Daze of Our Wives: Chapter 25, Shocked by the Bible

That is a pretty witty title, but it had almost nothing to do with this chapter (other than the wife part) in Shocked by the Bible. Joe Kovacs covers three big areas in this chapter. He briefly covers the topic that the Bible walks about wives in the Scriptures a lot—good and bad. Then he seems to go into something completely different by discussing that “God commanded” 111 men to divorce their wives even if they had children together. He then closed the chapter by pointing out that the apostle Peter was in fact married.

Kovacs is completely right that the Bible has a lot of good and bad things to say about wives. On the other hand, it has a lot to say about husbands as well. It doesn’t mention these things about wives at the expense or exclusion of addressing husbands. I will admit, however, that some of the things the Bible says about wives is a little surprising at first. Nonetheless, simply that the Bible addresses wives is not shocking.

The story that Kovacs gives about the 111 men divorcing their wives needs a little deeper examination. Kovacs made the statement on page 182, “After three days of continued prayer and complete fasting (no food or water), Ezra issued the order to split the families, saying it came from God.” The way he frames his statement, he makes it sound as though Ezra was putting things in the mouth of God. What Ezra was saying is that the people were not being obedient to the will of God, which he had revealed to them in the Law. His will was for them not to intermarry with foreign nations. Not because they were a superior race or anything of the like, but because by doing so they would succumb to idol worship. So, when Kovacs wrote earlier in the same chapter that “God once ordered more than one hundred of His people to end their marriages” he was not completely correct. The Scriptures do not record anywhere that God had ordered them to do so nor does it record that God approved of their actions. God’s desire was for them to never enter into those marriages in the first place.

It is interesting that there is a popular stereotype that supposes that none of the apostles were married. I don’t really know where it came from, but it certainly is alive and well—and not just in Catholicism. But Kovacs is absolutely correct that the apostle Peter was married. In fact, it was Jesus who would have not fit the Jewish mold of his time period when he remained single. It was expected that Jewish men would be married. There is also a lot of evidence outside of the Bible that Rabbis were required to be married.

I think Kovacs brings out one last interesting point about this. He wrote, “Perhaps part of the reason the legend of Peter’s eternal bachelorhood has survived over the years is that Jesus Himself was never married. For those in the Roman Catholic faith especially, Peter is regarded as the first pope. Since Catholic priests and pops take vows of celibacy today, it’s easy to see why some may assume Peter was also celibate.”

I would especially love to hear from some Catholics on this topic—were you ever taught that Peter was married, single?

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