Chav-ah’s Matriline: A Template
Thus the first woman’s matriline prepares for what is to come. Not unlike mothers universally, the mothers in the Hebrew Scriptures are easily dismissed by the patriarchal commentators. Unlike fathers, when a child is born, mothers, in the main, empty themselves by taking the form of a servant. The male commentators of the Bible ensure they keep their place.
Despite their dismissal, the first mother and her daughters stand tall and strong above the list of male genealogies they support. They are, like bookends, strong and steady. These however are no common bookends.
Instead, they stand majestic, and though seemingly of no reputation, other than Eve whose reputation has been tarnished beyond recognition, they go largely unnoticed. Yet, when we take the time to look closely we discover their names are recorded for a reason: these are the mothers of the seemingly endless male genealogies of the Hebrew race.
Adam’s male genealogy
Of all of the seemingly illustrious line of males in Adam’s genealogy,
‘Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned’ (Romans 5: 12-21).
Two murderers: Cain and Lamech
Godly Enoch in Cain’s line: ‘Enoch lived 365 years before he was taken by God’ reads that this Enoch stood faithful and was rewarded by God. This is interpreted as Enoch’s entering heaven alive in some Jewish and Christian traditions.
Who did Cain marry?
‘Cain made love to his wife, and she became pregnant and gave birth to Enoch. Cain was then building a city, and he named it after his son Enoch’.(Gen 4:17)
Given there are two lineages coming from Eve’s Mother House it is not impossible, therefore, that Cain married his first or second cousin on Seth’s side. Eve had other sons and daughters sired by Adam. However, only the unnamed daughters of Seth’s line are mentioned in the following way “the sons and daughters of” found in Genesis chapter 5.
The line “the sons and daughters of” is repeated for Adam(v 4), Seth (v 7), Enos (v 10), Cainan v 13), Mahalaleel (v 16), Jared (v 19), Enoch (v 22), Mathuselah (v 26). The same information is not recorded for Cain’s linage of males. Rather three women are named as we have discussed in a previous paper and Naam-ah, here.
Ungodly Enoch, in Seth’ line, led the entire population into idolatry, worshipping the creature more than the Creator. I will comment on the beginnings of idolatry and Israel’s problem with it. (Genesis 2:20 in my ‘Genesis Commentary: 1-6’).
The Book of Enoch
This book attributed to Enoch in Seth’s line is the cause of much damage even being quoted in Genesis 5 and Jude Ch 3. [i]. Jude does not believe this, nor the Apostle Peter. They are referring to the Book of Enoch wherein “godless and silly myths” are perpetrated. Their comments on it denote not the dominion of fallen angels, but the dominion of God.
Methuselah, son of the above Enoch in Seth’s line
He is said to have died at the age of 96 and lived the longest of all figures mentioned in the Bible. He was the son of the above Enoch and was the grandfather of Noe, who “found grace in the sight of God.”
The named daughters of Chav-ah (Eve)
Daughters in Cain’s line
On the other hand, the named daughters of Chav-ah (Eve) are exemplary. I have developed the women in the line of Cain, for us to slow down enough to take a closer look at them. Adah and Zillah receive our attention below and in a previous paper.
Daughters in Seth’s line
Unlike Cain’s record, Seth’s linage is like a fast-running river. It is as if this river is so intent on getting to the important landmark in Israel’s development that it does not appear above ground to name women until it finds its expression in the two most important women in Israel’s development: Milc-ah (‘queen’) and her sister, Sar-ah (‘chief’). 1
Seth’s line: Milc-ah (‘queen’) and her sister, Sar-ah (‘chief’)
These two women’s names denote royalty. When their names are finally recorded the river might be seen as finding a fissure in the earth, a blowhole. Its visibility then surges forth by its own power to the surface. This is when, finally, these sisters Milc-ah and Isc-ah (Sarai) are named. These two women act as important signposts on God’s road map of the early development of the nation Israel.
The account of these two matriarchs shows the importance of maintaining the linage of the mothers. Patriarchal interpretation places no importance on the matriline of Israel. It has blotted out Israel’s matriline. This is to their loss and the damage done (though not irredeemable) to our Christian interpretation and heritage.
