Question: Are the scriptures misogynistic/sexist?

FAIR Answers Wiki Table of Contents

Question: Are the scriptures misogynistic/sexist?

Introduction to Criticism

Some have criticized the scriptures for being misogynistic and/or sexist.

Sexism and misogyny are defined and explored in this article on the FAIR Wiki.

The scriptures are in their majority positive, supportive, and enlightened about women.

Scriptural analysis

It may be helpful to do a small scriptural analysis to understand its view of women. At creation, God created man and woman in his own image and gave them both, equally, dominion over the earth (Gen 1: 27; Moses 2:27; 6:9; Abr. 4:27). Latter-day Saints understand this to be that mankind is literally created in the image of God and that God and man are the same species (The Family Proclamation, 2nd Paragraph).[1] Man and woman were pronounced “one flesh” (Gen 2: 24- 25). This was the original ideal: that man and woman were one flesh, one status, equals. There are a number of other scriptures that affirm this equality. A few of the more popular ones include:

  • 2 Nephi 26:33 “all are alike unto God”
  • Exodus 20:12 “honor thy father and thy mother”
  • 1 Corinthians 11:11 “Nevertheless neither is the man without the woman, neither the woman without the man, in the Lord.”

There are many other texts that speak positively of women. It is obvious that the Lord has a high view of women and their role in the Plan of Salvation.

The Challenging Texts

There are a few texts that do challenge the casual reader. Upon closer examination, the more challenging texts can be viewed in a much better light. First, see our article on bible hermeneutic that may be helpful in reconciling certain passages here.

The Bride Price

Polygamy and Concubinage

Many have seen the bible’s allowing for polygamy to be disrespectful of women. Jacob’s admonition reflects the scripture’s view of polygamy best—that it is an abomination except when commanded (Jacob 2: 25-30). When commanded it has specific purposes.

General lack of female writers in the scriptures

Book of Mormon Central, KnoWhy #391: Why Are So Few Women Mentioned in the Book of Mormon? (Video)

Some have questioned why it is that only male writers were allowed to take control of canonization of holy writ for most of the scriptural texts.

It's indisputably true that men make up most of the voices of scripture. Named women make up anywhere between 5 - 8.8 % (depending on adjusting for duplicate names, different ways of translating certain names, and names that might be used for either a man or woman) named characters in the Bible (many more unnamed women exist. See this list done by Wikipedia for an exhaustive listing of all women in the Bible). The Book of Mormon only mentions 6 women by name (Abish, Eve, Isabel, Sarah, Sariah, and Mary). The Doctrine and Covenants only mentions two women by name (Emma Smith and Vienna Jaques). The Pearl of Great Price mentions 12 by name—7 of which appear elsewhere in scripture (Adah, Egyptus, Emma Smith, Eve, Katharine Smith, Lucy Mack Smith, Lucy Smith, Milcah, Naamah, Sophronia Smith, Sarai, and Zillah).

Why is this the case? A few potential reasons (some offered by Book of Mormon Central at the link) might be offered:

  1. In the case of the Book of Mormon, New Testament, Pearl of Great Price, and Doctrine and Covenants, they "do not contain the kinds of texts, like law books or social histories, that discuss women more often, like the Old Testament does."
  2. In the case of all books of scripture, "[l]iteracy is another factor we must take into account. Unlike many modern Western societies, where both men and women are literate, in the ancient Near East and pre-Columbian America, it was primarily men who were literate."
  3. In the case of the Book of Mormon especially (but perhaps applying to other scriptural editors, authors, and compilers), one element "that may help explain the lack of women... is Mormon’s occupation. As a military commander, Mormon devoted much of the Book of Mormon to depictions of war. Yet, like most women in much of the rest of the ancient world, pre-Columbian American women rarely participated in warfare. Thus, much of the book discusses an activity that women would not be directly involved with: war."
  4. After the Fall, the scriptures indicate that the Patriarchal order was confirmed to be passed down from father to son (D&C 107:40). Thus male prophets are the only ones that should have been receiving revelation from God and writing it down as scripture.

