More Than Helpers
Recently, Mark Harris, the GOP Nominee for North Carolina’s 9th Congressional District seat, said that women should serve their husbands because “only one title is given to a woman in all of scripture…the title given to a woman is ‘helper.'”
Now there is absolutely nothing wrong with being a helper. We should all be helpers, but no one should be relegated to a single role in life. It’s limiting and oppressive and (in this case) not at all Biblical.
Without delving into the many, many reasons Harris is wrong, here is a (non-exhaustive) list of women in the Bible who were more than helpers.
Shiphrah and Puah: Exodus 1
Midwives committing acts of civil disobedience
Deborah Judges 4
Judge, warrior and prophet you predicted the defeat of the Canaanites – by one nasty as hell woman, Jael. (also Judges 4)
Huldah: 2 Kings 22:14-20
Prophet comfortable speaking truth directly to the religious authorities of the day.
Left her own people, lost everything, loyal even when mama-in-law bid her go.
Susanna (found in the Apocrypha–used in the Catholic and Orthodox faiths)
Sexually harassed by creepy, spying elders. Being a nasty woman, she refuses their advances and refuses to be blackmailed. Gets arrested and sentenced to death. Found innocent.
Vashti Esther 1
Risked her life and lost her marriage because she refused to be treated like property by the king.
Being a shrewd, cunning and patient woman, took on most powerful men in the region and prevented genocide of her people.
Tamar Genesis 38
Pretended to be a prostitute for a dumb, horny man of power so she could have a royal rug rat. Man of power who used her could not pay her, and later orders her to be put to death for the very thing he used her for. Because she was a smart, bold woman, Tamar was able to save her life and the life of her unborn child.
Sassy Samaritan Woman—John 4
Spars jovially with Jesus at the well, learns something worth sharing and returns home as first evangelist in John. Preach it sister!
The Syrophoenician Woman Mark 7:24-29
Talked back to Jesus who was being a bit of a xenophobe when he called her dog. Guess what Jesus said to her for her uppity attitude? “O woman, your faith is great; it shall be done for you as you wish.”
First woman recognized as a female disciple. So beloved by her community and the other disciples, that she was snatched from the claws of death to keep on keepin’ on.
Priscilla, Lois and Phoebe 2Timothy 1:3-7 and Romans 16:1-6
Women be silent in church? Nah – these women schooled the hell out of men and spoke truth to power.
I suppose you could make the case that all of these women were, indeed, helpers…just not in the way Mr. Harris has suggested.