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Gender Roles in the Kingdom

Yahweh created woman as a help meet corresponding to her man.

Genesis 2:18
18 And Yahweh Elohim said, “It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him.”
(18) וַיֹּאמֶר יְהוָה אֱלֹהִים לֹא טוֹב הֱיוֹת הָאָדָם לְבַדּוֹ | אֶעֱשֶׂהּ לּוֹ עֵזֶר כְּנֶגְדּוֹ

This word “comparable” is the Hebrew word neged (נֶגְד), and it refers to a counterpart.

OT:5048 neged (neh’-ghed); from OT:5046; a front, i.e. part opposite; specifically a counterpart, or mate; usually (adverbial, especially with preposition) over against or before:

Most mainstream translations tell us that Yahweh made Havvah (Eve) from one of Adam’s ribs.

Genesis 2:21
21 And Yahweh Elohim caused a deep sleep to fall on Adam, and he slept; and He took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh in its place.
 (21) וַיַּפֵּל יְהוָה אֱלֹהִים תַּרְדֵּמָה עַל הָאָדָם וַיִּישָׁן | וַיִּקַּח אַחַת מִצַּלְעֹתָיו וַיִּסְגֹּר בָּשָׂר תַּחְתֶּנָּה

This word “rib” is actually the Hebrew word tselah, and it refers not to a rib, but to a side.

OT:6763 tsela` (tsay-law’); or (feminine) tsal`ah (tsal-aw’); from OT:6760; a rib (as curved), literally (of the body) or figuratively (of a door, i.e. leaf); hence, a side, literally (of a person) or figuratively (of an object or the sky, i.e. quarter); architecturally, a (especially floor or ceiling) timber or plank (single or collective, i.e. a flooring):

It is an interpretation, but perhaps what Yahweh did was to take Adam’s feminine side, and make it into his helper, so she could be his completeness.

It is obvious that men and women are created different, just as boys are different than girls. Neither one is any “better” than the other, but Yahweh did ordain that the men generally take the lead role, while the women help their men. Yet some people tell us that after Yeshua’s sacrifice, there are no more gender roles for men and women. This argument is usually based on Galatians 3:28, where the Apostle Shaul tells us that there is neither male nor female in Messiah Yeshua.

Galatim (Galatians) 3:28
28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Messiah Yeshua.

Those who favor dispensing with gender roles also remind us how Yeshua said that in the resurrection we will be neither male nor female, but we will be as the messengers (angels) of Elohim.

Mattityahu (Matthew) 22:30
30 “For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like messengers of Elohim in heaven.”

As we explain in Revelation and the End Times, what Yeshua is talking about here is the time when the earth has ended, and our spirits are all taken up into heaven to stand in the judgment. During this period of time we will not have physical bodies (or gender) because we will be purely spiritual beings. However, those of us who are selected to go on to the new earth will almost assuredly have physical bodies (and physical gender) once again. We can see this from Isaiah 65:20, which tells us that there will be old men (i.e., males) and children in the new earth. And if there are children, then surely there are married couples.

Yeshayahu (Isaiah) 65:17-20
17 “For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth; and the former shall not be remembered or come to mind.
18 But be glad and rejoice forever in what I create; for behold, I create Jerusalem as a rejoicing, and her people a joy.
19 I will rejoice in Jerusalem, and joy in My people; the voice of weeping shall no longer be heard in her, nor the voice of crying.
20 No more shall an infant from there live but a few days, nor an old man who has not fulfilled his days; for the child shall die one hundred years old, but the sinner being one hundred years old shall be accursed.”

While we may not have gender roles when we stand before the throne, it seems clear that there are natural gender roles here on earth. But what are they? For its part, rabbinical Judaism suggests that a man has three roles, which it describes as the three P’s. A man is to be (1) the priest of his household, (2) the provider for his family, and (3) the protector. These three P’s give us a reasonable description of the role that most men play. Men are basically warriors who are called to protect and provide for their families, and represent their families at all Israelite gatherings.

In contrast to this, rabbinical Judaism suggests that the woman’s role is to (1) cover herself, so as not to provoke or attract unnecessary male attention, (2) be an astute businesswoman, and (3) love the Torah. While there is much wisdom in these descriptions, they only scratch the surface of the many diverse roles any real woman of Torah must play, not just as a wife, but also as a mother, as a member of her extended family, and as part of Israelite society at large.

Others look to the traditional Christian roles for women, and suggest that a woman should never work outside the home. These tell us that a woman’s only correct place is in the home, raising children. While this is certainly a valid lifestyle for those who can afford it, most Jewish families have raised their children in community schools since ancient times. In fact, Shaul was the product of such community-based schooling.

