That she reverence her husband

by André Piet
December 5th, 2012

Nevertheless let every one of you in particular
so love his wife even as himself;
and the wife [see] that she reverence [her] husband.

Ephesians 5:33 (KJV)

In Ephesians 5, Paul speaks about the relationship between the married man and his wife. He explains that the relationship between Christ (as Head) and the ecclesia (as His body) is an example to them. Even as the head leads the body, so the husband should give direction to his wife. A head is not a dictator, but an organic leader, who constantly is sensitive to the signals he receives. In our feminized society, the role of the husband, as head, may be a strange idea. In the Bible it is a matter of course. The female stands for feelings and softness, as the male stands for strength and firmness (1Cor.16:13) and, therefore, also for leadership. In the Greek language, in which Paul wrote these words, the word for female (thelus) is derived from nipple, thus referring to the softness of the breast. The word for male (arsen > airo), in contrast, is derived from "come up" referring to the distinguished (erection)strength of the male sex.

As the husband should love his wife, so the wife should reverence her husband, writes Paul. Please note that it is not the wife, but the husband, who, indirectly, is being addressed. He should be someone to whom she can look-up-to. To a head above her. A rock in the surf. Someone able to relativize emotions (humor!) and is able to keep a cool head. A man, who can cope with mood swings, where she, as a woman, by nature, is much more subject to them than he.

From time immemorial, the sun and moon are emblems of the masculine and feminine. Even in the Bible, where, for example, the sun is compared to a bridegroom (Ps.19:4,5). The sun is a constant – always radiating the same glowing light. The moon, however, is subject to (monthly!) cycles. The light that she gives is not of herself, but comes from the sun. So may the husband, sun-like, cause his wife to radiate ("glory"; Eph.5:27).


Translation: Peter Feddema

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