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The Treatment of Women in the Old Testament - Research Paper Example

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First and Last Name Professor’s First and Last Name Subject Name 20 July 2011 The Treatment of Women in the Old Testament Women are a vital component of any society, particularly in those described in the Old Testament. In the beginning there was only a man named Adam…
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The Treatment of Women in the Old Testament

This essay will demonstrate an argument against this point of view in conjunction with numerous examples in order to back it up. Such examples will include the major Old Testament characters of Eve, Rahab, and Ruth. In the first couple of books of Genesis, we read that Eve was created and thus was the first women to exist. The Lord decided that Adam needed a helper because he could not do everything on his own. So, the Lord put Adam into a deep sleep and took one of his ribs, which He used to form the first woman, Eve. After this, we understand how a woman must be connected to a man: “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh” (The Holy Bible, Gen. 2:24). This tells us that women must be treated with respect because they become one with their husbands. In the very next chapter of Genesis, Eve comes across her first challenge—this sets the tone for women throughout the rest of the Old Testament. In Genesis 3:6 (The Holy Bible), after being tempted by the serpent, Eve decided to taste the fruit. Once she had tasted it and found that it was good, she gave some to Adam so he could also eat some. This was the beginning of mankind, but more specifically women in general. Once God had found out what Adam and Eve had done, he cursed them for their disobedience. He said to Eve: “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” (The Holy Bible, Gen. 3:16). Even though Adam was also punished, his penalty was not as severe as Eve’s. This begins a theme that is seen all the way through the Old Testament—women are inferior to men because they were the first ones to sin. However, there are examples of women who went against the stereotypes of those times. Further along in the Old Testament, we can see in the book of Joshua how Rahab is treated. This woman is a very interesting case because she lived in Jericho; she was not from the Israelites. Additionally, she was also described being a prostitute. These types of people were the lowest of the low back in those societies. At that time, the Israelites had sent spies to the city of Jericho in order to capture the city. They just happened to stay at an inn where Rahab was also the inn-keeper (Word 7). Instead of turning them over to the authorities, Rahab took them up to the roof and hid them under stalks of flax that were placed on the roof (The Holy Bible, Josh. 2:6). When asked why she risked her life for her enemy, Rahab said that she believed in the God Jehovah because of the miracles that occurred down in Egypt. For her help, Rahab asked that her and her family would be spared once the Israelites took the city. The spies replied, “If you don’t tell what we are doing, we will treat you kindly and faithfully when the LORD gives us the land” (The Holy Bible, Josh. 2:14). An agreement was then made to work out how the plan would come to fruition. When the Israelites did take the city of Jericho, Rahab and her family were spared because of Rahab’s obedience. After the Israelites had gained control of Jericho, Rahab and her family were allowed to remain along with the Jews. This story shows us how even though a woman may be considered dirty and unclean, if she displays obedience, then she can be used for good. This example of Rahab is a little ... Read More
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