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Genealogies and Women

Genesis 10:2-4,6-7,21-22,32 The sons of Japheth were Gomer and Magog and Madai and Javan and Tubal and Meshech and Tiras. The sons of Gomer were Ashkenaz and Riphath and Togarmah. The sons of Javan were Elishah and Tarshish, Kittim and Dodanim...   The sons of Ham were Cush and Mizraim and Put and Canaan. The sons of Cush were Seba and Havilah and Sabtah and Raamah and Sabteca; and the sons of Raamah were Sheba and Dedan...  Also to Shem, the father of all the children of Eber, and the older brother of Japheth, children were born. The sons of Shem were Elam and Asshur and Arpachshad and Lud and Aram... These are the families of the sons of Noah, according to their genealogies, by their nations; and out of these the nations were separated on the earth after the flood.

Genealogies are generally boring and we often wish we could skip them and probably do. However, knowing that this is God's word compels us to consider what God has had penned and why. To help me understand, I referred to Barnes' notes on the Bible and here are a couple comments I found interesting.

In this chapter there are 70 names, exclusive of Nimrod, of heads of families, tribes, or nations descended from the 3 sons of Noah - 14 from Japheth, 30 from Ham, and 26 from Shem. Among the heads of tribes descended from Japheth are 7 grandsons. Among those from Ham are 23 grandsons and 3-great-grandsons. Among those of Shem are 5 grandsons, one great-grandson, 2 of the fourth generation, and 13 of the fifth. Whence, it appears that the subdivisions are traced further in Ham and much further in Shem than in Japheth, and that they are pursued only in those lines which are of importance for the coming events in the history of Shem.

During this period the race was rapidly increasing under the covenant made with Noah. From Shem to Abraham were ten generations inclusive; and, therefore, if we suppose the same rate of increase after as we have supposed before, there would be about fifteen million inhabitants when Abraham was thirty years of age. If, however, we take eight as the average of a family, and suppose eleven generations after Shem at the one hundredth year of Abraham's life, we have about thirty million people on the earth. The average of the three sons of Noah is higher than this; for they had sixteen sons, and we may suppose as many daughters, making in all thirty-two, and, therefore, giving ten children to each household.

Considering the above, I do believe this genealogy now becomes significant to us because we are witnessing how God brought His covenant with Adam and Noah to pass. Suddenly the one family that we previously thought improbable has grown at an explosive rate and we are now considering 30 million people on earth located in different regions, of different races and new cultures.

One question that has been on my mind is why there is only a mention of men, does this mean women have no significance to God and what are we to understand from it?

First we must remember that God created both men and women in His own image and therefore God loves us all (Gen. 1:31). When the fall of man occurred, God certainly punished women to be subjected to their husbands and this has caused women to at times suffer greatly under their husbands. Here are a few comments I took from GhanaWeb:

However, God hates exploitation and abuse of all kinds (Exodus 22:22; Deuteronomy 27:19; Isaiah 10:1, 2). The Mosaic Law condemned rape and prostitution. (Leviticus 19:29; Deuteronomy 22:23-29) Adultery was prohibited, and the penalty was death for both parties. (Leviticus 20:10) Rather than discriminate against women, the Law elevated and protected them from the rampant exploitation common in the surrounding nations. A capable Jewish wife was a highly respected and esteemed individual. (Proverbs 31:10, 28-30) The Israelites’ failure to follow God’s laws on showing respect for women was their fault, not God’s will. (Deuteronomy 32:5) Ultimately, God judged and punished the nation as a whole for their flagrant disobedience.

The fact that men Scripturally have been assigned to take the lead in the congregation and the family does not mean that women are being discriminated against. To prosper, both the family and the congregation need women and men to play their respective roles with love and respect.—Ephesians 5:21-25, 28, 29, 33.

Jesus consistently treated women with respect. He refused to follow the discriminatory traditions and regulations taught by the Pharisees. He talked to non-Jewish women. (Matthew 15:22-28; John 4:7-9) He taught women. (Luke 10:38-42) He protected women from being abandoned. (Mark 10:11, 12) Perhaps the most revolutionary step for his time was that Jesus accepted women into his inner circle of friends. (Luke 8:1-3) As the perfect embodiment of all of God’s qualities, Jesus showed that individuals of both sexes have equal value in God’s eyes. In fact, among the early Christians, both men and women received the gift of the holy spirit. (Acts 2:1-4, 17, 18) For those anointed, who have the prospect of serving as kings and priests with Christ, there will be no distinction of gender at all once resurrected to heavenly life. (Galatians 3:28) The Author of the Bible, Jehovah, does not discriminate against women.

I pray today that you and I have learnt that all of God's word is good and when read with God's leading, we can begin to appreciate and understand God in a right and fitting manner and therefore continue to submit ourselves to His yoke rather than the impossible yoke of Satan.

In His Loving Service,
ServantBoy

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11.19.2010

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