a person who was promoting a “different Gospel” (based on one of the philosophies mentioned) and was tolerated by the otherwise worthy church. The mention of the terms “fornication” and “meats offered to idols” would seem to indicate the issue was doctrinal. The person, the “Jezebel” (male or female), was preaching a false doctrine and being tolerated. Perhaps, even as Ezekiel was frightened off by the first Jezebel (in 1 Kings 17), this Jezebel was frightening off or intimidating people (even true prophets) by their attitude of hyper-religiousness via these new revelations or special knowledge. The “orthodox” was being overtaken by the Gnostic and its hyper-mysticism and special knowledge teaching or the Montanist super-revelation and emphasis on the supernatural.
Instead of being some ‘demon” or “spirit”, as some teach, the Revelation Jezebel would seem to suggest that the church had forgotten the teachings of Jesus that a tree is known by its fruit, of Peter that the believer must test the teaching of the false teachers and prophets, and the reminder that “all scripture” is given for “instruction”. There is no need for secret teachings, mysterious rites of initiation, or “new revelation” and to allow such teachings , as John states, "does not have God."
1 Sam. 2:22 " Now Samuel was very old and he heard how his sons were abusing the women who served at the entrance to the tent of meeting." Commentators have often labeled these women as serving girls, or even temple prostitutes allowed to infliltrate the temple life, but more likely is that they were women continuing the tradition of serving as prophets attached to the religious house as guardians, gatekeepers, prophets, and spiritual guides.
2 Chron. 34: 22 "...went to the prophet Huldah...who lived in Jerusalem in the 2nd Quarter, or the place of instruction." Authors have attempted to demote this prophet for centuries for various reasons and using various rationales. Recent attempts have been to demote her to a "librarian" (as a professional librarian I find this attempt to demean the prophet as particularly insulting - it infers that to be a librarian would have been a lesser, menial, or non important role. I think they mean to imply ( revealing their lack of research - I think they mean that she may have been a scribe or copyist). The truth is simple - she was a prophet attached to the temple, in a place known as a center of religious instruction and knowledge, her prophecies were respected, and she was honored for centuries after by having the nearby gates named for her.
Luke 2: 36-38 "There was also a prophet, Anna....she never left the temple but worshiped therewith fasting and prayer night and day...." The tendency has been to protray this woman as a shuffling old frail lady with nothing else to do but go live at the Temple - images of the widow and her mite are evoked. Simeon, the other prophet in the story, has to go to the temple but the woman is there already. I believe she was in the place of the women in Exodus, Huldah and in Samuel. A member of the prophet-warriors, prophet-teachers, prophet-prayers in which women had served the Lord for centuries....
Here is an example of just why these issues do not disappear and the need to address them continues:
"Yet, he had this to say in a 'discussion' about weather a woman needed 'spiritual covering' to operate as a minister or leader:
A woman is not to be no "spiritual covering " over a man. A man is not to be submiting to a womans leadership,thats backwards!A pastor,bishop or apostles are only men as they are only men in the scriptures. A man is not to be submiting to a womans leadership,thats out pf order and straight anti-christ. All the men of the lord treated women the way they should be treated. And when christ chose his 12 they were all men,because christ knew the order.
1Tim 3:1 does say in the original language "if a man desires the office because when you keep reading down at the rest of the qualifications it says in verse 2 that he must be the HUSBAND of one wife,a woman cannot be a husband! And in verse 4 is says One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity....THE WOMAN IS NOT TO BE RULING THE HOUSE SO THATS HOW YOU DEFINETLY KNOW ITS TALKING ABOUT A MAN.THE MAN IS THE RULER OF TTHE HOUSE!
Phoebe was not a church leader,paul said she is our sister.
And junia is not a woman,he is a man,paul said junia is his KINSMIN,thats a male relative,and he was not a church leader,he was of note among the apostles but he was not one.