Becoming a “help meet” for Adam

Some are dismayed by Eve being designated as a “helpmeet” (Genesis 2:18; Moses 3:18; Abraham 5: 14, 21) for Adam and not being simply his equal. Some interpret "help" as something subordinate to Adam. The Hebrew word translated as "help" is עֵזֶר (ʿezer). According to NET Bible:

Traditionally “helper.” The English word “helper,” because it can connote so many different ideas, does not accurately convey the connotation of the Hebrew word עֵזֶר (ʿezer). Usage of the Hebrew term does not suggest a subordinate role, a connotation which English “helper” can have. In the Bible God is frequently described as the “helper,” the one who does for us what we cannot do for ourselves, the one who meets our needs. In this context the word seems to express the idea of an “indispensable companion.” The woman would supply what the man was lacking in the design of creation and logically it would follow that the man would supply what she was lacking, although that is not stated here. See further M. L. Rosenzweig, “A Helper Equal to Him,” Jud 139 (1986): 277-80.

The word translated as "meet" is k'negdo. Again from NET Bible:

The Hebrew expression כְּנֶגְדּוֹ (k'negdo) literally means “according to the opposite of him.” Translations such as “suitable [for]” (NASB, NIV), “matching,” “corresponding to” all capture the idea. (Translations that render the phrase simply “partner” [cf. NEB, NRSV], while not totally inaccurate, do not reflect the nuance of correspondence and/or suitability.) The man’s form and nature are matched by the woman’s as she reflects him and complements him. Together they correspond. In short, this prepositional phrase indicates that she has everything that God had invested in him

“and he shall rule over you” (Genesis 3:16)

This is indeed a patriarchal scripture. It represents the Fall's tragic disintegration of the equality and oneness that God envisions for Adam and Eve at Creation—being "one flesh." This is why we get some fallen social structures in the Old Testament that God has erased now. God still maintains dignity and demands respect for the woman in the Law of Moses presented a little later on—in ways that move beyond contemporary treatment of women. This is discussed in more detail below.

Part of Joseph Smith's theology is to restore the equality of the genders and bring both of them into dominion over the entire universe as they enter into the covenant of marriage and thus become gods (Doctrine and Covenants 132:19-20).

”Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s wife” (Exodus 20: 17)

Some have pointed to the ten commandments as an example of misogyny. A woman is listed among a house, servants, an ox, an ass, and other things that belongs to a man. It is true that women were treated as a man's property. For instance, as discussed in this article, a father could sell his daughter into marriage in times of economic duress. However, he could not sell away his wife.[2] Women could not be sold like animals or houses.

It is important to make a distinction between the legal status of women in Israel and the moral, and religious one. While there are examples like these that may indeed indicate a lower legal status, women (and more particularly married women) were morally and religiously considered equals with men. The woman was considered an equal partner in dominion over the earth with their husband (Genesis 1:27-28) and the man's complement (Genesis 2:18). Israelites were commanded to honor and respect (תיראו "stand in fearful awe of") both their father and mother (Exodus 20:12; Deuteronomy 5:16; Leviticus 19:3).

Exodus 21:7-11

7 And if a man sell his daughter to be a maidservant, she shall not go out as the menservants do.
8 If she please not her master, who hath betrothed her to himself, then shall he let her be redeemed: to sell her unto a strange nation he shall have no power, seeing he hath dealt deceitfully with her.
9 And if he have betrothed her unto his son, he shall deal with her after the manner of daughters.
10 If he take him another wife; her food, her raiment, and her duty of marriage, shall he not diminish.

