Submissive Wives and Women Teachers
By James Trimm
And YHWH Elohim said: “It is not good that the man should be alone;
I will make him a helper for him.”
For many years now the traditional family structure has been under attack. Many women in the world today are seemingly determined to balance out the supposed deficiencies of husbands that they view as “spineless”. This Feminist way of the world has certainly spilled over into the Body of Messiah. The Torah is clear, the wife is to be a helper for her husband (Gen. 2:18) and he is to rule over her (Gen. 3:16). Paul speaks of this Torah based arrangement when he writes:
Wives be subject to your husbands as to our Adon,
Because the husband is the head of the wife,
Even as the Messiah is head of the Assembly;
and he is the life-giver of the body.
But even as the Assembly is subject to the Messiah,
So also wives [should be subject] to their husbands in everything.
Wives be subject to your husbands,
according to that which is right in the Messiah.
And also the elder women… should be… causing those who are younger [women] … so that they be subject to their husbands…”
But I want you to know that the head of every man is the Messiah,
And the head of the woman is the man,
And the head of Messiah is Eloah….
A man… is the likeness and glory of Eloah;
But the woman is the glory of man,
For the man is not from the woman
But the woman from the man;
And neither was the man made for the woman
But the woman for the man.
(1Cor. 11:3, 7-9)
Kefa also alludes to this Torah based arrangement when he writes:
Likewise also, wives, be subject to your husbands…
For thus also, set-apart women from before,
those who trusted in Eloah, adorned themselves
and were subject to their husbands,
As Sarah was subject to Avraham and called him,
My master (see Gen. 18:12)…
The fact that YHWH has chosen husbands rather than wives to lead households does not infer that women are in any sense inferior to man in brain-power. This is simply a matter of recognizing YHWH’s order. Any other order is disorder and “Eloah is not the author of confusion”(1Cor. 14:33) Just as a craft can only have one pilot, a house can only have one leader.
Now there are two passages which have been misunderstood in the KJV to say that women should keep silent in the assembly and should never teach men. In fact these passages actually says that wives should learn from their husbands and not be so “presumptuous” as to try to “teach” or “instruct” their husbands. Paul writes:
Let a wife learn in quietness with all submission,
For I do not allow a wife to teach
nor to be presumptuous over the husband,
but she should be in shalom.
For Adam, was formed first (see Gen. 2:7) and then Havah (Gen. 2:22)
And Adam did not err, but the women erred
and transgressed against the commandment; (see Sira 25:24)
Since the wife is to be subject to her husband, and he is to rule over her, it would be proper for her to accept instruction from her husband, and presumptuous for her to attempt to instruct him. The woman’s intended role was to be a helper (Gen. 2:18) and after her transgression she was told that her husband would rule over her (Gen. 3:16).
Why does Scripture require the woman to submit to her husband and recognize his headship?
1. Man was created first (1Tim. 2:13; Gen. 2:7, 22) and woman was originally created as a HELPER for man (Gen. 2:20f) and not man for the woman (1Cor. 11:7-9)
2. Woman, not man, erred in the Garden of Eden (1Tim. 2:14; Sira 25:24) thus woman was commanded that her husband would rule over her (Gen. 3:16).
3. The Hebrew word for husband “Ba’al” means “Husband” or “Master”
Yeshua Ben Sira writes:
24 Of the woman came the beginning of sin, and through her we all die.
25 For just as you do not let the water go and abound, thus do not
let the wicked wife go and sin.
26 And if she will not follow your direction, cut her off from your
flesh, and divorce her from your house.
(Ben Sira 25:24-26)
The woman who does not recognize the headship of her husband, does not subject herself to him, but seeks to instruct him rather than to be instructed by him, is guilty of a form of Z’NOT (commonly translated “fornication” but also simply “going astray”). YHWH’s definition of marriage is an institution in which the husband is head over the wife and the wife subjects herself to him as a helper. In fact the Hebrew word for “husband” (Ba’al) means “husband” or “master”. If a wife refuses to subject herself to the headship of her husband, no true “marriage” exists and the husband is free to give her a bill of divorcement.
Another passage that is commonly misunderstood on this matter is as follows:
Let your wives be silent in the assembly,
for they are not allowed to speak,
but are to be subject as even the Torah says. (Gen. 3:16)
And if they want to learn a thing,
let them ask their husbands at home.
For it is a shame that wives should speak in the assembly.
Again the KJV misunderstands the word here as “women” but the word is properly understood as “wives”. Notice that Paul states that his halacha on this matter is based on the idea that wives are to be subject “as even the Torah says”. The context here is that a synagogue had a dividing wall (m’chitzah) separating the men from the women. In order for a wife to ask her husband a question, she would have to stand up and speak over the m’chitzah (dividing wall) thus disrupting the meeting.
In fact in the Scriptures women served in the offices of Judge/Elderess (Judges 4:4-5; Titus 2:3) evangelist (Jn. 4:28-29, 39) shamish (Romans 16:1) prophetess (Acts 14:21; 21:9) and even emissary (Rom. 16:7). So while wives are to be subject to their husbands, women are certainly permitted to speak in the assembly and to serve in the above offices.