He gave them dominion,but adam was still eve's head,she was taken out of him and she was his helpmeet. Nobody is excluding women,but the role of leadership is the mans job,the women can teach other women and children but not men!
Nowher in the bible did women serve as pastors,bishops,missionaries and church leaders because thats out of order and against his word and any church that is doing it or has done it was and is in error!
im not wrong,the scriptures say what they say,you just cant handle it. Diakonan does not mean leader,thats a LIE. And minister just means to help.
The name junia is a masculine name and paul makes it clear this was his KINSMAN!Thats a male relative!A kinsman and kinswoman is two different things,junia is puls kinsman,not kinswoman!Junia is a man!
I never said eve was inferior but adam was still her head from the begining.And he made adam first showing his divine order,and help meet H5828 is only used twice in genesis,it is not in psalms.
Miriam, Deborah, Huldah, Anna,Dorcas, Lydia, Phoebe were not no leaders!
Nowher in the bible does it say that!!And mary magsdelene was NOT no apostle!
Stop lying on Gods word!She was not sent on no special mission,all she did was tell the diciples that he is risen and to meet him in galilee!
THAT IS NOT PREACHING!And mary did not even go with the diciples.Why?Because thats when christ said to go teach all nations and that is not a womans job!
Nowher does it say mary was an apostle so stop lying on Gods word!And prophecy does not mean preaching or teaching!Those are seperate things!So stop lying on Gods word!"
Compare with Joel 2.28, Ephesians 4.11. Reflect on the role of the Holy Spirit in the life of the prophets and in the Church. Would we today, as modern prophets and communicators, be jealous of another who acted in the same manner? Would we have a gate keeper mentality? Would we be elitist as well? Would we recognize that in God's divine plan he has gifted the church with people who operate in certain skills areas for the purpose of doing the work of the Gospel. Some teach, some preach, and some do other things.....not on race, gender, or status in society (Gal.. 3.28). Can we do any less?
Endorsements for “Those Pesky Verses of Paul”:
“Marilyn is…a skilled writer and storyteller…It’s so refreshing to have a balanced view of the role of women in the Bible – especially one that is written by a woman!" – Megan Miles
“For the first time I was able to read a woman’s perspective on these most perplexing of scriptures, Marilyn raises the questions that have puzzled, and disturbed me for years. She brings much needed sense and sensibility to the text. She handles them with a strong spiritual depth that preserves Paul’s place in the canon while bringing some much needed fresh air to the murky, bias layered texts…” Mary Brown, Educator
Jesus interacts to change circumstances.
1. Jesus notices the man.
Go down the streets of any major urban center and you can find people. Hurry through the local market or mall and there are people. Crowded on a city bus or train or elevator - there are always people. How often do we really see them? How often do we notice them to provide simple grace, human respect, or Christian love?
2. Jesus speaks to the man,"Rise..."
Jesus is not content to allow people to remain down i nspirit, down in circumstances, or down in limitations. Jesus will always give the command to "get up!" "Arise!" "Move!"
3. Jesus directs the man to "take up thy bed"...
There are no half-way measures with Jesus, There is no slinking back down, taking the easy way...ceasing to try....No! Jesus says "take up thy bed"...gather it all together and go...stop waitng around and stop depending on anything outside of faith in God. It does not matter what your "bed" is: health, money, relationships, bad choices, fear, insincrity, lack of confidence, addiction, sin, or confusion....what ever the "bed" is pcik it up and take control of the situation through the power of God.
4. Jesus sends the man away, changed....
Faith put into action...one foot in front of the other....heading off...into service...into witness...into mission...."walk!!"
Preparation: The altar area should be decorated with various sized ornamental urns, vases, and flasks. Worship leaders may wear appropriate first century woman’s dress, robes or plain clothing. If possible perfume or some fragrant oil can also be used to add to the experience.