11 And if he do not these three unto her, then shall she go out free without money.

This passage establishes the rights of an indentured female who becomes a wife in the household where she serves.[3] This paragraph is troubling to modern readers, but given the way that marriages were contracted and the way people lived in the ancient world, it was a good provision for people who might want to find a better life for their daughter.[4] It is a case of casuistic law.[5] Casuistic law is a law given for particular circumstances—characterized by “if…then” statements and generally not ideal situations.[6] Thus, we are dealing with something that was given for an unideal situation, not a necessarily common one. It was a time when the family was in economic stress and the father wanted to provide the daughter a better life—as stated before.[7] Here, the father is arranging for a man with means to marry her—not to sell her into “sex slavery." The word אָמָה (ʾamah) refers to a female servant who would eventually become a concubine or wife; the sale price included the amount for the service as well as the bride price. The arrangement recognized her honor as an Israelite woman, one who could be a wife, even though she entered the household in service. The marriage was not automatic, as the conditions show, but her good treatment was safeguarded come what may. The law was a way, then, for a poor man to provide a better life for a daughter and give him the safety net that Verse 8 is either suggesting something in a contradictory way or two different things.[8] It states that if the man is not pleased by the woman that he must let her be redeemed. But the second part of the verse suggests that the man is the one at fault since he has dealt with her deceitfully. This is universally understood to mean that the man promised to make the woman his wife but then balked. To be redeemed has a couple of alternative interpretations:

The verb is a Hiphil perfect with vav (ו) consecutive from פָּדָה (padah, “to redeem”). Here in the apodosis the form is equivalent to an imperfect: “let someone redeem her” – perhaps her father if he can, or another. U. Cassuto says it can also mean she can redeem herself and dissolve the relationship (Exodus, 268).[9]

Verse 9 then states that if the man betroths the girl to his son, that he must provide all rights and privileges afforded to daughters in the family—to treat her as any normal daughter.

Verse 10 then states that if he takes another wife, that he is not to diminish the rights of the daughter to the food of the family, clothing, nor her marital rights (that her status as a woman cannot be diminished with the marriage of another besides her):

The translation of “food” does not quite do justice to the Hebrew word. It is “flesh.” The issue here is that the family she was to marry into is wealthy, they ate meat. She was not just to be given the basic food the ordinary people ate, but the fine foods that this family ate.[10]

Verse 11 then states that if neither verse 8 nor 9 happen, then she is to go free without having any redeeming fee (“without having to pay money” NET).

What about verse 7? She’s not allowed to go out like the menservants are? The author cannot ascertain this. The NRSV renders verse 2 “a male Hebrew servant”, though the NET keeps the reading from the KJV as just “Hebrew servant”. Net Bible notes that:

The interpretation of “Hebrew” in this verse is uncertain: (1) a gentilic ending, (2) a fellow Israelite, (3) or a class of mercenaries of the population (see W. C. Kaiser, Jr., “Exodus,” EBC 2:431). It seems likely that the term describes someone born a Hebrew, as opposed to a foreigner (S. R. Driver, Exodus, 210). The literature on this includes: M. P. Gray, “The Habiru-Hebrew Problem,” HUCA 29 (1958): 135-202.[11]

In any case, Deuteronomy 15:12 makes it explicitly clear that both males and female Hebrew slaves received this treatment. So, it either a) Affirmed the law or b) updated the law soon after being given. This shows a quick redemptive move towards fairer treatment.

Numbers 5: The Trial of Jealousy

A few critics have pointed to Numbers 5 as an example of promoting inferiority of women. The text concerns itself with a trial given to a woman for adultery. It is true that this legislation only concerned women. But as we have noted elsewhere, the law of Moses had a planned obsolescence. It was a lesser law that afforded certain improvements on the then-current moral code, taught strict obedience to God, and set the Israelites apart as a chosen people. With regards to this scripture in particular, there are several points to make about the legislation that show some of these purposes in action:

1. Adultery was universally condemned for all Israelites (Exodus 20:14; Matthew 5:27-28). Both men and women could suffer capital punishment for adultery in the Old Testament (Leviticus 20: 10-21).

