What Are Women Worth?

We believe that every woman has been created in the image of God and is infinitely valued by and significant to Him (Gen 1:27; Ps 139:13-16; Isa 43:6-7; Matt 19:4-9; Eph 5:31-33).

What are women worth? When you value something, you protect it. God values women. And God wants women to be protected.

Whenever the question of the value of women comes up, it reminds me of a story in the Old Testament. Actually, it’s a story that most of us would prefer to ignore: the harrowing account of the Unnamed Concubine. When I first read Judges 19 in high school, I was indignant and angry. I was sickened to hear of the atrocity of her abandonment to abuse and stunned at the depravity that could regard this defenseless creature as a dispensable commodity.

When we talk about how the Bible regards women, we’re burying our heads in the sand if we don’t come to terms with this passage.

This “text of terror,” as feminist theologian Phyllis Trible called it, serves as a diagnosis of our world today. Through this horrific story, we actually see the degree to which God sees women as sacred in His sight. There’s a common theme throughout the book of Judges that has incredible significance for us.

The extent of Israel’s disobedience toward God could be measured by the extent of their mistreatment of women.

Towards the beginning of the book, the writer of Judges describes women in greater detail, like Deborah and Jael (ch. 4-5). But gradually, women’s identities become less and less defined and more and more in harm’s way (like the woman in ch. 9). Instead of being named, they are anonymous. Instead of being quoted, they are silent. By the time we hear about the Unnamed Concubine in chapter 19, Israel had so morally declined that they were just like the surrounding pagan nations. The writer is telling something about the nation’s spiritual state – when they turned away from the Lord, they devalued humanity.

The Unnamed Concubine’s abuse was so repugnant to God, that He included it as a measure of how depraved Israel had become. She was no longer even seen as a person; she was regarded as a product. The atrocity of the discarded woman of Judges 19 is a charge against a nation that turns its back on God. In Whispering the Word: Hearing Women’s Stories in the Old Testament, author Jacqueline E. Lapsley said it this way: “The state and treatment of women in Judges indexes the health of Israel’s social and religious life in the same book.”

To the extent that a culture rejects and rebels against the only true God, its women will be unvalued and unprotected.

Do we not see this truth in the world today? The millions of women and girls who are trafficked each year. The more than 200 girls in Nigeria who were abducted last month. The woman “honor killed” by her family outside a courthouse in Pakistan or Mihriam Ibrahim being sentenced to death in Sudan for marrying a Christian. Or what about less overtly oppressive expressions? What about the ways women objectify themselves and call it empowerment? The acceptance of no-strings-attached hook ups. The sexually charged lyrics alluding to domestic abuse in Beyonce’s Drunk in Love. And…one word…twerking. Where women haven’t been physically enslaved, they’ve become slaves to the idea that their power is measured by their sexuality. In both cases, women are not seen as persons; they’re regarded as products.

What are women worth to God? . . . .  Ultimately, He considers women as worth the life of His Son to redeem them (Is. 43:1-4, 2 Cor. 5:21, 1 Pt 3:18).He values women. And He wants them to be protected. When we see, hear, or even endure the wrongs and autrocities against women in this world, He never forgets their worth. There is coming a day when every injustice against every woman will be answered in perfect measure by a justice-keeping God. He sees every violation of the women and girls that are so precious to Him. No matter how women are devalued, denigrated, or discarded in this sinful world, nothing can lessen the immeasurable worth that they have in the heart of God. He values women. He values us. He values you.

 

More to Consider:

–       What are some ways it has become common to devalue women?

–       It’s easy to become influenced by our surrounding culture. Have you bought into the belief that dominant sexuality equals power, that self-objectification is female empowerment?

–       How does the value of every woman affect your concern for and involvement in issues of social justice?

–       Think about the phrase When you value something, you protect it. How does that inform your understanding of God’s intent for women in His Word?

 

13 thoughts on “What Are Women Worth?”

  1. Well written, Katie! Women today need to stop trying to be just “Eye Candy” to men and become actual “Soul Food,” which is more precious than gold ( Proverbs 31:10-21). A good woman – especially these days – is indeed hard to find. I am writing a new message about this subject from a man’s point of view on my website: http://www.4JesusOutreach.com

  2. Nick Sherman says:

    This article has been eye opening and transformative for me. I have a Master’s in theology and had no idea what to do with the passage in Judges. You have clearly articulated God’s value of women and the value I should hold. Convicting, convincing and thoroughly biblical. Thank you.

  3. ayokanmi says:

    Thanks so must the writer

    The part that was really touching is that area which says no matter the autrocity women might have committted that doesnt change their worth in the presence of God. Which now became eye opening explanation to me. May God bless u.

  4. Kyrila Scully says:

    Thank you, Katie. As a 6 year old child I was repeatedly molested by a cousin ten years older. Instead of protecting me, my mother accused me of making it all up–of lying! This hurt me even more than the act of violation against me. It made me feel that I was not valued. It was more important to her to prevent a rift in the family than to protect her only daughter. It taught me that lying about doing wrong was more favorable than telling the truth–so I started lying about other things. But lying is a tiresome thing, because you forget how the web of lies works. You end up in a whirlpool of self-destruction. Who can save you? I thank God, through Jesus Christ our Lord!

    1. Katie McCoy says:

      Kyrila,

      Thank you for sharing your story. I am so sorry that this happened to you and that you were not believed. Your testimony reminded me of the promise of Psalm 27:10 – “When my mother and father forsake me, the LORD will take care of me!” Praise God — the weapons formed against you did not prosper! You are infinitely valued and fiercely vindicated by Jesus, our Mighty Redeemer. I pray that our Father continues to heal, restore, and empower you beyond all that you could ask or think.