But God …
Sarah’s Mother House
Looking beyond Adam’s genealogy, Eve’s matriline runs through Sar-ah with her sister Milc-ah contributing to Sarah’s house being built. It continues on to Rebekah and Leah and to Tamar and Bathsheba, through the line of Judah’s queens, finally ending with Mary the mother of Jesus. The Mothers are first and at the forefront in Israel’s history-making. Even more importantly, for Christians, they are important links in the matrilineage of Jesus, the only begotten Child of God, the Seed of the Woman, born without male intervention.
Jesus natural birth: Unique but not-so-unique: a New Creation in kind
The birth of Jesus the Son of God was unique in that Jesus was God incarnate born of woman. The birth of Jesus was unique. Jesus is God in human form. Something like what happened to Mary has to happen to us.
We read that the Holy Spirit hovered over Mary and the life of God was conceived within her and the Son of God appeared. When Jesus spoke of being born again, the New Birth, this is what happens to us. The Holy Spirit comes into our lives and the life of God is put within us and what emerges is the new birth, we are born by the Spirit into the life of God.
Was the Virgin Mary sinless?
Now, certain Christians claim that Mary was born sinless. Hence the ‘Immaculate Conception.’ From this premise comes the assumption prevalent within and without certain fundamental patriarchal circles that Eve tempted Adam and therefore caused the ‘Fall’ of the human race. [ii] I think the logic of this argument (researching the history of Catholic dogma) is that if Mary was born sinless then she is not like us, is not one of us. Rather, she is fundamentally ‘different’.
That being so, the child Jesus would not be one of us either – not fully human – if not fully human then he has not become our saviour he cannot fully identify with that which he came to redeem.
The patriarchal reasoning behind this is that through all of Eve’s daughters comes sin: through the mother’s blood. Therefore, though the reasoning may not be stated, Mary had to be sinless to give birth to God’s Son. [iii] We can also say, then, there is the thought that the virgin birth had to avoid the ‘contamination’ of the seed of man (see John 1, below) and Genesis 3 records it was Eve’s seed not made impure by the man’s semen.
God’s only begotten, yes begotten, not created, a child is unique. The sons of the First Adam were rejected. This birth signified the birth of the second Adam, like the first but without the will of the man. This child was born of faith. The Law of Faith teaches: “I believe therefore I speak”. Mary represents this kind of faith.
‘And Mary said, “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” And the messenger departed from her’. (Lk 1: 38).
Believers are reborn—not with a physical birth resulting from human passion or plan, but a birth that comes from God, showing the way for all to follow, to identify the Jew’s coming Messiah and God’s Son, Saviour of the world.
Why so few named women?
Why doesn’t the Scripture name all the women as it does the men in their own women’s genealogies, why does it not stop to name the daughters of Eve in Seth’s line until it gets to Milc-ah and her sister Isc-ah (Isc-ah- later identified as Sar-ah)?
This is a case for those 50 or more proverbs in the bible that teach when less is more. Because the names of women for the sake of naming them is of no importance until the set time has come. That is when the foundation stone is laid. This foundation stone is Sar-ah.
Sar-ah is the beginning, the chief cornerstone, the head of the corner of the twelve tribes of Israel. Sarah’s mother’s genealogy is there, through Leah (Mother of the tribe of Judah). Finally, this bright red hidden menstrual bloodline carries the woman’s seed, the Seed of salvation that leads to Jesus.
Therefore, in the case of Adah and Zillah, we are not told the name of the two sisters’ mother. It doesn’t matter in the grand plan. We have to get over these small irritating incidentals to allow the bigger picture to come into play. It’s like looking at a bas-relief: If we only concentrate on the background plane we will miss the sculpted material which has been raised above it.
It is, therefore, the women’s genealogy, this beautiful hidden bloodstream carrying the seed of the woman onto its final destination, like an underground river, that is of vital import. It only bubbles above ground to signal important landmarks. These appearances of the women in Israel’s matrilineal genealogies stand like prophetic signposts appealing to the reader to pay special attention.
