“Her husband is known in the gates,
when he sitteth among the elders of the land.”
The word Husband is translated from Hebrew as:
Strong’s H1167 – ba`al
- 1) owner, husband, lord
- a) owner
- b) a husband
- c) citizens, inhabitants
- d) rulers, lords
- e) (noun of relationship used to characterise – ie, master of dreams)
- f) lord (used of foreign gods)
I prayed about whether or not to focus on this word in this verse and felt the Lord urging me to do so.
This may ruffle a few feathers but this is the Word of God and the study of the words within the WORD is important. We cannot throw out passages just because they might cause a bit of stirring in our lives and this word is one of those. I want to encourage you to not throw up your hands and say, “well, this is not what I thought it meant” or “there is no way that it means that!”. Sisters, we must realize that HIS ways are above our ways and HIS thoughts are above our thoughts. The plan that Father God designed and established at the beginning of time is perfect and for our good in EVERY way. We must remember that nothing in the Word of God is there by accident nor is it misplaced. With that in mind, let’s proceed.
We can see that the word Husband in this passage is clearly more than just a companion. Webster’s Dictionary defines husband:
1. (noun) husband
the male head of a household; one who orders the economy of a family
2. (noun) husband
a cultivator; a tiller; a husbandman
3. (noun) husband
one who manages or directs with prudence and economy; a frugal person; an economist
It is interesting what the modern dictionary leaves out. But of course, our interest is not in the modern word – we are studying the Word of God which does not change from generation to generation. His Word stands the test of time as do His concepts and intentions. Notice the first word in the definition is “owner”. Hmmmmm. I suppose the majority of women would revolt at that concept. But why? Why do we shun so strongly the idea that our husband is our owner. Is it because that would render us under His control? We would no longer have the possibility of being the authority in the marriage. Uhhhh YES!!! But the word truly brings so much more to the concept – look at “e” Master of Dreams! I like that. Paul is the master of my dreams – he is!!! There is so much about this modern life that has contorted our idea of husband and wife and this relationship is so pivotal to all of society that we must get it right.
Sixty-nine times in the Old Testament Hebrew, the word husband is translated thus:
Strong’s H376 – ‘iysh
- 1) man
- a) man, male (in contrast to woman, female)
- b) husband
- c) human being, person (in contrast to God)
- d) servant
- e) mankind
- f) champion
- g) great man
This particular word is used in such scriptures as:
Genesis 3:16 “Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.”
Genesis 16:3 “And Sarai Abram’s wife took Hagar her maid the Egyptian, after Abram had dwelt ten years in the land of Canaan, and gave her to her husband Abram to be his wife.”
We see the word “servant” being used in this definition, don’t we? But you know, I have seen many, many marriages where the man has truly become the servant to his wife’s wishes and the family is in shambles. When a woman rules the home, there is no way that the family can function properly. Now I am not talking about a family where the husband is gone or incapacitated for some reason. Obviously there are extenuating circumstances. But we cannot choose those circumstances because we think our husband is foolish or not as understanding as we like. You cannot usurp his authority in the Eyes of God just because you think you are smarter than him. And let me say that most men will give up their authority is pressured.
Let’s talk for a minute about a family where the husband is not born again. Perhaps he is abusive or even against God. These situations take a great deal of prayer and understanding. I do not believe that any woman should continue to live with a man who is physically abusing her or her children. She needs to immediately get to a place of safety and seek help and guidance for what to do next. That being said, there are other types of abuse and that need to be dealt with on an individual basis. Some women feel abused because their husband goes hunting every weekend. I agree that this is a truly dissatisfying situation but this is not abuse. It does not allow a woman to turn on her husband and begin to control the family because she is feeling slighted or insulted because he doesn’t chose to be at home. There is much more to it than that and a Godly woman needs to seek the Face of God and allow Him to show her what she can do to try to regain her husband. The same goes for anything that takes the husband needlessly out of the home.
This past Sunday, the message Paul gave for church “What Are You Hungry For” spoke to the appetites that are developed in our lives and in the lives of our children. Are we feeding those “lusts of the flesh” thinking it is just innocent amusements and past-times but really we are creating a deep crevace for our family to fall into. When a mother enrolls her children in all kinds of out of the home activities, does she realize that this is creating a desire – a need – in this child to have more interest OUTSIDE the home than in it.
Men are the same way. Little boys are encouraged to play sports, go hunting with their Dads, watch television and play video games to keep them quiet when they are inside. Is it any wonder that these little boys grow up and all they want to do is spend their time with these interests. God put in men the desire to provide, to conquer, to possess – it is part of their make-up. When these things are in action in a Godly man things work out correctly in favor of the home. When they are not in balance in his life, just like things in a woman’s life, they become error. Likewise, I do not believe that a woman should be a slave to her husband but a servant – a servant by choice and out of love. There is a tremendous difference.
In Isaiah 54:5 ”For thy Maker is thine husband; the LORD of hosts is his name; and thy Redeemer the Holy One of Israel; The God of the whole earth shall he be called.”
The definition for the word husband in the scripture above is the same root as our base verse for this study -
Strong’s H1166 – ba`al
- 1) to marry, rule over, possess, own
- 1) to marry, be lord (husband) over
- 2) to rule over
- b) (Niphal) to be married
In the Child of God there is no question that the Lord God Almighty is our owner, our possessor, our ruler. If we struggle with allowing our husband in this earthly role, then we will also struggle with God in the spiritual role. Surrender is the completed action when we are willing to give up control and dominion to another.
As I go back to verse 23, I see something else that peeks my thoughts, ” Her husband is known in the gates, when he sitteth among the elders of the land.” It strikes me as odd that this verse is positioned between the two verses that talk about the virtuous woman’s needlework and her ability to produce fine things. Do you see what I mean? Could it be that her abilities and productivity are accounted to him? Is he given a place of respect and honor in part because of what she has done? I think that is most likely. This again bears out the idea that she is in many ways, his own. But I want to jump ahead a bit and remind ourselves that while he is honored and respected because of all that she is and does, she in turn is honored and praised and respected – verses 28 – 31. Of course we will examine these verses more as we get to them.
We see this example clearly echoed in the New Testament, when Jesus talked about bringing Glory to the Father! Likewise The Bride of Christ – the Church – is to bring Glory to the Son – Christ! We, wives, are to bring honor to our husband. Father God is the King of Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ is the Lord over his Bride – the Church. A Husband is the Lord over His wife – and the two become one and are both under the Lordship of Jesus Christ! Now we can kick against the goad in this and deny the truth of it. As women in a modern age we can call this concept barbarian and refuse it. But truth is truth and there is no question that the family has become woefully out of balance in this modern time – in the secular world as well as in the church.
Sisters, this is deep water and we have the choice to drown in it or to ride upon it. To allow this to take us to glorious places in our lives. God does nothing to harm nor diminsh us. He desires to bless us in every way and I believe that if we can get ahold of this concept and truly walk in it, we will experience tremendous fruit and joy in our homes like never before!