The History Of Women In The Bible English Literature Essay

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The stature of women in history and even in modern day have been shaped and predisposed by the many religious beliefs over the centuries. With that being said this should not surprise anyone that most of the control in church leadership is men. Furthermore the gender supremacy of power in these levels have practically assured that this remain firmly rooted even in our "free-thinking" modern society. Due to this prejudice women during the course of our history have been represented as the weaker gender, incapable of defending themselves let alone stand equally to their male counterparts, some of them do stand out against the adapted condition of the "ideal" woman. So many have been labeled as troublemakers but may be this was a way of exhibiting their power. Certainly their power is not found in physical strength, but stems from a deeper source, like the very essence as sexual beings. This could be why women were viewed as sexual predators, tricky, manipulative and because of this view were thought to deserve special punishment. Women in the Old Testament such as Eve (Genesis 3:1-20), Lot's daughters (Genesis 19:30-36), Potiphar's wife (Genesis 39:7-20), Sarah (Genesis 16:2) Jezebel (1 Kings 16:30-32), and Delilah (Judges 16) were presumed as "immoral" women, however maybe through sexuality aroused an integral yet powerful ability to exercise control over the dominating men of their lives. Now women are not inferior in the sight of God, but they are in the primitive, ignorant, and oppressive view of a male-dominated world.

For centuries men have used the old age belief that if Adam had authority over the earth, then that should give them authority over women also. We can find today that there are many countries using this belief just to keep women in subservient roles. Due to this belief, so many women have found themselves in the submissive - second class position, left frustrated and resentful that they cannot be in control like the male counterparts are. In Genesis 3, this where we see the serpent (Satan) talked Eve into eating from the forbidden tree. He tricked her by convincing her that the only reason God was against them eating the forbidden fruit was that they would be like God. By him being cunning and persuasiveness, he used the very facts against Eve. "And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat: (Genesis 3:6). Falling for the temptation, Eve knows she is going to be in trouble and needs a fall guy for the offense. Even though Adam tries to get out of it, Eve's sexuality is too powerful and she convinces him to share in on forbidden delicacy. By her using sexuality she persuades him to disobey God; therefore, Eve does not receive the full consequence of the committed crime.

Next we see that the Lot's daughters bring a whole new meaning to sexuality and not all good. When city of depravity, Sodom is destroyed by God, they watch all their dreams of a husband and family die in that cloud of dust. So they devise a plan to get their father Lot drunk and seduce him. By doing this the hope for Lot to impregnate them so they can carry on the blood line. "And it came to pass on the morrow, that the firstborn said unto the younger, Behold, I lay yesternight with my father: let us make him drink wine this night also; and go thou in, and lie with him, that we may preserve seed of our father" (Genesis 14:34). One cannot know what was going through their minds but maybe in their grief had no mental control over their actions. Whatever the case maybe their wish came to pass; both women bear sons and those sons end up becoming powerful nations. So here is another example that by them using their sexuality, Lot's daughters receive empowerment through their sons.

Next, Potiphar's wife is more controlled in her use of sexuality. Even though the bible doesn't go into detail about her relationship with her husband, it does acknowledge that when she sees Joseph she sees him as a mark to conquer. "And it came to pass after these things, that his master's wife cast her eyes upon Joseph; and she said, Lie with me" (Genesis 39:7). Her actions make one think that she sees this as a right to cheat on her husband. Maybe it is the fact that she believes that since her husband is Pharaoh's captain of the guard gives her superior idea about her authority. She is a woman that gets what she wants, when she wants it. She continues to make several attempts at seducing Joseph, but because he knows it is wrong and respects his master, her husband, he resists time and again. Potiphar's wife sees an opportunity to make Joseph pay for not succumbing to her advances and cries rape. Joseph is thrown into prison and she is free to set her sights on someone new.

Next we see how deceitful Sarah is by giving permission to Abraham to have sex with Hagar: "Sarai said unto Abram...I pray thee, go in unto my maid; it may be that I may obtain children by her". (Genesis 16:2) Sarah believed that by doing this she would give her husband the child needed to continue the family line and that this was her right to the child being hers and not Hagar. The Bible is not detailed enough but we are to believe that this was done without the consent of Hagar, who was low status in the society of the day that she was required to succumb to the deed at the command of her owner. This shows just how all women of that day even under other women were mistreated and used like a piece of property with no regard to their own wants.

Next we have Jezebel, who was the wife of King Ahab, instead of worshipping God not only worships her gods and goddess along with the practice of witchcraft but gets Ahab to idolize Baal. He builds a temple to Baal and those gods and leads his people to their doom. We see how she uses her feminine ways to persuade Ahab away from God to the point that she uses the political means to deface her husband to the Israelites and continue to run the government from behind your sons after the death of Ahab. She is seen as the untrusted and devious women that many believe why we have male counterparts trying to keep subservient.

Finally, Delilah seduced Samson in order to find out the secret of his great strength. The seduction is so she can ask the nature of his super-human strength. During this game of cat and mouse he gave her several false answers but finally gave in by indicated that it was in his long hair. So when his hair was cut, God leave him to his fate and he's captured by the Philistines. Samson learns a hard lesson in love when he falls in love with Delilah and even though he loves her dearly, her love can be easily bought. "And she said unto him, how canst thou say, I love thee, when thine heart is not with me? thou hast mocked me these three times and hast not told me wherein thy great strength lieth" (Judges 16:15). We can just imagine how Delilah was batting her eyelashes and pouting her lips as she says asked him the question. It takes Delilah a while, but she finally wears Samson down and he exasperatedly tells the love of his life the one true way he can be defeated.

At times in the Old Testament, women have discovered a powerful advantage in their journey to become equal. God gives mankind sex as a means of procreation and of pleasure between man and wife. At times, sex can also be used as a weapon against women to keep them subservient or means for women to persuade men to do what they want. We also see how many can read the Bible about these women and picture these same things existing today. Everywhere you turn you see how women know that if they want to get things they will use sexuality, cunning, and even untrustworthy means to outsmart men or persuade them to think it is their idea.