Exploring the biblical theology of Christian egalitarianism

Does Isaiah 3:12 show that women leaders are a bad thing?

Women leaders Isaiah 3

Deborah, prophetess and judge of Israel

A reader asked yesterday what I thought about Isaiah 3:12. The Old Testament and the Hebrew language are not my areas of expertise, but a quick look at the context of Isaiah chapter 3, and at various commentaries, provides three possible interpretations of Isaiah 3:12 that may indicate God’s attitude to women (nashim) as leaders. Or should that be noshim?

The context of Isaiah 3:12

Isaiah chapter 3 is an oracle of judgment. It foretells the demise of Jerusalem and Judah as a consequence of Judah’s rebellion against God. This rebellion was brought about by the vices and mismanagement of its civil and religious leaders. At the beginning of Isaiah chapter 3 we read that God is about to remove the capable and gifted people from Judah, including, or especially, the ruling classes of Jerusalem. (This is exactly what happened in the early sixth century when the Babylonians invaded Judah and began deporting their best and brightest.)

An English translation of the Septuagint’s version of Isaiah 3:1 reads: “Behold now, the Lord, the Lord of hosts, will take away from Jerusalem and from Judah the mighty man and mighty woman, the strength of bread, and the strength of water” (Isa. 3:1). In the following two verses, God lists what kind of mighty men and women will be removed: “the hero and the warrior, the judge and the prophet, the diviner and the elder, the captain of fifty and the man of rank, the counsellor, skilled craftsman and clever enchanter” (Isa. 3:2-3 NIV).

Israel had previously benefited from the wise counsel, leadership, and heroic actions of certain men and women, but there would come a time when only the poorest, weakest, and least skilled would be left in Judah. Anarchy and extortion would follow as irresponsible leaders gain control.[1] These leaders are described as children and as untrained in Isaiah 3:4. (This idea of children as leaders comes up again in our text Isaiah 3:12.) In Isaiah 3:5-7, God outlines some ways people will be cheated and oppressed by their leaders. These ideas may also be behind Isaiah 3:12.

What does Isaiah 3:12 mean?

There are three ways of understanding God’s words in Isaiah 3:12.

1. Isaiah 3:12 should be interpreted literally.

Some believe that the meaning of Isaiah 3:12a, as it is in the Hebrew text, should be taken literally despite the rhetorical nature of the prophecy. If so, Judah will be ruled by young and inexperienced men. This might refer to Ahaz, who was a weak and wicked king. In the year 732 BC, Ahaz began his sixteen-year rule at the age of 20 (2 Kings 16:2 cf. Eccl. 10:16). Or it may refer to later leaders.

According to the literal interpretation, Judah will also be ruled by women, perhaps the queen mother (cf. 2 Kings 11:1-16) and other prominent women in the royal court. These may be the “haughty women of Zion” denounced in Isaiah 3:16-25. The descriptions of these haughty women show that they are wealthy and, therefore, influential.

2. Isaiah 3:12 should be interpreted metaphorically.

A second possible interpretation of Isaiah 3:12, favoured by many scholars, is that metaphors are used in this verse. In this interpretation “children” and “women” are used as metaphors which signify that the leaders will be childish (i.e. inexperienced, capricious, or foolish) and effeminate (i.e. cowardly and ineffective) (cf. Isa. 3:4). In a note in the Geneva Bible (1599), Theodore Beza describes these leaders as “manifest tokens of [God’s] wrath, because they would be fools and effeminate.”[2]

As now, it was an insult in ancient times to call a grown man a “child”. To call a man a “woman” was also, unfortunately, a common insult. One example of this insult is given by the historian Herodotus where he records Xerxes, king of Persia, as saying: “My men have become women, and my women men.” (Histories 8.88.3) In the story of Esther, both Vashti and Esther risked their lives by standing up for their principles and defying the king’s request and ruling (Esth. 1:12; 4:16 cf. 5:2). But Xerxes’ words here are about his own men who floundered, and about Queen Artemisia I of Caria. Xerxes had a tremendous regard for Artemisia who was his ally and who had personally and valiantly led her navy in the battle at Salamis (480 BC). Thus Xerxes refers to her as a “man.” The Greek word for courage, andreia, which is used for both valiant men and women in Greek literature and in the Bible, comes from the Greek word for “man” (e.g., Prov. 12:4; 31:10; cf. 1 Cor. 16:13).