2. The trial afforded women the opportunity to be tested for adultery. Other ancient near eastern law codes such as the Laws of Hammurabi allowed for men to accuse their women with or without witnesses. Their trial was to throw them into a river and see if they floated. Other cultures threw people into a tar pit and only if they were able to escape would be considered innocent.

3. The trial here required a miracle from God to prove a woman’s guilt and not a miracle to prove their innocence. This also stands in stark contrast to other contemporary law.

Thus, this law does rise above standard practice of the day. John 8 contains an update to this law and that of Leviticus by Jesus where he tells the adulterous woman simply to go and sin no more.

Impurity at Birth (Leviticus 12:1-8)

Leviticus 12 offers some legislation on the impurity of women after childbirth. The text stipulates that a woman will leave the Israelite camp and remain unclean. The period of uncleanness differs between the birth of a boy or girl. The woman is ceremonially impure for forty days after the birth of a boy but eighty days after the birth of a girl. Why is this? A few explanations have been proposed

  1. Leviticus 15 explains more clearly that women were separated for their issue of blood. The resulting blood that comes from a female child may have simply separated the two for longer. This was done for reasons relating to physical health of the child, mother, and the Israelite camp in general.
  2. Some scholars indicate that this was a kind of protection of females rather than a sign of inferiority.
  3. Some scholars suggest the motive may be to preserve Israel’s religious distinctiveness over against Canaanite religion, in which females engaged in religious sexual rites in their temples.

Either with a son or a daughter, the mother is to bring the identical offering; this is to be a purification offering (12:6)—not technically a sin offering—and its purpose is to take away the ritual (not moral) impurity.[12]

Women as war booty? (Deuteronomy 20:13-14)

13 And when the Lord thy God hath delivered it into thine hands, thou shalt smite every male thereof with the edge of the sword:

14 But the women, and the little ones, and the cattle, and all that is in the city, even all the spoil thereof, shalt thou take unto thyself; and thou shalt eat the spoil of thine enemies, which the Lord thy God hath given thee.

War was a way of life in the Ancient Near East. War provided people the opportunity to defend territory and gain territory as necessary. The question was always what to do with the people and property left over. Deuteronomy 21: 11-14 provided protocols that prevented the unfair treatment of women. The woman is to come to the house of the man, shave her head, cut her nails, take off any garb of captivity, and be given time to mourn.

The New Oxford Annotated Study Bible notes about these verses:

This procedure most likely originally applied to the Canaanite population (20.15–18n.). Female war captives routinely became concubines. This law accords such women dignity and protection against enslavement. 12–13: The rituals provide both captive and captor means to effect a transition from one status to another. 13: Full month, full period of mourning, as for Aaron and Moses (Num 20.29; Deut 34.8). Mourning, it is unclear whether the parents actually died in the war or are lost to her because of her captivity. The time to grieve implies legal respect for the female captive as a person. Go in to her, approach her sexually; consummation provides the legal means to become husband, and . . . wife. 14: Cf. Ex 21.7–8. Money, see 2.6n. Dishonored, “violated” sexually (22.24,29; Gen 34.2; Judg 19.24; 2 Sam 13.12).

To emphasize what is happening in verse 14, if the man is not pleased by the woman, he is not to sell her into slavery for money, not make “merchandise of her” because he has taken chastity from her.

Deuteronomy 25:11-12 - Female Mutilation?

