A reminder that when studying the Bible it is vital to disassociate ourselves from our modern day ways of thinking and cultural prejudices in order to be able to view things through the prism of ancient Hebrew culture.
When this is properly done, formerly difficult to understand bible stories and verses suddenly become clear.
In this post I would like to explain how important having a son was in the ancient Middle East.
This may be difficult for those living in our day and age to understand.
Our society has now reached the point where many married couples choose to never have any children and homosexual marriage is becoming more and more accepted.
There is also increasing cynicism being directed at the institution of marriage itself.
The reasoning is that it is just a financial arrangement that has nothing to do with love and only benefits the woman.
And given the over 50% divorce rate, many people our asking themselves “why even bother?“
This general sentiment was well expressed by Israeli-American rock star icon Gene Simmons in his book titled Sex, Money, Kiss when he stated “dumb men will always get married“.
However, back in the days of the bible, things were a lot different.
Having a son to be an heir was of utmost importance.
It was not just a matter of passing on an inheritance, the belief system at that time held that a man’s life essence lived on through human reproduction.
So if a man died without having a son, that meant not only the end of his family line, but also an end to his human essence in some mysterious and undefined way.
Interesting, in the Old Testament days, people didn’t hold to the idea of dying and going to either heaven or hell.
It was believed that having a son was the only way a man could ensure his existence after passing away.
Accordingly, it was a woman’s sole duty to provide her husband a son.
In Bible times, a woman who was unable to bear children for her husband was considered cursed by God and held in great shame.