This passage proclaims the following: "But if the priest's daughter be a widow, or divorced, and have no child, and is returned unto her father's house, as in her youth, she shall eat of her father's meat: but there shall no stranger eat thereof." I find this passage to be important, for at least two reasons, when it comes to defending the Biblical doctrine of stay-at-home daughterhood.
First, notice the phrase as in her youth. As we discovered in part 2 of this article, the phrase "in her youth" refers to the average marital age, a time, in this case in a woman's life, when she is likely to get married. This phrase does not refer to a little girl; it clearly pertains solely to adult women. In this verse from Leviticus, we see that up until the time of this woman's marriage, she was in her father's home. She was not, as I have reiterated numerous times in previous articles, out on her own providing for and protecting herself and serving as her own independent authority. She was clearly, according to this verse, living in her father's home under his care until her marriage. Being widowed or divorced, she does not return to a life of independence (for she had had no such life to return to!), but rather to her former life under her father's roof.
Second, notice where the widowed or divorced woman resides. This grown woman lives in her father's house! Today, many would see this as weird and needless. However, this practice of a woman who no longer had a husband returning to her father's home as in her youth was common for centuries in our own country! If a woman who was left alone without a husband no longer had a father who was living, she would go to live with an aunt and uncle, brother, or some other relative. The principle was that she was not to be left alone to care for herself. She was to be protected and provided for, so that she would not be under the Double Curse! This is precisely what we see in Leviticus 22:13. Genesis 38:11 reveals that this was a common occurrence in the lives of abandoned women. They went to live with their fathers, just as they had before their wedding day. This is illustrative of the fact that God, in His perfect wisdom and loving design, has so ordained matters as to keep women, whatever their age, under protection, provision, and care. What a loving God we serve!
Lest we think that this was solely an Old Testament practice, let us turn to John 19:26-27 and see how Jesus felt about this issue. This passage proclaims, "When Jesus therefore saw his mother, and the disciple standing by, whom he loved [meaning John], he saith unto his mother, 'Woman, behold thy son!' Then saith He to the disciple, 'Behold thy mother!' And from that hour that disciple took her unto his own home." When He made this proclamation, Jesus was hanging on the cross, knowing that His death was imminent and He would no longer be there to provide for and protect his mother (for, even after He arose from the dead, He would soon be ascending back into Heaven, thus leaving her alone). Understanding this and desiring to keep Mary provided for and protected, he ordered John to take care of her. From then on, not only did he provide for her needs, but she lived in his home. Again, the principle of women not being off on their own, but rather being provided for and protected is seen, this time through the example of Jesus Christ in the New Testament. Evidently, this practice is by no means one that was abolished with the coming of the New Testament, nor is it to be done away with or disregarded today. The protection of women is still high on God Almighty's list of important doctrines, and the practice of women being protected and never being out on their own is one which He desires for us to continue today.
For the last few weeks, we have had the privilege of studying quite a few wonderful verses pertaining to the glories of stay-at-home daughterhood. Now it is time to see stay-at-home daughterhood in action!
The Life of Rebekah, Stay-at-home Daughter
Not only are the Scriptures replete with passages proclaiming and commanding stay-at-home daughterhood, God has also graciously given us examples of stay-at-home daughters in His Holy Word. Through studying these women of God, we are able to acquire a glimpse into the dynamics of stay-at-home daughterhood and are provided with valuable lessons as to how a daughter at home is to conduct herself and spend her time.
We are first introduced to Rebekah in Genesis 24, where we read that Isaac is ready to be married and his father Abraham sends out a servant to find a godly woman for him to marry. The servant meets Rebekah at a well and is blessed by her servant's heart. Verses 23 and following make it clear that this young woman is still living in her father's house. For example, when asked by the servant about the home, she knows the condition thereof (she is not living off on her own and in need of asking her father about the current condition of the household before she can answer!). She speaks of them (including herself in the family residing in that home) being happy to lodge the servant there, and in verse 55 we see that her family wanted her to remain at home a couple more days before travelling to her future husband's home. It is made evident throughout the chapter of Genesis 24 that this unmarried woman was at home with her family, in her father's household. Again, she was not off on her own, independent, and doing her own thing, as so many unmarried daughters are today!
We will touch on this in a future article, but I want to quickly address Rebekah's daily life in her father's household. She clearly did not consider it a life of drudgery or slavery to be at home with her father, despite the fact that she was a grown woman. Rather, she was joyfully dedicated to serving her family and those around her and intent upon making her household a fruitful, productive place. I truly believe Rebekah could be referred to as a true polished cornerstone, don't you?
Today we have been able to study both a wonderful verse making clear the Biblical practice of stay-at-home daughterhood, as well as an account of a Biblical stay-at-home daughter. I hope you have been blessed through today's studies and that the Lord continues to reveal to you the joys and blessings of the Scriptural doctrine known as stay-at-home daughterhood!
*Please return next Friday for the continuation of our study of stay-at-home daughters in the Bible!