11 ¶ When men strive together one with another, and the wife of the one draweth near for to deliver her husband out of the hand of him that smiteth him, and putteth forth her hand, and taketh him by the secrets:

12 Then thou shalt cut off her hand, thine eye shall not pity her.

A few notes on translation:

  1. The phrase "Strive together" is better translated as "fighting"
  2. "Secrets" is better translated as "private parts".
  3. The word commonly used for hand in Hebrew, "yad" (as is used in verse 11) is not used in verse 12 and instead the word for palm, "kaph" is used. "Kaph" usually refers to the palm but can also refer to the sole of a foot, the hip socket, the concave area of the female genitalia, or other bent or bendy objects.[13]
  4. The word translated to "cut off" is used in the Qal form, which is a softer use than the Piel or Pual forms which are emphatic. The Qal form of the verb can refer to clipping or shaving hair as is seen in Jer 9:26; 25:23; and 49:32.[14]

The interpretation of the passage that has the most explanatory power is the literal one: that the woman was punished by having her hand cut off. It is the view of the majority of scholars. Scholars who have taken this view usually see the differing words for hand as just being specific since the palm of the hand of the woman (Kaph captures the instrumentality of the hand) is that which seized the genitals of the man and there is a parallel Assyrian law that required that a finger of the woman were to be severed for such a situation. The passage is referring to altercations and focuses on the importance of the person's ability to reproduce in the future.[15] An equal law applicable to men is presented in Exodus 21: 22-25 and focuses on reproduction. In that passage, if a woman is given a miscarriage because of a fight, the woman's husband is able to ask for whatever fine he demands and a judge approves. If further damage is done to her (such as her ability to reproduce), then lex talionis is invoked.[16] This is the only time that explicit mention of mutilation is laid out in the Bible.[17] Compare this to other contemporary law codes such as that of the laws of Hammurabi that allowed for "cutting off of the tongue, breast, hand, or ear--or the accused being dragged around a field by cattle."[18] There is more disagreement on if injury to the man grabbed is assumed here since there is no explicit mention of it. This differs from the parallel Assyrian law which is fairly explicit that injury is assumed--though the context is different since it is explaining punishments for women when there is a fight primarily between her and her husband. This situation is different in that it is primarily between man and man and the woman intervenes. It does seem to have more explanatory power to assume that injury or perhaps milder harm did occur, however. How is a woman to disarm the man without injuring him or causing some sort of pain to him? Why simply grab him?

There are at least two alternate interpretations of this passage:

  1. Since "kaph" can refer to either the hip socket (Gen 32:26, 32) refer to the woman's vulva (Song of Sol 5:5), it may be argued that the passage can be read as a literal lex talionis retributive punishment: eye for eye and genitalia for genitalia. This assumes that injury to the man actually occurred and not that it was merely attempted. If his genitalia gets damaged, so should the woman's--according to this interpretation of the passage.
  2. Assuming the interpretation of "kaph" used previously and given that the Qal form of "cut" is used, and noting the fact that the act of shaving for humiliation is practiced in Babylon and Sumer (also described in 2 Sam 10:4-5; Isa. 7:20), at least three scholars (that the author seems to determine at this time) have argued that the passage is better interpreted as the woman being required to shave her pubic region--exchanging humiliation for humiliation. This assumes that no harm to the man was done.[19] It should be mentioned that this isn't the majority view. Virtually all translations render these verses the same. The view should still be considered by reading everything these scholars have placed into the argument.

The hands of the pitiful women have sodden their own children; they were their meat in the destruction of the of the daughter of my people (Lamentations 4:10)

This text describes a siege that Israel underwent when Jerusalem was invaded. The NRSV changes “pitiful” to “compassionate” in its translation. The rest of the verse is a common trope to simply describe cannibalism that came with the siege in an ironic way—reversing the natural order i.e. mothers feeding children instead of the other way around. Cannibalism was often the result of famine during a siege (2 Kings 6:28) and a punishment for violating the covenant (Deut 28: 53-57).

