The demonization of masculinity and Numbers 30

One commentor writes by e-mail about the demonization of masculinity and my comments on how husbands are not held responsible for their wives actions, roles, and responsibilities:

I tend to agree with you, however I was listening to Numbers 30 today and it makes me question whether or not we as husbands are more responsible than we even think we are.

Numbers 30:13-15 NASB

“Every vow and every binding oath to humble herself, her husband may confirm it or her husband may annul it. [14] But if her husband indeed says nothing to her from day to day, then he confirms all her vows or all her obligations which are on her; he has confirmed them, because he said nothing to her on the day he heard them. [15] But if he indeed annuls them after he has heard them, then he shall bear her guilt.”

That part about how he shall bear her guilt makes me think of Adam and the fall.

I would appreciate your take on this.

My current take on it is if my wife tells me something she is planning to do, right then is where it becomes my responsibility. If I agree with her, I become responsible for the decision as soon as I am made aware of it. If I disagree with the decision (let’s say your wife wants to take kids to visit in laws where they may be exposed to things they aren’t ready to deal with), I have to be prepared to stand up to my wife and lead, even if it is a fight, because acquiescence means I’m responsible before God for the decision, just like Adam.

This would not be easy in the case of a rebellious wife obviously, and I guess that’s where “game” or headship or however you want to define it comes into play.

Basically, husbands are responsible for making their opinion known when a wife makes a vow or oath or other decision.

The commentor is correct about how it is basically what happened to Adam with Eve. Adam should have right away told Eve that the fruit she was giving him they should not eat. Instead, he let it slide, and disobeyed God and ate of the fruit and also more the consequences. That’s why the punishment for Adam was not just that he ate the fruit, but also that he listened to the voice of his wife [over the command of God].

The reasoning behind this is very insightful into the power of God’s laws. Basically, if a wife does something that a husband doesn’t like whether it makes him uncomfortable or is against his beliefs then God wants the husband to speak up for it right away. This quashes such scenarios as letting molehills grow into mountains that become major problems later. If a man allows such things as nagging to go on, it will only grow worse and worse. Such issues should be quashed immediately.

As you can see by verse 14, by being silent God has basically stated that the husband as the head of the household is implicitly agreeing to whatever the wife is doing Hence, in verse 15, he becomes responsible for it by implicitly agreeing with it. You can compare this to if you’re Christian brother is in sin. If he’s in sin are you supposed to sit by silently and keep letting him sin? God forbid! Instead, we as Christians are called to gently admonish or rebuke him if necessary.

This scenario in particular is one of the roles and responsibilities that a husband has in a marriage. A husband doesn’t have responsibility for the wife’s actions, roles, and responsibilities, but he does have responsibility for making his opinion known on the matter whether it agrees or disagrees with her. Then his wife’s decision and actions to submit to it or not are her responsibility.

In conclusion, God wants the husbands to be assertive about his opinion not passive. Passivity is not the trait of a leader or head of the household and only leads to ruin.

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2 Responses to The demonization of masculinity and Numbers 30

  1. RICanuck says:

    I left the following comment on Dalrock’s article re. Laura Lifshitz:

    “She’d choose eternity in hell first.”

    You have hit something that has been gelling in my heart and mind for quite time.

    In Dante’s inferno, while Dante was getting his guided tour of Hell, he met Paolo and Francesca. An adulterous couple from his native city. They were caught in the act by Francesca’s husband (Paolo’s brother) and murdered. Paolo knew his guilt and kept silent. Francesca would not shut up that it was not her fault. She read Dante’s poetry and was inflamed with lust. so it was really Dante’s fault not hers. She did not know why she was in Hell, because she was innocent. It was someone else’s fault.

    I really believe that women are not as culpable for sin as men are. I don’t believe that they come factory equipped with a conscience, and they are certainly not very introspective. They will be judged to a lower standard than men are. But, so many are so used to not being judged at all, that they will flee to Hell from judgement, even the good church ladies.

    This is a besetting sin of today’s North American Christian husbands. We must judge our wives and let them know when they do wrong. Expect a lot of screaming and histrionics. We are supposed to love our wives as Christ loves the church. Jesus will not pull a screaming fit on the throne of judgement. He will not be wrathful and cast us into Hell. Hell is a choice for those who know during judgement that that have willfully chosen to turn their backs on Goodness. When judging a wife on her sin, be calm and state it clearly. If she shows contrition let her know you love her. If she does not show contrition, forgive anyways, but let her bear the consequences.

    If a wife who has never been judged by her husband, flees to Hell at the moment of judgement, the husband bears part of the sin.”

