The status of women in OT times

I just finished reading Ezra and writing about it for tenth graders. I spent a fair amount of time evaluating and seeking to understand Ezra’s actions at the end of the book, the 111 divorces he oversaw.

I had a thought: if marrying a Canaanite woman didn’t make that woman a Jew (you had to be a Rahab or a Ruth to become a Jew, someone who feared God) apparently women in OT times had a responsibility to believe as individuals. Am I wrong to see that responsibility as conferring a higher status on women than did surrounding cultures? Would it occur to anyone to ask the average Hittite wife what her religion was if the husband’s religion was already known?

Author: Mark Ward

PhD in NT; theological writer for Faithlife; former high school Bible textbook author for BJU Press; husband; father; ultimate frisbee player; member of the body of Christ.

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