Looking back at Nehemiah

Nehemiah had been a short book, only 13 chapters, that I had done in one long post. There hadn’t been any named women in it who were implicated in anything, but a lot of grouping of women that he referred to or spoke of. Specifically, there had been one man who had his daughters help him build his section of the wall. Other than that, they seem mostly grouped in with the men when they were doing things except for something about the men marrying foreign women and being “made to sin”.

As I mentioned in the original post, they don’t actually “make” them do anything. Sure, a woman can convince a guy that something inherently wrong is the right thing to do, but this guy has to make the choice to follow this woman instead of his priest or teacher or parents. This can also work the other way, and does, so it’s not just women that are a problem here and these same guys gave their daughters to foreign men too. Second, these are foreigners so it is easy to believe that they think they are doing right by these guys by making them turn to their own religions. Third, it is highly unlikely that these women are actually in a position to make these men do anything. It’s an expression to say that someone “made” you do something when the temptation was just too great for you. I don’t think this is meant to be taken literally, otherwise I think there would be way more going on. These men aren’t slaves! They are encouraged by their own sinful desires to have these foreign women and the women are taking the rap for it throughout history.

They were apparently giving their daughters to the foreign men too. And how were they in a position to give daughters? Oh, yeah, these women couldn’t even choose who they married unless their father was very generous. So…..the foreign women themselves don’t seem to me like they could have had much to do with whether or not the Jews or Israelites wanted to marry them and then they were being blamed for it without better explanation given as to how these men were “made” to do anything. It’s annoying and easy for a misogynist to take advantage of this kind of wording to serve his own purposes. But I’m not buying it that these women were instigating anything, let alone forcing these men to do anything.

Nehemiah is mostly getting the wall up and starting to get the people to follow the Laws again along with some resistance from those people. It seems like it was a pretty masterful feat for that wall to go back up and for everyone to move back in and rebuild the city and their towns and all. Not much mention of women, but the story does revolve around Nehemiah and he doesn’t appear to have been married.

Chapter links go to the ESV translations at Biblehub.com but I’m reading from the ESV Global Study Bible, which is available for free on the Kindle Reading App.

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