If you look through dark glasses, everything seems dark. If the Bible is seen through women-are-evil-or-insignificant glasses, every woman in the Bible will look that way…
Biblegateway.com had, until very recently, an article blaming Dinah for her rape (Genesis 34). The Bible does not blame her at all! Thank God (and I mean that literally) my Christians for Biblical Equality friends got that one taken down by their response.
Biblegateway still has an article named “Bathsheba: The Woman Whose Beauty Resulted in Adultery and Murder“. They blame Bathsheba for taking a ritual cleaning bath as prescribed in the Old Testament Law, at a place where she can’t be seen from any place but the palace and when even the king should have been away at war (not in the palace):
“Had she been a careful, modest woman, surely she would have looked around the easily seen adjacent roofs, and if others had been looking her way, she would have been more appropriately modest in bathing herself…had she been a true wife and a woman of principle she should have refused to obey the king’s summons. As she saw David feasting his eyes upon her, did she have a presentiment of what would happen? If not, then, when before the king, she should have bravely refused to yield to adultery… Bathsheba only added insult to the injury by indulging in her illicit affair with another man … their (David and Bathsheba’s) dark sin…”
The Bible does not blame her: When a king, with power over life and death, summons you, you go. And a man with such power is not likely to ask her if she wants to go along with what he wants to do.
Biblegateway also criticises Jael (Judges 4) for killing Sisera, although the Bible praises her. (Jdg. 5:24)
To get from Biblegateway to the larger church world, did you know that the Bible does not blame Eve for sin entering the world? According to Romans 5:12-19, Adam is to blame. And that nothing in the Bible says Mary Magdalene was a prostitute? Rahab may not have been a prostitute, either. It is possible that Salome’s dancing was not salacious at all, that she was just a little girl obeying her mother in what to ask of Herod.
Then there are the Bible women who cannot be demonized, so they are ignored. The story of the prophetess Huldah teaching King Josiah about God’s law would be a great representative Bible story of the period when the law of God was completely forgotten. Yet, in 23 years of teaching Sunday school to children with various curricula, I never saw it used. Much of Luke is written in male-female pairs – and the story of the mustard seed (planted by a man) is better known than the story of the yeast (worked in by a woman); the story of the lost sheep and the male shepherd better known than the story of the lost coin and the woman searching for it; the story of Naaman that Jesus refers to better known than the story of the widow in Zarephath.
It breaks my heart when even the most respected of Bible commentary sources have an extreme sexist bias. It is not just our Bible knowledge and the reputation of our long-dead forebearers who suffer – it is also the examples we get of how we can live, how we should live, and how God sees us. This is not from God. This is not the Bible. This is what happens when our eyes look through the glasses of patriarchy: everything gets distorted.