Order in the Body of Messiah

Applying the Torah to the Way We Conduct Our Messianic Assemblies

By David M Rogers

www.BibleTruth.cc

Published: December 2010  Updated: February 2015

Table of Contents

Role Reversals: Feminism and The Emasculation of Men

Chaos and Disorder in Our Messianic Assemblies

The Order Established at Creation

Genesis 1:26-27 - Male and Female: Created With Different Form and Function

Genesis 2:18-20 - Woman as Man's Helper

Genesis 2:21-24 - Adam was Formed First, Then Chava

Genesis 3:1-7 - The Woman was Deceived

Genesis 3:8-19 - The Order in Which Elohim Addressed the Perpetrators

Genesis 3:16 - The Dominion of Man Over His Woman

Headship and Subordination

Ephesians 5:23-24 - Man is Head of His Wife

1 Corinthians 11:3-10 - The Covering as a Sign of Authority

1 Corinthians 11:7 - The Image and Glory of Elohim

1 Corinthians 11:11-16 - The Covering of the Woman is Her Long Hair

Ephesians 5:21 - Does Paul Teach Mutual Submission?

Should Women Be Silent in the Congregation?

1 Timothy 2:9-15

1 Peter 3:1-6

1 Corinthians 14:29-38

Where Does the Torah Teach the Headship of Man Over His Wife?

Numbers 30:2 - The Case of a Man Who Takes a Vow

Numbers 30:3-5 - The Case of a Young Woman Living in Her Father's House Who Takes a Vow

Numbers 30:6-9 - The Case of an Unmarried Woman Who Takes a Vow and Then Gets Married

Numbers 30:10-16 - The Case of a Wife Who Takes a Vow

Numbers 5:11-31 - The Case of a Spirit of Jealousy

Numbers 12:1-16 - The Case of Miriam's Rebuke

The Biblical Role of Headship and Leadership For Men

Genesis 5 - The Biblical Genealogies

Genesis 12:1-5 - The Calling of the Patriarchs

Exodus 3-4 - Mosheh and Aharon as Leaders in Yisrael

Exodus 18:14-26 - The Advice of Yitro

Numbers 26 - Inheritance in Israel

Numbers 18:1-7 - The Male Only Priesthood

Matthew 10:1-4 - Messiah's Apostles

Titus 1:5-9 - Elders in the Body of Messiah

Biblical Role Models For Women

The Submissiveness of Sarah

The Servant's Attitude of Rivqah (Rebecca)

Abigail - Wife and "Maidservant" of David

Queen Esther's Obedience

Proverbs 31 - The Virtuous Woman

Order in Our Messianic Assemblies

1 Timothy 3:1-15 - Conduct in the Assembly

1 Corinthians 14:26-40 - A Fitting and Orderly Way

A Final Word

Addendum: Paul on Women Speaking in Church by Benjamin B. Warfield


Anyone who is old enough to remember the old courtroom dramas on television is familiar with the scenario where a witness says or does something outrageous in the court which causes a gasp to arise from the spectators, to which the judge, pounding his gavel on his desk, cries out, "Order in the court!  Order in the court!"  At this declaration, everyone settles down and a respectful hush fills the room once again.  And the business of the court proceeds.

Our Messianic Assemblies are a lot like those old courtroom dramas.  The business of reading and proclaiming the Word of Elohim takes place in our meetings on the appointed days.  With the reading of the Torah portions, writings and prophets comes the time of midrash - the discussion and commentary on the Scriptures.  And here is where the confusion and disorder takes place.

In most congregations, pretty much anyone present is given the opportunity to share their insights, thoughts and opinions about the interpretation of Scripture.  Too frequently those opinions take us far away from the subject matter.  Much time gets wasted following these rabbit trails and traditional thought patterns brought on by those who are driven by doctrines which they brought with them from some other place.  Even more egregious is when women who seek attention and "affirmation" use the opportunity of the open microphone to get noticed and to be heard.  This is their chance to show everyone their leadership role in the family and their superiority over their husbands. 

Sometime during the gathering or worship service someone will ask for prayer for a friend in need and will use this opportunity to wag the tongue over that person while begging the assembly to "pray for him."   By the end of the midrash of the Torah portion, men will have been belittled and demeaned, women will have been esteemed above men, the mutterings of a child will have been suggested as containing greater wisdom than anything the elders could have offered, and the opinions of novices and beginners will have been given equal time and weight as the teachings and sage wisdom of the elders.

It is not supposed to be this way.  Someone needs to stand up and set the record straight about what the Torah teaches regarding order and etiquette in the assembly.  It's about time those who call themselves Rabbis and Pastors and Elders and Teachers put an end to all the disorder and chaos and the spewing of opinion and private interpretations of Scripture and the women teaching the men.  It's time that they cry out, "Order in the Body!  Order in the Body!"

For all the problems and growing pains we experience, perhaps the most distractive and destructive practice in our Messianic Assemblies and the one which no one seems interested in addressing is our failure to conduct the miqras in an orderly fashion, as the Bible tells us to.  Sheliach Sha'ul (apostle Paul) teaches us that

The spirits of prophets are subject to the control of prophets.  For Elohim is not a Elohim of disorder but of peace. As in all the congregations of the saints, women should remain silent in the assemblies. They are not allowed to speak, but must be in submission, as the Law says. (1 Corinthians 14:32-34)

If we really want to mimic that first generation of disciples of Messiah and adopt their way of conducting our gatherings and obey the clear teaching of the Torah, we must recognize that everyone has a role and place in the family of Elohim.  At that time, women were not allowed to speak, but were held in submission, as the Torah teaches.  Hey, this is not my personal opinion nor is this a personal preference.  I don't have a dog in this fight.  I am not proffering a new doctrine or a new interpretation.  The Bible clearly and plainly says this.

We will come back to this passage later and dissect it, but for now note that Paul concludes his teaching here with an exhortation which we all need to hear:

Therefore, my brothers, be eager to prophesy, and do not forbid speaking in tongues. But everything should be done in a fitting and orderly way. (1 Corinthians 14:39-40)

There is a time and place for everything.  But the miqra gatherings are not the time and place for everyone to voice an opinion.  The teaching of the Scripture should be done by the elders and teachers in an orderly and fitting manner, as the Bible lays out for us.

In this article, we wish to explore the roles and responsibilities of men and women in the home and in the congregation as taught in the Torah of Mosheh and in the rest of the Scriptures.  I know that there are many women and even many men who will not want to hear what I am about to present in this study article and some will even vehemently oppose my interpretation.  But each should ask himself/herself the question: Do I want to live my life according to Yahuwah's way or do I want to do it my own way?  If you want to have your religion your own way, then you may as well stop reading this right now and go do something else.  But if you truly want to know Yahuwah's will in these matters, then consider the biblical evidence and teaching which I am about to present.

I am not on a personal quest against women nor am I trying to muster an authority to myself that Elohim hasn't given.  I do not hate women.  I am not a chauvinist.  I wish to merely present the biblical model for the authority in the home and in the congregation as it is taught in the Torah and in the rest of Scripture.  The Body of Messiah will be well served if everyone would live up to the roles and responsibilities which Elohim has instituted for us.  It is up to all of us to hear what Yahuwah says and repent of what we have been doing and bring back some semblance of sanity to the Body of Messiah.

Role Reversals: Feminism and The Emasculation of Men

I doubt that anyone would seriously argue that a reversal of roles of men and women has not taken place in our post-modern era.  The 20th century has seen a radical transformation from traditional biblical values to decidedly non-traditional choices.  Women want to be like men.  And men are happy to assume a more passive and submissive role to women!  This role reversal, which began with the modern onset of feminism and has escalated into a virtual emasculation of men, has seen the exaltation of women over men in every arena of life.  Thus, as the 21st century begins to unfold, our young boys and girls hardly know the difference (aside from the biological) between the sexes.

Modern feminism - the theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes - was officially launched in the west in 1920 with the passing of the 19th amendment to the Constitution.  This legislation, which gave American women the right to vote, has changed the dynamics in the relationship between men and women by effectively awarding wives veto power over their husbands.  This authority given by the government to women empowered them inside the home, too.  It enabled women to exercise additional arm twisting power over their husbands in ways that neutered their husbands authority in the marriage relationship and in the home.  Since the woman has the right to have her voice heard, she can defy her husband by neutralizing any choice or decision made by her husband.  The man no longer speaks for his household because he is no longer the head of his household.

With the roles of men and women in disarray, the liberal, anti-God women's groups began directing women to look for careers outside the home to find fulfillment.  They were told and believed that in order to reach their maximum potential in life, they must seek independence from their husbands and have a meaningful occupation outside of the home.  As women did this, the very fabric of the marriage relationship began to erode away.  And while both parents were working outside the home, the children were left to others for their care and upbringing.  This detaching of the children from their parents has driven a wedge between the generations in what came to be known as "the generation gap" and has further advanced the breakdown of the family.

Meanwhile, as the woman continued to attain "equality" with man in every area, the feminazis were not satisfied with the new status quo.  In their arrogance, they pushed further to make women the superior sex.  In their view, they should exercise control over their male counterparts.  Women in the workplace are no longer working alongside the men.  They have become the bosses and supervisors, the presidents and the CEOs.

This upheaval in the social order which elevated women to a place of superiority understandably also led to the subordination of men.  When men have voluntarily ignored and forfeited their God given responsibility to be head in the home and lead the family and community in the pursuit of righteousness, they have become feminized and weak.  They are the butt of jokes and are portrayed by the media as foolish and silly.  As generation after generation of men have ignored their responsibility in bringing fatherly discipline and instruction to their sons, men have lost touch with what is really means to be a good father.  In a word, men have become wimps because they no longer know how to act like men.  They have lost their masculinity.

Anyone who has access to the media - radio, television, internet - knows that in all the sit-coms, dramas, advertising, virtually everywhere where people meet and interact, woman are portrayed as intelligent, clever, intuitive, leaders, imaginative, decisive, in control of their environment and likeable.  Men, on the other hand, are generally represented as mindless, uninformed, wimpy, effeminate, out of touch, out of style, imbeciles whose only interests are television, beer, sports and sex.  Men are emasculated daily by a world obsessed with political correctness which wants men to fail dismally and women to triumph over men.

The bottom line of it all is that a godless world of people want all vestige of the Judeo-Christian ethics to go away.  They want to destroy family values and roles.  They want to eliminate sexual mores and biblical morality.  They want God and the Bible out of their sight and influence.  They want to cast off all righteous guidelines and boundaries.  They want talk of Messiah to be relegated to private gatherings.  Much like the Psalm that says,

Why do the nations conspire and the peoples plot in vain?  The kings of the earth take their stand and the rulers gather together against Yahuwah and against his Anointed One.  "Let us break their chains," they say, "and throw off their fetters." (Psalm 2:1-3)

The godless, secular world wants to throw off the righteous standards of Elohim so they can have it their own way.  But the Psalm goes on to say that Elohim laughs at them and then rebukes them.

Chaos and Disorder in Our Messianic Assemblies

It is unfortunate that the Christian church has always been skewed by secular influences and traditions.  So, what happens in the Christian churches and Messianic assemblies is usually a mere reflection of what is happening in the world.  This phenomenon of role reversals in the world, to no one's surprise, is mirrored in the church.  Christianity has adopted the world's attitudes in fashion, the arts and music, and to some extent its mores.  This is echoed in a new generation of believers who look like the world in their dress and hair styles, sound like the world in their "contemporary Christian music" and in their speech, and act like the world in their acceptance of promiscuous sex, alternative sexual lifestyles and a cool acceptance of divorce and remarriage.

As you might expect, when we look at the life of the church, we observe all the same rampant unrestrained sin issues that we see in the world.  Yet, the problem of chaos and disorder in the assembly is not a new one.  It's an age old struggle.  It didn't begin with the modern feminist movement.  People throughout history have had the tendency to be weak and weak-willed.  Men who don't follow the Torah as given in the Scriptures have forfeited their inherent authority as head of the house and leaders of the congregation.

One of the fall outs of men not being men is that women have been forced to take on the responsibilities that their men have faltered on.  For lack of a father who is spiritual leader in the home, women have taken it upon themselves to fill the gaping hole left by a disinterested father.  They have picked up the slack and have become the authoritative figure on the family.  Dad just sits around the house watching television or going out with the boys to the bar or to a ball game.  He has lost sight of his children's fears, concerns, needs and interests and is out of touch with their growth and development, not to mention their relationship with the living Elohim.

When men drop the ball, the women are left to pick up the slack.  Mothers have become the disciplinarian in the home, the Bible teacher to the kids, and the only parent who seems to know what's going on in the life of the family.  Women have become the prayer leaders, advise givers and spiritual directors to the children.  And this attitude and role responsibility spills over into the roles and activities of women in the congregation.

In the assembly of Yahuwah, women freely speak, even though the Bible clearly and unambiguously teaches that they should be silent.  They are not only encouraged to speak up and ask questions, but also are teachers and Bible study leaders and preachers to the entire congregation.  Women offer their gossip and their judgments and opinions about every matter.  Women want to be seen as the experts in Bible understanding and exposition.  They offer their insights and opinions about every topic raised and will give an opinion about things not even relevant to the Bible portion being investigated.  Meanwhile, the men may offer a few uncertain insights, but at the end of the day, the women come across as wearing the pants in the family.

As it stands now, we see very little distinction whatsoever in the roles and responsibilities of men and women in the congregation of Yahuwah.  The body of Messiah is operating in utter chaos and is out of sync with the biblical model.  We often see either one of two scenarios in the churches.  The first is that one man is the pastor of the church, preacher and teacher, song leader and director, chief bottle washer and cook, and president of the church board whose voice and opinion is the only one that counts.  Or, secondly, the congregation is essentially run by emasculated men (sometimes with their co-partner) who can't make a decision on their own and must run everything by their wife for approval.  Where's the authority in that?

So its hard to deny that some women have taken it upon themselves to usurp a role in the family and in the congregation that Yahuwah did not intend for them to have.   Our assemblies really are in a state of chaos and disorder - though its not only the women's fault.  It is everyone's fault.  Men have abdicated their responsibilities and women have adopted those roles left behind by a slacking body of men.  All must take equal share of the blame for the problems this has caused, and all must do their part to restore order and civility as Elohim intended it to be in his body in assembly.

We must return to operating the body of Messiah in the manner which is taught and modeled in the Scriptures.  There is so much blessing to be received when we begin worshipping in the way Yahuwah has instructed.  And, I suspect, we will then be able to resolve our many conflicts and issues without each one of them being an occasion for yet another church split and disenfranchisement of our brothers and sisters.

The Order Established at Creation

At the center of the debate over the biblical roles and responsibilities of men and women is the hotly contested statement made by Paul in his letter to Timothy.

A woman should learn in quietness and full submissionI do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man; she must be silent.  For Adam was formed first, then Chava (Eve).  And Adam was not the one deceived; it was the woman who was deceived and became a sinner.  (1 Timothy 2:11-14)

Wow!  Does Paul really mean this?  Should women stay silent when in congregation?  Paul says a woman should not teach a man or have authority over a man.  This is quite offensive to many.

It has been suggested by some that Paul's apparent chauvinism is rooted in a narrow view of women which was prejudiced by cultural influences and the patriarchic thinking of the times, rather than being based on Scriptural mandate.  If this were so, then we might just shrug off Paul's "advice" on the matter, and dismiss his teaching as irrelevant in the modern world.

Yet, it's clear that Paul is not arguing from some time sensitive, cultural reference point.  Instead, Paul bases his instruction about women being silent on two distinct recorded biblical events from the beginning which lay the foundation for his exhortations - Adam was formed first and Adam was not the one deceived.  A hierarchy or order is suggested in these details.  If indeed the roles of men and woman are rooted in what Elohim had established at creation, then we need to understand the creation account and what it teaches about order. 

Furthermore, in 1 Corinthians 14, Paul cites four more reasons why women should be silent in the congregation:

As in all the congregations of the saints, women should remain silent in the assemblies. They are not allowed to speak, but must be in submission, as the Torah says.  If they want to inquire about something, they should ask their own husbands at home; for it is disgraceful for a woman to speak in the assembly.

Did the word of Elohim originate with you? Or are you the only people it has reached?  If anybody thinks he is a prophet or spiritually gifted, let him acknowledge that what I am writing to you is the Master's command.  If he ignores this, he himself will be ignored.  (1 Corinthians 14:29-38)

Paul suggests these four additional reasons why women should be silent - it is the common practice everywhere the saints are gathered, the Torah itself teaches this, it would be disgraceful for a woman to speak in the assembly and this is the Master's command.  Does the Torah really teach that women should be submissively silent?  Where in the Torah?  Give me details, please.