In Isaiah 3:12a, it is not clear who, specifically, the inept leaders of Judah are, or will be. But they are certainly being belittled and disparaged in this interpretation of the text.

3. Isaiah 3:12 originally did not contain the word for “women.”

A third possible interpretation, which is favoured by some scholars, is that the word for “women” was not originally part of Isaiah 3:12, the original word being “creditors”. (There is also some doubt about the word “children” in 3:12.) The Hebrew word for women in Isaiah 3:12 is nashim (נשים). With identical consonants, but different vowel points, the word can be noshim (נשים), which means “creditors.” The Aramaic Targum of Isaiah 3:12 has nosim (“creditors”). Accordingly, the New English Bible (NEB) translates the pertinent phrase as “the usurers lord it over them”.[3]

The Septuagint was translated from Hebrew to Greek centuries before the Masoretes added their system of vowel points to the Hebrew text. The Septuagint’s version of Isaiah 3:12a (translated into English) reads: “O my people, your extractors strip you, and extortioners rule over you.” The idea of being extorted by creditors fits with the overall context of Isaiah chapter 3, especially verses 5-7, but so does the idea of ineffectual people as leaders. Whatever the original word may have been, nashim or noshim, it is clear that God was saying Judah would be misled by incompetent or unscrupulous people.

Here are two English translations of Isaiah 3:12 that translate the first sentence very differently.

My people—children are their oppressors,
and women rule over them.
O my people, your leaders mislead you,
and confuse the course of your paths. (NRSV)

Oppressors treat my people cruelly;
creditors rule over them.
My people’s leaders mislead them;
they give you confusing directions. (NET)[4]

Does the Bible show that women leaders are a bad thing?

God’s judgment for Judah’s rebellion, caused by bad leaders, was that Judah would be oppressed by even worse leaders. Some people, however, highlight that having female leaders was part of God’s judgment. They argue that having a woman as a leader is an abhorrent aberration from God’s ideal and norm of male leadership of the community of his people. Is this really the case?

The events in the Old Testament mostly occurred at a time when patriarchy was the pervasive social dynamic, and men ruled women (cf. Gen 3:16b). Nevertheless, some women were leaders of towns: civil leaders (e.g., Sheerah); and some women were prophets: religious leaders (e.g., Miriam). Deborah was a judge and a prophet, two of the roles listed in Isaiah 3:1-2ff, and God blessed Israel through her leadership. These women held respected and recognised leadership positions in society.

Many men in the Old Testament took advice and directions from women, and they did not see it as a punishment.
~ Two Israelite spies followed the directions Rahab gave them, to the letter, and they escaped from being caught by the king of Jericho’s men (Josh. 2:16, 22).
~ Barak, an army general, took directions from, and depended on, Deborah (Judg. 4:6, 8).
~ David heeded and praised the advice and prophetic words diplomatically and courageously given by Abigail (1 Sam. 25:23-31).
~ Joab, David’s general, agreed to the negotiations offered by the Wise Woman of Abel Beth Maacah on behalf of her town (2 Sam. 20:15-22).
~ Solomon bowed to his mother Bathsheba and gave her a throne at his right hand, making her a powerful woman, albeit not as powerful as Solomon (1 Kings 2:19).
~ King Lemuel respected the oracles taught to him by his mother, and recorded them. Her words still instruct (Prov. 31:1-9).
~ King Josiah sought out the advice and carried out the instructions of the prophetess Huldah (2 Kings 22:8-20; 23:1-25; 2 Chron. 34:19-33).
~ Mordecai, and others, carried out all the instructions of his niece Esther, Xerxes’ queen (Esth. 4:17 NIV).

The Old Testament women mentioned here, and others, were used by God and respected by men.

Being advised or taught or led by godly women is not an act of God’s judgment or punishment. Rather, it is the leadership given by fools and wimps, or corrupt avaricious creditors, that constitutes God’s judgment against Judah given in Isaiah 3:12 (cf. Isa. 3:14-16).


Footnotes

[1] “The irony of the situation is highlighted by describing the possession of a cloak as sufficient evidence of distinction to warrant a leadership role.” Brevard S. Childs, Isaiah: A Commentary (Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press, 2001), 33.