The patriarchal interpreters in the main missed these signs. One of the reasons is their misogynistic outlook. This negative attitude is especially prevalent against women’s menstruation flow. This has been throughout the centuries, even up to today. Isn’t it interesting that the woman’s monthly flow of blood is intrinsically connected to the ‘Seed of the Woman.’ The woman’s seed is carried along by a hidden river of blood, flowing steadily through the hidden wombs of women until finally, it comes to rest in Mary who gave birth to Jesus.
According to early Genesis’ record, the seed of the woman was passed from Eve through unnamed daughters to Naam-ah, then on to Milc-ah, and Sar-ah, to Le-ah, Din-ah, and so forth. (Rachel and the two handmaids, according to Jewish sources were sisters of Leah and Rachel but none of these are in a direct line to Mary). Mary was Jesus’ uterine mother, the first begotten of God, without male intervention.
Naam-ah is therefore an important link in the line of the matriarchs of early Genesis. She links Chav-ah with Sar-ah through both Cain and Seth’s line. If Naam-ah had not crossed over to take her distant cousin, Noe of Seth’s line, into her tent the Cainites (Kenites) would not have survived the flood.
Thus in my model, Chav-ah and Naam-ah act as women ‘encompassing a man’: these women are the first of many comparable bookends, in this instance, surrounding Adam’s male genealogy. This is the ‘new thing in the land, a woman encompassing (turning to) a man.
This scripture represents the church of Jesus Christ, a woman and a bride, ‘turning’ back to her husband, in the OT, Israel to YWJH, and finally, in the NT, Believers to Jesus.
Confusion about Naam-ah
Patriarchal scholars of the OT, in the main, seem confused about Naam-ah, even treating her with disdain. This is glaringly obvious when you consider comments on comments by male scholars regarding Naam-ah.
Naam-ah (1). The wife of Noe.
Early Jewish Midrash Henesis Rabba (23.3) identifies this Naam-ah, the daughter of Zill-ah and Lamech, as the wife of Noe. Still, others say Naam-ah married Noe and produced Shem.
The wife of Shem. Some Jews say Naam-ah married Shem, Noe’s son, from which comes the Jewish race.
The daughter of Enoch, Noe’s grandfather (medieval Midrash).
as the wife of Ham, son of Noe. The 17th-century theologian, John Gill, mentioned a theory which identified Naam-ah instead with the name of the wife of Ham, (giving her no reference with Shem). Gill believed Naam-ah may have become confused with Noe’s wife.
Why would the scriptures record her name if Naam-ah were the wife of Ham? Surely the record we have is pointing us to Mary and the birth of the Coming One! What has Ham got to do with that?
One male scholar Gordon Wenham can’t figure out why Naam-ah gets a mention at all! Wenham says he has no clue why Naam-ah’s name is mentioned here in what he sees as a male genealogy. He says, “the reason she (Naam-ah) should be picked out for special mention remains obscure.”
Some Jewish teachers claim Naam-ah was Noe’s wife. Based upon all the evidence I have decided to make Naam-ah second in importance to Chav-ah. It’s a given that the human race cannot continue through a man alone.
In the overall scheme of things, my thesis on this subject exposes the lack of attention the patriarchal interpreters give to the women in the OT women in general and the important matriline leading to Mary the mother of Jesus. Further, the disinterest in them identifying Naam-ah, the woman through whom Chev-ah’s line leads to the Semites and the Kenite. Naam-ah eventually leads to the Israelites through whom the world is blessed. 6 Sar-ah’s tribes are collectively known as the nation of Israel. Or, in patriarchal speak: ‘Noe’s son, Shem through Abraham to Jacob and his sons’. Sar-ah’s genealogy through Le-ah, finally end with Mary, mother of Jesus: Begotten of God.
Abraham’s had two other wives beside Sarah: Matriarchs Hagar and Keturah. We will examine these two women’s matrilines along with their relationships with Sarah’s tribes. (The genealogy of Abraham appears in Genesis 5, Genesis 10:1-7, 20, 22-23, 31-32, and Genesis 11).
