Sauce for the goose, sauce for the gander

The next post will be January 3, 2011.  Please come back and be ready for a new year for equality.  You need some time off to refresh yourselves, and I do, too. 

Merry Christmas to you all.

Posted December 15, 2010.

Let’s see what Jesus had to say about marriage. Did you know that it was only the men who asked Jesus about marriage, and divorce? The women never asked Jesus about marriage or divorce.

Look at Mark 10:2.  They asked Jesus if it was all right for a man to divorce his wife. 

Jesus said Moses permitted it because of the hardness of their hearts.  He also said that they completely misunderstood marriage.  That marriage was to be between a man and his wife.  The husband would leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh. It appeared that these men were more interested in getting out of a marriage than in keeping a marriage.  Was the dowry part of it? Would their money be returned if they got out of a marriage?

Then Jesus walked away and went into a house as if the conversation was over. 

But his disciples were interested this time.  They wanted to hear the rest of the story.  So they asked him about it. 

You can almost hear Jesus sigh.  You can almost see him shake his head. Because what he is going to say is not what they want to hear. Remember it was the men who were asking about divorce. 

Jesus told them all that if any man divorced his wife and married another woman, that he commits adultery against her.  Jesus put the blame on the man.  He blamed him because of his sin and because he caused his wife to sin.  That was a new wrinkle.

Then Jesus brings in equality.  He says that ‘you men think you are the only ones who can divorce your spouse.  But I tell you that the woman can divorce you, and if she does, and if she married another man, she commits adultery.’

Equality.  What is sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander.

I love this passage.  It is a difficult passage.  It appears to be very hard against divorce.  I believe that divorce is the only solution for many marriages.  There are a bunch of men that I would have divorced if I had been unfortunate enough to marry them, and I am sure they would say likewise.  

I don’t know exactly what this passage means, and I don’t know how you can commit adultery when your law already allows polygamy.  There is a lot of mystery here in this scripture. 

I don’t love this passage because of the hard stance Jesus appears to take about divorce.  What I love is that he tells all the men that the woman can divorce them, too, and cause them to commit adultery.  Women who divorce their husbands make them guilty of adultery, just like the women themselves have been made guilty of adultery by their husbands.

I don’t understand everything, or maybe I don’t even understand very much about it.  But this is one of my favorite scriptures on Equality spoken by Jesus.

The women never asked about marriage and divorce, but Jesus spoke about her part in it anyway.

The next post will be January 3, 2011.  Please come back and be ready for a new year for equality.  You need some time off to refresh yourselves, and I do, too. 

Merry Christmas to you all.

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About bwebaptistwomenforequality

Shirley Taylor writes with humor and common sense, challenging the church body to reclaim equality for Christian women.
This entry was posted in Equality for women in Southern Baptist churches, Jesus and women, Marriage and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Sauce for the goose, sauce for the gander

  1. Depending on the character of the man – at times he just ‘put away’ the wife. That made her an agunah – chained wife.

    I find it interesting that the bible speaks about ‘put away’, and the position of the wife at that point. When you listen to most talks on marriage back then? They truly don’t go into much detail about it – if at all. It was a HUGE deal back then, and presently within Jewish Culture. When you look at the position it placed the woman and children in? You would think they would.

    It really depends on what version of the bible you look at – if you see the reference to ‘put away’. The bible comdemns men that do this, and I have to wonder if that is not why they don’t speak of it to much. I believe the verses you mention have the concept of ‘put away’ within them as well.

    The reason I mention this: if a man didn’t supply the ‘get’ (divorce papers) to his wife – after he put her away? He would in fact be in adultery if he remarried. I get the idea that no all circles of jews followed the multi wife deal at that point. If the women didn’t receive the ‘get’ prior to remarriage – same thing. As you can imagine the pressure wasn’t on the man so much, but the woman. If she did remarry and have children? They were considered illegitimate. The label wasn’t on so strong for the men at the time.

    There were stories about good men handing the wife a ‘get’ prior to leaving off for war. Why? If he didn’t return, and there was no physical acknowledgement/record of his death? She would be an agunah – chained to her husband for life. So if he turned out to be MIA for example? She was able to remarry – otherwise a good jewish woman would not.

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    • That for that information. Do you see this as an equality scripture?

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      • I think the ‘get’ was introduced for the benefit of the chained woman. Due to his hardness of the heart he would put her away. The man was the only one that could give a ‘get’. In modern times women can now ‘refuse’ one.

        It was meant in principal a sense of equality you could say. Man can’t just up and leave and destroy lifes behind him. She now has the power to move on with her life – after the get.

        From what I understand there is a marriage contact, and if the man divorces (get) the woman he promises to give her (fill in the blank). If he puts her away he doesn’t have to fulfill the promise. He didn’t divorce her technically. There is a court within the Jewish culture that can push him to give the get. Shun him, Culture Shun, no way of making a living, jail time. This is when they could find him, and it is found he is doing this out of spite. Because of hardness of the heart – Jesus was holding them responsible. From my prospective that is correct.

        Jewish culture had divorce and remarriage. You just wouldn’t think so by the way they teach this scripture. What is funny is most of the time it was ‘no fault’ divorces. That didn’t just come on the scene within the 20th century as screamed from the rooftops.

        It’s interesting to read about. I have been reading Rabbi’s writings on this. Don’t get me wrong preservation of family was encouraged, and being humans there has been abuses within this system as well.

        My long answer? Yes I do see this as an equality scripture. It may not be the same way others see it, and the way we have been taught. The more I learn about this the more these scripture tend to make sense,and fall into place.

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      • Thank you for that reply. I tried the “ask Moses” website last night and got nowhere wtih the rabbi I was chatting with. I really should have asked “Hannah!” Merry Christmas!

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  2. Lydia says:

    See David Instone Brewer a Hebrew Scholar at Tyndale House who has done vast research on this subject:

    http://www.instonebrewer.com/divorceremarriage/

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