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I agree wholeheartedly that a wife and mother's first place is in the home. However! As the years pass I find this nearly impossible as husbands are no longer reliable and faithful to their families. Nice concept, but unrealistic in today's morally declining age.
I think this is one of the challenges of our modern days. However, this problem need the wisdom of God in order to discern a matter of this magnitude. The spouses should talk to one another in fixing it, taking into consideration that a good home needs the good attention of a woman, and money can not substitute for that. Remember, building a good home is also building a good society and nation at large.
Though it is the woman's choice, the role of a housewife is based on a sexist patriarchal structure. There is no where in the Bible that says a woman has to become a housewife. The education of children seems valued in the Bible, but any person can have the role of a caring, nurturing person, and it should not fall solely on a woman simply because of her sex. Unlike stereotypes, not every woman's world revolves around children and her home. In the end, the choice belongs to you.
The definitive biblical answer to this comes in the matter of Zelophahad's daughters (See Numbers 27 and 36). In this instance we find the laws of inheritance turned on their head so to speak, and the principle proves that all laws applying to men also applied to women in some way. This was simply a situation which forced the acknowledgment of this truth that in the spirit there is no male and no female (Gal 3:28) and that the traditional roles for these symbols apply to all of us because we are all soulish (Gr. pseuke -- translated as natural in the NT) which is symbolized by the female and we seek to become spiritual which is symbolized by the male. There in those symbolism the things of the male must not be applied to the female and vice-versa (Dt 22:5), but in the natural man and woman, these symbols no longer have any real meaning and really did not even then. Because Zelophahad did not have any sons his daughters inherited from him so his name would continue in Israel. That's great in the abstract, but what is the practical meaning of this? It means that anyone marrying those daughters was NOT the head of that household, did NOT provide the name and legal covering (atonement) in that household and if not a freeman, fully fell under the authority of his wife and must be fully submitted to her. Let that sink in. The wife, not the husband, was the head of household, was the bread winner, provided the surname, and owned everything. This did not mean she is the one who went into the fields while the husband was a stay at home dad, but the LEGAL standing was all in her favor, not his, and the LEGAL standing is all that really mattered. Now it is also important to remember that there were two marriages in Israelite law, the marriage of a bondwoman (bondman) the marriage of a free woman (or man) (Gal 4:21-31). This means one was a master-slave relationship and the other was a joint heir situation to use the legal terminology Paul used describing us as the bride of Christ. Sarah was a free woman with full property rights. Hagar was a slave given to Sarah by Pharaoh as repayment for his sin against her when he tried to take her as his wife. (See The Book of Jasher chapters 15 & 16.) Sarah had full property rights, and when they decided Abram needed to find a new way to conceive the son of promise Abram could not take Hagar as his wife since she was not his slave, Sarah had to GIVE Hagar to Abram as his second wife because Hagar was her slave. Legal status matters, even in a co-heir situation and Abram had to respect Sarah's property rights. A rich family would have a number of hired servants (bond servants) or slaves. In such cases the female head of household seldom was a "stay at home mom" as we understand that today. She would have a number of household servants to care for the house and children, and she might even play a major functional role in her husband's business or have her own business with her own bond servants providing the labor force for that business. It was not a common situation in those days because the patriarchal tendency was stronger then than today, but it did happen. Those who attempt to use the Bible as proof of their ideas of a patriarchal society in which women are little more than chattel slaves with no property rights are ignoring these stories and the laws of God they illustrate. Women have rights equal to those of men and can be in authority over men, both in the Old Testament and in the New Testament, although examples in the latter are rare. Any man teaching or acting otherwise is openly sinning against God and the women he is attempting to enslave, whether by refusing to allow her in the pulpit or keeping her "barefoot and pregnant" as was often the old terminology.
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