Ma’asei (Acts) 22:2b-3
2b Then he said:
3 “I am indeed a Jew, born in Tarsus of Cilicia, but brought up in this city at the feet of Gamliel, taught according to the strictness of our fathers’ Torah, and was zealous toward Elohim as you all are today.”

It is true that given the choice, many women prefer to stay at home and raise their children full time. However, Scripture does not confine women to the home. For example, Proverbs 31 sings the praises of a “woman of valor.”

Mishle (Proverbs) 31:10
10 A woman of valor who will find? And far above pearls is her worth.
(10) אֵשֶׁת חַיִל מִי יִמְצָא | וְרָחֹק מִפְּנִינִים מִכְרָהּ:

This word “valor” is the Hebrew word chayil (חַיִל), which is translated in various ways. It essentially refers to a powerful figure, such as a warrior, or a soldier.

OT:2428 chayil; from OT:2342; probably a force, whether of men, means, or other resources; i.e., an army, wealth, virtue, valor, strength:

Our forefathers had a saying for wives who always worked hard to take care of the family, and who did not complain when the going got tough. They would praise her by saying, “She is a real trooper!” Chayil has the same meaning.

The Hebrew language teaches that life is a struggle (or war). In Proverbs 31, an aishet chayil (woman of valor) is someone who, through wisdom, diligence, and hard work takes care not only of her husband and family, but also those of the faith who are in need.

Mishle (Proverbs) 31:10-24
10 A woman of valor, who can find? For her worth is far above rubies.
11 The heart of her husband safely trusts her; so he will have no lack of gain.
12 She does him good and not evil all the days of her life.
13 She seeks wool and flax, and willingly works with her hands.
14 She is like the merchant ships; she brings her food from afar.
15 She also rises while it is yet night, and provides food for her household, and a portion for her maidservants.
16 She considers a field and buys it; from her profits she plants a vineyard.
17 She girds herself with strength, and strengthens her arms.
18 She perceives that her merchandise is good, and her lamp does not go out by night.
19 She stretches out her hands to the distaff, and her hand holds the spindle.
20 She extends her hand to the poor: Yes, she reaches out her hands to the needy.
21 She is not afraid of snow for her household, for all her household is clothed with scarlet.
22 She makes tapestry for herself; her clothing is fine linen and purple.
23 Her husband is known in the gates, when he sits among the elders of the land.
24 She makes linen garments and sells them, and supplies sashes for the merchants.

While Ephraimites sometimes idealize weak, passive women who cannot work outside the home, our Jewish brothers seek successful, accomplished women. They seek an aishet chayil, a woman warrior who is not only loving and nurturing, but who is also savvy and wise.

So if Yahweh made men and women as counterparts, then how do they work best together? To answer this, let us look at Genesis 3, where things did not work. This passage shows us that a woman’s carnal nature is to be more impulsive (based on emotion), while a man’s carnal nature is to want to shirk responsibility, and to deflect blame.

B’reisheet (Genesis) 3:6-13
6 So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate.
7 Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves coverings.
8 And they heard the sound of Yahweh Elohim walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of Yahweh Elohim among the trees of the garden.
9 Then Yahweh Elohim called to Adam and said to him, “Where are you?”
10 So he said, “I heard Your voice in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; and I hid myself.”
11 And He said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you that you should not eat?”
12 Then the man said, “The woman whom You gave to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I ate.”
13 And Yahweh Elohim said to the woman, “What is this you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”

Yahweh has a great sense of poetic justice. Because Havvah gave into her desires, he made her submit to her husband. And because the man did not want to take responsibility for what had happened, but had listened to the voice of his wife (rather than obeying Yahweh’s voice), he was given to toil.

B’reisheet (Genesis) 3:16-19
16 To the woman He said:
“I will greatly multiply your sorrow and your conception: In pain you shall bring forth children. Your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you.”
17 Then to Adam He said, “Because you have heeded the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree of which I commanded you, saying, ‘You shall not eat of it’: “Cursed is the ground for your sake; in toil you shall eat of it all the days of your life.
18 Both thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you, and you shall eat the herb of the field.
19 In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for dust you are, and to dust you shall return.”

This shows us the principle that those who have been given more authority also bear greater responsibility. Whatever Yahweh gives us, He expects us to use it for the betterment of all Israelites.

Luqa (Luke) 12:48b
48b “For everyone to whom much is given, from him much will be required; and to whom much has been committed, of him they will ask the more.”

In many ways, Scripture tells us that Israel is the army (or armies) of the living Elohim.

Shemote (Exodus) 12:51
51 And it came to pass, on that very same day, that Yahweh brought the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt according to their armies.

