Friday, January 15, 2010

The Biblical Case for Stay-at-home Daughterhood Part 4

Because this article series underwent a hiatus of a few weeks, I encourage you to click here to read the previous articles before continuing on with this one!

We have, in the most recent two parts of this particular article, studied three wonderful passages of Scripture which pertain to and proclaim stay-at-home daughterhood as God's design for unmarried women. We will now move on to study a few more passages today.

Genesis 34:9

Genesis 34:9 says, "And make ye marriages with us, and give your daughters unto us, and take our daughters unto you." Unfortunately, many today view this verse and others like it with great disdain, for they feel that it makes daughters out to be nothing more than things or possessions to be given and taken. However, I think this is the wrong way to view these passages; such a view fails to truly discover what these verses are teaching. It becomes clear through this verse and others (such as Gen. 34:16, 21; 36:2; Ex. 34:16; Jdg. 3:6; Jdg. 21:7; Exra 2:61; 9:2,12; Neh. 10:30; Neh. 13:25; and Jer. 29:6) that daughters were at home until marriage-their fathers gave them in marriage and they were taken from their father's house by the man who would be their husband (or, in some cases, by someone representing the future husband, as in Genesis 24). The daughters in the above mentioned verses were not out on their own, having been "given" to the world. Rather, they were right at home until the time when they were given in marriage.

Sons Leave, Daughters are Given

Throughout the Scriptures, we see examples of sons leaving their childhood homes in order to go out and find a wife. Time and time again, however, we do not see daughters leaving, but rather being given in marriage. While sons leave, daughters remain in their father's household until the time of their wedding. Passages such as Matthew 22:30 and Mark 12:25 illustrate this difference, as well, and reveal that the Old Testament principle of sons leaving and daughters being given has in no way been abolished. I encourage you to dedicate some time this weekend to studying the Scriptures (such as Genesis 24, Genesis 29, and others) and to read the accounts they provide us with of sons leaving to acquire a wife versus daughters remaining at home until marriage. For more on this topic, please refer to part 3 of this article, where Psalm 144:12 was covered and this very issue was addressed.

1 Corinthians 7:36-38

Lest we begin to think that the doctrine of stay-at-home daughterhood is taught solely in the Old Testament, let us now turn to 1 Corinthians 7. As you may know, the entire chapter of 1 Corinthians 7 is dedicated to the subject of marriage. Verses 36-38 say, "But if any man think that he behaveth himself uncomely toward his virgin, if she pass the flower of her age, and need so require, let him do what he will, he sinneth not: let them marry. Nevertheless he that standeth stedfast in his heart, having no necessity, but hath power over his own will, and hath so decreed in his heart that he will keep his virgin, doeth well. So then he that giveth her in marriage doeth well; but he that giveth her not in marriage doeth better." A better translation of "his virgin" would be "his virgin daughter", but even without that precise wording in the passage, the wording of these verses and context of the phrase "his virgin" reveal to us that Paul is speaking here of a man and his virgin daughter. Clearly, in a situation such as this, a father had made a vow to the Lord to keep his daughter from getting married. If his grown daughter desires to marry and he permits this, he is not sinning, despite the fact that he kept not his vow (vs. 36). Having uncovered these facts, there are two lessons for us to learn from these verses.

First, notice that not only does the father have the authority to give his daughter in marriage, but he also has the authority to forbid her from marrying (the same is clear in Numbers 30, as well). This is a gracious safety net which the Lord has mercifully provided for the well-being of daughters. Women are by nature emotional creatures, and when a woman is interested in someone, it can be all too easy for her to overlook the flaws this person possesses. At times, there are dangerous and destructive flaws in young men which only a father who is emotionally detached from the young man can see. So, first we see that a father has the authority to determine whether or not his daughter will be allowed to marry.

Second, notice the words "keep" and "given". These signify the fact that a daughter is expected to be in her father's household if she is unmarried. She is not to be off gallivanting on her own, fending for herself and acting as her own authority and provider. God's design is that an unmarried woman live in her father's house until marriage. If she marries, she will then be given to her husband and will leave her father's household in order to make a new home with her husband. If she does not marry, however, then her father keeps her-she remains in his household. It is evident through these verses that the unmarried daughter has not been given away already by being surrendered to the world to live on her own, as so many of today's daughters are!

In Conclusion

For many years, the words "Who gives this daughter in marriage?" have been asked by the minister at the beginning of a wedding ceremony. While they once meant something and carried with them Biblical significance, today they are, for the most part, little more than empty words. While they still signify Scriptural teachings and the remnant of a Biblical worldview, they are empty because the vast majority of today's brides have already been given away, not to a husband, but to the world. Oh, that the church of Jesus Christ would have her eyes opened to the beauty of this question and once again hold fast to the wise and loving practice of stay-at-home daughterhood!

*Please return next Friday for our study of the stay-at-home daughters of the Bible and what we can learn from their lives!

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Hi!! Thank you so much for visiting my blog! Please come back often. Thank you for your comment as well; your input is always most welcome! Even if you disagree with something, I encourage you to leave a comment; I just ask that you do so in a loving and Christ-like manner.

God bless you!

~Rebekah S.