Call to Worship: Christ awaits! How will we respond? Do we hesitate counting the cost to our reputations or how it might impede our stature? Do we hesitate because we fear how others will see our decision? Do we pause swamped by personal shame, guilt and a sense of our unworthiness? Christ awaits! How will we respond? How…how….will we respond?
Response (Four readers, storytellers or dancers):
Read or share from The Word:
Reader 1: Matthew 26:7-13
“A woman came to him having an alabaster flash of very costly fragrant oil, and she poured it on his head sat He sat at the table.”…. “But when Jesus was aware of it, he said to them, “Why do you trouble the woman? For she has done a good work for Me…for in pouring this fragrant oil on my body, she did it for my burial…I say to you, wherever this gospel is preached in the whole world, what this woman has done will also be told as a memorial to her.”
Reader 2: Mark 14: 3-9
“And being in Bethany at the house of Simon the Leper…a woman came having an alabaster flask if very costly oil of spikenard. Then she broke the flask and poured it on his head…..Jesus said, “Let her alone. Why do you trouble her? She has done a good work for me….She has done what she could…Assuredly, I say to you , wherever this gospel is preached in the whole world, what this woman has done will also be told as a memorial to her.”
Reader 3: Luke 7: 36-50
“..a certain woman in the city who was a sinner, when she knew that Jesus sat at the table….brought an alabaster flask of fragrant oil, and stood at his feet…weeping, and she began to wash his feet with her tears and wiped them with the hair of her head; and she kissed his feet and anointed them with the fragrant oil….Simon I have something to say to you…” and then “Do you see this woman?...Your sins are forgiven….your faith has saved you. Go in peace.”
Reader 4: John 12: 2-8
“Then six days before the Passover, Jesus came to Bethany….there they made him a supper and Martha served…then Mary took at pound of very costly oil of spikenard, anointed the feet of Jesus and wiped his feet with her hair…”
I wonder, did Mary pause for moment as she pulled the alabaster flask from its place of honor in her life. Did she examine once more the lovely palette of colors – the fawn and the ivory and the browns as they waved through the stone? Did she open the flask and breathe deeply, one last time, of the fine scented oil that rested within? Did the scent of the oil that had cost so much….for which she had paid in so many different ways over the years… make her grasp it tighter for just a moment? Did she, for just a second or two, hesitate in her actions?
Or, so consumed with love and adoration for the changes made in her life by this one person, did she act with impulsive speed? Was she eager to rush to Jesus, the one who had restored her brother to life, who had given her reason for living, and who had caused a dream to spark into flickering life in her heart? A spark of hope that better days lay ahead replacing all the empty, fruitless, yesterdays? Did she, instead, grab the flask without a thought, without a hesitation, without a fear, as she dashed in childlike haste to the room where Jesus sat at meal?
[Lifting up one of the large jars or flasks, hold it high so all can see it and then replace it on the altar or table. If possible pour the fragrant oil or perfume out into another vessel so its aroma begins to spread or pass around an open vessel with aromatic oil or perfume]
What are the jars in our lives we have hoarded as too valuable to use? What treasures are we tempted to never share? What have we stockpiled for a rainy day that never comes?
Are we the complaining and corrupt followers who can only talk of wasted resources instead of seeing the restoration of relationships? Can we see no further than the interruption of someone deemed so unworthy or beneath our notice? What is released through the gift of the fragrant oil to rise up as an offering of love to God? What barriers or walls crumble under the onslaught of tears? Rising from the feet of Jesus –renewed and restored - what is His direction for us?
What is our precious alabaster flask? What have we hidden away for some future use? What is our oil? Is it the control of our life? Is it a relationship that has gotten in the way of our spiritual growth? Is it pride? Is it an addiction? Is it a dependence on friends and family instead of God? Is it a gift or talent that might enrich the world if released?