Altogether, Paul rehearses these 6 distinct reasons why women should walk in submission and exercise silence when in congregation:

1. Adam was formed first, then Chava.

2. The woman was deceived and became a sinner.

3. There is no other practice in all the congregations of the saints but for women to remain silent.

4. The Torah says that women should be submissive.

5. It is disgraceful for a woman to speak in the assembly.

6. What Paul is saying about the role of women is a command from the Master.

We will take time to examine each one of these reasons in detail.  First, we will look at the creation account, and later we will investigate the rest of the Torah to see where it teaches this behavior.  And we will see what Peter and Paul say about the roles of men and women in the congregation based on those things taught in the Torah.

So, let's launch our investigation into the biblical roles of men and women by examining what Elohim arranged and ordered when he created heaven and earth.  And as we explore the creation account we will see how Elohim made men and women to operate and the authority structure he established between them.

Genesis 1:26-27 - Male and Female: Created With Different Form and Function

Then Elohim said, "Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground."  So Elohim created man in his own image, in the image of Elohim he created him; male and female he created them.

The creation of mankind is described in Genesis 1.  The Hebrew word ~d'a' (pronounced adam) is first translated man but can also be rendered mankind.  In this introductory statement, adam designates mankind.  Here mankind is made in the image of Elohim, and they will rule.  The they clearly indicates a plurality, and verse 27 clarifies the meaning of they where it says that Elohim created male and female.  Thus, adam consists of male and female.

There are several things that we can ascertain from this account.  First, mankind was made in the image of Elohim.  We could debate and discuss the many possible meanings and ramifications of being made in the image of Elohim, but this would derail us from the purpose of this study.  Suffice it to say that mankind made in the image of Elohim has many traits and characteristics that Elohim has.  Man has reasoning and creativity akin to Elohim.  And man has emotional capabilities like Elohim and certain authority over the creation as given to him by Elohim, as well as many other aspects which are similar to Elohim.

More importantly, our text indicates that the image of Elohim is stamped into both male and female.  So, both male and female have Elohim-likeness.  In this thing, male and female are alike and equals - both are valuable to Elohim because they reflect the image or likeness of Elohim.  Both, standing in his image, have special and unique characteristics which show that they were both made for a purpose.

But this text also alludes to the very important distinctions between male and female in their form and function.  Male and female have some very obvious biological and anatomical differences which translate into distinct functional roles.  Men are physically bigger and stronger than women, which equips them in being the provider and protector of the woman.  And men have the anatomical tools to produce and to implant the seed for reproduction of the race.  Women uniquely have the physical attributes conducive to developing and nurturing human life inside her body from seed to breathing, fully functioning life.  And they have the equipment to continue feeding and nourishing the baby until it can eat solid food (and beyond).

Yet the differences between male and female are much more than the obvious physical form and function.  Their emotional makeup, their goals, interests, desires and pursuits are common yet quite distinct in their proportion and application.  For example, men tend to gravitate to mechanical and intellectual pursuits and activities.  They like to work with their hands in creating and innovating, and they use their reasoning skills to solve problems.  These tendencies are not man's alone but tend to be more robust in men than in women.  Women, on the other hand, are highly motivated by feelings and emotions, which make them quite suitable for showing compassion and assistance, caring for the needy and nurturing children - to name only a few things.  Women have a tendency to make decisions emotionally, and therefore don't always make rational choices.

Male and female have been designed by their creator with different form and function.  The physical functions are obvious and undeniable.  And the emotional and psychological differences between male and female are the topics of countless studies and can be easily researched from the books and papers written.  Since their respective personalities and tendencies are so clearly different, shouldn't we be open to consider the biblical evidence that Elohim created them with different roles and responsibilities, too?  We only desire here to point them out in summary fashion to show that the similarities and distinctions between male and female were infused into them by their Creator and serve the different inherent functions, responsibilities and roles given to males and females.

Genesis 2:18-20 - Woman as Man's Helper

Yahuwah Elohim said, "It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him."  Now Yahuwah Elohim had formed out of the ground all the beasts of the field and all the birds of the air. He brought them to the man to see what he would name them; and whatever the man called each living creature, that was its name.  So the man gave names to all the livestock, the birds of the air and all the beasts of the field. But for Adam no suitable helper was found.

The Genesis 2 account of the creation further develops the themes alluded to in chapter 1 about the distinctive purposes for creating male and female.  This retelling of the creation of man begins with the male being formed from the dust of the ground.

Yahuwah Elohim formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.  Now Yahuwah Elohim had planted a garden in the east, in Eden; and there he put the man he had formed. (Genesis 2:7-8)

Thus, we come to understand that the male was formed from the dust of the ground and Elohim breathed life into his nostrils.  To this point in time, the female does not yet exist as a separate entity.  The man was given the task of naming all the animals, and did so.  But for Adam the man, a suitable and fitting mate did not yet exist.

The thrust of the passage is in the phrase "helper suitable for him."  This is a fair translation of the Hebrew AD*g>n<K. rz<[Eί (ezer cenegdo).  Ezer means help, supportNeged comes from the root word nagad which means to be conspicuous, to declare, to tell, to make known.   Thus, neged usually indicates something in front of, before, in sight of, or opposite to.

  Because the context of the teaching, we can understand what this phrase means.  Each of the animals that Adam named had a mate - a complimentary, like creature with whom each of the animals could reproduce its own kind.  But Adam didn't have one of those.  This "helper suitable for him" is clearly a reference to a mating partner.  Thus, the ezer cenegdo is a helper who stands in front of, or in the sight of Adam, as his mate or partner.

As a mating partner, this helper is not Adam's equal.  He did not need an equal.  Hee needed someone to do for him what he could not do for himself.  He needed a mating partner.  The helper is not Adam's competition.  His helper is designed to fill in the gaps for Adam.  This helper is Adam's complement - his fulfilling partner - the one who "completes him."  This mate can help him accomplish what Adam cannot accomplish alone - the helper can help Adam reproduce and develop the human race.

Genesis 2:18-20 does not teach us that woman is man's equal.  Nor does it teach that woman is just like man in function and role.  It informs us that woman is the helper made for man to help man fulfill his purpose in creation.  She is to make it possible for Adam to have offspring.

Genesis 2:21-24 - Adam was Formed First, Then Chava

So Yahuwah Elohim caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man's ribs and closed up the place with flesh.  Then Yahuwah Elohim made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man.  The man said, "This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called 'woman, 'for she was taken out of man."  For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.

Our text goes on to describe the creation of the woman, to be a helping mate to the man Adam.  While the man was in a deep sleep, Elohim took a rib from him and fashioned the woman from the rib of the man.  The fact that the woman is made of the same substance as man, in fact, from the stuff from the man's own body, we can rightly conclude that in body chemistry, man and woman are the same.  And it is easy to see that man and woman, being made in the image of Elohim, are equally valuable to Elohim.

But the differences as expressed explicitly and implicitly in the text are many.  The apostle Paul argues that this matter of Elohim creating man first and then the woman second is not without significance:

I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man; she must be silent.  For Adam was formed first, then Chava (Eve) (1 Timothy 2:12-13).

Because our forefathers understood that the order of creation has wide-reaching ramifications, Paul is able to draw conclusions about conduct in the assembly based on this revelation of Scripture.

Paul is arguing his point from the order of things accomplished in the creation account.  Now we know that Elohim established many things in creation that lay the foundation for teachings about Messiah and righteousness and things future.  Just as Elohim prophetically promises that "I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come" (Isaiah 46:10), the teachings brought by Paul are not his own, they are prophetic in nature.  Paul has developed and explained the way things are and ought to be from the principles laid out in the beginning.

This teaching of headship of men and subordination of women is thus founded in the principle of order in the creation account.  That Adam was created first indicates that he has priority over the woman.  This priority plays out as authority and headship over the woman, who was made second and from Adam.  Elohim leaves nothing to chance or coincidence.  Everything is done with order and a purpose.  The order establishes a basis for the purpose.  And the purpose in the order of creation of man and woman teaches us about the authority of a man over his woman.

Man was created first, then woman.  Woman was created to be a helper to man, not to be his equal.  For this reason, a man has authority over the woman, because this is the structure and order that Elohim has established in the creation as communicated through the order of creating.  So a woman is not permitted to have authority over a man.  Nor is she permitted to teach a man.  Because she was created second (subordinate) to man, this indicates that she must be second (submissive or subordinate) in her relationship to man.  She was made for him.  He was not made for her.  She cannot be the head of the man, but he is the head of her.  She is not permitted to teach a man.  Therefore, she must ask her questions of him at home.

And Paul's teaching that a woman cannot teach or have authority over a man but must be silent is an expression of her submission to the man.  It is not a punishment or a put-down.  It is the woman practicing the secondary or submissive role to the man for which she was created.  A woman's submission and silence is the natural expression of a quiet and submissive spirit, which Yahuwah is pleased with in women, because this fulfills her purpose in creation.

Genesis 3:1-7 - The Woman was Deceived

Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals Yahuwah Elohim had made. He said to the woman, "Did Elohim really say, 'You must not eat from any tree in the garden'?"  The woman said to the serpent, "We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, but Elohim did say, 'You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.'"  "You will not surely die," the serpent said to the woman.  "For Elohim knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like Elohim, knowing good and evil."

When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it.  Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.

The account of the fall begins with the serpent approaching the woman and telling her lies.  He casts doubt on what Elohim commanded, "Did Elohim really say...."  After Chava faithfully recited what Elohim has spoken, the serpent then blatantly lies about what Elohim had said.  "You will not surely die," he retorts.  And then he slanders the Mighty One by attributing to him selfish ulterior motives, "He knows... your eyes will be opened... and you will be like him."

Chava evidently believed the serpent and doubted God.  She was deceived by the serpent's enticing lies.  So she reconsidered the evidence before her and decided to eat the forbidden fruit.  In distrusting Elohim, she made the decision to trust the serpent instead.

The second reason Paul teaches us that a woman is not permitted to teach or have authority over a man but should be in full submission is that she was the one who was deceived in Eden.

A woman should learn in quietness and full submission.  I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man; she must be silent.  For Adam was formed first, then Chava (Eve).  And Adam was not the one deceived; it was the woman who was deceived and became a sinner.  (1 Timothy 2:9-14)

The woman was deceived and therefore first to become a sinner when she transgressed.  The text doesn't tell us why Adam transgressed.  But it was not because he was deceived, according to Paul.  He was not deceived.  So, not only was woman created second to man, but she, independent of Adam, proved herself to be weak and vulnerable to deception.  Why?  Essentially because she disregarded her role of submission to her husband and the authority of her husband over her, which is ultimately a disregarding of the rule of Yahuwah.

Keep in mind that before Chava was formed Elohim gave Adam the commandment not to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.  Recheck Genesis 2:16-18:

And Yahuwah Elohim commanded the man, "You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die."  Yahuwah Elohim said, "It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him."

Here, Elohim gave the commandment to Adam and then (after he gave the command to Adam) suggested that he was about to form Chava as a suitable helper to Adam.

The significance of this is at the heart of the headship issue.  Elohim, as Adam's head, gave the commandment to Adam.  Then Chava was formed from Adam.  As head of Chava, Adam must surely have given Chava the teaching about eating he learned directly from Elohim.  Thus, Chava, in ignoring the teaching given to her by her husband and head, stepped outside of Adam's authority to make a decision independent of what Adam told her.

We might even say that Chava was the first feminist.  She was asserting her liberation from Adam, which is what got her into trouble.  By ignoring the hierarchical order set forth by Elohim and disregarding her husband, the woman stumbled into sin.  The Scripture tells us that the woman ate of the forbidden fruit because she believed the word of the serpent over the word of Elohim which was passed down to her by her husband.

 Why does Chava's transgression disqualify her from teaching a man or having authority over a man?  Is it because she isn't as good a teacher as the man?  Or is it that she isn't as smart as the man?  Is she incapable of teaching?  None of these are the reason.  And why does the deception of Chava logically lead to Paul's conclusion of her need to submit?  Is her sin greater or more egregious than Adam's?  No, this is not the point, either. 

The real reason that woman is disqualified to teach men is because that was not her purpose in creation.  She was created by Elohim to be man's helper, not his instructor.  Elohim made her second, not first.  Therefore, she is to yield to the authority and headship of her husband in everything.  Period.  (Don't get mad at me, I'm just the messenger.  The Bible is saying this with authority!)

The fact that she was beguiled demonstrates her need to lean on her husband in a submissive capacity.  She was not able to rightly discern between truth and the false.  She demonstrated her secondary role and place under her husband, not having on her own the clarity to correctly navigate through the deception.  Had she consulted with her husband first, as she should have - given her role as submissive and helper to her husband - she would have been re-affirmed in the truth about Elohim and would have likely been persuaded not to believe the lies of the serpent.

Why then does Paul cite the deception of Chava in the garden as the second reason why she is not permitted to lead a man, teach a man or have authority over a man?  The evidence given in the account of the fall points us to see what happens when the woman steps outside the boundaries of her purpose in creation and asserts her independent authority.  Everything goes awry when we step outside the orders and cross the boundaries given to us by our Creator.  In other words, Paul is saying that woman cannot have authority over a man because... "look at what happened to Eve when she overstepped her husband's authority"!

Genesis 3:8-19 - The Order in Which Elohim Addressed the Perpetrators

 The headship of a man over a woman is also suggested in the order in which Elohim addresses the perpetrators of the first human sin.

Then the man and his wife heard the sound of Yahuwah Elohim as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from Yahuwah Elohim among the trees of the garden.  But Yahuwah Elohim called to the man, "Where are you?"
  He answered, "I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid."  And he said, "Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?"  The man said, "The woman you put here with me-- she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it."  Then Yahuwah Elohim said to the woman, "What is this you have done?" The woman said, "The serpent deceived me, and I ate."

So Yahuwah Elohim said to the serpent, "Because you have done this, "Cursed are you above all the livestock and all the wild animals! You will crawl on your belly and you will eat dust all the days of your life.  And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel." To the woman he said, "I will greatly increase your pains in childbearing; with pain you will give birth to children. Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you." To Adam he said, "Because you listened to your wife and ate from the tree about which I commanded you, 'You must not eat of it,' "Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat of it all the days of your life.  It will produce thorns and thistles for you, and you will eat the plants of the field.  By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return."

One might ask, "Why did Elohim confront the man before he confronted the woman?  After all, the woman was the first to sin.  Why wasn't she confronted first, and then the man?"  It would be logical, all things else being equal, that Elohim would have started with the woman.  If man and woman were created equals in the beginning, then Elohim would have confronted the woman first since she was the first to sin and led the man to sin.

 The answer to this question teaches us about the headship principle already in play at the time of the first sin.  Keep in mind, as we discussed earlier, that man was given the instructions in the garden about what to eat and what not to eat, after which, Elohim put man to sleep and formed the woman from his rib.  It appears that it was man's responsibility as head of his wife to teach his wife.  This is again evidenced by Elohim's confrontation of the man:

"Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?"

The commandment was directed to the man before the woman was formed from the man.  The man then presumably passed it on to his wife.  There is no indication that Elohim also directly instructed the woman with these commands (although we cannot rule out the possibility).

For this reason - that is, since the man was created first and given the command - Elohim spoke first to the man when confronting them with their acts of disobedience.  We then may conclude that since Elohim confronted man first (though the woman was the first to sin) suggests that the man was held responsible first because of his position of headship over the woman.  Then the woman was confronted secondarily after the man.

Genesis 3:16 - The Dominion of Man Over His Woman

To the woman he said, "I will greatly increase your pains in childbearing; with pain you will give birth to children. Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you."

Next, because the woman was deceived and sinned, Elohim announced to her that she would henceforth be subject to the dominating rule of her husband.  This goes beyond her created role of submission to her husband.  This now includes being under the domination of her fallen husband.  The difference is not subtle, but pervasive.  The Hebrew word employed here is lv;m' (pronounced mashal), and it means to rule over or have dominion over.  Man would no longer just be the head of the woman in a leadership role over the woman, but in practice would take his overseership and ratchet it up to a new level to exercise control over his woman in ways that the Creator never intended.

