The Essence of Femininity

Let me warn you up front.  This post will NOT sound like 99% of what you hear out there about what it means to be a Christian woman.

I hope.

In previous posts, I’ve contrasted the need women have to control with the Biblical description of the godly woman, one who is gentle and quiet —

— which does not mean weenie and mealy-mouthed, but trusting in God’s sovereign goodness so that you don’t have to be emotionally noisy around others. For more about these thoughts, see the following posts:

I stole much of what I wrote on this topic from Larry Crabb (www.newwayministries.org) and I am about to rob again, only more so. Thanks, Larry!

The word for female in Hebrew is neqebah (first used in Genesis 1: 27). The root word naqab has various meanings including “to bore or pierce,” as used 2 Kings 12: 9:

But Jehoiada the priest took a chest and bored a hole in its lid and put it beside the altar, on the right side as one comes into the house of the LORD; and the priests who guarded the threshold put in it all the money which was brought into the house of the LORD.

Larry Crabb suggests that the Bible defines a female as someone who remains open, receptive, inviting. I do understand the sexual connotations of piercing and boring (ouch!). I’m not so sure I see the connection between the Hebrew words and the notion that a woman, by definition, is inviting.

On the other hand, it kinda makes sense.

When I think of being an open box, I feel scared, vulnerable.

Frankly, I’d rather put the lid right back on and tie it to the box with a nice little ribbon. Very ordered. Very contained.  Very controlled. Eeeww: there’s that word again (the word “controlled,” for those who have not read previous posts…).

And very protected.

I can invite or put on the lid and tape it shut.

I can trust or take control.

I don’t know, but the contrasts feel sort of right, don’t they?

Could God’s idea of a female, then, be a woman who invites others to enter her world (of treasures!), gently resting in God’s sovereign hand?

Contrasted with a female who diligently keeps others at bay, behind walls of her own construction, and controls her world in order to protect herself?

So, what are we trying to protect ourselves from?

That’s my next post…

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9 thoughts on “The Essence of Femininity

  1. I just had the chance to hear Dr. Crabb here on Maui. Very interesting exegisis on “Naqab”. He believes there is something in maleness / femaleness that expresses a part of God, whom he considers to be without gender (but perhaps God is both?). She was inside Adam when they were created. She is that part of creation that receives. The man is the one who remembers. Unless its his anniversery. Or her birthday.

  2. Well, I am getting to the discussion late, but I loved this post and I think Larry would too! Emotionally noisy —- wow did you put words to something we have all experienced.

    I am thinking about what it means to be an open package rather than one that is beautifully wrapped but hidden. The metaphor fits for me. I think we have been conditioned that womanhood is all about the beautiful package; beautiful body, hair, face, clothes, home, etc. We don’t teach about an inward beauty that is open and inviting, yet we are drawn to people that are like that — often in spite of the other outward things being missing. And then again sometimes not, we miss beautiful women because they may not fit the outward criteria. Well you got me thinking here. Am going to read more.

  3. Odd. “Box bilong girl” is pidgin for, er, the definitively female external genitalia.

    I’ve often thought of the human being spiritually/soulishly as a sort of cabinet, and when we realize we have some access to our compartments, we tend to fill them with whatever pseudo-spiritual muck is at hand, in the manner of human-derived religious and/or occult practices. That as opposed to waiting patiently to contain whatever it is God wishes to store therein.

    Or maybe like unto one of those old stereo consoles that only receives radio signals and plays records properly when the correct components have been installed.

    $.02

    • That “pierce” is the Hebrew “nathan” and means “to give, put, set.” It’s used all OVER the OT and has lots of different meanings depending on the context.

      FYI, my brilliance is derived from Bible Study Tools www site: http://www.biblestudytools.com/. It includes an interlinear Bible, a Hebrew Lexicon and Strong’s concordance, among other tools!

  4. I checked on the usage of bore/pierce throughout the OT. The Hebrew word is also translated “designate” as in designating people to carry out a certain position. It’s used in Job 41:24 and 41:2 when God asks Job if he can “pierce” the nose of the Behemoth or the jaw of the Leviathan (presumably to capture them).

    It’s never used in the OT in reference to piercing a bondslave’s ear. I don’t know what the Greek version / NT usage might indicate. And I’m too lazy to find out!

  5. I wonder if there’s any connection with the ceremony for slaves / servants who do not want to be set free but stay with their masters — remember the master is to pierce their ear?

    I love the phrase “emotionally noisy” — very evocative.

  6. Hey, DM: Thanks for stopping by.

    Well, I have a title that I posted in a blog last November (“Why Am I Controlling?”) when I promised to write a series on all this stuff (so, I’m a bit late in fulfilling my obligation…). I also wrote back then:

    “Larry Crabb posits that there’s a fear which drives all women to control their circumstances. What is it? And how do I relate to it?”

    So I guess I do have an idea what I’ll write! LOL.

    Since I didn’t put down then any other titles way back then (that I now have to write about), maybe I’ll follow this next post with one closer to your heart: “What Fear Drives Men and How Do They Respond??”

    Stay tuned!!

  7. so what are we trying to protect ourselves from????? Hummm talk about a writers “hook”, you’re leave me hanging 🙂 I’m glad you already have your next post written, or at least you seem to know what you’re going to say.

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