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New Bedford, Massachusetts

December: Obedience

My husband, My master

In the December chapter, “Obedience”, she takes a long hard look at the suffering and death linked with a Biblical view of women as property rather than persons. She spoke with modern day Evangelical polygamists who agree with this perspective. She emphatically does not. She notes that while several current television series present such women as “sister-wives”, the usual Biblical term is “rival.” From the Biblical stories, she spends some time with Jephthah, the bastard cast out by his legitimate brothers but invited back in when needed as a war leader (see the book of Judges). He agreed on condition that he be made leader of Gilead if he won. Charging into battle he promised God that, if victorious, he would sacrifice as a burnt offering the first creature to greet him on his return home. He was thinking goat or lamb, of course, but his only child, a daughter, danced out to meet him. At her request, she took two month to roam the hills and weep with her friends, before she was sacrificed. From Judges:

“From this comes the Israelite tradition that each year the young women of Israel go out for four days to commemorate the daughter of Jephthah”

And from Rachel: “But the women of Israel remembered.” She invited a friend for a ceremony of remembrance of the Biblical victims of obedience, including the unnamed daughter of Jephthah, the concubine thrown to a mob by her husband, Hagar, banished by Abraham, and Tamar daughter of David.