What we are being told in this account is not a "curse" of Elohim upon women.  Elohim is not endorsing abuse of women by their men.  Instead this is the prediction of Elohim of what will happen between men and women now that sin has entered into the world.  Elohim is affirming that sin will steer men into the evil of abusing their women.  It is not Elohim's will that man exercises maltreatment of the woman, that he dominate her and control her.  But Elohim is declaring that this is what will now happen in a sin stained world.

Some have argued against the need of women to submit to their husbands on the basis that it was the curse that landed women under the control of men.  They say that Messiah has redeemed us from the curse and therefore women in Messiah do not need to submit to their husbands.  The problem with this view should be evident if you have read this article up to this point.  Submission of woman to man is not based on the fall, but on the creation.  Woman is to submit to man because man was created first, then woman, and the woman was created for the man.

The redemption of Messiah was designed to alleviate the abuses between man and woman.  Therefore the cruel domination of man over woman should cease when both are attached to Messiah and when both are walking in their respective roles.  There is no place for a man to ill-treat his woman in the body of Messiah.  Both are loved by Elohim and are redeemed by the blood of Messiah.  But the man is still head of the woman, because this is how Elohim established this order at creation before the fall.

No doubt that the modern day feminist movement is the secular response to the abuses in the husband and wife relationship caused by the fall.  But giving women equal rights and responsibilities does not correct the problem.  It only exacerbates it.  It causes both men and women to throw off the proper male and female roles and functions established by Elohim.  Now both are out of sync and out of step with the righteous walk with their Creator.

Headship and Subordination 

The hierarchical order of headship and subordination is taught by the Torah and by the New Testament.  At the top of the hierarchy chart is the headship of Elohim the father over Messiah his son.

Now I want you to realize that the head of every man is Messiah, and the head of the woman is man, and the head of Messiah is Elohim. (1 Corinthians 11:3-10)

Next, the Messiah is head over the man and is head of his body - his assembly:

And Elohim placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the assembly, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way. (Ephesians 1:22-23)

Paul speaks of the headship of Messiah again later:

Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Messiah. (Ephesians 4:15)

The headship of Messiah over his people means that his people must listen to and submit to his command, just as Mosheh prophesied:

Yahuwah your Elohim will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your own brothers. You must listen to him. (Devarim 18:15)

I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their brothers; I will put my words in his mouth, and he will tell them everything I command him.  If anyone does not listen to my words that the prophet speaks in my name, I myself will call him to account. (Devarim 18:18-19)

These prophesies speak of the headship of the "prophet like Mosheh" (Messiah) over his people.  Elohim has put Messiah in the place of authority over his people.  They must obey his every command.

Ephesians 5:23-24 - Man is Head of His Wife

We saw in the Scripture cited above that man is the head of the wife:

Now I want you to realize that the head of every man is Messiah, and the head of the woman is man, and the head of Messiah is Elohim. (1 Corinthians 11:3-10)

Additionally we are told by Paul that in the same way that Messiah is the head of his body (which is the assembly) and that the body must obey his every command, man is also head of the woman and she must submit to him in everything.

For the husband is the head of the wife as Messiah is the head of the assembly, his body, of which he is the Savior.  Now as the assembly submits to Messiah, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything. (Ephesians 5:23-24)

The Greek word employed here usually translated submit is u`pota,ssw (pronounced hūpōtăssō).  Brown, Driver, Briggs Lexicon defines our word as to put in subjection, subject, subordinate; pass. be subject, submit to, obey, be under the authority of; take a subordinate place.  Note that this concept of headship of a man is about authority and subordination as established at creation, which is very distinct in meaning from the idea of dominion or domination, which was a result of the fall.  Be careful not to confuse these very distinctive teachings.

This teaching is indisputable.  Paul is plainly saying that because man is put as head over the woman after the likeness of Messiah as head over the assembly, woman must take a subordinate role to her husband.  And not just when she agrees with him, and not just when she feels like it.  Just as Messiah is to be obeyed by his subjects in everything, the woman must submit to her man's authority "in everything."

Paul speaks in several places in his writings about the need for wives to be subject to their own husbands.  One such place is in his letter to the Colossians, where he instructs the members of the household in their respective roles and responsibilities:

Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting in Yahuwah.  Husbands, love your wives and do not be harsh with them.  Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases Yahuwah.  Fathers, do not embitter your children, or they will become discouraged.  Slaves, obey your earthly masters in everything; and do it, not only when their eye is on you and to win their favor, but with sincerity of heart and reverence for Yahuwah. (Colossians 3:18-22)

Wives, husbands, children, fathers and slaves are each instructed to fulfill their role in the household hierarchical structure.  For their role in the human relationship, wives are helper to their husbands in a secondary (they were created second to man) or submissive role.

Similarly, Paul gave instructions to Titus about the responsibilities and expectations of older women.  They, too, are teachers, but not teachers of men.  Women are never to be teachers of men, according to Paul:

I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man; she must be silent.  (1 Timothy 2:12)

But the older women do have a teaching responsibility:

Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good.  Then they can train the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of Elohim. (Titus 2:3-5)

The older women are to teach the younger women about the proper way to express their faith.  They are to teach the younger women to be a loving wife and mother, to control themselves, to be morally pure, to be busy in the home (again, don't be angry at me, Paul authoritatively says this!) and to be submissive to their husbands.  These tasks which belong to women are not culture based, nor are they the result of chauvinism or discrimination.  They are founded upon the structure and purposes that Yahuwah established for mankind in the beginning.

1 Corinthians 11:3-10 - The Covering as a Sign of Authority

That the man has headship, authority and leadership over a woman is taught throughout the New Testament.  Paul flat out states it - without ambiguity.  It is on this basis that Paul instructs a woman to wear a covering over her head as a symbol of her submission to her husband as her head:

Now I want you to realize that the head of every man is Messiah, and the head of the woman is man, and the head of Messiah is Elohim.  Every man who prays or prophesies with his head covered dishonors his head.  And every woman who prays or prophesies with her head uncovered dishonors her head-- it is just as though her head were shaved.  If a woman does not cover her head, she should have her hair cut off; and if it is a disgrace for a woman to have her hair cut or shaved off, she should cover her head.  A man ought not to cover his head, since he is the image and glory of Elohim; but the woman is the glory of man.  For man did not come from woman, but woman from man; neither was man created for woman, but woman for man.  For this reason, and because of the angels, the woman ought to have a sign of authority on her head. (1 Corinthians 11:3-10)

Assuming the integrity of the Greek manuscript texts, Paul is telling us that men should not be wearing head coverings when praying or prophesying (expounding on the Word of Elohim).  It would be to his shame that a man would wear something over his head.  It is not clear whether Paul means to say that a man dishonors himself or that he dishonors Messiah, who is his head, when he wears a covering on his head during worship.  Probably both.  Either way, it boggles the mind why Messianic rabbis and preachers promote the donning of the tallit (Jewish prayer shawl) over their heads as a covering when praying and prophesying.  It is well known that the Jewish rabbis wear them.

Women, on the other hand, are commanded to wear a covering on their heads during prayer and prophesying.  If she doesn't cover herself, she is dishonoring her head, according to Paul.  As with the instruction to men, a woman is dishonoring her own head (herself) and her husband, who is her head, when she neglects to wear the covering.

In what sense is the head covering on a woman a sign of authority?  In ancient Jewish culture, unmarried women were free from wearing a head covering, thus demonstrating their availability.  But a married woman wore a head covering to signal that she was spoken for; that is, she was under the authority of her husband.  Thus, for a married woman to go about without a head covering was tantamount to advertising her availability - and was thus considered shameful.  So, in wearing the head covering, she was displaying the sign of the authority of her husband and her submission to him.

This matter of a woman wearing this covering as a sign of authority is based in the order of creation.  Man did not come from woman, but woman came from man, and is therefore secondary to the man in the order of authority.  Also, Paul argues, man was not created for woman, but woman was created for man.  Therefore, a woman is created to be under the charge of the man.

Another example of the head covering being a sign of authority is found in Rabbinic Judaism.  The men are required to wear kippas on their heads.  The kippas, also known as yarmulkes, are a sign of the authority of the Rabbis.  All men in Judaism are required to wear this skullcap to acknowledge the authority of the Rabbis to interpret Scripture and to command all others in their walk of faith.  Though not commanded by the written Torah of Mosheh, the Oral Torah or Tradition of the Rabbis commands all men to wear the kippa.  Evidently, some Messianics want to be like the Jewish rabbis, even to the disregarding of what the Scriptures teach and what the Messiah unambiguously taught his disciples (see Matthew 23:8).

1 Corinthians 11:7 - The Image and Glory of Elohim

A man ought not to cover his head, since he is the image and glory of Elohim; but the woman is the glory of man.

Further evidence that there is an intrinsic difference in the roles of women and men is Paul statement about image and glory.  Man is the image and glory of Elohim but woman is the glory of man.  What Paul doesn't say explicitly is nevertheless implied; that both man and woman bear the image of Elohim.  This is stated overtly in Genesis 1:27:

So Elohim created man in his own image, in the image of Elohim he created him; male and female he created them.

Both man and women were created in the image of Elohim, which means they both bear some very specific attributes of Elohim which distinguishes them from all other created beings; namely, that they have authority and dominion over all the creatures under their care.  In addition, they have reasoning, problem solving and creative minds like Elohim which supersedes and surpasses the abilities of all the other creatures on earth made before them.

But man and woman are different in their glory.  Man is made in the glory of Elohim, while woman is made in the glory of the man.  What does this mean?  First it should be obvious that Paul is speaking about the different means by which Elohim brought the man and then the woman into the world.  Man was formed by Elohim from the dust of the ground and Yahuwah breathed into his nostrils the breath of life.  Thus, man was made in Elohim's image.

The woman, however, was formed from the man's side.  Elohim took from Adam's side and formed the woman from his side.  Thus, the woman bears the glory of man, since she was made from him.  So, when Paul speaks of the different glories of man and woman, he is again alluding to the differences between men and women in creation.  The man's head is Messiah in Elohim.  The woman's head is the man, since she was made from his side and thus bears his glory.

In support of this, let us explore the meaning of glory.  From the Greek, do,xa (doksa), which means the opinion which others have of one, estimation, reputation, credit, honour, glory, splendour, effulgence.  This corresponds to the Hebrew, dAbK' (ka-vod), which means heaviness, burden, riches, glory, splendour, distinction, honour.  

 When we speak of man sharing in the glory of Elohim, it must be evident that we are not talking about the kind of glory which is attributed to Elohim alone; that is, effulgence, splendor, etc.  Therefore, another meaning of glory must be in view here.  Perhaps distinction, reputation or honor more accurately conveys the thought Paul has in mind.  Man has the same kind of distinction that Elohim has, namely, that he has the honor of authority and responsibility that he carries with him.  As the one whom Elohim created first and gave headship over all else, the man certainly is distinguished in this regard like Elohim.

The women, however, has another kind of glory - that which she draws from her husband.  Her distinction or reputation is contingent on the man for whom she is made to be his helper.  Her glory derives from her husband just as she was mad from her husband.  The man's glory derives from Elohim.  From this it is discernible how Paul can draw the conclusion that the man's glory in contrast to the woman's glory is another proof or demonstration of why she must wear a sign of authority on her head to signal her submission to her husband.

1 Corinthians 11:11-16 - The Covering of the Woman is Her Long Hair

In Yahuwah, however, woman is not independent of man, nor is man independent of woman.  For as woman came from man, so also man is born of woman. But everything comes from Elohim.  Judge for yourselves: Is it proper for a woman to pray to Elohim with her head uncovered?  Does not the very nature of things teach you that if a man has long hair, it is a disgrace to him, but that if a woman has long hair, it is her glory? For long hair is given to her as a covering.  If anyone wants to be contentious about this, we have no other practice-- nor do the assemblies of Elohim.

Following his explanation of the sign of authority that women should wear on their head, Paul brings some perspective to the issues at hand.  Men and women to some extent are dependent upon one another.  But this does not negate the fact that they have distinctive roles in the family relationship.  Paul then appeals to his readers common sense and to the "nature of things" when he asks them if it seems okay for a woman to pray with her head uncovered.  As he insists at the end of verse 16, there is no other practice among the assemblies of Elohim but for women to cover their heads when praying.

  It is not only reasonable but customary for men to keep their hair cut but for women to let their hair grow long.  For men to have long hair is a disgrace, which is to say, it is embarrassing for a man to look like a woman in the growing of long hair.  Just the opposite for women - it is to their glory to have long hair.  Long hair is a gift to women as a covering which is another indication that Elohim has ordered these things.

Paul's concluding statement in this section is yet another statement about proper conduct in the assemblies of Elohim.  Here he asserts that there is no other practice in the assemblies of Elohim but that women should have long hair as a covering, which is a sign of authority on her head, indicating her submission to her husband.  Later in this same letter of Paul, he uses the same argument about women remaining silent in the assembly.  He again says that this is the practice in all the assemblies of the saints:

As in all the congregations of the saints, women should remain silent in the assemblies. They are not allowed to speak, but must be in submission, as the Torah says.  If they want to inquire about something, they should ask their own husbands at home; for it is disgraceful for a woman to speak in the assembly. (1 Corinthians 14:32-35)

So this amounts to another verification that Paul is teaching that women should demonstrate their position of submission by wearing a covering on her head and by remaining silent in the assembly.  Each of these is proper conduct for women as indicated by the fact that this is what is done in all the congregations of Elohim.

Ephesians 5:21 - Does Paul Teach Mutual Submission?

A popular objection to the teaching of headship and subordination in the marriage relationship and in the congregation is an argument made on the basis of another statement made by Paul.  The New International Version translated Ephesians 5:21 like this:

Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.

Using this translation or others like it, proponents of the view that women are equal to men in everything suggest that Paul is teaching mutual submission in the body of Messiah.  So they teach that men should submit to women just as women should submit to men.  All submitting is done, in their view, because all of us are servants to Messiah.  "We are all servants of Messiah and should thus submit to one another as equals."

Unfortunately, while the above reasoning is warm and fuzzy, fits nicely into a "politically correct" perspective on the equality of the sexes and gives many people reason to ignore the other explicit statements about headship and submission, it does not do justice to the clear and obvious context of Paul's statement here in Ephesians 5:21 about submitting.  First, the Greek word here, avllh,loij (pronounced al-lay-loys), basically means to each other, to one another, mutually.  But it can also be rendered one to another, as the King James Version translated it: Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.  So, our resulting translation should look like this:

Submit one to another out of reference for Messiah.

The difference in these two renderings is huge.  Submitting yourselves to one another could imply mutual submission, but submit yourselves one to another leans toward a certain order of submission, which the further explanation of Paul clearly supports.  Paul's instruction to submit one to another is a summary statement of his teaching that immediately follows and which explains and expands upon his meaning.  Submitting one to another must be done within the parameters of the commands and instructions which follow.

What we find in the statements that immediately follow is a three layered explanation of submission one to another.  First, wives are to submit to their husbands.  Second, children are to submit to their parents.  And third, slaves are to submit to their masters.  In this way (and only in this way) are we being told to submit one to another.

The logic of the text of Ephesians 5:21-6:9 is as follows:

Submit one to another out of reverence for Messiah. 

 --(Section about wives submitting to husbands)

Wives, submit to your husbands as to Yahuwah.  For the husband is the head of the wife as Messiah is the head of the assembly, his body, of which he is the Savior.  Now as the assembly submits to Messiah, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.

--(Section about children submitting to parents)

Children, obey your parents in Yahuwah, for this is right.  "Honor your father and mother"-- which is the first commandment with a promise-- "that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth." 

--(Section about slaves submitting to masters)

Slaves, obey your earthly masters with respect and fear, and with sincerity of heart, just as you would obey Messiah.  Obey them not only to win their favor when their eye is on you, but like slaves of Messiah, doing the will of Elohim from your heart.  Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving Yahuwah.

So when Paul tells us to "submit one to another," what he really has in mind is the we should submit to one another along the lines of the authority structures implemented by Elohim.  Each of the social tiers have their own roles and responsibilities.  And everyone answers (is responsible) to someone above them.  Slaves are accountable to their masters.  Children are accountable to their parents.  And wives are answerable to their husbands.  Even men are responsible for those under their authority and are accountable to Messiah for their actions.

Now I want you to realize that the head of every man is Messiah, and the head of the woman is man, and the head of Messiah is Elohim. (1 Corinthians 11:3)

Everyone is under the authority of someone and is responsible and answerable to that authority.

