isogyny is contempt or disgust against women. A misogynist does not like women and treats them the wrong way. The Bible does not promote or approve of misogyny. God created both men and women for His glory, with equal value. Each person is important and precious to God, whether male or female.
Misogyny runs counter to the biblical principles of love and respect. Where there is misogyny, all kinds of abuses against women take place, such as mistreatment, disrespect, restriction of rights and freedoms and even violence. Misogyny spoils the relationship between men and women, which should be one of friendship and companionship. This oppresses women, causing them much suffering, and it also has negative consequences for men, who reject God’s gift of friendship with women ( Genesis 2:18 ).
Sin – the origin of misogyny
In the beginning, God created man and woman in His image and likeness ( Genesis 1:27 ). The woman was raised as a companion to the man, someone who understood him and could respond to him. This kind of love and mutual help only happens when there is respect for both sides. Lowering a woman to a position of servitude, ridicule or contempt is a departure from God’s plan.
Sin brought the curse of the struggle between men and women ( Genesis 3:16 ). Men, being generally stronger, tend to dominate but sin corrupts those in power. This leads to abuse. Misogyny is closely linked to contempt for everything that seems weaker or more vulnerable and to the glorification of strength and violence. The Bible, on the other hand, values everyone, whether they are weak or strong, oppressed or powerful.
Jesus came to defeat sin and to restore all things. In the Christian’s life there must be no place for misogyny because it is a sin. Whoever loves Jesus loves everyone, because in Jesus there is no difference between men and women ( Galatians 3: 26-28 ). We are all the target of your love!
The Bible teaches us to love and value each person. Some people use the Bible to justify misogyny but that is distorting God’s word. The Bible teaches that men and women have some physical differences but never says that women are inferior. In the Old Testament, God established several laws in Israel to protect women from misogyny, and in the New Testament, Jesus always valued women and several played an important role in preaching the gospel.
See also: what does God say about women?
Misogyny and its consequences in the Bible
Although the Bible does not approve of misogyny, it reports cases of misogyny in real life. The Bible recognizes that this type of attitude happens. That is why God created laws to protect women.
In the law of Moses, the Israeli man could not use his wife as an object, only to be thrown away or exchanged for another. He had to treat her right and make a living. In courts women had the same right to a fair trial as men. God even declared curses against anyone who mistreated defenseless women ( Deuteronomy 27:19 ).
Even so, the people of Israel did not faithfully obey God’s law and there were several cases of misogyny.
Lot and the men of Sodom
Abraham’s nephew Lot lived in Sodom and had two daughters who were not yet married. When God sent two angels (who looked like men) to Sodom to assess the situation in the city, Lot opened his house for them to spend the night. But the townspeople surrounded the house and tried to get the men out of there to rape them. Lot, considering the life of his visits more important, offered his own daughters to men to be used! – Genesis 19: 6-8
Fortunately, the angels saved the day, wounding the attackers with blindness. But this situation showed how Lot’s relationship with his daughters was not good. This misogyny later had very bad consequences. Lot’s daughters, feeling completely dependent on men, despaired when they saw that they would not be able to marry or have children ( Genesis 19: 31-32 ). So they drunk and raped their own father!
See here: why were Sodom and Gomorrah destroyed?
Levite and Benjamin’s men
Centuries later, in the time of the judges, a similar case occurred in a city in the tribe of Benjamin. A Levite was spending the night in the city with his concubine and several men came to attack him. The Levite, in an act of total cowardice, sent his concubine out to be attacked in his place! The men raped the woman all night and she died ( Judges 19: 25-26 ).
The misogyny of all the men involved in this story led to a war between the tribe of Benjamin and the other tribes of Israel. The tribe of Benjamin was almost wiped out and many people suffered the consequences. At that time, the people of Israel had no leader and each did what they thought was best, many without respect for the law of God ( Judges 21:25 ).
Tamar and Amnon
When David became king, he had several children by different wives. (God recommended against the king to have several wives, but David did not obey.) One of his sons, named Amnon, fell in love with his half sister Tamar. Instead of looking at her as a person worthy of respect and staying away from her, Amnon took her sister alone and raped her. When he was finished, he was disgusted by Tamar and expelled her from his presence ( 2 Samuel 13: 14-15 ).
This terrible and misogynistic act was not punished by David, although he was outraged by Amnon. The result was that Absalom, Tamar’s entire brother, murdered Amnon and came to hate his father for not doing justice. Absalom later conspired to steal the throne from his father, causing a civil war. Many people died because of an act of cruelty against a woman.
Also read: what is feminism? Can a Christian be a feminist?
Jesus and the woman caught in adultery
At one point during his ministry, Jesus was confronted by the Pharisees with the case of a woman caught in adultery ( John 8: 3-5 ). They claimed that the law of Moses ordered adulterous women to be executed by stoning. In fact, the law mandated that both men and women caught in adultery should die after a fair trial ( Leviticus 20:10 ). But the Pharisees were putting all the blame on the woman.
Jesus replied that whoever had never sinned should cast the first stone. Analyzing their own lives, everyone left, leaving the woman free. Jesus did not condemn the woman either, but only warned her not to sin anymore ( John 8: 9-11 ). Jesus did not allow a misogynistic reading of God’s law.
Find out here: why did Paul say women should keep quiet in church?
Jesus and the Samaritan woman
At another point in his ministry, Jesus was passing through a Samaritan city and began a conversation with a woman at the city well. When the disciples returned from buying food in the city, they were surprised that Jesus was talking to her ( John 4:27 ). His surprise was not because she was a Samaritan, nor because she had a bad reputation, but because she was a woman!
At that time, important men did not deign to have conversations with women. But Jesus was different. He taught the woman some very important lessons about salvation and true worship of God. While the disciples struggled to see beyond their misogynistic culture, Jesus valued the woman and treated her as an equal. The result was that the woman took the whole city to Jesus ( John 4: 39-41 ).