While it may sound funny, if Israel is the army of the living Elohim, then it needs to be organized as an army; and if we can receive it, this is how Yahweh set the family structure up. The men are the officer corps. Their job is to make tough decisions, and to set the example. The women are NCO’s (non-commissioned officers, or sergeants). They advise the officers, and carry out the decisions with wisdom. The children are enlisted men, who are to do as their parents instruct, and grow up in the way they should go, eventually becoming good life warriors themselves.

Traditionally, an officer’s job is to lead troops in battle (either literally or spiritually). The NCO’s job is to make sure that the soldiers have their material needs taken care of (food, clothing, water, etc.), so they can perform the mission. Although the officer is in the lead, in order for him to be effective, he must take his NCO’s seriously, and his soldiers must know that he cares about them. Unless the NCOs and men feel that their leader cares about them and their welfare, they will not feel motivated to support him to the same extent.

In any army there are times when NCOs and enlisted men need to speak up; yet some believe that women are not supposed to talk in an assembly, based on a misinterpretation of 1 Corinthians 14:34-36.

Qorintim Aleph (1 Corinthians) 14:34-36.
34 Let your women be silent in the assemblies, for they are not allowed to speak; but let them subject themselves, as the Torah also says.
35 And if they wish to learn whatever, let them ask their own husbands at home, for it is improper for women to speak in an assembly.
36 Or did the word of Elohim go out from you? Or did it reach only to you?”

It might at first seem Shaul is saying that women need to keep silent in the assemblies, citing the Torah as his authority. However, the Torah says no such thing. To make matters worse, verse 36 makes a statement that seems to come out of nowhere. So what do we do?

In the Greek Textus Receptus, the problem lies mainly in poor translation, and a misunderstanding of Greek grammar. Verse 36 of the Textus Receptus begins with the Greek preposition ay (h’). Strong’s Concordance NT:2228 tells us that this word describes a disjunction, or a sharp contrast between the two things it joins together.

NT:2228 e (ay!); a primary particle of distinction between two connected terms: disjunctive, or; comparative, than:

When used at the beginning of a sentence, the word “ay!” can mean “or,” but it usually means something more like the Hebrew Oy! (Oh, my enemies!); and, as we will see, Shaul likely wrote “Oy!” in the original Semitic manuscripts. If we were to translate “Oy!” into English, it would probably translate into something like, “What nonsense!”

In the first century, there were no quotation marks in Hebrew, Aramaic, or Greek. Thus, even though Shaul does not specifically tell us he is quoting in verses 34 and 35, the fact that he indicates a sharp contrast at the start of verse 36 (“Oy!”) tells us that verses 34 and 35 are not his own words. Bearing all of this in mind, let us take a fresh look at this passage.

1st Corinthians 14:34-36
34 [Quoting:] “Let your women be silent in the assemblies, for they are not allowed to speak; but let them subject themselves, as the Torah also says.
35 [Still quoting] And if they wish to learn whatever, let them ask their own husbands at home, for it is improper for women to speak in an assembly.” [end quote]
36 [Shaul’s response] What nonsense! Did the word of Elohim go out (i.e., originate) from you? Or did it reach only to you?
TR 1 Corinthians 14:34-36
34 αι γυναικες υμων εν ταις εκκλησιαις σιγατωσαν ου γαρ επιτετραπται αυταις λαλειν αλλ υποτασσεσθαι καθως και ο νομος λεγει
35 ει δε τι μαθειν θελουσιν εν οικω τους ιδιους ανδρας επερωτατωσαν αισχρον γαρ εστιν γυναιξιν εν εκκλησια λαλειν
36 η αφ υμων ο λογος του θεου εξηλθεν η εις υμας μονους κατηντησεν

In essence, Shaul is shaming the author of verses 34 and 35 by saying, “Where is this Torah commandment that no one except you has seen? Who do you think you are anyhow–making up rules no one else has even heard of? Are you Elohim? Did you give the Torah?”

While the church fathers tell us that the original Renewed Covenant (New Testament) manuscripts were inspired in Hebrew and/or Aramaic, in other places we show why the Peshitta is most likely not the original. Nevertheless, the Peshitta gives us some very important insights. In the Peshitta, the Greek word ay! is given as the Aramaic word oh! (או). J. Payne Smith’s Compendious Syriac Dictionary tells us that the Aramaic word Oh! (או) indicates an expression of simultaneous wonderment, grief, and reproof.

או: Interjection, expressing the vocative, wonder, grief, reproof; ~ O! Oh!

This confirms that Shaul was probably saying, “Oy!”