So at the end of the day, Paul most emphatically does not teach mutual submission in the body of Messiah.  Such a scenario would be absurd.  If this were true, then parents would have to submit to their children and masters would have to submit to their slaves.  It is only if these two are true that husbands should also be submitting to their own wives!  Each of these is emphatically and explicitly excluded by the teaching of Paul in this passage.

Should Women Be Silent in the Congregation?

Since we have come to understand that it is first and foremost the creation account which first teaches headship and leadership roles and responsibilities for men and women, and having come to examine Paul's teaching about the biblical hierarchy which Elohim has set in place, we can now address the more difficult and controversial statements made by Paul about woman's conduct in the assembly.  Did Paul really mean it when he taught that women need to be silent?  Is this a cultural mandate?  Is this a time sensitive preference?  Or is this truly what the Scriptures teach for all the saints at all times?

1 Timothy 2:9-15

It is to Timothy that Paul gives instruction regarding the proper behavior of women in the assembly:

I also want women to dress modestly, with decency and propriety, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or expensive clothes, but with good deeds, appropriate for women who profess to worship Elohim.  A woman should learn in quietness and full submissionI do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man; she must be silent.  For Adam was formed first, then Chava (Eve).  And Adam was not the one deceived; it was the woman who was deceived and became a sinner.  But women will be saved through childbearing-- if they continue in faith, love and holiness with propriety. (1 Timothy 2:9-15)

First, Paul describes the outward appearance of women.  They should be modest in their dress.  We all understand what this means.  They shouldn't be dressing provocatively - in a way that they would be advertising their bodies to men.  Decency and propriety speak of what is suitable and appropriate for modest and godly women.

Next, Paul gives examples of how women should not dress.  Braided hair, gold and pearls, expensive clothes - these are examples of what women use to entice men to look at them with sexual intent.  Instead, Paul teaches, women should be adorned with good deeds.  It is proper for godly women to make their outward deeds, not their outward adornment, the focus of their persona.

Having submitted that the outward behavior of women has greater importance as the proper means of women displaying their godliness to an on looking world, Paul continues a description of this outward manifestation of godly women by speaking about their behavior in the holy assembly.  In addition to focusing on their good deeds rather than their costume, godly women should learn quietly and with full submission when in the gathering of the saints.  They should not be teaching men or having authority over men.  They should remain silent in their submission to their husbands.

This offensive-to-some idea of woman being silent actually is perfectly consistent with the other attributes of the godly woman.  Her quietness and submission is a positive trait, not a characteristic of being stomped on.  Her silence and submission demonstrates her acceptance of the place in the family that Elohim has assigned her.  She is still man's helper, not his teacher and judge.  She demonstrates her understanding of Elohim's assignment of her by honoring the man she was created to be a helper of.

And once again, Paul's follow up comments points to the source of this submission.  Elohim made her second to Adam the man and formed her from Adam the man.  Her mistake of leading the human race into sin further indicates that she should be the helper of her man not the leader of her man, as Elohim indicated she was made to be.

1 Peter 3:1-6

But before we look at the rest of what Paul says in 1 Timothy, let's look at Peter's teaching to women in the first epistle he wrote, because there are some conspicuous similarities between these two writers and what they have to say regarding women:

Wives, in the same way be submissive to your husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, when they see the purity and reverence of your lives.  Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothesInstead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in Elohim's sight.  For this is the way the holy women of the past who put their hope in Elohim used to make themselves beautiful. They were submissive to their own husbands, like Sarah, who obeyed Avraham and called him her master. You are her daughters if you do what is right and do not give way to fear. (1 Kepha 3:1-6)

Kepha (Hebrew name of Peter), like Paul, teaches women about outward adornment.  They should not have braided hair, wear gold and have fine clothes.  But, instead, they should adorn themselves with the beauty of "a gentle and quiet spirit."  This is almost exactly what Paul wrote!

Who said that Paul's apparent chauvinism against women was a product of his environment, the times he lived in and the culture of his world.  If this is so, then I guess we must also argue that Peter had the same chauvinistic outlook on women!  He too taught that women should be silent and submissive and obedient to their husbands.  If that isn't chauvinism at its worst, the what could be?

But wait a minute.  There is another explanation for Peter's agreement with Paul on how women should demonstrate their godliness.  Could it possibly be that both Peter and Paul are teaching what the Most High Elohim has been instructing us since the beginning of time?  Since the creation?  Of course.  This is exactly the logical conclusion we are compelled by the evidence of Scripture to come to.

Now look at two teachings from these two different men in chart form for a graphical presentation of the teachings of Paul and Peter to women:
Paul about Women in 1 Timothy 2 Peter about Women in 1 Peter 3
dress modestly, with decency and propriety Your beauty should not come from outward adornment
How not to dress: How not to dress:
not with braided hair such as braided hair
or gold or pearls and the wearing of gold jewelry
or expensive clothes and fine clothes
How to be adorned: How to be adorned:
with good deeds it should be that of your inner self
A woman should learn in quietness and full submission.  I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man; she must be silent the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit

As you can see, the teachings of Paul and Peter regarding the adornment and behavior of women is nearly identical.  Paul says that women should put on good deeds as their apparel, while Peter says that a woman's inner self or inner qualities should be foremost.

This leads us up to the conclusion that both Paul and Peter come to.  Again, it is nearly identical.  Paul says that women should learn in quietness and full submission.  Then he repeats this, stating that "she must be silent"!  Peter concludes that a woman's inner qualities should be the "unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit."  Notice that both Paul and Peter are saying that women should be quiet.  This is the meaning, it seems, of "full submission."  A quiet spirit is a submitted spirit.  The godly woman voluntarily and happily takes a role of submission and obedience to her husband.

The Greek of Paul's text reads like this:

1 Timothy 2:11-12 11 gunh. evn h`suci,a| manqane,tw evn pa,sh| u`potagh/|\ 12 dida,skein de. gunaiki. ouvk evpitre,pw ouvde. auvqentei/n avndro,j( avllV ei=nai evn h`suci,a|Ε

h`suci,a| is defined by BDAG Lexicon as 1. state of quietness without disturbance, quietness, rest  2. state of saying nothing or very little, silence.  u`potagh means the state of submissiveness, subjection, subordination.  And the same lexicon defines auvqentei/n as to assume a stance of independent authority, give orders to, dictate to.

I would literally translate this: "Let a woman learn in quietness with all submissiveness.  For I do not permit a woman to teach nor to give orders to a man, but to be in silence."

Now look at the Greek for Peter's letter:

1 Peter 3:4  avllV o` krupto.j th/j kardi,aj a;nqrwpoj evn tw/| avfqa,rtw| tou/ prae,wj kai. h`suci,ou pneu,matoj

Here avfqa,rtw means that pertaining to imperviousness to corruption and death, imperishable, incorruptible, immortalAnd prae,wj means pert. to not being overly impressed by a sense of one’s self-importance, gentle, humble, considerate, meek.  And finally h`suci,ou means (as we saw above) 1. state of quietness without disturbance, quietness, rest  2. state of saying nothing or very little, silence.

We might, then, translate 1 Peter 3:4 literally like this: "...but (your beauty should come from) the hidden person of the heart by the incorruptibility of the gentle and quiet spirit."

According to Paul, a woman should adorn herself and display herself through full submission and silence.  And Peter says that a woman's beauty should come from the hidden quality of her gentle and quiet spirit.  Both are indicating that a woman's submission to man displays itself by her humble spirit which always yields to her man's authority and does try to overrule him.  She does not teach him or give him orders.  She remains submissive and quiet to honor his headship over her.

1 Corinthians 14:29-38

In his exhortation to the Corinthians, Paul speaks again about the quality of submissive silence that a woman must display when in the assembly of believers:

Two or three prophets should speak, and the others should weigh carefully what is said.  And if a revelation comes to someone who is sitting down, the first speaker should stop.  For you can all prophesy in turn so that everyone may be instructed and encouraged.  The spirits of prophets are subject to the control of prophets.  For Elohim is not a Elohim of disorder but of peace. As in all the congregations of the saints, women should remain silent in the assemblies. They are not allowed to speak, but must be in submission, as the Torah says.  If they want to inquire about something, they should ask their own husbands at home; for it is disgraceful for a woman to speak in the assembly. (1 Corinthians 14:29-35)

Did the word of Elohim originate with you? Or are you the only people it has reached?  If anybody thinks he is a prophet or spiritually gifted, let him acknowledge that what I am writing to you is the Master's command.  If he ignores this, he himself will be ignored. (1 Corinthians 14:36-38)

Here Paul reiterates that women must be quiet in the assembly of Yahuwah.  He does so quite emphatically by basing this on three reasons.  First, he notes that this is done in all of the Messianic congregations.  There is no other practice among the believers in Messiah.  Second, the Torah requires this of women.  The Torah teaches that women should be silent and submissive.  And third, it is disgraceful for women to speak in the assembly.  Paul could not have been any more emphatic about the requirement for women to be quiet in the gathering of Yahuwah's people on the appointment days.

So why do both Paul and Peter equate submission of woman to man with her being silent in the assembly?  Why can't she speak in the meetings?  Paul alluded to the practice of all the assemblies where women remain silent and the fact that it would be shameful for a woman to speak up.  The reason for this is found in an understanding of submission.  We noted earlier that biblical submission is defined as to put in subjection, subject, subordinate; pass. be subject, submit to, obey, be under the authority of; take a subordinate place.

The very nature of submission implies yielding to an authority.  Someone who is yielding is not debating or arguing with the authority.  That person is taking a subordinate posture to the authority.  The person submitting is subjecting himself or herself to whatever the authority says.  Thus, the person truly submitting is remaining silent because he or she does not have "position" to call into question what the person in command is doing or saying.  So since woman is to submit to man, this by its very definition means that she does not question his authority or command him in any way.  She cannot overrule him or give him orders.  She must remain silent.

To cap off his reasoning, Paul claims that this teaching about women being in submission comes from God's word.  Anyone who wants to argue about this should realize that the word of God did not originate with them.  Neither are those dissenters the only people to whom the word of God has reached.  Paul is not arguing from human reasoning, or from a cultural norm or from his own opinion.  He is delivering a message that comes from Elohim's Word.

Then the coup de grace.  Paul attributes this teaching about women being silently submissive in the assembly to a command of the Master.  What greater evidence does one need to prove a point than to cite the fact that the Master commanded this very thing?

If anybody thinks he is a prophet or spiritually gifted, let him acknowledge that what I am writing to you is the Master's command.

There you have it.  The clinching argument.  The final nail in the coffin to this wrong idea that women do not have to submit to their husbands and be silent in the congregation.  The godly woman will realize what Elohim has ordained and commanded and will receive it and walk in it.

Where Does the Torah Teach the Headship of Man Over His Wife?

We have already discussed how the order of the creation of man and woman as recorded in Genesis 1-3 teaches the headship of man over women.  Paul made the argument in 1 Corinthians 14 that the Torah teaches this headship/subordinate relationship between man and woman. 

As in all the congregations of the saints, women should remain silent in the assemblies. They are not allowed to speak, but must be in submission, as the Torah says.

As to the question of which Torah is Paul referring to, the answer should be obvious.  Paul demonstrates a clear understanding of the distinctions between Oral Torah and Written Torah in his letter to the Galatians.  He elevates the Written Torah as that Code of Instructions which the faithful in Messiah should walk in, while diminishing the Oral Torah as no more than man made teachings, customs and traditions.  So, the only authoritative Torah at our disposal is the Written Torah.  This is the Torah he appeals to.

So, where else in the Torah is this principle of woman submitting to man taught?  The answer to this is that the Torah speaks of the submission of women in many places.  While the Torah does not explicitly say that women may not speak, it does delineate the many circumstances in which it is clear that women must take a submissive posture to the head of the household - which is a man.  Paul's explanation that women should be silent is based on two factors: one, it is a natural outgrowth and expression of their submission, and two, it was well established in the history of the people of Israel.

We will take a glance at several instructions and incidents in the Torah where women are commanded a submissive role to man.

Numbers 30:2 - The Case of a Man Who Takes a Vow

Mosheh said to the heads of the tribes of Yisrael: "This is what Yahuwah commands: When a man makes a vow to Yahuwah or takes an oath to obligate himself by a pledge, he must not break his word but must do everything he said.

First, by way of contrast to the instructions which follow about women taking vows, this is the instruction for a man taking a vow.  A man must always keep his word and his vow.  There is never a circumstance in which a man does not have to keep a vow.  Because a man is directly accountable to Elohim, he must be careful to speak responsibly.

The Torah teaches the sons of Yisrael to take all of their vows in his name.

Fear Yahuwah your Elohim, serve him only and take your oaths in his name. (Devarim 6:13)

Fear Yahuwah your Elohim and serve him. Hold fast to him and take your oaths in his name. (Devarim 10:20)

Those who take their vows in the name of Yahuwah are considered to be among the people whom Yahuwah calls his own:

But they must carefully learn to follow the religious practices of my people. Once they taught my people to swear their oaths using the name of the elohim Baal. But then, they must swear oaths using my name, saying, "As surely as Yahuwah lives, I swear." If they do these things, then they will be included among the people I call my own.  But I will completely uproot and destroy any of those nations that will not pay heed,'" says Yahuwah (Yirmyahu 12:16,17).

So, because all vows are to be taken in his name, anytime a vow is broken, the transgressor is profaning the name of Yahuwah.

But there is also an explicit command in the Torah not to swear falsely:

You must not swear falsely in my name, so that you do not profane the name of your Elohim. I am Yahuwah (Vayiqra [Leviticus] 19:12).

Swearing falsely is taking a vow which you do not intend to fulfill.  Thus, to break a vow damages the very character and reputation of the Almighty.

Every vow taken is required to be kept and fulfilled.  The Torah is adamant about this:

When you make a vow to Yahuwah your Elohim you must not delay in fulfilling it, for otherwise he will surely hold you accountable as a sinner (Devarim [Deuteronomy] 23:21).

And in the passage before us (Bamidbar 30:2), men are required to always keep their vows:

When a man makes a vow to Yahuwah or takes an oath to obligate himself by a pledge, he must not break his word but must do everything he said.

There is never any reason or excuse for a man to break his oath.  He must keep them all.  But, although men are always required to fulfill their every vow, woman are not always required to keep their vows.  We shall examine a few cases of this in the sections that come next.

Numbers 30:3-5 - The Case of a Young Woman Living in Her Father's House Who Takes a Vow

When a young woman still living in her father's house makes a vow to Yahuwah or obligates herself by a pledge and her father hears about her vow or pledge but says nothing to her, then all her vows and every pledge by which she obligated herself will stand.  But if her father forbids her when he hears about it, none of her vows or the pledges by which she obligated herself will stand; Yahuwah will release her because her father has forbidden her.

Bamidbar 30:3-5 describes a scenario in which an exception is made to the law that all vows must be fulfilled.  The situation described here is of a young woman, an unmarried woman, still living in her father's home.  This woman can make any vow or pledge or promise she wants.  But her father is able to nullify her vow if he so chooses, when he hears about her vow.

There is no time line given as to when this option expires.  Torah only says that when he hears about her vow, he has veto power over her promise and can therefore nullify any pledge she has made.  When her father forbids her to keep this vow, Yahuwah releases her from that vow.

This veto power the father has over his unmarried daughter who still lives under his roof surely indicates that he has authority over his daughter.  Yahuwah considers his word to be the final say in the matter of her taking a vow.  If her father permits the vow to stand, it stands.  But if her father forbids the vow, it is rescinded.  She then does not have to keep the vow.  In fact, she is forbidden to do the thing she promised in the vow, because her father has forbidden it.

Why does her father have this authority over her word?  Clearly because the unmarried daughter living in her father's house is under her father's authority.  He is her head.  Her word only stands or falls on her father's confirmation or nullification of her promise.

Numbers 30:6-9 - The Case of an Unmarried Woman Who Takes a Vow and Then Gets Married

If she marries after she makes a vow or after her lips utter a rash promise by which she obligates herself and her husband hears about it but says nothing to her, then her vows or the pledges by which she obligated herself will stand.  But if her husband forbids her when he hears about it, he nullifies the vow that obligates her or the rash promise by which she obligates herself, and Yahuwah will release her.
Any vow or obligation taken by a widow or divorced woman will be binding on her.

The next case is that of an unmarried woman living in her father's house who makes a vow.  This time nothing is said about whether her father heard of her vow or not.  But she then marries, and her new husband has now become her head.  Now her husband has veto power over her vow when he hears about the vow she has made, even the vow she made before he married her.  When her husband hears of the vow that she made before she became married to him, he has the authority to nullify her vow.  And when he nullifies the vow, Yahuwah releases her from the vow.