This scene shown in each of the Gospels is about love expressed without concern of dignity or rejection; it is about the sacrifice of things we hold to have value; it is about forgiveness so complete that to not act in thanksgiving becomes impossible; it is about recognizing the most valuable things in life are not our possessions, not our status, and not our looks, but it is our relationship with God.
[Lift the flask once more]
“Why trouble this woman?” the Lord said. Why trouble the repentant who wish to only express their devotion? Why trouble the person whose thanksgiving is passionate and dramatic? Why trouble the person who values the true things over the worthless?
Have you….dear friends…brothers and sisters….have you brought an alabaster flask of fragrant oil, and stood at his feet…weeping, washing the feet of the Lord with your tears and anointing them with the things you once valued…with the fragrant oil we once horded and treasured…
”Jesus says: “I have something to say to you…Do you see this woman,” he asked. She is every man and every woman in this moment. “Your sins are forgiven”, he tells all who will hear “….your faith has saved you. Go in peace -
“Stand fast in the liberty by which Christ has made us free and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage”. Galatians 5.1
“Be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might.” Ephesians 6:10
“..For I will be merciful toward their unrighteous deeds and I won’t remember their sins ever again.” Hebrews 8:12.
“Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord.” 1 Thess. 5:23
“…the Spirit’s law of life in Christ Jesus has freed you from sin‘s law and death.” Romans 8:2.
May the God of grace, love and peace now affirm that you are the child of God, a daughter of faith, and a full member of the Body of Christ. This is the message of Jesus to all women and all men. As we remember her act of selfless love and adoration and feel faith stirred within us to kneel at the feet of Jesus and know we are forgiven.
Your life is the priceless flask opened to bless and anoint.
You are the treasure hidden and now released to show others the way.
The sweet aroma of grace and love surround you and all those you encounter.
Stand firm in the belief of Jesus Christ, the Elder Brother of the Redeemed, who is able to keep you and guide you and bless you all the days of your life.
He seemed to be older than time, more mummified creature than human being, until I looked into his eyes. A flash of something danced across the shadowy eyes and I told myself I was simply seeing things. Despite my rationale assurances, and the sweater I wore, I shivered.
“I didn’t mean to come in here.” I tried not to stammer but found I suddenly had little control. “This is a mistake. I must have come down the wrong street.”
“No, no, this is the place alright.” He stabbed a dry finger toward the front door. “The Game Shop. See, says so right there on the door.” He exhaled a dusty spore of breath and I realized he was laughing. “I’ve been expecting to see you come back one of these days”.
“I don’t want to play anymore games. I must have taken a wrong turn back there somewhere. I was following someone, and I must have lost sight of him in the crowd along Broadway.”
“So you say….”
“No, truly, I don’t want to play anymore.”
“Ha! I’ve heard that one before and told by some of the best.” He chuckled and the sound was obscene; as if a door to a particularly vile scene had been opened for a brief moment. “Here, take a look at these new arrivals. These little pets are used so much they are always being updated and reissued.”
He brandished his bony hand in a theatrical little gesture and pulled a box from beneath the counter. He shoved it across to me. “This game is called Pick a Little. Really livens things up, let me tell you!”
“’Discover the critic in you,’” I read. “’Tear friends apart just the bare tongue.’”
Halting as I realized what I was reading, I stepped back and shook my head. “I can’t… No, I am not interested in that.”
“Practice the art of creative invention,” he noted with a sly wink in my direction. “Yes, sir, that’s a goodun’.”
I knew this game and knew I had once played it like so many. It reminded me of a bunch of squawking chickens rooting around in the dirt from some sliver of food. Scratching, clawing, and digging in the muck for something morsel to devour. I began to feel weak, as if tiny biting beaks were already digging into my flesh. I shoved it hard across the counter. “Take it away!”
I turned then to find the exit, but the shop had grown dim, as if giant shadows huddled near, bending low to catch each whisper of sound. The aisles seemed to have grown together as well so that they seemed to obscure the faint square of light leading to the street. Clutching at my throat I realized that it suddenly seemed so hard to breathe.
