Saturday, June 23, 2007

Patriarchal society? Bah!

The lovely Carol was reading part of today's reading aloud, and she pointed out something I missed. As I wrote last year,
Elisha the prophet went to Shunem, where a rich but childless woman provides a room for him. She furnishes it with a bed, a table, a chair, and a lamp. He says to her, "You have gone to all this trouble for us. Now what can be done for you? Can we speak on your behalf to the king or the commander of the army?" (2 Kings 4.13)
So what had I missed? That although this was allegedly a partiarchal society, Elisha talks to the woman, not to her husband. It is she that he asks, "What can be done for you?" It is also she who runs to him when her son dies. Indeed, she doesn't even tell her husband what she's up to, but dodges his questions and heads out.

This is a powerful, capable woman, like the one described in Proverbs 31. She is not to be messed with. Sure, she's got her vulnerable points, but anybody who says that the Bible demeans women has surely not encountered this woman.

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