Posted On 23 Feb 2019
Husband, likewise dwell with them with understanding, giving
honour to the wife as to the weaker vessel (Proverbs 18:22)
The woman is often looked down upon in many cultures and countries of the world. It is possible that the reason for this maltreatment is the Scriptural passage which says she is the weaker vessel. Sad enough, this maltreatment is meted out to her as a disciplinary measure probably to remind her of the door she opened to the devil in the garden of Eden. Even the church has not spared the woman in treating her unfavourably despite the fact that in Christ Jesus the price of redemption for both man and woman has been paid. On the part of the woman too, as a reaction however, due to a lack of understanding of what being a weaker vessel really means and what the role of women in God’s agenda is, women in many parts of the world have resorted to endless moves for liberation, unnecessary struggles with men and against constituted authorities in most cases.
The phrase ‘weaker vessel’ has been misunderstood and some women have felt insulted at being described as the weaker vessel. Hence the need to clear that up and find out what manner of weakness the Scripture is referring to. God does not necessarily see women as powerless; the weakness talked about does not necessarily mean the woman is less valuable or that she does not have equal access to the grace of God. Rather, it is a basis for a husband to treat his wife with more understanding, tenderness and patience. The term weaker vessel is not referring to an intellectual, emotional, moral, social or spiritual weakness as has been often argued, but the term is rather used to elucidate the woman’s weakened position in first century Greco Roman and Jewish cultures. Apostle Peter was referring to a cultural weakness wherein the woman and wife is marginalized and not given the opportunities to fully express her gifts and abilities. In fact, in the First Century Jewish and Greco Roman cultures, women were often treated like slaves and children and considered the property of their husbands. The Apostle was however calling on men and husbands to treat their wives the very opposite of how the pagan cultures treated their wives.
Though from Medieval times, it had always been proclaimed that the woman was the weaker sex and vessel, this concept having been preached from the pulpit, professed in poetic verses, expressed in music and movies and generally though every Tom, Dick and Harry acknowledges it, it remains unclear however, exactly how far and to what extent the precept should be stretched to in contemporary times given the fact that most men are still enmeshed in their cultural beliefs and values. Women are certainly weaker than men physically, but societal trends seem to want to make it look as if women are also weaker spiritually, intellectually, morally, socially and economically. This position should not be allowed and encouraged by any woman who truly believes in her worth.
Prayer Focus: Lord, help me to be free from every struggles within and without, associated with my being referred to as weaker vessel in Jesus Name.
Quotes: When a female steps without the line in which custom has circumscribed her, she naturally becomes an object of speculation.
Judith Sargent Murray