Head of a woman is the man (1 Cor 11:3)

Some have had difficulty with this verse from the New Testament. Paul begins an argument from 1-10 affirming a kind of hierarchy that has woman the bottom, then man, then Christ, then God. But the argument breaks at verse 10 when he states “Nevertheless”.[20] From verse 13-16 Paul emphasizes that in the Lord there is mutuality and reciprocity.[21]

Scholar Craig Keener explains these verses in context:

Because most Christians gathered in the wealthier homes, Christians of different social strata and backgrounds met together; “naked” hair held different social connotations for different women. To wealthier women, it signified at most ostentation; to most women from the east, it symbolized immodesty and, at worse, seduction. As in the case of some other issues (e.g., 11:21), Paul must here address a clash of social values: just as to many idol food connoted idolatry hence should be avoided for others’ sake, so uncovered hair to many connoted seduction and immodesty, hence should be avoided for others’ sake. A modern Western equivalent might be someone walking into a religious service in a bathing suit; although this might not disturb some California beach churches during the Jesus movement, newcomers with such informal attire might disrupt traditional churches in, say, New England.

[. . .]

Paul alludes to angels he mentioned earlier: Just as the Corinthians’ future judgment of angels should encourage them to judge rightly now (6:3), so the women’s future authority over angels should motivate them to use properly their authority over their heads now. (The future authority may reflect a restoration of authority in Gen 1:27–28, fitting the context in 11:7.) She has a “right” to do with her head as she wills, but like Paul, she must give up her “rights” (the sense of exousia in 9:4–6, 12, 18; cf. 8:9) for the common good."[22]

Paul is then, affirming the authority of women and not their inferiority.

Latter-day Saint scholar Lynne Wilson has given a Latter-day Saint look at these verses:

Interpreter: A Journal of Latter-day Saint Faith and Scholarship, "Unveiling Women’s Veils of Authority"

Lynne Hilton Wilson,  Interpreter: A Journal of Latter-day Saint Faith and Scholarship, (February, 23, 2018)
The Apostle Paul’s theological explanation for female veil wearing (1 Corinthians 11:2–13) highlights the woman’s head covering as an expression of female empowerment or “authority/exousia.” It appears that the Corinthian saints struggled with this tradition, as Paul preceded the discussion with, “but I would have you know/thelõ de” (1 Corinthians 11:3). Rather than merely restating the dress code for certain prayers, Paul laid out the doctrinal background underlying the imagery. He began with the order of creation from the Garden of Eden. God was the “kephale,” meaning source or origin of Christ, who was the source of man, who was the source of woman. Paul taught that God’s glory (referring to man) should pray unveiled, and by the same token, humanity’s glory (referring to woman) should address God with her head covered (1 Corinthians 11:7). The early church interpreted the relationship between Adam and Eve typologically. The Edenic couple typified Christ and his Church — the Bridegroom and Bride. In this typological scenario, Eve (or the Church) worked through the mediator Adam (or Christ). In either a symbolic or literal interpretation, Paul described this empowering veil as a sign of unique female authority to pray and prophesy (1 Corinthians 11:5). By covering her head, female saints received “power on her head” and could interact with angels (1 Corinthians 11:10). Paul concluded by emphasizing that men and women are completely interdependent — woman was created from man, while man is born of woman (1 Corinthians 11:11–12). In this regard we see an equal status between men and women in their relationship with the Lord. Their relationship focuses on their union with each other and God.

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”Let your women keep silence in the churches” (1 Cor 14:34-35 ; 1 Timothy 2:11-15)

Paul’s writings in the New Testament have bothered some. 1 Cor 14: 34-35 states:

34 Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience, as also saith the law.

35 And if they will learn anything, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church.[23]

These are explicitly patriarchal and implicitly sexist injunctions. The Joseph Smith Translation of the Bible sought to harmonize these verses by changing “speak” in verse 34 and 35 to “rule”—suggesting that Joseph meant to bring this in harmony with the doctrines of priesthood organization and not suggest that women could not preach, expound upon the scriptures, pray, and so forth (D&C 25:7).