[2] Theodore Beza, “Commentary on Isaiah 3:12”, The 1599 Geneva Study Bible.
<http://www.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/view.cgi?bk=isa&ch=3>

[3] English translations that reflect the “creditors” interpretation are the Common English Bible (CEB), the Good News Translation (GNT), the New English Bible (NEB), and the New English Translation (NET).

[4] Note 29 in the NET Bible gives good information on the textual uncertainties of Isaiah 3:12. <https://net.bible.org/#!bible/Isaiah+3>

Image

Excerpt of Deborah Praises Jael, wood engraving by Gustave Doré (1866) (Wikimedia)

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29 thoughts on “Does Isaiah 3:12 show that women leaders are a bad thing?

  1. The Hebrew word for rule in Isaiah 3:12 is ‘mashal’. It is the exact same word used in Genesis 3:16 when God tells Eve, your husband will rule (mashal) over you.

    Because both these verses where spoken as a grave consequence of sin and turning away, I believe they are pointing us to the greater truth that humans beings are not called to rule over each other. Rulership meaning a person who has supreme power or sovereignty over others instead we’re called to love, lead and serve one another in a spirit of honor.

    People trying to cherry pick bible verses to use as “evidence” barring women from leadership will eventually find themselves on the wrong side of history, in the same group as those who staunchly opposed women’s right to vote and enter into medical schools & law schools etc in the early 1900’s. It’s only a matter of time! Keep up the excellent detailed work Ms. Marg, we appreciate it.

    1. Thanks for picking up on that, Michelle.

      Before the Fall, both men and women were given the command to rule and have dominion over the animals, but not over each other. Ruling other people is definitely a result of sin in the world.

      1. Hello Michelle
        At the beginning it wasn’t so God did not change the punishment it is still in place today. Just as Gal: 6-7

        ” For God is Not mocked whatever a man soweth that shall he also reap.

        ( when we make choices, we cannot control the consequences, )

        Gal:3, says that we are all one in Christ Jesus we have neither male nor female, ”

        but this does not mean administrations, only that we are one in Christ, the same belief, and the same hope! The woman was in the Sin first, God punishment doesn’t change, the consequence of that sin is still in place, the only difference is now! We are forgiven.

        1. I see no reason for men and women today, especially those who are followers of Jesus Christ, to be punished for the sin of Adam and Eve. Jesus’s death on the cross has dealt with sin–past, present and future.

          There are several Bible verses that tell us that Jesus has atoned for sin and takes away sin.
          ~ “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” John 1:29
          ~ “But now He has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to do away with sin by the sacrifice of Himself.” Hebrews 9:26
          ~ “He Himself is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.” John 1:3-5

          We are responsible for our own behaviour. We will experience the consequences, good or bad, from our own good or bad actions (Matt. 16:27; Rom. 2:6), but we are not responsible for Adam and Eve’s sin. God does not hold us responsible for the sins of our parents or ancestors (cf. Deut. 24:16; 2 Kings 14:6: Jer. 31:30; Ezek. 18:19-20).

          1. Hi Marg

            With all due respect. God is unchanging and His word is too.

            Women, according to God’s word (not your opinion, dear) should keep at home, love their husbands and their children, and be silent in church.

            Remember everything He commands of us is for our good, and is not too hard to follow.

            I think we should be a little careful not to bring worldly feminist opinion into God’s matters, for what use does light have to do with darkness.

          2. Hi Sharon, This article is not about worldly feminism. I don’t mention that at all in the article. But I do mention a few Bible women, some of who stayed at home and some who didn’t. And almost nothing is mentioned in the Bible about how they managed any housekeeping.

            Most of this article is information. Almost none of it is my personal opinion. And you haven’t actually said which bit you disagree with.

            What Paul says about young Cretan women in Titus 2:4-5 or about disorderly Corinthians in 1 Corinthians 14:26-40 is not the sum total of what the Bible says about women. But I’m all for loving one another, especially our families. And having a home that is clean and tidy is important. But the Bible doesn’t indicate that housekeeping is all women are meant for. Far from it.

            Here are some of the women I mention in the article, plus a few more. What I say about these women below are not opinions. They are summaries of what the Bible tells us about them. All these women are portrayed in a positive light in the Bible.