“Ah, I know what you need. What you want. You like an action-packed game, don’t you?”
From the shelf behind he pulled another box. “Read that!”
“’Kill the Wounded’”. I read the name aloud and felt the words cleave to my tongue. I’d been on the receiving end of this vile game and the memory still had the power to make me ill.
“Yep, this one’s a real winner. This one is really popular among Christians. They are some kind of extreme players there, let me tell you. As I said, lots of players for this one, although not all my customers will admit to playing this game. For obvious reasons, they have to keep that part mum.”
The lurid cover of the box drew my yes. I saw a guerilla fighter holding an Uzi with bodies littering the background. I leaned in closed and saw a button on the soldier’s beret reading, “Smile Jesus Loves You.”
“With this little honey you can learn to kill people by telling them things “for their own good.” A sneer slashed across his face. Added bonus to this one, buy it and we through in how to kick ‘em when they are down. Now let me see, where did I put that other one?” With a giggle the old man found it. “Leaning closer he urged me to take a closer look. “This is for the intellectual,” he stated in a whisper.
He slid a book shaped like a human head across the counter. It was called the Two Faces of Steve. Suddenly I felt hot and breathless. I desperately needed air. “I don’t like your games. I won’t, I won’t, play them anymore.”
“Nonsense! Everybody plays my games.” He nodded to a far corner where a man browsed through a rack labeled “Golden Oldies”. I recognized him as a man I had seen in my church.
As I turned back I found another box on the counter. On its cover was a picture of a pile of human bones with a man standing on top with a flag.
“That’s a real best seller you’ve got there. Top of the Kill. Out sold even Two Faces, and that’s not easy to do. Here, take a look at what it says.”
As if he had strings tied to my eyes they followed his grimy finger to the text. “Climb to the top over their dead bodies. Be the best – be the most spiritual – the most holy – no matter what.”
I stumbled back in disgust at the box and the man and the airless little hole in the wall of a storefront. I felt such a keen revulsion that I was dizzy. Yet….yet….there was a drawing power to the games that tugged at me. It was like a magnet pulling me, inexorably, toward them and deeper into the little shop.
“It’s not right to use people. It’s not right to trick people. It’s – “
“Are you telling me,” he sneered. “Or trying to convince yourself?”
“Highly useful though. You have to admit, it saves a lot of time too. Don’t be such a spoilsport. Join all your friends”
“It’s a vile little place-”
“I’ll have you know,” he fumed, “that this little store does a brisk business! Oh my yes, this a mighty popular little place to shop,”
“Christians,” I leaned in across the counter and said through gritted teeth, “Real Christians, don’t do these things!”
He cackled again. “Everyone plays them. Nearly every one of my customers is a Christian.”
The bell clanged as another customer slipped in and, seeing the boxes on the counter, grabbed at them like a greedy child. The woman dragged a handful of bills from her bag and hurried out of the shop with a triumphant air. A heavy black tide of nausea surged through me as the bell and the old man’s laughter mingled.
There was anger also.
“No! I’m tired of these miserable little games. I’m sick of people destroyed by your kind….yes, and my kind. Our kind. I’m sick of people who can only destroy and harm other people. I’m fed up with you and this… garbage you peddle.’
“Garbage? This is a high quality establishment with only the finest stock. Tired are we, Miss Hoity-Toity? Give me a greenback for every time I heard some sad-sack says that! Take a look around. People keep me in good business.”
The bell clanged again as if to emphasize his claim and another shadowy figure slipped into the dank little shop.
“Yes. They keep me in a mighty good, even brisk, business at that! So go on get out here! Leave. See if I can even care. You may get tired but there are plenty more. I may not see you again, but they’ll keep me open. Just watch and see.”
