Bruce Collins, Evangelist

The personal website of Bruce Collins

Meditation for the week of February 26, 2006

Numbers 5:27 And when he hath made her to drink the water, then it shall come to pass, that, if she be defiled, and have done trespass against her husband, that the water that causeth the curse shall enter into her, and become bitter, and her belly shall swell, and her thigh shall rot: and the woman shall be a curse among her people.
Numbers 5:28 And if the woman be not defiled, but be clean; then she shall be free, and shall conceive seed.

Many women today struggle with the Biblical teaching concerning their roles in the home, the church and the world. When the women’s Biblical role is properly understood and explained, it is a role of importance (she ministers to angels and to men in 1 Corinthians 11) and it is a role that requires God’s protecting care. Women were possessions in the Bible, and I realize that most of us find that distasteful in our culture. However, if wives and daughters were cared for like most men care for their first cars, I don’t think women would find this distasteful. I think they would consider themselves privileged to be “owned” by their husbands and fathers. Unfortunately many men treat women like they would treat a car that has 250,000 miles on it and that is held together by duct tape. If they would treat them like a car that has just rolled off the show room floor, likely women would consider themselves to be treasured and special.

Women are not given a leadership or teaching role in the church (1 Timothy 2:12). Today women think that God has been unfair because they have as much or more ability than the men who are taking the lead. However, leadership in a church is a place of great conflict. Leaders are a special target of Satan. I believe that the Lord in His wisdom wanted to spare women from these problems because He considers them to be special.

In Matthew 5:31, when the Lord tells us that if a women is to be put away she should be given a writing of divorcement, He was actually protecting the women. Most translations assume that putting away is a divorce but, if that is the case, this verse is redundant. A bill of divorce required a property settlement and it allowed the Hebrew women the right of remarriage. Unfortunately, many men in that day were sending their wives away without the bill of divorce because they didn’t want to make the property settlement and they didn’t want to give their wives the right to remarry. (In Matthew 5:32, the word for divorce is really the word for putting away). So the Lord was trying to protect women from husbands who did not want to give them their legal rights in a divorce.

That brings me back to this chapter in the old testament having to do with a jealous husband who thinks his wife has been unfaithful. I have never understood how this ceremony would sort these things out. However, as I read this recently, the light dawned. If a jealous husband carried this out, there was very little likelihood that the women would end up losing her ability to have children by drinking the bitter water as seems to be implied by the rotting thigh and swelling belly. Verse 28 says that an innocent women would be able to bear children after this ceremony. No woman would likely take this oath and go through this ceremony if she was not virtuous. I doubt that this ceremony ever proved that she was not, all it did was give the man time to cool off. Going through the ceremony would be fairly good evidence that the woman was not a brazen liar. I think this ceremony was simply designed to keep a jealous husband from mistreating his wife.

The Lord seems to give women a special place. All of creation was good after the Lord finished on each of the first five days. But after creating women on the sixth day it was very good. Wouldn’t it be great if we men had the love for our wives and daughters that the Lord has for them, and that women had enough respect for the Lord to accept the protections that their Biblical roles give them?

Bruce Collins

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