            ~ The women who served at the entrance to the Tabernacle were not primarily housekeepers. More on these women here.

            ~ Rahab didn’t confine her life by only keeping at home, she was an innkeeper. Furthermore, God chose her to have faith, risk her life, and help the Israelites. She committed treason against her own city and took her family with her when she left Jericho and defected to the Israelites. The spies followed her instructions to a tee and Joshua relied on her intelligence.

            ~ Ruth didn’t keep at home in Moab; she travelled with Naomi to Bethlehem. And she didn’t keep home in Bethlehem either. Ruth worked hard gleaning in the barley fields, and one night she went out and lay down next to Boaz on the threshing room floor.

            ~ Deborah, a prophetess and judge of Israel, didn’t keep at home but judged under the Palm of Deborah, a landmark at crossroads in the centre of Israel. And Israel prospered under her leadership. More on Deborah here.

            ~ The Wise Woman of Abel Beth Maacah didn’t keep at home when she spoke with Joab the commander of David’s army on behalf of her city and negotiated for its safety.

            ~ Abigail seems to have been an excellent manager of her household. But she didn’t hesitate when, behind her husband’s back, she went to appease David and 400 angry men intent on revenge. She counsels the future king and her prophetic words are recorded in the Bible (1 Sam. 25:1ff). More on Abigail here.

            ~ Huldah, on the other hand, did stay at home where she received a delegation sent from King Josiah seeking her advice. This delegation included the High Priest (Hilkiah), the father of the future governor (Ahikam), the son of a prophet (Achbor), the secretary of state (Shaphan), and the king’s officer (Asaiah). Huldah speaks to these men on behalf of God.

            ~ The Queen of Sheba didn’t keep at home, and she was commended by both Solomon and Jesus for coming “from the ends of the earth to hear Solomon’s wisdom” (1 Kings 10:1-29; Matt. 12:42, Luke 11:31). More on this queen and other female leaders mentioned in the Bible here.

            ~ I can’t see how Sheerah could have built towns if her main role was housekeeping (1 Chron. 7:24). And I can’t see how the daughters of Shallum could have helped rebuild the walls of Jerusalem if their main role was housekeeping (Neh. 3:12).

            ~ Anna spent very little time at home. She spent her days and night fasting and praying in the temple in Jerusalem. She was there when Mary and Joseph brought the baby Jesus to the temple, and from that time she began telling everyone who was waiting for the redemption of Jerusalem about Jesus (Luke 2:37-38).

            ~ Many Galilean women didn’t keep house but followed Jesus as he ministered in Galilee. They even followed him all the way to Jerusalem. And Mary Magdalene wasn’t at home on the morning of Jesus’ resurrection. At the beginning of a new era, she was commissioned by our Lord to tell the other disciples that he was alive. More about the many women who followed Jesus here.

            ~ When Paul first met Lydia she wasn’t at home, but she later used her home as a base for the new church at Philippi. Lydia also ran a business dealing with luxury textiles. Lydia, and other women mentioned here, had servants and slaves to do most of the housework. More on Lydia here.

            ~ Phoebe didn’t stay home or do housework. She travelled from Cenchrea (a port city of Corinth) carrying Paul’s precious letter to the church at Rome. Paul speaks about her warmly and tells the Romans she is a diakonos (minister or deacon) of the church at Cenchrea. More on Phoebe here.

            ~ Junia didn’t say home. She was a missionary and, at one point at least, was imprisoned with Paul. More about Junia here.

            ~ Priscilla didn’t stay home. She travelled with her husband Aquila and the apostle Paul. Paul mentions they she and her husband risked their lives for him. The couple’s home was a base for the church at Ephesus (where Priscilla and Aquila corrected the doctrine of the teacher Apollos). And they later hosted a church at Rome. When Paul greets 28 Christians at Rome, he greets Priscilla first. First! More in Priscilla here.

            There are still more women I could mention such as Miriam, the woman of Thebez, Mary the mother of Jesus, etc, who didn’t restrict their life to only housekeeping and who were out and about helping, sometimes rescuing, their community or ministering the gospel.

            Paul mentions 18 women in his letters. Paul does not primarily identify these women by their family relationships or their domestic situations. Instead, the women are described and identified by their work, their travels, but especially by their faith and ministries to the church.

