« FöregåendeFortsätt »
wherewith she bound her soul, of none effect : and the Lord shall forgive her. But every vow of a widow, and of her that is divorced, wherewith they have bound their souls, shall stand against her. And if she vowed in her husband's house, or bound her soul by a bond with an oath; and her husband heard it, and held his peace at her, and disallowed her not: then all her vows shall stand, and every bond wherewith she bound her soul shall stand. But if her husband hath utterly made them void, on the day he heard them; then whatsoever proceeded out of her lips, concerning her vows, or concerning the bond of her soul, shall not stand : her husband hath made them void; and the Lord shall forgive her. Every vow and every binding oath to afflict the soul, her husband may establish it, or her husband may make it void. But if her husband altogether hold his peace at her from day to day; then he establishes all her vows, or all her bonds, which are upon her; he confirmeth them, because he held his peace at her, in the day that he heard them. But if he shall any ways make them void, after that he hath heard them; then he shall bear her iniquity.”
It is not here decided whether it was right or wrong for the husband to veto the wife's vow, it is only stated that as it respects the wife, if her husband did veto her vow, God would not require it of her hand, as He would accept the will for the deed. The reason for this regulation is plain. A woman had not the pecuniary means under her control for performing a vow, and it might have made great uneasiness in the family, and might have thrown her into religious despair, considering that the judgments of God would overtake her, because she had vowed and deferred to pay. It would certainly be high-handed despotism for a man to prevent his wife prudently giving for charitable or philanthropic purposes; and God has made it woman's duty so to do. We read of many women who ministered unto Christ of their substance, and some of them had husbands, and if any men so ministered, it is not on record. No doubt that their husbands could have prevented them. Is it supposed they could have done so and been guiltless before God? By the letter of the law the husband had a right to divorce his wife for very trivial reasons, but Christ informs us that Moses thus permitted them to divorce their wives, because of the hardness of their hearts, for the protection of the wife. It was her husband's duty to supply her with “her corn and her wine, and her silver, and her gold,” and she had a right to dedicate it to JEHOVAH, but not to Baal. Hosea ii. 8. Mark the expression, her corn, her silver, and gold. Why did she not take the necessary measures to coerce him to supply her? Because God said He relinquished the performance of her vow on her part, although she had a right to her silver and gold; yet, “ charity seeketh not her own;" but provided her row was lawful and right, He would settle with her husband for the delinquency, as the fifteenth verse plainly says.
But some may be ready to say, as an official expounder of the Divine law, Mal. ii. 7, with whom we have had the honour to correspond on this subject, said to us, “ With all due deference to the above logical arguments, I beg leave to say that the plain reason for the regulation was, THAT EVERY MAN MIGHT BEAR RULE IN HIS OWN HOUSE.” Yes, truly, he is just placed in authority to show the might of his power, and for the honour of his majesty!! Now here is a reason, for the regulation attributed to God, that the greatest slaveholder in the south would be ashamed to acknowledge. Namely, that his slaves were committed by God to him, just that he might bear rule over them. No, he would spurn such an idea, he would say that he kept the slaves, because they could not “take care of themselves.” To say that God places any one in authority over another, just because he would have him to rule, without any view to his qualifications, or the good of the governed, is a most flagrant violation of Christian ethics. The queen of the south taught much better Christian principles; she said when addressing Solomon, “Blessed be the Lord thy God, which delighted in thee, to set thee on the throne of Israel, because the Lord loved Israel for ever, therefore made he thee king, to do judgment and justice,” 1 Kings x. 9. God is no respecter of persons: it is for the special good of the governed that any are set in authority, except in cases where some are set in authority for a scourge. Christ says, “If any would be great among you, let him be your servant.” It is plain, that it was not because he would have every man bear rule in his own house; for he had no authority over his servants in that re
spect; they were members of his household. Nor had he any authority over a daughter, that had returned to his family, if she was a widow, or divorced. It is probable that if a person standing in that relation make a vow, she had something of her own, wherewith to discharge it.
Mr. Henry, when commenting on this portion of scripture, says, “It is fit that every man should bear rule in his own house, and have his wife and children in subjection with all gravity.” Here Mr. Henry connects two portions of scripture together, and makes a pretty strong case, showing the husband's absolute authority. He quotes from Esth. i. 22, which he connected with 1 Tim. iii. 4, and to the latter he has added. A great many of the official expounders of the Divine law are very much in favour of the precepts of their prophets Memucan and Ahasuerus!! They might answer for the prophets of Baal, but they have none of the characteristics of the prophets of Jehovah, nor had they any authority from him to issue any such decree. The apostle, in Timothy, giving the characteristics which were necessary to qualify a man for a bishop, says, he should be “One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity." The wife is not mentioned here at all. The addition of "his wife,” made it answer Mr. Henry's purpose. Papists are not the only people that add to scripture, or expunge, in order to support favourite theories. We will not say, that Mr. Henry designed this, but we do say, there is a favourite theory formed in the mind, and all scripture must bow to it, that is, that the males are placed in supreme authority, and the females are their vassals. It is a bad sign when any theory requires so much daubing with untempered mortar. This portion in Timothy is of itself proof that it is not one of the duties of the husband to keep his wife in subjection. The members of his household, whom he is to have in subjection, are expressly mentioned; “his children:” and the wife is omitted.