1st Corinthians 14:36
36 Oh! Went forth from you the Word of Elaha? Oh! Arrived it to you only?
(36) או דלמא מנכון הו נפקת מלתה דאלאהא. או לותכון הו בלהוד מטת

Shaul’s is being sarcastic. He is saying, “I was raised at the feet of Gamliel, and I never heard of a Torah commandment that says women are supposed to be silent in the assemblies. So then, did you write this command? Or are you the only one who heard it?”

Some authors suggest Shaul was referring to Genesis 3:16, which we saw earlier in this study.

B’reisheet (Genesis) 3:16
16 “I will greatly multiply your sorrow and your conception. In pain you shall bring forth children: Your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you.”

However, while Genesis 3:16 does indicate that the men need to lead (both in the assemblies and in the home) it never implies that women are not allowed to speak; and from the standpoint of the military model, giving the NCO’s a blanket commandment to be silent would be highly counterproductive. It would destroy not only morale, but also impede efficiency, which is not Yahweh’s purpose. Rather, Yahweh just wants to show us how things can work best.

Now before we discuss the prophetess Deborah, we need to discuss a fourth class of soldier called the warrant officer. A warrant officer is basically an NCO who has special skills and abilities; and because he has special skills and abilities, he warrants being treated like an officer. He can even take charge of an army group when no qualified commissioned officers are available to fulfill the role.

In Torah Government we explain that there are three main offices in Scripture: the king, the priest, and the prophet. There is also the judge, who is a special combination of all three. Deborah was a female judge who served in both the prophet and kingship roles because the men in her day were not doing their jobs. Deborah agreed to go out to war with Barak, but she said he would receive no glory from it because it is not the women’s duty to take the army out to war: it is the men’s job.

Shophetim (Judges) 4:8-9
8 And Barak said to her, “If you will go with me, then I will go; but if you will not go with me, I will not go!”
9 So she said, “I will surely go with you; nevertheless there will be no glory for you in the journey you are taking, for Yahweh will sell Sisera into the hand of a woman.”

Leadership had ceased in Israel until Deborah arose. This was a great shame to the men, and like a true prophetess, Deborah rubbed their faces in it.

Shophetim (Judges) 5:7
7 “Leadership ceased! It ceased in Israel until I, Deborah, arose! A mother in Israel arose!”

What kind of a disgrace would it be if a mom had to lead NATO and the Pentagon? That is what Deborah was saying. She thought the situation was wrong.

Interestingly, Deborah’s husband was Lappidoth. His name refers to someone who is a “flambeau” (i.e., someone flamboyant, or a showboat).

OT:3940 lappiyd (lap-peed’); or lappid (lap-peed’); from an unused root probably meaning to shine; a flambeau, lamp or flame:

Deborah did not revel in having to step up to fill the men’s shoes; yet how many women are eager to teach, and to lead congregations, who point to Deborah as an excuse? This is to misapply Deborah’s example.

Priscilla and Aquila’s example is often misapplied as well. While Hebrews normally recorded the husband before the wife, Shaul generally does the opposite. He records Priscilla before Aquila in Romans 16:3, 2 Timothy 4:19, and 1 Corinthians 16:19. Luke mentions them as a husband-wife team in Acts 18:24-26.

Ma’asei (Acts) 18: 24-26
24 And a certain Jew named Apollo, born at Alexandria, a learned man and mighty in the Scriptures, came to Ephesus.
25 This one had been instructed in the Way of the Master. And being fervent in Spirit, he was speaking and teaching the matters about the Master exactly, though he knew only the immersion of Yochanan.
26 And he began to speak boldly in the congregation. And when Aquila and Priscilla heard him, they took him aside and explained to him the way of Elohim more exactly.

The thing is, sometimes a husband is given a gift for ministry that the wife does not have; and by the same token, sometimes the wife is given a gift for ministry, while the husband is not. The woman can exercise her gift so long as she operates as part of a husband-wife team, with the husband acting as her covering. Notice in verse 26 that Priscilla and Aquila explained the Good News to Apollo, and they did so, as a team. It does not say that Priscilla counseled men (such as Apollo) by herself; and in fact, Shaul tells us that women should not teach men by themselves.

TimaTheus Aleph (1 Timothy) 2:12-15
12 And I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man, but to be in silence (regarding teaching),
13 For Adam was formed first, then Havvah (Eve).
14 And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression.
15 Nevertheless she will be saved in childbearing [Peshitta: “but she has life by way of her children”] if they continue in faith, love, and set-apartness, with self-control.

Women can speak with men, but Yahweh’s order is for the women to teach other women (and the children). This is how Yahweh set things up; and if we will happily turn away from our carnal natures and embrace His order, then we and our families will be blessed.

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