As if my newfound determination had cleared the air, I could see clearly out the hazy windows into the street beyond. Like a drowning swimmer bobbing back into the fresh air and sunshine, I darted out the door to the street beyond. I breathed deeply in the bright sunshine feeling as if I needed a hot shower to cleanse me of an oily taint that could stain the soul.
At the head of the street, I caught sight of my companion. “How had I ever lost sight of him?” I hurried to catch up. He saw me and stopped. He motioned for me to catch up, and as I joined him on the street, I heard the shop’s tinny, off-key bell ring once more.
“A squeaky door opens as a new customer creeps in…
A jangling bell speaks in a shop with no locks…
The shopkeeper smiles a wide toothy grin….
As he turns to take down another shiny box….”
--Originally published in the IPHC Advocate. All rights returned to the author.
"And he made lavers of brass, and the foot of it brass of the lookingglasses of the women assembled at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation." Other translations clarify this to read "mirrors of the women who served at the entrance to the tent of meeting." (New Interpreter's Study Bible, Abingdon, 2003). From what we know from the evidence of Miriam's entry into the "tabernacle of the congregation"(*) with the Lord and Huldah's presence in and around the temple, these too may have been prophets to whom the people went for instruction or a "word from the Lord".
(*) Numbers 12.4-5. Note that although Miriam and Aaron complain because of the marriage of Moses to another woman. God called out to Moses, Miriam, and Aaron..."Come out ye three unto the tabernacle of the congregation. And they three came out. And the Lord came down in the pillar of the cloud, and stood in the door of the taberncale....." God then affirms that it is God who calls the prophet and gives the prophet their directions, often through, through visions and dreams. This section is not about condemning Miriam - for being a prophet as some suggest -but in a disciplinary action so that the difference between the intimate relationship being modeled between God and Moses could be fully realized. The formation of the Priesthood and the Laws would be the means of instructing the people and the prophets would be there to instruct and call to repentence. For Christians this is a foreshadow of the relationship made possible through Jesus Christ. In Galatians 3:21-25 this is made clear by the Apostle Paul: " Is the law then against the promises of God? God forbid: for if there had been a law given which could have given life, ...righteousness should have been by the law....But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed.Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith." (KJV).
- God will raise up prophets "from among " the people.
- God will put the words in their mouth;
- The Prophet will then speak all of the words God gives.
- God requires the person listening to take heed to the words - because they will be held responsible.
- Prophets can "presume" to speak words they think are from God but are really their own ; Prophets can speak in the name of other Gods:
- The result will be the same - they shall die.
- The standard to measure a prophet is simple: If they speak in the name of the Lord and the thing doe not comes to pass...do not fear that prophet as a communicator of God's word. They speak presumptuously or in error or in a worst case, falsely on behalf of other Gods.
Later, this will lead to what Bible scholars call "prophetic speech", a manner of speech that is adopted to demonstrate their authority and position as a prophet of God. As one reads the prophets over and over again the preface will be "Thus saith the Lord". This is the "prophets formula."
I am she who walks between the worlds;
That old and lonely place, Lost place.
Void of all who care.
The fertile moment before the moment,
The pause between each breath.
The void before the deed
The vacuum before the place.
And the sound before the bell;
The in-drawn breath filling the great bellows of the surf
And the lull before the storm;
The ticking second between the lightening and the thunder-
And, the idea before the word.
Caught forever in that old and lonely place, Lost place,
Void of all who care.
I am she who walks between the worlds;
Bridging past and future;
The mighty warrior of the truth.
The vacuum before the place
And the sound before the bell
The indrawn breath filling the great bellows of the surf
… And the lull before the storm.
Strangely, much of what we see of this woman involves water: by the river side, by the sea, and in Kadesh, after her death, Moses strikes the rock to get water when the people complained. Water, to people in a desert, arid land, was a precious commodity of great value. It may be significant that so much of the sparse details we have of this woman connect her with the life giving, restorative water.
Marilyn A. Hudson
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