Friday, March 31, 2017
A Chapter of Scripture WRITTEN BY A WOMAN
Each month, on the 31st day, this blog is dedicated to the Proverbs 31 Woman. The Ben Chayyim Masoretic Hebrew text paints a very different picture of who this woman was--and is--than patriarchy (complementarianism) does. She (and, by extension, all women) is very much a victim of gender-biased-English-translation-theology. Even many modern translators--who know better-- portray her as less than she is by misogynistically loading the language.
Proverbs 31:1 The words of king Lemuel the burden wherewith his mother corrected him  2: My son, son of my womb son of my vows 3: Give not your strength to women nor your ways to that which destroys kings 4: It is not for kings O Lemuel it is not for kings to drink wine nor for princes strong drink 5: Lest they drink and forget the law and pervert the judgment of any of the afflicted
 Many authorities believe that name “Lemuel” was more than likely a pseudonym for King Solomon. That makes sense as in the time of Solomon, the status of women was decidedly inferior—as it still is in all Islamic countries and among complementarian Christians. it would have been improper for a woman in biblical times to chastise a man—even more so if that man was her King. If this is the case, that Lemuel was Solomon, then the mother who corrected the wayward King would have been none other than the infamous **Bathsheba. Her words correlate perfectly with Solomon’s story, as we know that for an unspecified length of time after he ascended the throne, he plumbed the depths of depravity. Scripture reveals that he eventually concluded that his riotous manner of living was all “vanity,” at which time he turned his life around to become the greatest King in the history of Israel.
** We know that Bathsheba had great influence with her son. Adonijah went to Bathsheba, first, when he had a request to make of his brother, the King. Solomon also honored his mother by having a chair placed next to his throne for her.
Solomon published the words of King “Lemuel’s” mother. That indicates they must have carried great import for him. Could his turn-around be at least partly due to the timely correction of a god-fearing mother who dared to speak the inspired/authoritative Word of God to a son who was King?
Aside from the above comments, there are two other things of note in this passage: 1.) Whether King Lemuel was Solomon or not, in Proverbs chapter 31, we have an entire chapter of scripture written by a woman. Verse one clearly states the passage was written to the King by the King’s mother. The fact that this passage has been included in the Hebrew Bible along with the writings of Solomon is extraordinary—a powerful testimony to its authenticity and authority. 2.) This is an irrefutable example of a woman not only teaching a man—a very powerful man—but chastising him with the inspired, prophetic, authoritative Word of the LORD as well.
The opening words of Proverbs chapter 31, refute complementarian positions that our Creator intended only men to be the oracles of God, and that women cannot teach men or speak the Word of God authoritatively to both men and women.
King “Lemuel’s” mother did so, and continues to do so through an inspired and authoritative prophecy to a powerful male monarch, and by extension to all men and women.
Labels: Gender-Biased-English-Translation-Theology, Misogyny in Bible Translation, Proverbs 31 Woman
Jocelyn Andersen is the author of "Woman Submit! Christians & Domestic Violence."" For more information about her work, visit her website at www.JocelynAndersen.com