Jacob was named Israel: ‘Prince’. This was in keeping with Chief Sar-ah, (Heb. ‘sar’: Chief or Prince) Jacob’s Mother’s House.
I hope you enjoyed reading this study as much as I in researching it,
I look forward to meeting up again when we ‘look to Sarah, who gave you birth’ (Isa 51: 2).
Rich blessings in Christ,
In closing ….
Chav-ah’s Matriline …
Paul wrote …
‘Among the mature, especially of the completeness of Christian character, however, we speak a message of wisdom (Gr. ‘sophos’), that is, insight, skill (human or divine), intelligence, but not the wisdom of the world, of this age (especially a Messianic period) or of the rulers of this age, namely, governor, leader, leading man with the Jews, an official of this age, a member (of the executive) of the assembly of elders and the church religious professionals, who are coming to nothing, literally or figuratively.
No, contrarywise, we speak a secret or ‘mystery’, concealed, hidden wisdom of God, keep secret, concealed, which God destined ‘to limit in advance, i.e. predetermined’ for our glory, before time began’. [Paraphrased by Patricia with added research in Strong’s].
Jesus had been speaking of the rejection of John the Baptist and of Himself and the unbelief that characterised that generation, saying, “But I tell you that it will be more tolerable for Sodom on the day of justice than for you”.
At this time, Jesus prayed this prayer (below).
Join me in prayer if you so desire:
“O God Almighty, Supreme in authority in Eternity and on the earth. Thank you for hiding these things from those who think themselves wise, clever, learned, cultivated, intelligent, and skilled in the ancient languages and the false doctrines of inequality in the body of Christ, but having not the Spirit.
Thank you for disclosing them, revealing them to those of us of childlike simplicity, in as much as we are not as learned as the more advanced scholars in understanding and knowledge, but who especially long for and pursue the completeness of Christian character, living in holiness, without which no one will see God”. Amen. (Mt 11: 25). [Paraphrased by Patricia with added research in Strong’s].
God bless you!
[i] Paul warned Timothy to have nothing to do with “godless and silly myths” (1 Tim 4:7). Jude is quoting from the Book of Enoch. What Jude says of the angels corresponds with the doctrine of the angels contained in the Book of Enoch. According to the Book of Enoch 12:4, what is meant is their forsaking of heaven, and their descent to earth in order to go after the daughters of men but not, (as some think), the loss of the heavenly dwelling, which they drew upon themselves by conspiring against God
[ii] Judaism does not have a concept of “the fall” or “original sin” and has varying other interpretations of the Eden narrative. Traditionally, women have received the major blame for the Fall of humanity. The subordination exegesis is that the natural consequences sin entering the human race, was prophesied by God when the phrase was made: the husband “will rule over you”.
This interpretation is reinforced by comments in the 1 Timothy, where the author gives a rationale for directing that a woman (NIV: possibly “wife”) should learn in quietness and full submission. I do not permit a woman to teach or to assume authority over a man (NIV: possibly “husband”); she must be quiet. For Adam was formed first, then Eve. And Adam was not the one deceived; it was the woman who was deceived and became a sinner. 1 Tim 2:11-14.
Therefore, some interpretations of these passages from Genesis 3 and 1 Timothy 2 have developed a view that women are considered as bearers of Eve’s guilt and that the woman’s conduct in the fall is the primary reason for her universal, timeless, subordinate relationship to the man.
Alternatively, Richard and Catherine Clark Kroeger argue that “there is a serious theological contradiction in telling a woman that when she comes to faith in Christ, her personal sins are forgiven but she must continue to be punished for the sin of Eve.” They maintain that judgmental comments against women in reference to Eve are a “dangerous interpretation, in terms both of biblical theology and of the call to Christian commitment”.
They reason that “if the Paul was forgiven for what he did ignorantly in unbelief” including persecuting and murdering Christians, “and thereafter was given a ministry, why would the same forgiveness and ministry be denied women” (for the sins of Eve, their fore-mother, eons ago). Addressing that, the Kroegers conclude that Paul was referring to the promise of Gen 3: 15 that through the defeat of Satan on the cross of Jesus Christ, the woman’s child (Jesus) would crush the serpent’s head, but the serpent would only bruise the heel of her child.
