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  • Writer's pictureRob

The Two-Hundredth (Marriage Part 4)

I hope you had a great week!  We’ve got another week where we’re looking at marriage and we’re looking to get into how we live out the roles YHWH designed into marriage.  The previous couple weeks, we found out what the definition of marriage is, according to YHWH, not man, and the hierarchy that YHWH built into marriage when He created Adam and Eve.  Everything we’ve looked at so far has been focused mainly on the scriptural account of man’s creation as well as the temptation and initial sin of Adam and Eve.  This week we’re going to pull in scripture more recently written and see what it has to say about living out YHWH’s perfect marriage.

First, we need to remind ourselves that the hierarchy YHWH designed into marriage is one of Yeshua being the head of the man and the man being head of the woman (Ephesians 5:23-24).  This word, head, deserves a bit of a deeper look, because unless you stop and think about it you won’t get the full idea of what Paul is saying here.  In its very basic and literal sense, the Greek word he uses, kephale, means a person’s head.  It’s used in multiple places in scripture to refer to this physical part of the body (Matthew 6:17, 8:20, 10:30, etc.).  

In Paul’s writing, he’s using it in the figurative sense.  Now, there’s a couple different ways it’s used figuratively.  It’s used by Yeshua when quoting Psalms where it talks about the “chief” stone that the builders rejected (Luke 20:17, Psalm 118:22).  Of course, He was referring to Himself, knowing that He was being rejected by the Jews and that rejection would ultimately result in His atoning sacrifice that would give all people the ability to be fully cleansed of their sins, setting the foundation for His ekklesia.  

This quote gives us a connection to a Hebrew word for chief, which we’ll get into in a bit, but the other way that kephale is used figuratively is to mean master or lord.  This has been made into an emotionally charged word these days, because throughout history the dominant performance of this role has been one of forceful subjugation and even abuse, but we have to set aside what man has made it out to be and look at how YHWH intended it to be.  After all, as we said a couple weeks ago, we’re looking at YHWH’s design for marriage, not what man has twisted marriage into.  

Through the wisdom of YHWH, and the willingness of His Son, Yeshua, to be sacrificed, we have the opportunity to see what YHWH intended a master, or lord, to be.  Yeshua was called Lord and Master many times during His ministry (Matthew 8:2, 25, 15:25, Mark 5:35, 9:5, 38, Luke 5:5, John 20:28, etc.), and He even called Himself that (Luke 6:5, 19:31, John 13:13, etc.).  So, we are able to look at how Yeshua lived, how He interacted with the people and His disciples, and learn how to be a kephale in our marriage.  A hint: it’s actually what many people are writing and talking about these days in defining what a true leader is.

As we saw, through Yeshua’s quoting of scripture we are able to connect kephale to the Hebrew word for chief, which is roshe.  Similar to Greek, this Hebrew word can mean a physical head (Genesis 40:13), or the figurative chief (Psalm 118:22).  It also is used in terms of the top of something, like mountains (Genesis 8:5), buildings (Genesis 11:4), or really any object (Genesis 28:12, 18).  It may not seem like it, but this fact is an additional detail in how we are to view the role of the head in marriage.  

Have you ever heard of the saying, “A fish stinks from the head down?”  It is used to refer to how an organization, meaning just a group of people working towards a common goal such as a business, a government, a religious group, etc., ends up reflecting how the organization’s leaders speak and act.  The Hebrew word roshe exemplifies this idea, because what happens to things when they start at the top of a mountain, for example?  They roll downhill!    

A marriage, and more generally a family, is simply a micro-organization.  It’s a group of people working towards a common goal who happen to be related.  Whatever the marriage’s chief, master, lord or head is, is whatever that organization is going to start speaking and acting like.  In order for that marriage to be successful, both in this life and for the ultimate goal of eternity, the man’s head has to be Yeshua.  And following that, the woman’s head has to be the man.