            Also, Paul doesn’t just tell women to be silent in the churches. In 1 Corinthians 14:26-40, Paul uses the exact same verb and tells three groups of disorderly people to “be silent.” More on these verses here.

            Sharon, if you are a young woman and not keeping home will cause God’s word to be slandered, then, by all means, keep at home. I write more about Paul’s context of Titus 2:4-5 here: https://margmowczko.com/busy-at-home-how-does-titus-24-5-apply-today/ But I see nothing wrong with following the examples of Anna, Phoebe, and Priscilla, etc.

    2. Hi Michelle
      I believe Genesis 3:16 talks about submission, Ephesians 5:22. Paul again strictly commands the women not to teach in the church. Husband are priesthood meaning to be the Head and women are the church and in that order. I believe it is not in God’s agenda for a woman to lead a man. It is against the law of Jesus.

      1. Hi Munyaradzi,

        Here is some information in response to your comment.

        Genesis 3:16: In Genesis 3:16, God foretells that man will rule woman, but he does not mention “submission.” The rule of man over woman is a consequence of sin entering the world. It is not part of God’s ideal plan for humanity and he does not say one way or the other, that women are to submit to this rule. What God does say is that the woman’s desire will be for her husband or, possibly, for a husband, despite the consequences of the fall.

        Jesus came, however, to deal with the sin problem, and in this new era (post-resurrection and post-Pentecost) there is now again the possibility of the unity, harmony and equality between people that there was before the fall. Genesis 1:26-28 tells us that before the fall, all humanity had the same status, the same authority, and the same purpose.

        Priesthood: The Bible nowhere says that husbands are priests. In the New Covenant, both men and women are to function as priests, with Jesus Christ as our high priest. Followers of Jesus do not need another person acting as a priest as we all have access to God through Jesus as well as the Holy Spirit. There is one mediator between God and humanity (redeemed men and women), and it is not a husband, it is Jesus.

        The Law of Jesus and Leadership: Jesus says nothing at all about a woman leading. But he does tell Mary Magdalene to tell the brothers the momentous news that Jesus had risen. And it is because of the Samaritan’s woman’s words that many came to Jesus and were saved. All of Jesus’ words about leading are about being humble and being a servant and about not taking a prestigious title. Jesus simply never says that women cannot lead. More about Jesus on leadership here: https://margmowczko.com/jesus-teaching-on-leadership-and-community-in-matthews-gospel/

        Paul’s Words to Women: Paul, likewise also never says that women cannot lead. Paul does not exclude women from his general teaching on ministries, ministries that include teaching and leading (Rom. 12:6-8; 1 Cor. 12:1ff; Eph. 4:11; cf. 1 Cor. 14:26; Col. 3:16).

        Paul only silences certain women in the Corinthian church who wanted to learn but who needed to keep their questions for home (1 Cor. 14:34-35). In fact, Paul silences three groups of disorderly people in 1 Corinthians 14:26-40.

        And Paul tells Timothy he is not allowing a woman in the Ephesian church to teach, she needs to learn, and he is not allowing her to domineer a man, probably her husband (1 Tim. 2:11-12). I have several articles on both 1 Corinthians 14:34-35 and 1 Timothy 2:11-15 here and here.

        Finally, here’s a short post on Ephesians 5:22: https://margmowczko.com/ephesians-522-33-in-a-nutshell/

        1. All in the New Testament it tells the women to submit. Again you are misleading people.

          1. There are four passages where wives are told to be submissive to their own husbands. And there are two passages where all followers of Jesus, male and female, are told to submit to one another (Eph. 5:21; 1 Pet. 5:5 NKJV). Submission, like humility and meekness, is a Christian virtue for men and for women.

            Nevertheless, God never tells women, or Eve, to be submissive in Genesis, and Jesus never tells women to be submissive in the Gospels. It is Paul and Peter who say this to Greco-Roman wives.

  2. Excellent article thanks.

  3. The Geneva Bible says, “and babes shall rule over them”., not ” women shall rule over them. Some commentaries on more modern versions, KJ and versions based on the KJ, say that the term “women” is referring to weak men. In both ancient Israel and medevial Europe , to compare a man to a woman was an insult. From what I’ve read, King James himself had a pretty low opinion of women, in general.