However, if her husband hears about the vow by which she obligated herself but says nothing about it, he is confirming the vow she made by his silence.  The status of the oath from Yahuwah's point of view is dependent upon her husband either confirming or nullifying her oaths or promises.

Just as the first case when the vow of an unmarried woman can be nullified by her father, when this woman marries, her husband takes over the headship authority over this woman and has veto power over her promises.  It is clear from Scripture that a husband is head over his wife, so it should be equally obvious that the father of an unmarried woman is head over her for the same reasons.  This headship relationship a father and a husband has over his unmarried daughter or his wife (as the case may be) is rooted in the creation order which we detailed earlier in this study.

Numbers 30:10-16 - The Case of a Wife Who Takes a Vow

If a woman living with her husband makes a vow or obligates herself by a pledge under oath  and her husband hears about it but says nothing to her and does not forbid her, then all her vows or the pledges by which she obligated herself will stand.  But if her husband nullifies them when he hears about them, then none of the vows or pledges that came from her lips will stand. Her husband has nullified them, and Yahuwah will release her.  Her husband may confirm or nullify any vow she makes or any sworn pledge to deny herself.  But if her husband says nothing to her about it from day to day, then he confirms all her vows or the pledges binding on her. He confirms them by saying nothing to her when he hears about them.  If, however, he nullifies them some time after he hears about them, then he is responsible for her guilt.  These are the regulations Yahuwah gave Mosheh concerning relationships between a man and his wife, and between a father and his young daughter still living in his house.

The third case is that of a married woman who takes a vow.  As we would suspect from the previous case, the husband has full veto power over his wife's vows, pledges and promises.  If, when her husband hears about her oath, he disapproves of this vow, then at his word her pledge is cancelled.  Again, this authority the husband has over any promise or any oath or pledge a woman makes clearly indicates and demonstrates his headship over his wife and her submissive status to her husband.

This account goes into more detail about the time frame in which the husband has to act to either confirm or nullify his wife's pledge.  Here, it tells us that if he says nothing about the pledge his wife has made "from day to day" then he affirms the oath by his silence.  The Hebrew literally says "from day to day," so it indicates that the man has but a short time to make the decision to nullify.  He has enough time to consider the possible consequences of her oath and it seems that he has at least a day or two to decide.  The exact amount of time is not specified, but he does have some time as the phrase "from day to day" would suggest.  But if he takes more than a reasonable amount of time and remains silent, then the oath is confirmed by his silence.

The fact that the father and husband of a woman has the legal right to confirm or nullify anything the woman promises or pledges in a vow suggests the man's authority over the woman in the family and in the community.  These examples from the Torah support Paul's assertion that the Torah teaches that a woman must be submissive and therefore silent in the congregation.

Numbers 5:11-31 - The Case of a Spirit of Jealousy

Another example in the Torah where the man is depicted as being the head over his wife can be seen in the account of a spirit of jealousy.  If a man suspects that his wife has been with another man, he can have her stand before the priest and before Elohim and have Elohim make known the truth of the matter.  The instructions for this procedure of ascertaining her guilt or innocence in found in Bamidbar 5:

Then Yahuwah said to Mosheh, "Speak to the sons of Yisrael and say to them: 'If a man's wife goes astray and is unfaithful to him by sleeping with another man, and this is hidden from her husband and her impurity is undetected (since there is no witness against her and she has not been caught in the act), and if feelings of jealousy come over her husband and he suspects his wife and she is impure-- or if he is jealous and suspects her even though she is not impure-- then he is to take his wife to the priest. He must also take an offering of a tenth of an ephah of barley flour on her behalf. He must not pour oil on it or put incense on it, because it is a grain offering for jealousy, a reminder offering to draw attention to guilt. 

The priest shall bring her and have her stand before Yahuwah.  Then he shall take some holy water in a clay jar and put some dust from the tabernacle floor into the water.  After the priest has had the woman stand before Yahuwah, he shall loosen her hair and place in her hands the reminder offering, the grain offering for jealousy, while he himself holds the bitter water that brings a curse.  Then the priest shall put the woman under oath and say to her, "If no other man has slept with you and you have not gone astray and become impure while married to your husband, may this bitter water that brings a curse not harm you.  But if you have gone astray while married to your husband and you have defiled yourself by sleeping with a man other than your husband"-- here the priest is to put the woman under this curse of the oath-- "may Yahuwah cause your people to curse and denounce you when he causes your thigh to waste away and your abdomen to swell.  May this water that brings a curse enter your body so that your abdomen swells and your thigh wastes away." Then the woman is to say, "Amen. So be it."  The priest is to write these curses on a scroll and then wash them off into the bitter water. 

He shall have the woman drink the bitter water that brings a curse, and this water will enter her and cause bitter suffering.  The priest is to take from her hands the grain offering for jealousy, wave it before Yahuwah and bring it to the altar.  The priest is then to take a handful of the grain offering as a memorial offering and burn it on the altar; after that, he is to have the woman drink the water.  If she has defiled herself and been unfaithful to her husband, then when she is made to drink the water that brings a curse, it will go into her and cause bitter suffering; her abdomen will swell and her thigh waste away, and she will become accursed among her people.  If, however, the woman has not defiled herself and is free from impurity, she will be cleared of guilt and will be able to have children. 

This, then, is the law of jealousy when a woman goes astray and defiles herself while married to her husband, or when feelings of jealousy come over a man because he suspects his wife. The priest is to have her stand before Yahuwah and is to apply this entire law to her. The husband will be innocent of any wrongdoing, but the woman will bear the consequences of her sin.'"

This ritual is to be performed at the request of the jealous or suspecting husband.  When a man has doubts about his wife's faithfulness but has no evidence, he may subject her to undergo the test before the priest, drinking the poison water and waiting to see how Yahuwah will judge.

So how does this procedure support the headship of a man over his wife?  There are several things which indicate the headship/subordination relationship.  First and most obvious, the fact that the man can force his wife to undergo this test implies his authority over her.  His headship over her is displayed in his right to bring her before the priest.  Since the man as head of his wife has full responsibility for his wife's actions (see above the instructions regarding women taking oaths), then he is empowered by this Torah directive to be able to test his wife's faithfulness, because ultimately, he is responsible for his wife.

Second, while the jealous husband can subject his wife to the test to find out if his wife has cheated on him, there is no corresponding instruction in Torah about the right of a jealous wife to subject her husband to the same test.  The Torah does not allow the woman to bring her husband into such an inquiry.  She has no recourse if she is suspicious of her husband's wrongdoing.  If man and woman were on an equal plane and had equal rights under the Torah, then we would expect to see such a right-ruling.

And third, whether the woman is proven guilty or not, the man is completely innocent of any wrongdoing when he subjects his wife to the ritual.  The man is given the right to question his wife's fidelity but the woman has no such right to question his.  It is the man's prerogative to do this without incurring any guilt, but the same is not so for the woman.  Again, this implies his ruling role over his wife.

Numbers 12:1-16 - The Case of Miriam's Rebuke

In an incident in the wilderness which is recorded for us in Numbers, Miriam issues a challenge to the unique authority which Mosheh had been given to lead and judge Israel.  Miriam attempted to assert herself in a leadership role and was soundly rebuked for it by Yahuwah:

Miriam and Aharon began to talk against Mosheh because of his Cushite wife, for he had married a Cushite.  "Has Yahuwah spoken only through Mosheh?" they asked. "Hasn't he also spoken through us?" And Yahuwah heard this.  (Now Mosheh was a very humble man, more humble than anyone else on the face of the earth.) At once Yahuwah said to Mosheh, Aharon and Miriam, "Come out to the Tent of Appointment, all three of you." So the three of them came out.  Then Yahuwah came down in a pillar of cloud; he stood at the entrance to the Tent and summoned Aharon and Miriam. When both of them stepped forward, he said, "Listen to my words: "When a prophet of Yahuwah is among you, I reveal myself to him in visions, I speak to him in dreams.  But this is not true of my servant Mosheh; he is faithful in all my house.  With him I speak face to face, clearly and not in riddles; he sees the form of Yahuwah. Why then were you not afraid to speak against my servant Mosheh?"

The anger of Yahuwah burned against them, and he left them.  When the cloud lifted from above the Tent, there stood Miriam-- leprous, like snow. Aharon turned toward her and saw that she had leprosy; and he said to Mosheh, "Please, my master, do not hold against us the sin we have so foolishly committed.  Do not let her be like a stillborn infant coming from its mother's womb with its flesh half eaten away."  So Mosheh cried out to Yahuwah, "O Elohim, please heal her!"  Yahuwah replied to Mosheh, "If her father had spit in her face, would she not have been in disgrace for seven days? Confine her outside the camp for seven days; after that she can be brought back."  So Miriam was confined outside the camp for seven days, and the people did not move on till she was brought back.  After that, the people left Hazeroth and encamped in the Desert of Paran. (Bamidbar [Numbers] 12:1-16)

Now Mosheh's relationship to Elohim is well documented.  He was given great prestige and great authority.  Aharon, Mosheh's older brother, was also given a special role and authority.  Aharon acted as Mosheh's spokesman before Pharaoh, and was later appointed as Cohen HaGadol (High Priest) for Israel.

But Miriam had no such authority.  She was well known for her relationship of sister to Mosheh and Aharon.  She was a leader of praise for the women during the exodus from Egypt as she sang a song in praise of Yahuwah when he delivered the nation through the Sea of Reeds while drowning Pharaoh's army in the same.  The Scriptures call Miriam a prophetess:

Then Miriam the prophetess, Aharon's sister, took a tambourine in her hand, and all the women followed her, with tambourines and dancing.  Miriam sang to them... (Shemot [Exodus] 15:20-21)

What was the nature of her responsibility as "prophetess"?  She was prophesying to the women, not to the men!  Her teaching and inspiration was to the women of the nation.  But Yahuwah never appointed her to any position of authority over all Israel.  Evidently, she desired that for herself.

When Mosheh took on a Cushite wife, Miriam took this opportunity to criticize him and suggest that she could lead Israel just as effectively as Mosheh.  She attempted to elevate herself to the place which Mosheh alone was allowed - that of leading Israel and delivering the Word of Yahuwah to the people.  This seems to be the intent of the saying, "Hasn't he also spoken through us?" (vs.2)  Nowhere throughout the Torah will you see recorded that Yahuwah placed a woman in a role of leadership over men or a woman taking authority over men.  But Miriam tried to place herself in such a prestigious role before all Israel.

Elohim immediately called them to appear before him, and the rest is a matter of record.  Aharon was scolded but Miriam was both scolded and punished.  Yahuwah's response to Miriam was more severe because she was trying to usurp a role which was out of her league.  Miriam was plagued with the most dreaded disease known to man - leprosy.  This malady was an extremely contagious skin disease which required the afflicted one to be completely separated from all other humans.  So, Miriam was booted out of the camp and made to stay away from all human contact for seven days.

Yahuwah explained that the shame Miriam brought on herself was equivalent to the shame a woman would sustain if her father had spit in her face.  This brings to mind what Paul said about women speaking up in the assembly of the Body:

...for it is disgraceful for a woman to speak in the assembly. (1 Corinthians 14:35)

The shame or disgrace for a woman which the Scriptures speak of is when she steps outside the role of submission where Elohim placed her and she tries to usurp a role or a privilege which was alone granted to man as her head.  A woman speaking in assembly is disgraceful for the same reason that Miriam's actions were disgraceful.  Both are trying to adopt a leadership role that Elohim gave exclusively to the man.

Later in Torah, we are reminded again about the folly of Miriam's pride in wanting to obtain a role equal to that of Mosheh.

Remember what Yahuwah your Elohim did to Miriam along the way after you came out of Mitzrayim. (Devarim 24:9)

This ominous warning suggests dire consequences to those women who would seek to usurp authority and headship for themselves which is appropriate only for a man.

The Biblical Role of Headship and Leadership For Men

In our studies so far, we have had much to say about the role of women as submissive and silent.  It's time to take a look at the role of men at home and in the congregation.  For it is in large part "men acting badly" that has brought about the reversal of roles as we see them in the world and in the Body of Messiah.

We wrote at length above about woman being created out of Adam and for Adam, and that this order of creation - the women being created second - indicates her purpose and role as helper to the man.  The woman's attitude of submission to her man is a proper response to her purpose in creation as man's helper.  As such, the woman finds fulfillment in her life by supporting and uplifting and serving her husband.

The man's purpose is also indicated in the order of creation.  As the first human, and as created by Elohim's own hand out of the dust of the earth, the man is placed in the executive position of management and administration.  He is given authority over all the created beings on the earth.  The creation account tells us this:

Elohim blessed them and said to them, "Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground." (Bereshith 1:28)

As overseer of the created beings, man gave names to each of the animals of the field and birds of the air.

Now Yahuwah Elohim had formed out of the ground all the beasts of the field and all the birds of the air. He brought them to the man to see what he would name them; and whatever the man called each living creature, that was its name. (Bereshith [Genesis] 2:19)

This naming of the animals was Adam's first expression of dominion over them.

Also, it was to the man, before the woman was formed from his side, that Elohim issued the command regarding the eating from the trees in the garden of Eden:

Yahuwah Elohim took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.  And Yahuwah Elohim commanded the man, "You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die."  Yahuwah Elohim said, "It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him." (Bereshith 2:15-18)

Thus, the man was given dominion over the animals, and to man Yahuwah communicated his instructions and commandments.  It was to be his responsibility as head over his soon to come wife and family to teach these instructions which Yahuwah spoke to him.  And this pattern is followed throughout the Torah, as we will see in the sections below.

Genesis 5 - The Biblical Genealogies

The biblical genealogies always recount the family histories by listing the head of the household, and this is always a man.  Accordingly, men, usually firstborn men, are listed in the records.

This is the written account of Adam's line. When Elohim created man, he made him in the likeness of Elohim.  He created them male and female and blessed them. And when they were created, he called them "man."  When Adam had lived 130 years, he had a son in his own likeness, in his own image; and he named him Seth.  After Seth was born, Adam lived 800 years and had other sons and daughters.  Altogether, Adam lived 930 years, and then he died.  When Seth had lived 105 years, he became the father of Enosh.  And after he became the father of Enosh, Seth lived 807 years and had other sons and daughters.  Altogether, Seth lived 912 years, and then he died.  When Enosh had lived 90 years, he became the father of Kenan. (Genesis 5:1-9)

And so goes on the genealogy of Adam's line all the way down to Noah and his sons, Shem, Ham and Yapheth.  Each generation is marked by the first son of the head of the household.  It was these men who passed down the knowledge of Elohim and his commandments.

The next genealogy listing traces the family of Shem, son of Noah, all the way to Abram.  This is found in Genesis 11.  Again, all the people listed are men who are firstborn and heads of household.  Then, as we move through all the genealogies found in Scripture, we will see the same pattern.  They all list the family histories by tracing the heads of the households.

The Bible recounts the history of people created by Elohim to rule the earth.  Elohim instituted the family as the basic building block of the community.  Each family head is always the man.  The women is the man's mate and helper in subduing the earth and producing offspring.  But the family is identified by the man and takes on the man's name.  This convention of taking the man's name is still practiced today in nearly every culture and nation of the world.

Genesis 12:1-5 - The Calling of the Patriarchs

As we move forward in the account in Genesis, we are encountered with the patriarchs and Yahuwah's promises.  Abram was called to leave his homeland and journey to a land he did not know:

Yahuwah had said to Avram, "Leave your country, your people and your father's household and go to the land I will show you.  "I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing.  I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you."  So Avram left, as Yahuwah had told him; and Lot went with him. Avram was seventy-five years old when he set out from Haran.  He took his wife Sarai, his nephew Lot, all the possessions they had accumulated and the people they had acquired in Haran, and they set out for the land of Canaan, and they arrived there.

It is no accident that Yahuwah chose a man to speak to and to make prophetic promises.  Avram was the head of his household and the leader and decision maker of the family.  Sarai, his wife, submitted to him.  This is indicated by her calling him "Master" (see 1 Peter 3, below).

Yahuwah chose to make his promises to Avram, on account of his obedient faith, and to his son, Yitzchak, after him, and then also to Yitzchak's son, Ya'acov.  This pattern of selecting the head of the household - a man - to communicate his promises follows the consistent pattern of Scripture in which Yahuwah gives orders to the head of the family - a man - who then passes on that information to his family and to the community.