So, how did Yeshua fulfill His role as chief, or leader, of the disciples?  What is the example we are to follow, starting with the husband?  It may seem counter-intuitive, but in order to get the full picture we have to go back to before Yeshua started His ministry and certainly before He had a following.  

Do you remember that time Mary and Joseph lost the Son of YHWH?  This is only account of actions Yeshua took prior to His ministry, and its inclusion into the scriptural record not only tells us what Yeshua was focused on, starting way before His ministry, but also what we should be focused on.  It took Mary and Joseph three days, but they finally found Him in the temple courts asking the teachers of scripture questions.  When questioned, He acted surprised that Mary and Joseph didn’t know why He was there, and He also told them He had to be there (Luke 2:41-51).  Some translations say He needed to be about His Father’s business, but I think when you connect this with things He said in His ministry (John 6:38-39) the meaning is that He was telling His parents that He needed to do YHWH’s will.

By this, we can see that part of the role, maybe even the primary part, of being the head is to seek to do YHWH’s will.  Yeshua’s example shows that in order for us to do that though, is to seek to understand scripture, YHWH’s word given through men.  As a child, Yeshua went to the experts in scripture of His day and questioned them about what is written.  It’s important to recognize though, that He wasn’t just listening, He was answering questions Himself.  And not only that, those hearing Him were astounded by what He was saying (Luke 2:47).

There’s two ways to interpret this fact.  In one way, Yeshua was already well-versed in scripture and its meaning, and these teachers listening to Him were surprised that He knew what He knew at such a young age.  In other words, He was just repeating what the teachers already knew, but to know the interpretations and concepts at their level for His age was highly out of the ordinary.  In the other way, Yeshua wasn’t telling them what they knew, He was telling the teachers interpretations they had not previously considered but were nonetheless undeniably true.

My belief is that the latter interpretation is the accurate one.  One of the reasons being that Yeshua gave interpretations of scripture all throughout His ministry that were contrary to the majority interpretations of the time.  Additionally, being from a small town, the likelihood of there being a Torah school there during that time that He could attend regularly in order for Him to learn the “mainstream” interpretations is low, so He would have to have learned them once a week during His time at synagogue (Luke 4:16).  Given that He was twelve (Luke 2:42) and children didn’t start going to synagogue until they were at least five, that would mean He had seven years of learning prior to this event at the temple.  Once a week for seven years is 364 synagogue visits, for only a few hours at a time, presumably at which the scriptural verses read varied and therefore more than one opportunity to hear an interpretation and remember it was low (remember, He is human and grew up almost exactly like us, memory and all, with the only difference being His lack of sin).  

Finally, the biggest reason I believe Yeshua was giving interpretations the teachers hadn’t considered previously is because while it may be surprising that a child of His age could give the interpretations they knew, it’s easily explainable and wouldn’t necessarily cause them to be “astounded.”  He could have just been a smart kid, right?  The Greek word here literally means “to remove from a standing position.”  In other words, they were “floored,” “beside themselves,” flabbergasted, at a total loss to explain something, completely stupefied, etc.  If Yeshua was just regurgitating things that He had learned from other teachers, these people would not have been unable to explain how He could know and say the things He was saying.  They would have just chalked it up to Him being pretty bright for His age.  

Unfortunately, that brings us to the end of this week’s study, but it’s only the beginning of learning how we fulfill our role as head of a marriage!  Important things to remember are that it starts with seeking to do YHWH’s will and that we do that by seeking to learn and understand His word in scripture.  This doesn’t mean asking questions about it and then just taking whatever the person says as gospel.  As we saw in Yeshua’s example, it means listening to the answers but also seeking your own answers; what the Holy Spirit is leading you to as a meaning.  People get scriptural meanings wrong all the time.  Just because it’s a majority viewpoint doesn’t mean it’s correct.  The Holy Spirit never gets it wrong though.  And that’s who we should be listening to!  

Shabbat shalom and YHWH bless you!

-Rob and Sara Gene

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