    1. Hi Nancy,

      In the copy of the Geneva Bible I’ve used it has: “And I will appoint children to be their princes, and babes shall rule over them” in Isaiah 3:4.

      But it has “Children are extortioners of my people, and women have rule over them . . .” in Isaiah 3:12.

  4. Hi Marg, This is another example of knowing the 3 ‘c’s’when it comes to interpreting Scripture,i.e.circumstances,culture and context. Remember Jesus said ‘out of the mouth of babes’,Matt 21:16.The probem here is a topsy-turvy society that was being punished by God and women who were unqualified both in character and doctrine were usurping authority like those in Ephesus(there is evidence of ‘hetairi’,high class prostitutes in the time 1 Timothy was written).So what has changed? This in no way precludes godly women from teaching. God bless, Warwick

    1. Love the 3 Cs.

      It’s interesting that “babes” and “women” are mentioned in a disparaging way in Isaiah 3, but that Jesus elevated both.

      Jesus welcomed children, told people they need to become like small children, and he even became a babe himself for a while. Extraordinary.

  5. In my own studies of the Old Testament, I generally turn first to the Septuagint to see what has been written there. Not only is that translation the oldest (esp. as compared to the Masoretic text), many of the Savior’s sayings recorded in the Gospels contain literal, word-for-word quotes from the Greek OT. The Gospel writers themselves frequently quote the Greek OT, using precisely the same syntax and grammar. I have many times encountered an English rendering in the Old Testament and, when I’ve compared what the modern translator has provided to the reader in that passage, I discover a rendering taken from the Greek OT vice the Hebrew, and this almost always without any reference note to declare that the translator has followed the LXX rather than the Masoretic text. What is my point? My point is that we should always remember that translations are just that–translations. Further, they virtually always reflect–to greater or lesser extent–the biases of those who make them. I am not at all surprised that when it comes to Isaiah 3:12, the Masoretic text and the Greek Septuagint differ greatly.

  6. Political correctness has infiltrated every phase life, many churches included. The simple principle of gender roles has been ignored by weak men and those wanting to please feminists. Isaiah 3:12 is clear in every version and translation.

    1. “As for my people—oppressors strip them and swindlers rule them. My people—your leaders mislead you and confuse your paths.” Common English Bible

      “Money-lenders strip my people bare, and usurers lord it over them. O my people! your guides lead you astray and confuse the path that you should take.” New English Bible

      Moneylenders oppress my people, and their creditors cheat them. My people, your leaders are misleading you, so that you do not know which way to turn.” Good News Translation

      “Oppressors treat my people cruelly; creditors rule over them. My people’s leaders mislead them; they give you confusing directions.” NET Bible

  7. So then… Having looked at various English translations of Isaiah 3:12, argued about the correct rendering of the Hebrew and Greek texts, and discussed the impact of historic culture a bit as it pertains to gender perceptions, can we now look at the remainder of what the prophet records in this passage (which ends at Isaiah 4:6)? Let’s begin at verse 16 and see what God is saying. Along the way, let’s be sure to determine if gender has anything to do with our understanding of the message. Afterwards, we can apply what we’ve learned to the context overall and see if it affects our interpretation and understanding of Isaiah 3:12. When we’ve done all this, we can then see if there’s any application of the specific message to the cultural paradigm all of us currently experience.

    1. It just sounds like a lot of work about one verse that I can’t see is significant or has much bearing on life today. But that doesn’t mean I’m not interested in what you come up with. I, like you, also check the Septuagint, because ancient copies of the LXX predate our oldest copies of the Hebrew texts by several hundreds of years.

  8. Hi Marg,

    I’ve just read your article and noticed that to Isa. 3:1-2, you have ascribed the words “the mighty man and mighty woman” based on a Septuagint interpretation and then contextualised the rest of the passage to suit. I’ve just referenced that with a Septuagint translation and it found it not to be the case. Please see online reference below.
    http://biblehub.com/sep/isaiah/3.htm

    While I am very passionate about men and women using their gifts in ministry, please be admonished to keep within the divine counsels of God’s word for the sake of the salvation of souls and the glory of God.

    1 Tim. 3:1-3, 5
    This is a true saying, If a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work. A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach; One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity; For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?