This interpretation is reinforced by comments in the First Epistle to Timothy where the author gives a rationale for directing that a woman (NIV: possibly “wife”).
‘Women should learn in quietness and full submission. I do not permit a woman to teach or to assume authority over a man (NIV: possibly “husband”); she must be quiet. For Adam was formed first, then Eve. And Adam was not the one deceived; it was the woman who was deceived and became a sinner.’ 1 Tim 2:11-14).
Therefore, some interpretations of these passages from Genesis 3 and 1 Timothy 2 have developed a view that women are considered as bearers of Eve’s guilt and that the woman’s conduct in the fall is the primary reason for her universal, timeless, subordinate relationship to the man. (Sourced from Wikipedia).
I, Patricia, thoroughly recommend this book. It can be purchased through my website via Amazon. Please go to K Kroeger, Richard C. and Catherine C. Kroeger. I suffer not a woman: rethinking 1 Timothy 2:11–15 in light of ancient evidence”. Baker Book House, 1992. ISBN 0-8010-5250-5 or visit my bibliography for more book recommendations.
[iii] 2nd Century:
In the second century, Tertullian taught that all women share the ignominy of Eve. Like Eve, all women are “the devil’s gateway. . . the unsealer of that forbidden tree… the first deserter of the divine law” who destroyed “God’s image, man.” Because interpreters assumed Eve was inferior to Adam, they translated the Hebrew word ‘ezer’ (Genesis 2:18) as ‘helper.’
Ambrose, a 4th-century bishop and one of the four great “doctors” of the Latin church, refers to Eve as a procreative “helper for the purpose of generating human nature” and concludes that “this then is the way in which a woman is a good helper of less importance.”
Thomas Aquinas significantly extended the argument in the 13th century, claiming that women were defective by nature: “Misbegotten males” born female because of some defect in the active force or maternal disposition, or because of some external force such as a moist south wind.
The consequence of such thinking is in works like the Malleus Maleficarum (“Hammer Against Witches”). This 15th-century document, which draws heavily on Genesis 3, provided the Inquisition its principal theological justification for persecuting women as witches. In the decades following its publication, thousands of women were dead. The themes of inferiority, evil, and seductiveness continued to appear in the writings of Luther, Calvin, and Knox .
These themes of inferiority, evil, and seductiveness remained disturbingly prominent in the 20th century and this century in places as diverse as papal encyclicals and TV fundamentalist preaching.
- Milc-ah the daughter of Haran, the wife of Abraham’s brother Nahor (Gen 11:29). She bore eight children, one of whom was Bethuel, father of Rebekah (Gen 22:20-23) who became Isaac’s wife.
- Blood, literally, figuratively or specially; by implication, bloodshed, also kindred.
- Suggesting from the interior outwards. A primary preposition denoting origin
- It may not appear like a misogynist translation, but it does not say ‘husband’ in the original but simply ‘an act of the will’ meaning male or female, certainly not exclusively a husband’s will or decision!
- An act of will, determination of mother or father; plur: wishes, desires. From the prolonged form of ethelo; a determination, i.e. choice or inclination.
- Bushnell Para 84. “Now let us compare four passages, out of many that might be chosen. God tells Abraham, Genesis 22:16-18, “By Myself have I sworn . . . in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed My voice.” To Isaac He says, “In thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because that Abraham obeyed My voice” (Genesis 26:4, 5). To Jacob He said the same (Genesis 28:14).
To David He says, “I will raise up thy seed after thee. . . and I will establish his throne forever” (1 Chronicles 17:11, 12). Then, Galatians 3:29, “If ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise,” Was it a special honour to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and David to be mentioned as in this stream of blessing which was to descend to humanity?
Then it is well for us to remember that the source of this blessing, on the human side, is Eve, of whom God said, to Satan, “I will put enmity between thee and the woman; . . . her seed…shall bruise thy head.” The promise honours Eve quite as much as Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and the honour could not have been conferred upon her but for the same reason as upon them,—namely, because of excellence found in her.