Yoseph, the eleventh son of Ya'acov, was selected and used by Elohim to relocate to Egypt and to ultimately save the entire extended family of Ya'acov.  Yoseph was brought to Pharaoh's court and was made second in command over all Egypt, next to Pharaoh himself.  Thus Elohim consistently called upon men to be the protector of their families, the rulers (usually) in political affairs, and the conduit through which he passed down all of the knowledge of the righteousness of Elohim to the generations that followed.

Exodus 3-4 - Mosheh and Aharon as Leaders in Yisrael

When Israel became enslaved in Egypt, Elohim called a man (not a woman) to be the one who would deliver his people from their bondage.

Now Mosheh was tending the flock of Yitro his father-in-law, the priest of Midian, and he led the flock to the far side of the desert and came to Horeb, the mountain of Elohim.  There the angel of Yahuwah appeared to him in flames of fire from within a bush. Mosheh saw that though the bush was on fire it did not burn up.  So Mosheh thought, "I will go over and see this strange sight-- why the bush does not burn up."  When Yahuwah saw that he had gone over to look, Elohim called to him from within the bush, "Mosheh! Mosheh!" And Mosheh said, "Here I am."  "Do not come any closer," Elohim said. "Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground."  Then he said, "I am the Elohim of your father, the Elohim of Avraham, the Elohim of Yitzchak and the Elohim of Ya'acov."

At this, Mosheh hid his face, because he was afraid to look at Elohim.  Yahuwah said, "I have indeed seen the misery of my people in Mitzrayim. I have heard them crying out because of their slave drivers, and I am concerned about their suffering.  So I have come down to rescue them from the hand of the Mitzrites and to bring them up out of that land into a good and spacious land, a land flowing with milk and honey-- the home of the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites and Yebusites.  And now the cry of the sons of Yisrael has reached me, and I have seen the way the Mitzrites are oppressing them.  So now, go. I am sending you to Pharaoh to bring my people the sons of Yisrael out of Mitzrayim." (Shemot 3:1-10)

Mosheh (also called Moses) was the man whom Yahuwah called to be the Deliverer of his people.  Yahuwah spoke to Mosheh many times and Mosheh took that message to Pharaoh.

At the same time, when Mosheh complained of his inability to be a effective communicator, Yahuwah appointed his brother, Aharon, to be a spokesman for Mosheh before Pharaoh.

But Mosheh said, "Yahuwah, please send someone else to do it."  Then Yahuwah's anger burned against Mosheh and he said, "What about your brother, Aharon the Levite? I know he can speak well. He is already on his way to meet you, and his heart will be glad when he sees you.  You shall speak to him and put words in his mouth; I will help both of you speak and will teach you what to do.  He will speak to the people for you, and it will be as if he were your mouth and as if you were Elohim to him. (Exodus 4:13-16)

And of course, Aharon later was appointed High Priest and his sons were to be the priests who presented offerings at the set-apart place of Yahuwah.

These men were Elohim's chosen instruments to deliver the Word of Elohim and to minister before Yahuwah in his set-apart place.  Why did Elohim appoint men for these tasks, and not women?  It is clear that this is the pattern that was established in creation, that the male was to be the head and leader of the family, and thus, the leaders of the congregation and nation.  Men have been endowed by their Creator with these unalienable rights of headship and leadership.

Exodus 18:14-26 - The Advice of Yitro

Mosheh was occupying himself from morning till evening with the daily grind of being judge and arbiter of the peoples disagreements.  When Yitro his father in law saw him doing this, he gave him some good advise.

When his father-in-law saw all that Mosheh was doing for the people, he said, "What is this you are doing for the people? Why do you alone sit as judge, while all these people stand around you from morning till evening?"  Mosheh answered him, "Because the people come to me to seek Elohim's will.  Whenever they have a dispute, it is brought to me, and I decide between the parties and inform them of Elohim's decrees and laws."  Mosheh' father-in-law replied, "What you are doing is not good.  You and these people who come to you will only wear yourselves out. The work is too heavy for you; you cannot handle it alone.  Listen now to me and I will give you some advice, and may Elohim be with you. You must be the people's representative before Elohim and bring their disputes to him.  Teach them the decrees and laws, and show them the way to live and the duties they are to perform. 

But select capable men from all the people-- men who fear Elohim, trustworthy men who hate dishonest gain-- and appoint them as officials over thousands, hundreds, fifties and tens.  Have them serve as judges for the people at all times, but have them bring every difficult case to you; the simple cases they can decide themselves. That will make your load lighter, because they will share it with you.  If you do this and Elohim so commands, you will be able to stand the strain, and all these people will go home satisfied."  Mosheh listened to his father-in-law and did everything he said.  He chose capable men from all Yisrael and made them leaders of the people, officials over thousands, hundreds, fifties and tens.  They served as judges for the people at all times. The difficult cases they brought to Mosheh, but the simple ones they decided themselves.

This is a prime example of delegating authority.  Mosheh was to take "capable men" who qualified to make just and righteous decisions, and he would then train them in the laws and right-rulings of Yahuwah.  These men would carry the load of judging all the peoples easy cases so that Mosheh wouldn't have to do the judging alone.  He could handle the more difficult cases.

Note that the text says "capable men."  Nowhere are we told that Mosheh selected women to be judges over Israel.  The men were naturally equipped by Elohim with the authority of headship so that they would be able to dispense justice to the people.  Mosheh selected men from all the tribes of Israel to mediate disputes.

Numbers 26 - Inheritance in Israel

Another place where we see men taking the positions of heads and leaders in Israel, and where we do not see women taking on the same leadership positions is in the inheritance of the twelve tribes of Israel.  As we mentioned earlier, Avraham was given the promises of the inheritance of the land formerly occupied by the Hittites, Girgashites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites and Yebusites.  This land was collectively called Canaan at that time but later came to be called Yisrael.

Then Yitzchak also received the same promises as his father Abraham, and then Ya'acov after him.  When Ya'acov had his twelve sons, the promises were to be fulfilled for them.  These promises given by Yahuwah was given to men, not women.

In Numbers 26, we are told that Yahuwah ordered a census of the fighting men:

After the plague Yahuwah said to Mosheh and Eleazar son of Aharon, the priest, "Take a census of the whole community of the sons of Yisrael by families-- all those twenty years old or more who are able to serve in the army of Yisrael."  So on the plains of Moab by the Yarden across from Yericho, Mosheh and Eleazar the priest spoke with them and said, "Take a census of the men twenty years old or more, as Yahuwah commanded Mosheh." These were the sons of Yisrael who came out of Mitzrayim: (Numbers 26:1-4)

Verses 5 through 50, a listing of the twelve sons of Israel and each of their sons and the families is given.  Then, we are told, that these tribes and the men they consist of are going to inherit the land.  After the census of those men who were of fighting age was broken down, we are given a total of the fighting men of Yisrael:

The total number of the men of Yisrael was 601,730.  Yahuwah said to Mosheh, "The land is to be allotted to them as an inheritance based on the number of names.  To a larger group give a larger inheritance, and to a smaller group a smaller one; each is to receive its inheritance according to the number of those listed. (26:51-54)

It is important to see that the inheritance of Israel was divided among the fighting men of Yisrael, not the women.  The number of women in Yisrael did not matter because the inheritance was divided and apportioned to the men - the heads of household in Yisrael.  The men were the family heads, while the women were married to the men.  Later Yehoshua (Joshua) meticulously divided the conquered lands among the twelve tribes and each clan inherited a section of country, and each man received a specific plot of land that was to belong to his direct descendants forever.

In the special circumstance when a man does not have any sons, his inheritance is to become his daughter's.

Say to the sons of Yisrael, 'If a man dies and leaves no son, turn his inheritance over to his daughter.  If he has no daughter, give his inheritance to his brothers.  If he has no brothers, give his inheritance to his father's brothers.  If his father had no brothers, give his inheritance to the nearest relative in his clan, that he may possess it. This is to be a legal requirement for the sons of Yisrael, as Yahuwah commanded Mosheh.'" (Numbers 27:8-11)

This is noteworthy because every family was to retain the land given to it.  Normally, all the land passed down to the son, but when there was no son, the daughter would receive it.  A family was reckoned by the man who was its head.  But inheritance had to be passed down to a man's descendants, usually his sons, and if he had no sons then to his daughters.  But the land was still in the name and in the family of the man.

Numbers 18:1-7 - The Male Only Priesthood

The ministry of the priesthood in Israel was also male only, as was the care of the tabernacle.  The tribe of Lewi was given as its inheritance the responsibility of the care and maintenance of the tabernacle and all its pieces.  And Aharon, who was a Lewite, and his sons were entrusted with the ministry of the tabernacle. 

Yahuwah said to Aharon, "You, your sons and your father's family are to bear the responsibility for offenses against the sanctuary, and you and your sons alone are to bear the responsibility for offenses against the priesthood.  Bring your fellow Levites from your ancestral tribe to join you and assist you when you and your sons minister before the Tent of the Testimony.  They are to be responsible to you and are to perform all the duties of the Tent, but they must not go near the furnishings of the sanctuary or the altar, or both they and you will die.  They are to join you and be responsible for the care of the Tent of Appointment-- all the work at the Tent-- and no one else may come near where you are.  "You are to be responsible for the care of the sanctuary and the altar, so that wrath will not fall on the sons of Yisrael again.  I myself have selected your fellow Levites from among the sons of Yisrael as a gift to you, dedicated to Yahuwah to do the work at the Tent of Appointment.  But only you and your sons may serve as priests in connection with everything at the altar and inside the curtain. I am giving you the service of the priesthood as a gift. Anyone else who comes near the sanctuary must be put to death."

It is clear from the Torah that men were entrusted with the responsibility of the worship of the living Elohim - Aharon and his sons with the ministry of the tabernacle, and the tribe of Lewi with the ministry of the care of the tabernacle.  In contrast, nothing is ever said about the women's role in the same.  Women were to never to serve the ministry of Yah's tabernacle as the men were.

The point to be seen from each of these examples in the Tanach (Old Testament) is that men were always the heads of households, the judges in disputes between people, the sole recipients in the inheritance, and the ministers of the Word of Elohim and of the worship of Elohim.  The men were the teachers and proclaimers of the revelations of Elohim and were always the responsible party for the actions and behaviors of all in their households.  The names of the tribes and clans of Israel were always the men's names, because the family derives from them.

Matthew 10:1-4 - Messiah's Apostles

When we come to the New Testament, we find that nothing has changed in the roles and responsibilities of men.  The men are still the heads of household, the leaders in the assemblies, the teachers and proclaimers of the Word.  This regulation is first made by Messiah in the composition of the body of disciples which Yahusha gathered to himself to teach and to send out with the message of his mission:

He called his twelve disciples to him and gave them authority to drive out evil spirits and to heal every disease and sickness.  These are the names of the twelve apostles: first, Shimon (who is called Kepha) and his brother Andrew; Ya'acov son of Zebedee, and his brother Yochanan;  Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Mattityahu the tax collector; Ya'acov son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus;  Shimon the Zealot and Yehudah Iscariot, who betrayed him.

Note carefully that Yahusha selected twelve men to be his close disciples and emissaries.  Yes, there were women who accompanied the band of men, who ministered to their needs.  But the women were not charged with the same responsibility as these men were.

And it is no coincidence that the Master selected twelve in number.  Just as the twelve brothers, the sons of Ya'acov, were the fathers of the twelve tribes of Israel and represented the whole nation, Yahusha selected twelve men to be his disciples in an obvious correlation to represent the whole Body of Messiah.  These men were to learn directly from the Master the teachings and interpretations of the Torah, and it would become their job to pass on these teachings to the rest of the believers who would assemble in his Name.

Titus 1:5-9 - Elders in the Body of Messiah

More to the point made above, the elders of the Messianic assemblies were all men!  Read carefully the following teachings by Paul regarding the character qualifications for an elder.  I have underlined the references to this individual as a male:

The reason I left you in Crete was that you might straighten out what was left unfinished and appoint elders in every town, as I directed you.  An elder must be blameless, the husband of but one wife, a man whose children believe and are not open to the charge of being wild and disobedient.  Since an overseer is entrusted with Elohim's work, he must be blameless-- not overbearing, not quick-tempered, not given to drunkenness, not violent, not pursuing dishonest gain.  Rather he must be hospitable, one who loves what is good, who is self-controlled, upright, holy and disciplined.  He must hold firmly to the trustworthy message as it has been taught, so that he can encourage others by sound doctrine and refute those who oppose it.

There are no less than six explicit references to the elder being a male.  The elder is a man and a husband (i.e. he is married) and must be well known for his good personal character and the discipline of his children.  And he must be a man of understanding the Scriptures, for he is to "hold firmly to the trustworthy message."

As we saw in the record of Israel before the coming of the Messiah, all the positions of leadership and ministry in the tabernacle were occupied by men.  So it is after the coming of Messiah: all of those who lead and teach and have authority in the congregation of believers are men.

Paul gives another account of the qualifications of elders and deacons (servants) in his letter to Timothy (which we will look at later).  And in that letter, too, Paul affirms that men and men alone are able to serve in the role of congregational leaders and teachers for the assembly of Messiah.

Biblical Role Models For Women

When it comes to the instructions for women in the home and in the assembly, very little is said explicitly in the Torah and the prophets.  But much is said by implication.  If the men are to be the leaders and heads of households, then women are not to be so.  However, we can still learn much about how women ought to conduct themselves and what their responsibilities and roles are by looking at how the Bible portrays godly women and how these women acted.  Let's take a look at a few such women and glean from their experience.

The Submissiveness of Sarah

Sarah, Abraham's wife, usually comes to mind when we think of how a godly woman should behave.  She is commended for her laudable personal qualities.  Peter uses Sarah as a role model for the kind of behavior that he advises for the women of the Messianic community:

Wives, in the same way be submissive to your husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, when they see the purity and reverence of your lives.  Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes.  Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in Elohim's sight.  For this is the way the holy women of the past who put their hope in Elohim used to make themselves beautiful. They were submissive to their own husbands, like Sarah, who obeyed Avraham and called him her master. You are her daughters if you do what is right and do not give way to fear. (1 Kepha 3:1-6)

While many women may think that the most important trait of a godly woman is her knowledge of the Scriptures, or her wisdom, or her kindnesses to the poor, or some other commendable trait, this is not what Peter calls to our attention about Sarah.  The attribute of submissiveness is the primary character trait of that godly woman.  Spirit-minded women don't need the distraction of the outward adornment to call attention to their beauty.  Their best side comes from a gentle and quiet spirit which exemplifies the submissive woman.

Sarah had this quality of submissiveness.  Although Sarah was in fact a beautiful woman in face and in form, this is not what she is commended for.  The record indicates that she was beautiful:

(Abram) said to his wife Sarai, "I know what a beautiful woman you are. (Genesis 12:11)  ...When Avram came to Mitzrayim, the Mitzrites saw that she was a very beautiful woman. (Genesis 12:14)

Yet, Peter brings to our attention that her true beauty, that which is remarkable in the sight of Elohim, was the beauty she exuded in her submissive spirit toward her husband.  Sarah called her husband master.

Where does the Bible say that?  It was when Yahuwah talked with Abram and promised him that Sarah would have a son.  Sarah was listening from her tent.

So Sarah laughed to herself as she thought, "After I am worn out and my master is old, will I now have this pleasure?" (Genesis 18:12)

If she called him master at this time, we can surmise that this was her attitude toward her husband and she treated Abraham in submission like he was her master.  This is the kind of submissive spirit Yahuwah commends in women.

In this same account of Yahuwah and the two messengers appearing to Abraham, we can see another demonstration of Sarah's submissive spirit.  As the three visitors arrived to talk with Abraham, he requested of Sarah to prepare food for the strangers.  She did not whine and complain that her husband tasked her with the preparation of food.  Rather, she quickly complied with his directives and fulfilled his request.

Then as Abraham spoke with the visitors, Sarah did not throw herself into the conversation.  She did not insist on being a part of the dialogue Abraham had with these visitors.  And after she heard what Yahuwah said, she did not come out of the tent to interject her thoughts and opinions to the men.  She stayed in the tent, out of the way.  And she remained silent.

The women of our Messianic congregations would do well to mimic Sarah.  But because of the present circumstances - the spirit of secular feminism and the abandonment of leadership and headship by many of the men - far too many of our women refuse to remain silent.  They feel they must be heard and their opinions must be announced from the mountain tops.  This is to the shame of us all.  For the godly women of the Bible did not so act like our women today act.