    1. I’m not following your point, Andrew.

      I haven’t based “mighty man and mighty woman” on an interpretation. Rather, it is a justifiable translation of the masculine and feminine accusative singular participles ἰσχύοντα and ἰσχύουσαν. Brenton’s LXX translation, that you’ve linked to, also has “mighty man and mighty woman” in verse 1. Though, I do acknowledge that any translation involves a degree of interpretation.

      Isaiah 3:2 in the Septuagint contains the Greek word πρεσβύτερος (“elder”) along with other descriptions of mighty men and women such as “judge and prophet” (cf. Deborah). I’ve quoted both verse 1 and verse 2 accurately in my article. Note that Isaiah 3:1-3 is probably one sentence in the Greek text.

      As you may know, the Greek masculine gender can be used generically for men and women (e.g., John 3:16), but verse 1 in Isaiah 3 makes it explicit that women are included.

      I’ve explained the context of Isaiah 3:1ff fairly and faithfully in the article. It is not about church leaders or church elders. It’s also not about the leaders or elders of the Sanhedrin. (A Christian assembly, i.e. a church, and the Sanhedrin are mentioned in the limited information you copied and pasted from Strong’s about New Testament usage of the adjective πρεσβύτερος, α, ον.)

      Isaiah 3:1ff is about the leaders of Judah who lived hundreds of years before the church or the Sanhedrin existed. Isaiah 3 was written in the eighth century BC. The earliest record we have of the Sanhedrin dates to first century BC, 57BC to be precise. (Josephus Antiquities. 14.5.4). And the church began in the first century AD, at Pentecost in the early 30s AD.

      I don’t understand why you are making this about church elders. I’m not. Apart from my quotation of Isaiah 3:2, I don’t mention elders in the article. And I certainly don’t mention church elders. In fact, I don’t mention the church at all and I quote from the New Testament only once in the entire article.

      But since you have brought up 1 Timothy 3, you may be interested to know that the moral qualifications for an ἐπίσκοπος (“supervisor”) of the Ephesian church, given in 1 Timothy 3:1-7, doesn’t include the word πρεσβύτερος (“elder”).
      https://margmowczko.com/pauls-qualifications-for-church-leaders/
      https://margmowczko.com/manage-household-1-timothy-34/

      If you wish to comment again, Andrew, please make sure your comment is directly related to the article. If you wish to discuss church elders, you can leave a comment in response to an article that is about church elders. However, please make sure you understand the article before responding to it. It will save a lot of time.

      Finally, please be assured that I am very careful to understand the Bible and abide by its divine counsel.

      1. Ridiculous and pompous to say: ‘be admonished’ … don’t be foolish Andrew. If you disagree, disagree with respect.

  9. The bible you refer to is translated to please the women in congregation. Original text are found in King James original version.
    The other thing to consider is that Gods word has no interpretation. Interpretation comes from satan and from those that would like to have it written to suit their lifestyles.

    1. G.C. The original texts (the actual manuscripts written by the original authors of the Bible) have disintegrated over the thousands of years since they were first penned. They are long gone, but we do possess ancient copies of the Bible’s books and letters written in the original languages.

      The Book of Isaiah was originally written in Hebrew. The King James Bible is an English translation and is not original in any way.

      I refer to several English translations in the article: CEB, GNT, NASB, NEB, NET, NIV, NRSV, Geneva Bible (1599). None of them have a feminine bias. I also refer to the Septuagint which was translated from Hebrew into Greek before the church existed. And I refer to the Aramaic Targum which was not written for the church.

  10. Thank you!! I am so glad to have found your site. I intend to read more as I have time. i appreciate the help untangling the Scriptural understanding of women from the cultural overlays

  11. There is no mention of mighty women in Is 3:2 in the Septuagint…..

    1. Hi Jeff,

      As I say in the article, “mighty woman” is a translation of Isaiah 3:1 LXX. (I don’t say it’s in Isaiah 3:2.)

      Here’s a translation of Isaiah 3:1 from the LXX
      “Behold now, the Lord, the Lord of hosts, will take away from Jerusalem and from Judea the mighty man (ἰσχύοντα) and mighty woman (ἰσχύουσαν), the strength of bread, and the strength of water …” You can check here.
      You can check the Greek here.

      Even though “mighty woman” doesn’t occur in 3:2, it’s important to read 3:1 with 3:2 and the following verses to gain a sense of the context.

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