Use women as a man should!

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Kendall K. Down

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Jul 14, 2022, 9:49:44 PMJul 14
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In Books XIV and XV, St Augustine goes through the early history of the
Bible, attempting to deal with objections that others raise, a few of
which are still familiar with us today. Some of his answers are just
plain foolish, in the light of modern knowledge, others are actually
quite clever.

However in Chapter 25 of Book XV he comes up with a rather unusual take
on the unhappy story of Abraham and Hagar. Of course today we know from
cuneiform tablets that Abraham and Sarah were behaving exactly as the
laws and norms of contemporary society dictated. St Augustine lacked
that knowledge, hence what follows:

=============
As regards this transaction, Abraham is in no way to be branded as
guilty concerning this concubine, for he used her for the begetting of
progeny, not for the gratification of lust; and not to insult, but
rather to obey his wife, who supposed it would be solace of her
barrenness if she could make use of the fruitful womb of her handmaid to
supply the defect of her own nature, and by that law of which the
apostle says, "Likewise also the husband hath not power of his own body,
but the wife," could, as a wife, make use of him for childbearing by
another, when she could not do so in her own person. Here there is no
wanton lust, no filthy lewdness. The handmaid is delivered to the
husband by the wife for the sake of progeny, and is received by the
husband for the sake of progeny, each seeking, not guilty excess, but
natural fruit. And when the pregnant bond woman despised her barren
mistress, and Sarah, with womanly jealousy, rather laid the blame of
this on her husband, even then Abraham showed that he was not a slavish
lover, but a free begetter of children, and that in using Hagar he had
guarded the chastity of Sarah his wife, and had gratified her will and
not his own - had received her without seeking, had gone in to her
without being attached, had impregnated without loving her - for he
says, "Behold thy maid is in thy hands: do to her as it pleaseth thee;"
a man able to use women as a man should, - his wife temperately, his
handmaid compliantly, neither intemperately!
=============

About the only thing Augustine got right was that Abraham allowed
himself to be hen-pecked. If he thinks that Abraham was not attracted to
the dark-eyed Egyptian, I think he knows nothing about human nature!

Anyway, I hope my readers will take note of the correct way to use women
as a Real Man[TM] should.

God bless,
Kendall K. Down


Mike Davis

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Jul 18, 2022, 7:49:44 AMJul 18
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I'm intrigued why *you* should choose this passage, but - bearing in
mind Augustine's background ("Lord make me chaste, but not yet!" !!) - I
can see why he felt compelled to consider it carefully and comment on it.

The point is that it was Abraham's duty (as he saw it) to produce
progeny, not expecting the (eventual) miracle of Sarah becoming
pregnant, so, apart from (perhaps) over-dwelling on the issue, I see
nothing unreasonable in the quoted passage.

> Anyway, I hope my readers will take note of the correct way to use women
> as a Real Man[TM] should.

Or just to consider how to be obedient to God?

Mike
--
Mike Davis


Timreason

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Jul 18, 2022, 9:39:44 AMJul 18
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I've always felt there's an element of 'Let's hurry God along a bit' in
that story. God had made a promise, but it was to happen in God's
timing. So Abraham should have waited in faith, rather than try to make
it happen himself.

Tim.




Kendall K. Down

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Jul 18, 2022, 1:59:42 PMJul 18
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On 18/07/2022 12:46, Mike Davis wrote:

> I'm intrigued why *you* should choose this passage, but - bearing in
> mind Augustine's background ("Lord make me chaste, but not yet!" !!) - I
> can see why he felt compelled to consider it carefully and comment on it.

Because I was amused at his ideas of how to treat a woman. Personally I
recommend chocolates and boquets of flowers.

> The point is that it was Abraham's duty (as he saw it) to produce
> progeny, not expecting the (eventual) miracle of Sarah becoming
> pregnant, so, apart from (perhaps) over-dwelling on the issue, I see
> nothing  unreasonable in the quoted passage.

A bit further on Augustine got all exercised over why Abraham took up
with Keturah after the death of Sarah.

"What did Abraham mean by marrying Keturah after Sarah's death? Far be
it from us to suspect him of incontinence, especially when he had
reached such an age and such sanctity of faith."