The Servant's Attitude of Rivqah (Rebecca)

Another example of the behavior of a godly woman can be seen in Rivqah.  Rivqah is well known as the wife of Yitzchak (Isaac).  The account of the acquisition of a wife for Isaac tells us a lot about Rivqah's character.  It begins after the death of Sarah, Isaac's mother.  Abraham needed to find a godly woman to become the wife of Yitzchak.

He said to the chief servant in his household, the one in charge of all that he had, "Put your hand under my thigh.  I want you to swear by Yahuwah, the Elohim of heaven and the Elohim of earth, that you will not get a wife for my son from the daughters of the Canaanites, among whom I am living, but will go to my country and my own relatives and get a wife for my son Yitzchak." (Bereshith 24:2-4)

So this servant of Abraham's went to the north country in search for a bride for Yitzchak, and arrived in the town of Nahor.  But not knowing how he would know who was the right woman, he prayed to Yahuwah to show him.

Then he prayed, "Yahuwah, Elohim of my master Avraham, give me success today, and show kindness to my master Avraham.  See, I am standing beside this spring, and the daughters of the townspeople are coming out to draw water.  May it be that when I say to a girl, 'Please let down your jar that I may have a drink,' and she says, 'Drink, and I'll water your camels too'-- let her be the one you have chosen for your servant Yitzchak. By this I will know that you have shown kindness to my master." (Bereshith 24:12-14)

No sooner had he prayed this prayer that Rivqah appeared with her jar on her shoulder.

The girl was very beautiful, a virgin; no man had ever lain with her. (vs 16)

But her physical beauty is not what is striking about her in this account of Rivqah.  It was her actions that were stunning:

The servant hurried to meet her and said, "Please give me a little water from your jar."  "Drink, my master," she said, and quickly lowered the jar to her hands and gave him a drink.  After she had given him a drink, she said, "I'll draw water for your camels too, until they have finished drinking."  So she quickly emptied her jar into the trough, ran back to the well to draw more water, and drew enough for all his camels. (Bereshith 24:17-20)

Rivqah didn't know this stranger from Adam!  Yet, she gave him a drink from the water she had drawn and then hastened to draw water for the man's camels as well.  This act of service and hospitality is not common.  It is the mark of a godly woman who had a sweet spirit about her and who understood her role in the household.

Yet, her kindness didn't end there.  She had yet another gesture of hospitality to offer:

Then he asked, "Whose daughter are you? Please tell me, is there room in your father's house for us to spend the night?"  She answered him, "I am the daughter of Bethuel, the son that Milcah bore to Nahor."  And she added, "We have plenty of straw and fodder, as well as room for you to spend the night." (vss 23-25)

She offered this stranger food for his animals and a place to stay for the night in her father's house.

Rivqah was beautiful in face and figure, yet her inner beauty was what "cinched the deal."  The inner quality of kindness and service toward others is what made it clear that she was the godly woman whom Abraham was searching for his son to be his wife.  Rivqah is a model to be emulated by the Messianic women of our time who want to be pleasing.

Abigail - Wife and "Maidservant" of David

Another fine example of a woman who feared Yahuwah and understood her role of submissiveness is that of Abigail.  The Bible says that she was "intelligent and beautiful" (see 1 Samuel 25:3).  Since she was intelligent and beautiful, she could have thought of herself as above the need to submit to anyone, like many "self sufficient" women today.  Was this her attitude?

Abigail was the wife of Nabal whose sheep David's men had watched over while they were in the vicinity.  David and his men had protected his flock at no charge to Nabal.  But when David needed food for his men, he requested of Nabal some help.  Nabal refused to help David, and this enraged David.

David was preparing to pay back Nabal for the evil of his selfishness, when Nabal's wife Abigail caught wind of the circumstances and Nabal's refusal.  So she took with her bread, wine, sheep, grain, raisin cakes and cakes of figs and approached David, who was venting about how he was going to destroy Nabal.

When Abigail saw David, she quickly got off her donkey and bowed down before David with her face to the ground.  She fell at his feet and said: "My master, let the blame be on me alone. Please let your servant speak to you; hear what your servant has to say.  May my master pay no attention to that wicked man Nabal. He is just like his name-- his name is Fool, and folly goes with him. But as for me, your servant, I did not see the men my master sent. (1 Samuel 25:23-25)

Abigail did not need to bow down before David.  He was not yet king.  He was basically a wandering fugitive.  Nevertheless, she demonstrated her humility and bowed low to David with her face to the ground.  And she addressed David as her master.

Abigail was also wise.  She averted disaster for her family by assuaging the anger of David by bringing him and his men the food they requested.  But when Nabal heard of the doom he narrowly missed, he was struck with fear and soon after died.  And David heard that Nabal was dead.

Then David sent word to Abigail, asking her to become his wife.  His servants went to Carmel and said to Abigail, "David has sent us to you to take you to become his wife."  She bowed down with her face to the ground and said, "Here is your maidservant, ready to serve you and wash the feet of my master's servants." (1 Samuel 25:39-41)

Now here is where Abigail's true nature was revealed.  This time, she bowed down low before David, not just because she was seeking his favor, but because she was to become his wife.

Her first words to David were those of a woman with a meek and quiet spirit, one whose heart was submissive.  "Here is your maidservant, ready to serve you and wash the feet of my master's servants."  Abigail's attitude of service and humility toward David is a wonderful model of the posture that godly women today should be showing to their husbands and setting as a standard for the women in the Body of Messiah.

Queen Esther's Obedience

Queen Esther was arguably the most influential woman recorded in the Bible.  She was the wife of Xerxes, king of Media/Persia, the most powerful man in the world of that time.  Her actions saved the lives of an entire generation of Jews from extermination.  Surely, if any woman should be able to give orders to men and have authority over men, Esther must be the one.

Yet, Esther did not conduct herself by asserting her authority over people, nor is that the way we remember Esther.  We salute Esther for her willingness to forfeit her own life to save her own people.  We remember Esther for her bravery and self-sacrificing humility.

For anyone who knows the story of Esther is aware that as queen, she had to humble herself in order to gain an audience with Xerxes.  Anyone who approached the king had to do the same, or take a chance of losing his life.  But this is not why she is commended.  She was, in fact, a humble women and submissive to the authority of the men in her life.

The account of Esther begins with her background and upbringing:

Mordecai had a cousin named Hadassah, whom he had brought up because she had neither father nor mother. This girl, who was also known as Esther, was lovely in form and features, and Mordecai had taken her as his own daughter when her father and mother died. (Esther 2:7)

Like we've noted earlier about some other godly women, Esther was beautiful in form and figure, but this is not what made her memorable to many generations after her, nor is that why she was an effective character in Elohim's plan.  She had a humble spirit and did not assert herself above her station in life.

This young woman had been adopted by her cousin Mordecai, who for all practical purposes was a father to her.  Thus, she was under his authority when the king took her to be in his household.  As Esther prepared for her time to go in to the king, she did not do so according to her own wisdom, but she accepted the advice of the eunuch who was in charge of her:

When the turn came for Esther (the girl Mordecai had adopted, the daughter of his uncle Abihail) to go to the king, she asked for nothing other than what Hegai, the king's eunuch who was in charge of the harem, suggested. And Esther won the favor of everyone who saw her. (Esther 2:15)

By submitting to the wisdom of the eunuch, Esther gained the favor of all who saw her.

But even more impressive was that even after she was no longer under the authority of Mordecai, she continued to obey him in everything he told her to do.  She did not reveal her family's Jewish heritage, because Mordecai forbade her from doing so.

Esther had not revealed her nationality and family background, because Mordecai had forbidden her to do so.  Every day he walked back and forth near the courtyard of the harem to find out how Esther was and what was happening to her. (Esther 2:10-11)

This point is so important to the storyline of the book of Esther, that it is emphasized:

But Esther had kept secret her family background and nationality just as Mordecai had told her to do, for she continued to follow Mordecai's instructions as she had done when he was bringing her up. (Esther 2:20)

Esther continued to obey her father's instructions, even after she was no longer under his roof and under his authority.  This exhibits her exceptional spirit of humility.  Her submission to Mordecai's instructions resulted in the perfect timing of this information being released.  At just the right time, the revelation of her ancestry was the key to saving the Jews from the plots of Haman to destroy them.

Had Esther not practiced submission to her father, we probably would not be reading the story of Esther in our Bibles.  Deliverance would have arisen from somewhere else.   But Esther's character earned her a place of distinction among women who commended themselves before Elohim by their righteous actions.

Proverbs 31 - The Virtuous Woman

The greatest example of a godly woman is that virtuous woman as described in Proverbs 31.  This description of the noble woman was probably written by a woman.  The first verse of this oracle says

The sayings of King Lemuel-- an oracle his mother taught him. (Proverbs 31:1)

Did Lemuel's mother write this, or was she just passing these pearls of wisdom on to her son?  Regardless who wrote it, this poem aptly depicts the character and lifestyle of a woman commendable before Elohim.

It begins with a rhetorical question:

10 A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies.

Indeed, a virtuous woman is a valuable commodity.  Every man desires one.

Next, it speaks of her husband's opinion of her.

11 Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value.  12 She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life.

The women who is described in the rest of this oracle doesn't need to second guess herself.  She is always looking out for her husband's interests, and he values her for it.  Dropping down in the proverb, it has more to say about her husband:

23 Her husband is respected at the city gate, where he takes his seat among the elders of the land.

Notice that this noble woman is not sitting at the gate trying to be a judge and decision maker with the elders.  She knows that is not her place.  Her husband is a respected member of the elders where he is the representative of his family at the gate.  He is the one exercising authority and interpreting the right-rulings of the Torah along with the other men in cases of dispute (at the gate).

The noble woman is first and foremost doing the work of the home and taking care of her children.  Her household responsibilities are many:

13 She selects wool and flax and works with eager hands.  14 She is like the merchant ships, bringing her food from afar.  15 She gets up while it is still dark; she provides food for her family and portions for her servant girls.  16 She considers a field and buys it; out of her earnings she plants a vineyard.  17 She sets about her work vigorously; her arms are strong for her tasks.  18 She sees that her trading is profitable, and her lamp does not go out at night.  19 In her hand she holds the distaff and grasps the spindle with her fingers.  20 She opens her arms to the poor and extends her hands to the needy.  21 When it snows, she has no fear for her household; for all of them are clothed in scarlet.  22 She makes coverings for her bed; she is clothed in fine linen and purple.  24 She makes linen garments and sells them, and supplies the merchants with sashes.  25 She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come.  26 She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue.  27 She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness.  28 Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her:

Her work at home includes all of the following: preparing food for her family, she sews and makes clothing for all the family members including herself, she makes coverings for her bed, she makes other clothing and sells them to merchants, she watches over the affairs of her household.

She has work outside the home as well, including these tasks: she shops for and buys a field, she plants a vineyard, she sells to the merchants.  Her work ethic is strong: she arises before the sun, she sets about her work vigorously, her arms are strong for her tasks, her trading is profitable, she does not go to bed yet when it gets dark, she helps the poor and needy, she speaks with wisdom.

King Lemuel recognizes a noble woman when he sees one:

29 "Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all."

And the conclusion of the matter is this:

30 Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears Yahuwah is to be praised.  31 Give her the reward she has earned, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.

Outward adornment and beauty in face and form are temporary.  Young women are blessed with these through no merit of their own.  But the woman who fears Yahuwah and is submissive to her husband and understands her role and responsibilities and does them is a woman who deserves all the praise she receives.

Order in Our Messianic Assemblies

It should be clear enough by now from the Scriptures we've examined in this article that Elohim created man and woman with very different form and function and that he has assigned them with specific and distinct roles and responsibilities.  Now its time to get to some specifics about how these roles and responsibilities function in the Body of Messiah.  We want to see what the model for the meetings of Messiah's people looks like from the perspective of the New Testament writers.

This model of the assembly that is portrayed in the New Testament is how we can best administer the commission that Messiah conveyed to his followers for making disciples of all nations (see Matthew 28:18-20).  We wish to glean from the directions given by the apostles some practical advice on how to conduct the assembly.  From these, we hope that Messianic assemblies everywhere would be able to apply these biblical principles to restore order in their own gatherings.

1 Timothy 3:1-15 - Conduct in the Assembly

The first step in reforming our set apart miqra gatherings to comply with the biblical pattern for Messianic assemblies is to start with the qualifications and conduct of the leadership.  Accordingly, the first principles we must understand is what the inspired writers had to say about who is to lead the Body and who is to head up and administer its various outreaches.   Paul writes instructions to Timothy regarding the roles and qualifications of elders and deacons so they they might know "how people ought to conduct themselves in Elohim's household" (see verse 15).  These are the instructions we need to keep to for our assemblies in these final days.  The full text of Paul's directions are as follows:

Here is a trustworthy saying: If anyone sets his heart on being an overseer, he desires a noble task.  Now the overseer must be above reproach, the husband of but one wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not given to drunkenness, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money.  He must manage his own family well and see that his children obey him with proper respect.  (If anyone does not know how to manage his own family, how can he take care of Elohim's assembly?)  He must not be a recent convert, or he may become conceited and fall under the same judgment as the devil.  He must also have a good reputation with outsiders, so that he will not fall into disgrace and into the devil's trap.

Deacons, likewise, are to be men worthy of respect, sincere, not indulging in much wine, and not pursuing dishonest gain.  They must keep hold of the deep truths of the faith with a clear conscience.  They must first be tested; and then if there is nothing against them, let them serve as deacons.  In the same way, their wives are to be women worthy of respect, not malicious talkers but temperate and trustworthy in everything.  A deacon must be the husband of but one wife and must manage his children and his household well.

Those who have served well gain an excellent standing and great assurance in their faith in Messiah Yahusha.  Although I hope to come to you soon, I am writing you these instructions so that, if I am delayed, you will know how people ought to conduct themselves in Elohim's household, which is the assembly of the living Elohim, the pillar and foundation of the truth.

These, then, are Paul's principal instructions for establishing proper conduct in Elohim's household.  Elohim is "the pillar and foundation of the truth," so it stands to reason that his assembly must adhere to the rules of proper conduct in order to guard that truth.  To ignore these guidelines would result (and has, indeed, resulted) in the assemblies of Yahuwah straying to the right or to the left of the truth.  And that leads to chaos in the assembly.  For that reason, Paul gives these instructions for the leadership of the congregation so that "you will know how people ought to conduct themselves in Elohim's household." 

In this text, Paul discusses the qualifications for overseers and deacons.  The Greek word here translated overseer is evpiskoph, (pronounced e-pisko-pay).  Friberg Lexicon says this about the meaning of our word:

(1) as the presence of divine power to benefit or save coming visitation (LU 19.44; probably 1P 2.12); (2) as a demonstration of the divine power to punish visitation, reckoning (perhaps 1P 2.12); (3) as the position of an overseer office, responsibility (AC 1.20)

Since episkopay means visitation or reckoning, the person who is an episkopay is the one with the authority to administer judgment in the assembly.  This person is the decision maker and carries the weight of responsibility for the discipline of the congregation.  He is a judge.  The term elder is sometimes used to translate this Greek word.  The elders in most congregations are the ones whose purpose is to lead and teach, to decide and be responsible for discipline in the body.

The term deacon comes from the Greek dia,konoj (pronounced dia-konos).  Thayer's Greek Lexicon describes this word as

one who executes the commands of another, especially of a master; a sergeant, attendant, minister.

The deacon also was an office with some authority.  His authority was to carry out the instructions of the overseer.  So, both the overseer and deacon are men who have and wield authority in the Body.

The first thing we notice about these two offices is that Paul describes the person who qualifies for these positions as a male, and noticeably, he never refers to those who take on these positions in the feminine (as addressing a woman).  The personal pronouns he and him (masculine) are used throughout the discussion of the overseer and of the deacon.  Also, he must be the husband of but one wife.  Women cannot be overseers because they cannot meet this qualification(!)  From these considerations, its plain that the overseers and deacons must be men.

There are at least two ways one could interpret the criterion that he must be the husband of (but) one wife.  Either the man must only have one wife, or the text would allow the interpretation that the overseer must have at least one wife.  Either way, it is clear that the overseer and the deacon must be married.  And they must be men in order to be required to have a wife.

Why do the overseers and deacons have to be married?  The reasons for this are several fold.  First, a single man does not have the experience of being responsible for another as a married man does with his wife.  The overseer and deacon must have a track record of responsibility and leadership in his own personal relationship with his wife.

