Sacred Texts  Women  Bible  Index  Previous  Next 

CHAPTER V.

Exodus xviii.

1 When Jethro, the priest of Midian, Moses' father in law, heard of all that God had done for Moses, and for Israel his people, and that the Lord had brought Israel out of Egypt;

2 Then Jethro, Moses' father in law, took Zipporah, Moses' wife, after he had sent her back.

3 And her two sons; of which the name of one was Gershom; for he said, I have been an alien in a strange land:

4 And the name of the other was Eliezer: for the God of my father, said he, was mine help, and delivered me from the sword of Pharaoh;

5 And Jethro, Moses father in law, came with his sons and his wife unto Moses into the wilderness, where he encamped at the mount of God:

6 And he said unto Moses, I thy father in law Jethro am come unto thee, and thy wife, and her two sons with her.

7 And Moses went out to meet his father in law, and did obeisance, and kissed him, and they asked each other of their welfare; and they came into the tent.

8 And Moses told his father in law all that the Lord had done unto the Pharaoh and to the Egyptians for Israel's sake, and all the travail that had come upon them by the way, and how the Lord delivered them.

AFTER a long separation the record of the meeting between Moses and his wife Zipporah I,; very unsatisfactory to the casual reader. There is some sentiment in the meeting of Jethro and Moses, they embraced and kissed each other. How tender and beautiful the seeming relation to a father in law, more fortunate than the mother in law in our time. Zipporah like all the women of her time was hustled about, sent forward and back by husbands and fathers, generally transported with their sons and belongings on some long-suffering jackass. Nothing is said of the daughters, but the sons, their names and their significance seem of vital importance. We must smile or heave a sigh at all this injustice, but different phases of the same guiding principle blocks woman's way to-day to perfect liberty. See the struggle they have made to gain admittance to the schools and colleges, the trades and professions, their civil and political rights. The darkest page in history is the persecutions of woman.

We take note of these discriminations of sex, and reiterate them again and again to call the attention of women to the real source of their multiplied disabilities. As long as our religion teaches woman's subjection and man's right of domination, we shall have chaos in the world of morals. Women are never referred to as persons, merely as property, and to see why,

{p. 80}

you must read the Bible until you also see how many other opportunities for the exercise of sex were given to men, and why the single one of marriage to one husband was allowed to women.

In all the directions given Moses, for the regulation of the social and civil life of the children of Israel, and in the commandments on Mount Sinai, it is rarely that females are mentioned. The regulations are chiefly for males, the offerings are male, the transgressions referred to are male.

When the Lord was about to give the ten commandments to the children of Israel he gave the most minute directions as to the preparatory duties of the people. It is evident from the text that males only were to witness Moses' ascent to Mount Sinai and the coming of the Lord in a cloud of fire.

Exodus xix.

12 And thou shalt set bounds unto the people round about, saying, Take heed to yourselves, that ye go not up in to the mount, or touch the border of it: whosoever toucheth the mount shall be surely put to death..

13 There shall not a hand touch it, but he shall surely be stoned, or shot through; whether it be beast or man, it shall not live: when the trumpet soundeth long, they shall come up to the mount.

14 And Moses went down from the mount unto the people, and sanctified the people; and they washed their clothes.

16 And he said unto the people, Be ready against the third day: come not at your wives.

The children of Israel were to sanctify themselves for this great event. Besides a thorough cleaning of their persons and clothes, they were to have no affiliations or conversations with women for the space of three days. The Hebrew laws regulating the relations of men and women are never complimentary to the latter.

This feeling was in due time cultivated in the persecutions women endured under witchcraft and celibacy, when all women were supposed to be in collusion with the spirit of evil, and every man was warned that the less he had to do with the "daughters of men" the more perfect might be his communion with the Creator. Lecky in his History of Rationalism shows what women endured when these ideas were prevalent, and their sufferings were not mitigated until rationalism took the place of religion, and reason trumphed {sic} over superstition.

E. C. S.

{p. 81}


Next: EXODUS CHAPTER VI.