Clearly Augustine feels that Abraham should have known better! Notice
also how he equates continence with sanctity. His solution is that it
was all symbolic and Keturah and her children, like Hagar and her son,
stood for "the heretics and carnal Jews".

However, somewhat grudgingly, he grants that there may be a literal meaning:

"But if any one is unwilling to put such meanings on these things, he
need not calumniate Abraham. For what if even this was provided against
the heretics who were to be the opponents of second marriages, so that
it might be shown that it was no sin in the case of the father of many
nations himself, when, after his wife's death, he married again?"

> Or just to consider how to be obedient to God?

Why did God create chocolate, if not for the wooing of women?

Kendall K. Down

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Jul 18, 2022, 2:09:43 PMJul 18
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On 18/07/2022 14:38, Timreason wrote:

> I've always felt there's an element of 'Let's hurry God along a bit' in
> that story. God had made a promise, but it was to happen in God's
> timing. So Abraham should have waited in faith, rather than try to make
> it happen himself.

You are forgetting that the initiative came from Sarah, not from
Abraham. I'm not saying that he found the prospect entirely
disagreeable, but so far as we know, it wasn't his idea.

steve hague

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Jul 19, 2022, 12:29:44 AMJul 19
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On 18/07/2022 18:51, Kendall K. Down wrote:
> On 18/07/2022 12:46, Mike Davis wrote:
>
>> I'm intrigued why *you* should choose this passage, but - bearing in
>> mind Augustine's background ("Lord make me chaste, but not yet!" !!) -
>> I can see why he felt compelled to consider it carefully and comment
>> on it.
>
> Because I was amused at his ideas of how to treat a woman. Personally I
> recommend chocolates and boquets of flowers.
>
>> The point is that it was Abraham's duty (as he saw it) to produce
>> progeny, not expecting the (eventual) miracle of Sarah becoming
>> pregnant, so, apart from (perhaps) over-dwelling on the issue, I see
>> nothing  unreasonable in the quoted passage.
>
> A bit further on Augustine got all exercised over why Abraham took up
> with Keturah after the death of Sarah.
>
> "What did Abraham mean by marrying Keturah after Sarah's death? Far be
> it from us to suspect him of incontinence, especially when he had
> reached such an age and such sanctity of faith."
>
> Clearly Augustine feels that Abraham should have known better! Notice
> also how he equates continence with sanctity. His solution is that it
> was all symbolic and Keturah and her children, like Hagar and her son,
> stood for "the heretics and carnal Jews".
>

I can't remember where I read it now, but some Jewish scholars believe
that Keturah was actually Hagar. it seems a little far fetched to me,
but it would tie up some loose ends nicely.
Steve Hague
>
>
>




Timreason

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Jul 19, 2022, 3:09:44 AMJul 19
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Ah yes. Then of course there was Adam and Eve. Maybe a warning not to
listen to our wives? ;-)

Tim.

Kendall K. Down

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Jul 19, 2022, 2:59:45 PMJul 19
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On 19/07/2022 08:06, Timreason wrote:

> Ah yes. Then of course there was Adam and Eve. Maybe a warning not to
> listen to our wives?   ;-)

Certainly a warning to a) think for ourselves and don't depend on other
people for our ideas; b) put God and His commands first and wives second
(and in the case of wives, husbands second); c) encouragement for
husbands and wives to be close to one another, physically and
emotionally. If Eve hadn't gone off on her own, the serpent wouldn't
have had a chance. I suspect that if Abraham had made it clear to his
wife that he valued her companionship, not just as a baby-maker, she
wouldn't have come up with the Hagar idea.

Kendall K. Down

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Jul 19, 2022, 2:59:46 PMJul 19
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On 19/07/2022 05:27, steve hague wrote:

> I can't remember where I read it now, but some Jewish scholars believe
> that Keturah was actually Hagar. it seems a little far fetched to me,
> but it would tie up some loose ends nicely.

I haven't heard that one - and wouldn't take the word of a Jewish
scholar for anything - but what loose ends do you have in mind?
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