      Katie

  5. Jamuna Jerline says:

    I like your thought! It’s very true and comforting to read “There is coming a day when every injustice against every woman will be answered in perfect measure by a justice-keeping God. He sees every violation of the women and girls that are so precious to Him. No matter how women are devalued, denigrated, or discarded in this sinful world, nothing can lessen the immeasurable worth that they have in the heart of God.”

  6. Eileen MacDougall says:

    Thank-you, thank-you. I think I’ve been discarded for pornography after many years of marriage. Didn’t think I could survive my husband’s coldness. It’s been hard to wake up to. But! I knew it in my bones, God made and loves us women very much. Never ever buy Satan’s lies that your less than. Thank-you author for such a timely and important subject. Yeah God!

  7. Felicia Sexton says:

    I’m preparing for a woman’s reterat.The article was helpful to the word I plan to minister. The scriptures were in agreement to the purposes that God would have me to address.I like most have a story and have chosen to serve instead of becoming blinded by bitterness.The power of God’s unchanging love and random is why I’m alive today.Bless you woman of God for sharing. Many doors have began to open speaking engagements and now retreats.My personal ministrie as an evangelist is in deliverance. Once my spiritual eye was opened i received revelation on why I had to go by the way of a rocky childhood often feeling like less the endless bad choices in men that ultimately lead me to relationships with women to be told by my female companion that I was in fact not a lesbian.I was told you will leave me one day please don’t get with anyone who won’t do more than I’ve done for you.Which by the way was a lot the enemy knew just what it would take .How ironic that God spoke through the very person who I was blinded by to open my eyes to the truth.The relationship wasn’t about the Sex or lust but had everything to do with the spirit of rejection a strong man that had a hold on me.I was simply broken and backsliding. I was restored and never looked back to end up married to an abusive husband. Extremely abusive ten stich in my face being choked pushed out cars and rapped by my own husband. It alls seems so crazy once I was out of 18 years of hell all in the church smh.I worked the altar for years and believed God would change my husband at that time I was powerful anointed yet this part of my life had everything to do with my anointing and ministry. I was a seer I could begin to pray under the authority seat and anointing and the people strangers and sister and brothers in my church would crumble under the anointing but yet the one person whom I so desired to be delivered would snap attack and project his anger on me what was wrong here.I was a a faith walker still am I’m alive today because of God’s grace.It was NESSARRY! To many it may sound crazy but the fact is no matter how I fasted and prayed and did all the right things before the Lord he was responsible for his own deliverance. I couldn’t leave until God released me and he did there’s a completely different story of how I escaped the hell I was subjected to.Im remarried to a King a gift a man whose after God’s on heart.For all the good seed I sewed I got my harvest. To God be the glory. Blessings woman of God Blessings.

  8. Aisha says:

    I agree 100% when you value something, you protect it….not tear it down verbally, physically, or mentally.

  9. Susan says:

    I would love to believe you, but I can’t. The story of the Levite’s Concubine turns into the typical masculine revenge drama. The woman is, and remains, completely degraded. God doesn’t intervene on her behalf. She doesn’t matter. To try to find some validation of womanhood in this episode is understandable. It’s almost too painful to read. But you’re simply trauma bonded to patriarchy if you try to redeem this passage and try to reconcile it with a god who must love women. There is no evidence of god’s love for and validation of women anywhere in the Bible. I understand why you’re desperate to see it, But isn’t there. The very fact that you have to turn this vile episode into some allegory of Israel’s wider moral bankruptcy says it all. Can’t it be just an instance of the appalling degradation of a little, individual woman? No. She has to become a Symbol. Or else the pain of her rape and murder presses just too close, because this is what men do to women, and the god of Israel has nothing to say about it.

    1. Carolyn Marble says:

      I’m so sad to see that you don’t know your Bible well enough to believe that women are highly valued by God. Proverbs 31 alone is a marvelous tribute to women. Read about Lydia here: http://www.womeninthescriptures.com/2011/03/lydia.html Read about Tabitha, Hannah, Mary (Jesus mother), Jesus’ friends Mary and Martha, the Samaritan woman, and so many more. God is not responsible for the sinful behavior of men (or women), but He allows us to have freewill. Men have abused women in every age and culture, but women have also lured men into sin !~! Which sin is worse ? The sins are equal in the eyes of God…it’s all sin, and must be repented of, and cleansed by the blood of Jesus. I pray for your spiritual eyes to be opened so that you can see the truth.

    2. Mila says:

      I don’t know the bible really well (especially the old testament) but I sort of feel the same way. If we are valued as men are why must we “submit” to our husbands? Men are already physically stronger so by default (really by design) we’re physically submitted whether we like it or not; and God wishes us to submit in marriage as well? “Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything.” (Ephesians 5:24) So we are subject to our husbands as the church is to Christ?? I’m not married, but since I became a Christian I’m not sure I want to be. I’m sorry but that sounds more like a curse than a blessing!
      The line of succession in the bible follows men. Only men can be ordained. Honestly the more I learn the bible the more I feel like a second class citizen.
      I understand you protect what’s precious to you, but I protect, value and love my dog…
      This has become a major impasse for me personally. How do you reconcile that God considers us “equal in the body of Christ” with this apparent “pecking order”?

  10. Jeremiah says:

    Funny you avoided the part where it actually places a cash value on women.