Approached differently, scholars have provided solid reasoning that this passage was a later addition to the text. Reasons given for this are as follows:

  1. It disrupts the flow of the argument from v 33 to v 37
  2. It contradicts the assumption of Paul in 1 Cor 11:5 that women would prophesy in the Church.
  3. It reflects non-Pauline sentiments e.g. in verse 34 “as also saith the law”. Paul repudiates “the law” several times in his letters as it had been fulfilled.
  4. The verses sometimes appear after v 40 in a few manuscripts, suggesting that it was uncertain how to place the argument in the canon.[24]

The same argument goes for the near identical passage in 1 Timothy 2: 11-15.

Accepting this shouldn’t be difficult if we believe the words of Joseph Smith:

I believe the Bible as it read when it came from the pen of the original writers.[25]
There are many things in the Bible which do not, as they now stand, accord with the revelations of the Holy Ghost to me.[26]

”To deliver thee from the strange woman’’ (Proverbs 2:16; 6:24)

These two passages in Proverbs advise to stay away from strange women and an evil woman. Both of these are obviously connected to themes of chastity. "Strange" just means foreign. Evil just refers to evil. Women can be foreign and evil without being inherently of less moral worth like the definitions of sexism and/or misogyny imply.

Better to dwell in the wilderness than with an angry and contentious woman (Proverbs 21:19)

This passage is male perspective trying to contrast between a prudent woman with a contentious woman (Cf. 19:13-14; 21:4). On the main this passage is true. Contention is not of the Lord (3 Nephi 11:29).

More bitter than the woman…whose heart is in snares (Ecclesiastes 7:26)

Ecclesiastes 7:26 reads

And I find more bitter than death the woman, whose heart is snares and nets, and her hands as bands: whoso pleaseath God shall escape from her; but the sinner shall be taken by her.[27]

The New Oxford Annotated Study Bible notes about this verse:

The woman who is a trap, this verse is not a polemic against women in general but echoes in allegorical fashion the warnings of other wisdom writings against Folly, personified as a seductive woman (Prov 2, 16-19; 5.20; 6. 24-35;7.5-27; 23. 27-28). Wisdom is elusive, but Folly is on a hunt to catch people unawares.[28]

"The Weaker Vessell" 1 Peter 3:7

1 Peter 3:7 reads:

7 Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered.

Some have taken issue with the author's statement of women as "the weaker vessell." The verse is emphasizing respect of women i.e. "giving honour unto the wife". Research has indicated that "untrained men have greater upper and lower body strength than trained women athletes in terms of both absolute and relative strength."[29] and "[m]en are physically stronger than women, who have, on average, less total muscle mass, both in absolute terms and relative to total body mass. The greater muscle mass of men is the result of testosterone-induced muscular hypertrophy. Men also have denser, stronger bones, tendons, and ligaments."[30] The larger message of 1 Peter is actually trying to affirm the equality of women during the times of the Roman empire when the patriarch was expected to be submitted to and his gods worshipped by all of his household including his wife and slaves. Peter in this letter is trying to affirm the equality of women before their Christian husbands. The context provided by the narrator of this video may prove enlightening here:


This is another issue where it is good to keep in mind how to best read the scriptures. Once read thusly, they can reveal the greater designs that God has for his covenant people.