  2. RS says:

    I recently read a fantastic article about this at
    https://bible.org/seriespage/male-female-equality-and-male-headship-genesis-1-3

    It addresses exactly what you’re talking about vis-a-vis the fall, with some in-depth exegesis on the roles of men and women at the beginning of creation and how that was significant at the fall. I highly recommend reading the whole thing, but essentially it suggests that the fall was the beginning of feminism. The serpent doesn’t just tout the supposed benefits of the forbidden fruit, but strongly sells that God is using his ban to oppress humanity, and specifically woman (eve). From the article:
    “It was a lie big enough to reinterpret all of life and attractive enough to redirect Eve’s loyalty from God to Self. The lie told her that obedience is a suicidal plunge, that humility is demeaning, and that service is servility. And so Eve begins to feel the aggravation of an injustice which, in reality, does not exist.”

    Then, Eve violates Adam’s headship. What she should do, now that she feels this, is go to him, explain what she feels, what the serpent said, and her desire for the fruit, and ask him for direction. Adam is a lot older than her (he was around long enough to name all the animals before she got there), and is supposed to lead on major decisions (deciding to directly disobey the king of the universe is about as big a decision as you can make). But instead, Eve usurps Adam’s headship by making the executive decision and acting on it, all by herself. And then, it gets even better! She takes the fruit to Adam, and says “here, eat this.” We get the sense Adam realizes something is up, but he just says “Yes dear” and does it. She’s now usurped his headship by ruling over him, and he’s abdicated it by simply giving in and doing what she says, when he should have investigated what was going on, determined it was bad to eat the fruit, and corrected his wife. What we have here is basically the whole feminist ideology played out…also known as the fall of man.

    RICanuck, this fits with your comment as well. Though I would take some exception to the claim “they [don’t] come factory equipped with a conscience,” and it seems to me that (biblically) Eve is very much held culpable for her sin. It’s sometimes a fine line between delineating and explicating clear hierarchical roles vs claiming women are spiritually inferior to men.
    I would say instead that Women are more sensitive and directly responsive to vague and complex stimulus than men are. While a man will gather direct evidence, consult it, decide, then act, a woman will develop a feeling based on much broader, less specific circumstantial evidence (unconsciously gathered), and have a feeling that she should act a certain way without actually knowing why. This is clearly both very useful, providing a swift and intuitive direction based on very broad information, and very dangerous if that direction is taken without reference and consultation with the direct evidence.

    My current personal analogy is the relationship between an experienced enlisted soldier and his commander (officer). There are some things that the commander should defer to the soldier, and he should always be listening to the soldier’s perspective, because his is more immediate and direct. But it is also much smaller, and the soldier has very limited understanding of the overall strategy, and little communication with its other parts. This is why all major decisions fall on the commander, and the soldier who makes a major decision without consulting and deferring to his commander puts himself and everyone else at risk. For example, the soldier may see an enemy position, perceive that it is critical and also vulnerable from his angle, and want to take it – but the commander might have just called in an air-strike on that position. If the soldier follows his (good) intuition, he will actually accomplish nothing more than getting himself and those under him killed.

    I would also add to this that there is a special kind of love that can exist between the soldier and the commander, which is only possible because of their precise circumstance as spiritual equals placed in a hierarchical structure. The soldier must submit to the orders of the commander, but (in the case of a good commander) he does so with complete trust, knowing that the commander will never ask him to do anything that he himself would not do, that all the commander’s orders (even the ones that frustrate him or he doesn’t understand) are given with his interest in mind, and that the commander will bear burdens than the soldier himself will not – the difficult strategic decisions, as well as taking more responsibility in action than he would ask of any of his men. A couple of examples: Capt. Nate Self, who led a ranger team into a fierce firefight and was hit in the leg very early on. What he expected from his men: courage and proficiency, and if they were hit to call for medical attention. What he did himself: realizing the wound was not immediately life threatening and believing that his men would lose heart if they knew their commander had been shot so early on, he said nothing about his wound and continued to lead from the front throughout the hours-long firefight. Or Lt Mike Murphy, a SEAL team commander who, with his team pinned down and unable to call for aid, sacrificed his life by leaving cover and seeking a high point where he could make radio contact with a support force in the hopes that some of his men would survive.

    A good officer loves his men enough to do these kinds of things for them, and knows it is his duty to do this because they are obedient to him – and the men percieve this, and love him for it. This special kind of love would simply not be possible without that hierarchy. Likewise, the special kind of love that God intends between a man and his wife would not be possible without their hierarchy. They might love each other just as much if they were equals – just as a man may love his mother just as much as his wife – but it will not be the same kind of love.

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