First, Kurk has written a lovely post for me which brings me to read Carolyn Custis James blog for the first time. I had just jumped in the other day at the deep end defending her use of the term "warrior" for 'ezer.
I went to Carolyn's blog and immediately I read about "dead sea squirrels." Ha! A couple of years ago, my daughter overheard me talking to a friend, and later she said, "Mom, that is just gross! Why would you want to see dead sea squirrels? Is it the name of a rock band or something?" She must have thought I had lost my mind. Never mind, she picks up pieces of it lying around the house all the time.
From Carolyn's post on hesed and submission I read,
- Hesed and submission are not soft words. They are attributes of Jesus that every one of his followers—female or male—is called to emulate. Neither hesed nor submission are about “giving in” to the whims and wishes of others. Both are all about “giving out” from the completeness we have in Jesus and our passion for His kingdom. Ruth, Naomi and Boaz embody both of these words as they freely make thoughtful, determined, costly sacrifices for each other. Together they cause the light of the gospel to shine brightly from the pages of the Old Testament.
- So in our case let the whole body be saved in Christ Jesus, and let each man be subject unto his neighbor, according as also he was appointed with his special grace. Let not the strong neglect the weak; and let the weak respect the strong. Let the rich minister aid to the poor;
Now for Sappho,
a woman I love to read. She wrote not only for herself but for others, for weddings, for groups of women sitting around thinking of love. Hmm. If women are expected to read Solomon, then men should read Sappho. This post is for Dave, who thinks biblical languages are impossible. Carl Conrad put this in his comment,
- ἔλθε μοι καὶ νῦν, χαλέπαν δὲ λῦσον
ἐκ μερίμναν, ὄσσα δέ μοι τέλεσσαι
θῦμος ἰμέρρει, τέλεσον, σὺ δ' αὔτα
Come to me now, loose me
from hard care, and all
that my passion longs to fulfill,
fulfill. You, Aphrodite,
be my ally.
In fact, when I look in the little Liddell, I can see that βοηθος and σύμμαχος have almost identical meanings - assistant, ally, helper, supporter.
Two questions about σύμμαχος.
Does this refer to a subordinate?
No. She is Aphrodite.
Does this word always relate to war?
No, here it deals with love.
So, the meaning of "ally" is not "subordinate," and we can also see that this same term suits both love and war. The word σύμμαχος can mean "ally" in either love or war. And yet, it does come from the word "warrior" and is most literally translated as "co-warrior."
The problem is that we have set up a dichotomy in English between one who strives for us, and one who battles for us. In Greek μαχη is war, and battle, and quarrel and contest. The one who battles with us is our σύμμαχος or even our βοηθος.
You don't need to use a separate word for "ally" in love and "ally" in war. And you don't want a weak and subordinate "ally." So βοηθος is both the God of our trouble and the Christ of our weakness, and σύμμαχος is our co-warrior in love and war. The one who fights for us.
Is this what woman is to man, or should we be "co-warriors" for each other? In Paul's writings, we see the term συνεργος, or "co-worker." This is how he addressed women, "my co-workers." We are colleagues in study, co-workers in mission, co-warriors for each other. Adam and Eve were co-warriors.
And that is what we can learn from Sappho tonight. Eve was not Adam's warrior, she was his co-warrior.