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Sunday, November 24, 2013

Does the Bible really say that? excerpt from my book, 11

[Continuing the topic of family headship, as shown in the Bible.] 

Much of the spiritual leadership in the Old Testament was exercised by the husband. Abraham, Jacob, and other fathers and husbands exercised spiritual leadership. Clearly Abraham, and Jonadab, (Jeremiah 35) showed spiritual leadership that lasted even after their death. But there are cases, even in the male-dominated Old Testament, where a wife took a leading role, at least for a short time.

Exodus 2:1 A man of the house of Levi went and took a daughter of Levi as his wife. 2 The woman conceived, and bore a son. When she saw that he was a fine child, she hid him three months. 3 When she could no longer hide him, she took a papyrus basket for him, and coated it with tar and with pitch. She put the child in it, and laid it in the reeds by the river’s bank. 4 His sister stood far off, to see what would be done to him. 5 Pharaoh’s daughter came down to bathe at the river. Her maidens walked along by the riverside. She saw the basket among the reeds, and sent her servant to get it. 6 She opened it, and saw the child, and behold, the baby cried. She had compassion on him, and said, “This is one of the Hebrews’ children.”

7 Then his sister said to Pharaoh’s daughter, “Should I go and call a nurse for you from the Hebrew women, that she may nurse the child for you?”

8 Pharaoh’s daughter said to her, “Go.”

The maiden went and called the child’s mother. 9 Pharaoh’s daughter said to her, “Take this child away, and nurse him for me, and I will give you your wages.”

The woman took the child, and nursed it.

Except for “a man” in verse 1, There is no mention of Amram, the father of Moses, in this passage. These verses tell us that it was Jochebed, Amram’s wife, who took action to save Moses from the death that Pharaoh desired for all male Hebrew babies. Perhaps Amram had died. Perhaps he worked so hard all day, serving the Egyptians, that he couldn’t play a role in these events. We don’t know.

There is another passage that tells us that Moses, himself, the man who had recently talked with his God, in the form of a burning bush, didn’t take spiritual leadership, while Zipporah, his wife, who was not even a Hebrew, did so:

Exodus 4:20 Moses took his wife and his sons, and set them on a donkey, and he returned to the land of Egypt. Moses took God’s rod in his hand. 21 Yahweh said to Moses, “When you go back into Egypt, see that you do before Pharaoh all the wonders which I have put in your hand, but I will harden his heart and he will not let the people go. 22 You shall tell Pharaoh, ‘Yahweh says, Israel is my son, my firstborn, 23 and I have said to you, “Let my son go, that he may serve me”; and you have refused to let him go. Behold, I will kill your son, your firstborn.’”

24 On the way at a lodging place, Yahweh met Moses and wanted to kill him. 25 Then Zipporah took a flint, and cut off the foreskin of her son, and cast it at his feet; and she said, “Surely you are a bridegroom of blood to me.”

For some reason, Moses hadn’t seen to it that his sons were circumcised. Surely he must have known about this ritual, because it was part of the covenant between Abraham and God, described in Genesis 17. Zipporah, like Jochebed, took action, and there seems to be no doubt that Moses could have, but didn’t. At least in this episode, she took spiritual leadership, when her believing husband did not.

The above is an excerpt from my recently published e-book, Does the Bible Really Say That?, which may be obtained free of charge, or purchased from Amazon for $0.99, which is the lowest price Amazon lets an author set. Scripture quotations are from the World English Bible, public domain.

The previous post in this series is here. The next post, God willing, will consider the same topic.

Thanks for reading!

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