  1. Latter-day Saints are unique in proclaiming the divinity and reality of a heavenly consort of God to make this passage very literal.
  2. Ze'ev W. Falk, Hebrew Law in Biblical Times (Provo, UT: Brigham Young University Press; Winona Lake, IN: Eisenbrauns, 2001), 110.
  3. Carol Meyers Commentary on Exodus in “The New Oxford Annotated Study Bible” (ed.) Michael Coogan, Mark Z. Brettler, Carol A. Newsom, and Pheme Perkins (Oxford University Press: Oxford, England 2010) 112
  4. Net Bible, Commentary on Exodus 21:7 <> See footnote 15
  5. Paul Copan, Is God a Moral Monster? Making Sense of the Old Testament God (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2011), 114.
  6. Biblical Nuggets, “Casuistic Law” <> (accessed 6 January 2019)
  7. Copan, Is God a Moral Monster, 114.
  8. Net Bible “Exodus 21:7-11” footnote 16
  9. Net Bible, footnote 19
  10. Net Bible, footnote 24
  11. Net Bible, footnote 4
  12. Copan, Is God a Moral Monster, Ebook, 191 of 492. Copan cites Davidson, Flame of Yahweh, 327.
  13. See NetBible Hebrew Note for Deuteronomy 25:12 <> (accessed 21January 2019)
  14. See Hebrew note for Deuteronomy 25:12 <> (accessed 21 January 2019). Paul Copan makes the argument for shaving and clipping and the translation of "kaph" in his book "Is God a Moral Monster?" (Baker Books: Grand Rapids, MI 2011) 224 Ebook
  15. Bernard M. Levinson commentary on Deuteronomy in "“The New Oxford Annotated Study Bible” 4th edition (ed.) Michael Coogan, Mark Z. Brettler, Carol A. Newsom, and Pheme Perkins (Oxford University Press: Oxford, England 2010) 291
  16. Lex talionis as invoked there i.e. "eye for eye" and other places is a law more of fair treatment of each other rather than a literal blow for blow situation. See for example Carol Meyers' commentary on Exodus in “The New Oxford Annotated Study Bible,” eds. Michael Coogan, Mark Z. Brettler, Carol A. Newsom, and Pheme Perkins, 4th ed. (Oxford University Press: Oxford, England 2010), 113. The possibility for this blow for blow retribution remains open, however.
  17. Levinson, Commentary on Deuteronomy.
  18. Copan, Is God a Moral Monster, 223.
  19. Ibid. 225-5. Copan cites Jerome T. Walsh, "You Shall Cut Off Her . . . Palm? A Reexamination of Deuteronomy 25:11-12," Journal of Semitic Studies 49 (2004): 47-48. Walsh iterated similar arguments in "The Law on Violent Intervention: Deuteronomy 25:11-12 Revisited," Journal for the Study of the Old Testament 30, no. 3 (2006): 431-37; Also, Davidson, Flame of Yahweh, 476-80.
  20. The New Oxford Annotated Study Bible states that “11-12 Nevertheless indicates that Paul breaks off the preceding argument and moves on to emphasize what is important: in the Lord there is mutuality and reciprocity between woman and man.
  21. Ibid., pg 2015
  22. Craig S. Keener, 1-2 Corinthians (Cambridge University Press, 2005), pg. 92-94.
  23. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints; Holy Bible King James Version “1 Corinthians 14:34-35” <,35?lang=eng> (accessed 31 December 2018)
  24. See Laurence L. Welborn’s commentary on 1 Corinthians in “The New Oxford Annotated Study Bible” (ed.) Michael Coogan, Marc Z. Brettler, Carol A. Newsom, and Pheme Perkins (Oxford University Press: Oxford, England 2010) 2018-19
  25. Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith, chapter 17. See also D&C 88:77-79; Articles of Faith 1:8
  26. Joseph Smith, History of The Church, 5:422-427; Sunday, June 11th, 1843. See also Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 310
  27. Holy Bible King James Version “Ecclesiastes 7:26” <> (accessed 2 January 2019)
  28. Choon-Leong Seow Commentary on Ecclesiastes (or the Preacher) in “The New Oxford Annotated Study Bible” (ed.) Michael Coogan, Marc Z. Brettler, Carol A. Newsom, and Pheme Perkins (Oxford University Press: Oxford, England 2010) 944
  29. James R. Morrow and W. W. Hosler. "Strength Comparisons in Untrained Men and Trained Women Athletes," Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise 13, no. 3 (1981).
  30. Neel Burton M.D. "The Battle of the Sexes: No Clear Winner," <> (29 May 2019).