Second, the overseer must further exhibit his fitness for this responsibility by having control over his own family.  He must demonstrate the ability to manage people, beginning with his own wife and children.  Otherwise, he has not established and proven his ability to take care of Elohim's assembly.

He must manage his own family well and see that his children obey him with proper respect.  (If anyone does not know how to manage his own family, how can he take care of Elohim's assembly?) 

Similarly, Paul mentions that the deacon must first be tested, and then, when proven, he can serve as deacon.

Furthermore, the overseer must have personality traits consistent with the character of Elohim.  He must be "temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not given to drunkenness, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money."  The "able to teach" qualification is interesting because its consistent with one of the primary duties of the overseer - that of teaching the congregation the Word of Elohim.

In addition, the leader must not be a recent convert.  The reason for this should be obvious.  New believers have not yet been fully tested and proven, and they are susceptible to "every wind of doctrine" because they are not yet fully grounded in the Word.  Younger ministers have a propensity to seek the thrill of bringing something new to the table, so they look for some original angle or unique interpretation of Scripture.  This can lead them into accepting and teaching false doctrines and interpretations of the Bible which are not consistent with the foundation of the Torah.  In addition to that weakness of young converts, many a young minister has fallen into grave sin because he was given too much independence and authority without an appropriate level of accountability.  So, the leader must have some reasonable length of time in the faith and must be fully grounded in the truths and proper interpretations of Scripture.

The wives of deacons (and presumably overseers, too) must be "worthy of respect, not malicious talkers but temperate and trustworthy in everything."  In other words, their wives (women don't qualify as deacons!) must also have a good reputation.  They must be able to be the "helper" for their husbands that Elohim has created them to be.

Not many Christian churches and Messianic assemblies follow the instructions Paul gives for qualifying overseers and deacons.  If our faith communities would be devoted to these instructions and have only qualified men serving in these leadership posts, many of the pitfalls which independent assemblies fall into could be avoided.

1 Corinthians 14:26-40 - A Fitting and Orderly Way

While Paul discussed the qualifications of leaders for the assembly in his letter to Timothy, he develops the theme of having orderly meetings in his letter to the Corinthians.  He concludes these instructions by pointing out that "everything should be done in a fitting and orderly way."  Here are his directives in this matter:

What then shall we say, brothers? When you come together, everyone has a hymn, or a word of instruction, a revelation, a tongue or an interpretation. All of these must be done for the strengthening of the assembly.  If anyone speaks in a tongue, two-- or at the most three-- should speak, one at a time, and someone must interpret.  If there is no interpreter, the speaker should keep quiet in the assembly and speak to himself and Elohim.  Two or three prophets should speak, and the others should weigh carefully what is said.  And if a revelation comes to someone who is sitting down, the first speaker should stop.  For you can all prophesy in turn so that everyone may be instructed and encouraged.  The spirits of prophets are subject to the control of prophets.  For Elohim is not a Elohim of disorder but of peace.

As in all the congregations of the saints, women should remain silent in the assemblies. They are not allowed to speak, but must be in submission, as the Law says.  If they want to inquire about something, they should ask their own husbands at home; for it is disgraceful for a woman to speak in the assembly.  Did the word of Elohim originate with you? Or are you the only people it has reached?  If anybody thinks he is a prophet or spiritually gifted, let him acknowledge that what I am writing to you is the Master's command.  If he ignores this, he himself will be ignored.  Therefore, my brothers, be eager to prophesy, and do not forbid speaking in tongues.  But everything should be done in a fitting and orderly way. (1 Corinthians 14:26-40)

I've divided the above text from 1 Corinthians into two paragraphs.  The first paragraph describes the manner in which the assembly should be operated.  The second paragraph describes the limitations placed on women in the congregation.

Another way to view this text is to see in the first paragraph the instructions for how the men should proceed with the matters of the assembly.  We say "how men should proceed" because the second paragraph clearly delimits the "everyone" and "all" of the first paragraph by making clear that women are to remain silent and not participate vocally in the proceedings of the assembly.  Therefore, the instructions for the orderly conduct of the meeting are for the men, since the women are emphatically commanded to be silent.

I say emphatically, because Paul is quite insistent about how disgraceful it would be for a woman to speak in the assembly.  This is not something that is new with Paul, nor is it his personal preference.  He bases the command for women to be silent on the origination of the word of Elohim.  In other words, if you want your own religion, conduct it however you want.  But Yahuwah has commanded his assembly to be conducted in this particular manner.  If you are obedient to the word of Elohim, the men will be the leaders and the women will remain silent.  And Paul further insists that anyone who is spiritual minded (one who listens to the Holy Spirit) would know and understand that Yahuwah has commanded women to be silent.  Anyone who ignores this fact should himself be ignored.

Elohim is not an elohim of disorder, but of peace.  Therefore, everything should be done in a fitting and orderly way.  This means that men should participate in the prophesying, the public prayer, the teaching of the word, the revelation, speaking in tongues and in the interpretation of tongues.  They are the heads of families and leaders of the congregation.  So, the men need to conduct the service of worship.  But women should remain silent in all of these.

As those who have been granted authority, headship and leadership, the men are to conduct the meeting in an orderly manner.  But notice that the text of Paul's letter indicates that several men (not just one man) should be sharing insights in the Word.  Further he says that two or three should be speaking, one at a time, of course.  This flies in the face of what is common in the Christian and Messianic world, where the pastor gives a lengthy sermon while everyone else sits in the pew.

The common scenario in the Christian churches where one man is the leader, pastor, teacher, song leader, prayer leader and conductor of all business for the congregation must be abandoned, going forward.  That is the Nicolaitan way of conducting the assembly, and we all know what our Master thinks about that (see Revelation 2:6,15).  This is also practiced in the Messianic congregations where one man is the only man who preaches or teaches Sabbath after Sabbath.  But no one person has a corner on truth.  It is in the counsel of the many that the truth of a matter is revealed.

Paul's sense of assembly, and that which was known in all the assemblies of disciples of Messiah, is for the overseers to share the load when it comes to ministering the Word.  Elohim has scattered his gifts throughout his Body, so those gifted men should be allowed to practice their gifts for the benefit of all.  Let the elders (not one elder) lead out in the teaching of the Torah and in the worship service.

But in order for this to happen, our men need to be men - which is to say, men need to be strong leaders and immerse themselves in the Scriptures. Men need to stop forfeiting their leadership role to their wives, and take their responsibility by the reins and run with it.  Man-up, men.  Take up the mantle and start leading your family and your congregation in the ways of Yahuwah.  How much more blessed our congregations will be when we men wake up to our responsibilities and begin doing the work with which Elohim has entrusted us.

A Final Word

Paul and Peter, as we have discussed at some length above, gave instructions to the assembly of Messiah for the proper role relationships for his Body.  He explained that submitting one to another is to be done by wives submitting to their own husbands, children submitting to their parents and slaves submitting to their slaves.  If I could summarize this study article in the form of a Pauline letter, it might read something like this:

Everyone, fill-up the roles and responsibilities which Yahuwah has called you to, so that when everyone is doing his own part, the whole body of Messiah can operate like a well oiled machine.  Stand-up for righteousness and do the right thing always.

Men, man-up.  Elohim has created you and commissioned you to be the head of the home and its representative in the assembly.  The days of being weak, passive and non-interested are over.  Stop being a wimp.  The time has passed when it was acceptable for you to sit back and let the women do the studying and teaching and leading in the home and in the congregation.  Now its your time to rise to the occasion.  Take up the challenge of leadership by taking the bull by the horns.  Assert yourselves.  Be strong and courageous.

Women, hush-up.  Both the Torah and the New Testament have instructed you to submit to your husband.  You should do so as you would to the Master Yahusha.  Therefore, be quiet in the congregation as the Master has commanded through the inspired writer.  When you talk out of place in the assembly of Yahuwah, you shame your Messiah, your husband and yourself.  But by asking your husband at home, you are giving him an opportunity to be the head of the home and to fulfill his duty and responsibility to you, his family and the assembly.  You fulfill your calling to have a gentle and quiet spirit when you happily take on your role as helper to your husband at home. And you properly model the godly woman to other women in the Body when you remain silent in the reading and discussion of Scripture.

Husbands and wives, live up to your calling to be faithful to one another and so model Elohim's way of life to your children.  Put an end to infighting and bickering.  Be one as Elohim has declared you to be.  When you are consistent and speak with one voice, your children will respect and obey you.  Stay together and work through the difficult problems that all married couples experience.  You have the Holy Spirit to guide you through your trials, and the calling of Yahuwah upon your life and marriage to make it all work out.

Children, grow up to be the godly seed Elohim has called you to be by obeying your father and mother even when your peers and friends are doing differently.  Elohim has made you a part of the family with your father and mother as the guardians of your life.  Find it within yourself to listen to what they tell you, and do it.  It will then go well with you as Elohim has promised and you will live a long life.

When everyone in the family and in the Body are walking faithfully before Elohim and following the guidelines of the roles and responsibilities as laid out for each one of us in the Bible, our Messianic communities and assemblies will be the place of gathering that all of us have been seeking out for all our lives.  Our problems will shrink to a manageable size.  But it's up to each one of us to do our part in making the assembly of Messiah a proper reflection and testimony to the goodness and kindness of the Elohim whom we serve.  May we be all that Elohim is training us to be.

 


 

 

Addendum:

Paul on Women Speaking in Church

by Benjamin B. Warfield

Originally Published in The Presbyterian, October 30, 1919

I have recently received a letter from a valued friend asking me to send him a "discussion of the Greek words laleo and lego in such passages as 1 Corinthians 14:33-39, with special reference to the question: Does the thirty-fourth verse forbid all women everywhere to speak or preach publicly in Christian churches?" The matter is of universal interest, and I take the liberty of communicating my reply to the readers of The Presbyterian.

It requires to be said at once that there is no problem with reference to the relations of laleo and lego. Apart from niceties of merely philological interest, these words stand related to one another just as the English words speak and say do; that is to say, laleo expresses the act of talking, while lego refers to what is said. Wherever then the act of speaking, without reference to the content of what is said, is to be indicated, laleo is used, and must be used. There is nothing disparaging in the intimation of the word, any more than there is in our word talk; although, of course, it can on occasion be used disparagingly as our word talk can also — as when some of the newspapers intimate that the Senate is given over to mere talk. This disparaging application of laleo, however, never occurs in the New Testament, although the word is used very frequently.

The word is in its right place in 1 Corinthians 14:33ff, therefore, and necessarily bears there its simple and natural meaning. If we needed anything to fix its meaning, however, it would be supplied by its frequent use in the preceding part of the chapter, where it refers not only to speaking with tongues (which was divine manifestation and unintelligible only because of the limitations of the hearers), but also to the prophetic speech, which is directly declared to be to edification and exhortation and comforting (verses 3-6). It would be supplied more pungently, however, by its contrasting term here — "let them be silent" (verse 34). Here we have laleo directly defined for us: "Let the women keep silent, for it is not permitted to them to speak." Keep silent — speak: these are the two opposites; and the one defines the other.

It is important to observe, now, that the pivot on which the injunction of these verses turns is not the prohibition of speaking so much as the command of silence. That is the main injunction. The prohibition of speech is introduced only to explain the meaning more fully. What Paul says is in brief: "Let the women keep silent in the churches." That surely is direct and specific enough for all needs. He then adds explanatorily: "For it is not permitted to them to speak." "It is not permitted" is an appeal to a general law, valid apart from Paul's personal command, and looks back to the opening phrase — "as in all the churches of the saints." He is only requiring the Corinthian women to conform to the general law of the churches. And that is the meaning of the almost bitter words that he adds in verse 36, in which — reproaching them for the innovation of permitting women to speak in the churches — he reminds them that they are not the authors of the Gospel, nor are they its sole possessors: let them keep to the law that binds the whole body of churches and not be seeking some newfangled way of their own.

The intermediate verses only make it plain that precisely what the apostle is doing is forbidding women to speak at all in the church. His injunction of silence he pushes so far that he forbids them even to ask questions; and adds with special reference to that, but through that to the general matter, the crisp declaration that "it is indecent" — for that is the meaning of the word — "for a woman to speak in church."

It would be impossible for the apostle to speak more directly or more emphatically than he has done here. He requires women to be silent at the church meetings; for that is what "in the churches" means, there were no church buildings then. And he has not left us in doubt as to the nature of these church meetings. He had just described them in verses 26ff. They were of the general character of our prayer meetings. Note the words "let him be silent in the church" in verse 30, and compare them with "let them be silent in the churches" in verse 34. The prohibition of women speaking covers thus all public church meetings — it is the publicity, not the formality of it, which is the point. And he tells us repeatedly that this is the universal law of the church. He does more than that. He tells us that it is the commandment of the Lord, and emphasizes the word "Lord" (verse 37).

The passage in 1 Timothy 2:11ff. is just as strong, although it is more particularly directed to the specific case of public teaching or ruling in the church. The apostle had already in this context (verse 8, "the men," in contrast with "women" of verse 9) pointedly confined public praying to men, and now continues: "Let a woman learn in silence in all subjection; but I do not permit the woman to teach, neither to rule over the man, but to be in silence." Neither the teaching nor the ruling function is permitted to woman. The apostle says here, "I do not permit," instead of as in 1 Corinthians 14:33ff., "it is not permitted," because he is here giving his personal instructions to Timothy, his subordinate, while there he was announcing to the Corinthians the general law of the church. What he instructs Timothy, however, is the general law of the church. And so he goes on and grounds his prohibition in a universal reason which affects the entire race equally.

In the face of these two absolutely plain and emphatic passages, what is said in 1 Corinthians 11:5 cannot be appealed to in mitigation or modification. Precisely what is meant in I Corinthians 11:5, nobody quite knows. What is said there is that every woman praying or prophesying unveiled dishonors her head. It seems fair to infer that if she prays or prophesies veiled she does not dishonor her head. And it seems fair still further to infer that she may properly pray or prophesy if only she does it veiled. We are piling up a chain of inferences. And they have not carried us very far. We cannot infer that it would be proper for her to pray or prophesy in church if only she were veiled. There is nothing said about church in the passage or in the context. The word "church" does not occur until the 16th verse, and then not as ruling the reference of the passage, but only as supplying support for the injunction of the passage. There is no reason whatever for believing that "praying and prophesying" in church is meant. Neither was an exercise confined to the church. If, as in 1 Corinthians 14:14, the "praying" spoken of was an ecstatic exercise — as its place by "prophesying" may suggest — then there would be the divine inspiration superceding all ordinary laws to be reckoned with. And there has already been occasion to observe that prayer in public is forbidden to women in 1 Timothy 2:8, 9 — unless mere attendance at prayer is meant, in which case this passage is a close parallel of 1 Timothy 2:9.

What must be noted in conclusion is: (1) That the prohibition of speaking in the church to women is precise, absolute, and all-inclusive. They are to keep silent in the churches — and that means in all the public meetings for worship; they are not even to ask questions; (2) that this prohibition is given especial point precisely for the two matters of teaching and ruling covering specifically the functions of preaching and ruling elders; (3) that the grounds on which the prohibition is put are universal and turn on the difference in sex, and particularly on the relative places given to the sexes in creation and in the fundamental history of the race (the fall).

Perhaps it ought to be added in elucidation of the last point just made that the difference in conclusions between Paul and the feminist movement of today is rooted in a fundamental difference in their points of view relative to the constitution of the human race. To Paul, the human race is made up of families, and every several organism — the church included — is composed of families, united together by this or that bond. The relation of the sexes in the family follow it therefore into the church. To the feminist movement the human race is made up of individuals; a woman is just another individual by the side of the man, and it can see no reason for any differences in dealing with the two. And, indeed, if we can ignore the great fundamental natural difference of sex and destroy the great fundamental social unit of the family in the interest of individualism, there does not seem any reason why we should not wipe out the differences established by Paul between the sexes in the church — except, of course, the authority of Paul. It all, in the end, comes back to the authority of the apostles, as founders of the church. We may like what Paul says, or we may not like it. We may be willing to do what he commands, or we may not be willing to do it. But there is no room for doubt of what he says. And he certainly would say to us what he said to the Corinthians: "What? Was it from you that the word of God went forth? Or came it to you alone?" Is this Christianity ours — to do with as we like? Or is it God's religion, receiving its laws from him through the apostles?

 

More Notes:

Eve not a separately conscious being when in Adam.  My children who came from me have their own consciousness.