Such a prominent member of the household as is the wife would have necessarily received special notice. What means has the husband in his hands to keep the wife in subjection? If every man is exclusively to bear rule in his own house, he must have the power put into his hands, for this purpose, or perhaps he will adopt his prophet Ahasuerus's plan
who gave his wife a bill of divorce, because she would not exhibit her person to be gazed at by a drunken cabal. The wife was placed in authority in the family, and over the children, as well as he; she was a lawgiver as well as he. A man could not be said to rule his own house well, except his wife was permitted to exercise the authority with which God had invested her. The apostle says, in this same Epistle, v. 14,- that he would have the woman to "guide the house.” “The word translated guide the house, includes in it the idea of unlimited authority.” (See Religious Monitor, vol. 17, page 536.)
Now are we to suppose from this, that the woman is to exercise the whole authority in the house? By no means. A man that would act the tyrant in the house, and prevent his wife from exercising her lawful authority, might answer for a pope, but would not be very suitable for taking care of the church of God, according to Christ's precepts. He would, Diotrephes-like, love to have the pre-eminence—he would be for taking all the care and authority to himself.
It is passing strange, that when our brethren are so much in love with Ahasuerus' edict, they are not equally as much in love with his example, in the treatment of his wife. “What is thy petition, Queen Esther, and it shall be granted thee, and what is thy request, and it shall be performed, even to the half of the kingdom?” Now here is the reformed Ahasuerus: at least for the time being, the haughty tyrant is transformed into the kind and courteous husband, in answer to the prayers of Esther and her associates. Not a word about "every man bearing rule in his own house." We say, is it not passing strange, that Christian men do not rather quote this as an example. There is no mention made, in the passage of scripture we have under review, of a father negativing his son's vow. Sons generally have some portion allotted to them, over which they themselves have control, so that they would have it in their power to discharge a vow;—for there is not the least evidence that a parent had any less authority over a son than a daughter. It might give a little more trouble to a parent to govern a son. If the phraseology of a law were our guide, it would rather imply more strictness over the sons. A rebellious son who would not obey the voice of his father and his mother,
passage of the entire free view, ander's kind h
was to be stoned to death, Deut. xxi. 18–21. No mention is made of rebellious daughters being stoned. No doubt they would receive the same fate, but the young lords are generally more restive-aand “every man was to fear his mother and his father," Levit. xix. 3. Are we to infer from this, that because she is not expressly mentioned, every woman is not to fear her mother and her father? : Mr. Scott, the Commentator, says, “ The sons being more immediately under the father's tuition, might be thought less liable to be inveigled into rash engagements of this kind.” Verily, our brethren's self-esteem is generally well developed. Another stab at woman's intellect and discretion. The truth is, if woman is to be such a subordinate as she is represented, she will neither have intellect nor discretion; for where God gives gifts, He designs them to be exercised. The only prominent vow of a good character, which occurs to us at present, that was made and performed after the passage of this law, was that made by Hannah, 1 Sam. i. She acted with entire freedom through the whole transaction, had a good end in view, and “guided it to the end with discretion.” Elkanah was a very kind husband, a nourisher and cherisher, in the strictest sense of the word.' '
We will now take a view of the vows of that portion of the human family who are said to be “less liable to be inveigled into rash engagements.” Jephthah makes a vow, Judges ii. 30, 39, and to perform that vow he had to sacrifice the life of his own daughter, and “ besides her he had neither son nor daughter." Was not this a rash engagement? Again, we have Saul adjuring, 1 Sam. xiv. 24. And his son's life would have been forfeited by this adjuration, had not the people interfered, verses 4, 5. And David himself was “inveigled into a rash vow," and would have performed it only for the timely interference of Abigail. She modestly insinuated that he would have shed blood causelessly, had he proceeded in his design. 1 Sam. xxv. We hear of David again making a good vow, Ps. cxxxii. 245. The facts in the case will not feed our brethren's self-esteem to surfeiting.
Now if the wife's vow was of the character of these latter vows, with the exception of David's one, it would be perfectly right for the husband to veto it. It would also be