Women in Josephus’ Writings


By: Gen. Jim -- 4/29/24

In his Antiquities of the Jews, chapter XI (p.230) he writes: “Now when this man had held his peace, the third of them, who was Zorobabel, began to instruct them about women, & about truth, who said thus: ‘Wine is strong, as is the King also, whom all men obey, but women are superior to them in power; for it was a woman that brought the king into the world; & for those that plant the vines & make the wine they are women who bear them, & bring them up; nor indeed is there anything which we do not receive from them; for these women weave garments for us, & our household affairs are by their means taken care of, & preserved in safety; nor can we live separate from women; & when we have gotten a great deal of gold & silver, & any other thing that is of great value, & deserving regard, & see a beautiful woman, we leave all these things, & with open mouth fix our eyes upon her countenance, & are willing to forsake what we have, that we may enjoy her beauty, & procure it to ourselves.” He goes on to relate for the reader story after story of women good & bad. (III.5). In III.6 he continues with: “I have already demonstrated how powerful women are; but both these women themselves, & the king himself, are weaker than truth.” He was quoting Zorobabel, who after the death of Cambyses, & the slaughter of the magi, but under the reign of Darius, (Zorobabel was superior to the rest in the solution of problems, & thereby obtained this favor of the king, that the Temple should be built).

In Book II, chapter II.5, we find the story of “Joseph, by saying this, & more, tried to restrain the violent passion of the women (the wife of Potiphar, an Egyptian, who was chief cook to king Pharaoh), & to reduce her (sexual) affections within the rules of reason; but she grew more ungovernable & earnest in the matter; & since the despaired of persuading him, she laid her hand upon him, & had a mind to force him.”

We know the story, how it ended. God was testing the chastity of Joseph (a Jew). This evil woman falsely accused Joseph, claiming he attempted to spoil her chastity. Josephus recounts the whole story (found in Gen. 39). Potiphar’s wife presented to him as being a modest woman, & condemning Joseph as a wicked man, hence, Joseph was thrown into prison!

In Book IV (Antiquities of The Jews), chapter VIII.43, we read: “Take care, especially in your battles, that no woman use the habit of man, nor man the garment of a woman.” Verse 44 he writes: “This was the form of political gov. which was left us by Moses. Moreover, he had already delivered laws in writing (see sect. 4 of this chapter; there is a footnote, p.96, that states that decency could not be otherwise provided for in the loose garments which the priest wore.”

Just where do we find that “no woman use the habit of a man, nor man the garment of a woman?” Deut. 22:5 “A woman shall not wear a man’s apparel, nor shall a man put on a woman’s garment: for whoever does such things is abhorrent to the LORD your God.” (The New Oxford Annotated Bible). “Apparently the purpose of this “law” was to prevent Israelites from taking part in Canaanite rites where worshipers simulated change of sex,” so says the footnote for vs.5.

I’ve read many interpretations on Dt. 22:5, mainly, women should not wear pants (this was way back in the early 1970s. Prof. Adam Clarke's A Commentary & Critical Notes, vol.1, p.794, has a footnote on Dt. 22:5:) He quotes vs.5 in the Hebrew:“The woman shall not wear that which pertaineth unto a man,” the “instruments or arms of a man.” Did men wear blue jeans back then? Did they wear pants or skirts/robes etc.? (Heb., “keli geber” or “kelîy” (from “kâlâh"). The Hebrew tells us that (Dt. 22:5) “pertaineth” means: “something prepared, i.e. any apparatus (as an implement, utensil, dress, vessel or weapon – armour, carriage, sack, tool, etc.”

In short, Dt. 22:5 forbids a female from dressing up in a warrior's clothing... with weapons. Clarke has “keli gerber,” which properly signifies a strong man or man of war, it is very probable that “armor” is here intended; especially as we know that in the worship of Venus, to which that of Astate/Ashtaroth among the Canaanites bore a striking resemblance, the women were accustomed to appear in armour before her. It certainly cannot mean a simple change in dress, whereby the man/male might pass for women, & vice versa. This would have been impossible in those countries where the dress of the sexes had but little to distinguish it, & where every man/male had a beard. It is, however, a good general precept understood literally, & applies particularly to those nations where the dress alone distinguishes between the male & the female. (Note: we know there were trans/homos etc. back in those days, men/males chose to shave, thus could dress in a woman’s dress; the same went for the women who wore men’s dress – but no beard!)

We recall Clodius, who dressed himself like a female, that he might mingle with the Roman ladies in the feast of the Bona Dea, was universally execrated (“to curse, call down evil upon, denounce scathingly, to loath...”) Yet, today, in “Christian America,” we find all manner of “sexual perverts” & “perversions.”

The Interpreter’s Bible, vol.II, has a footnote on Dt. 22:5 which states: “A law appearing only here & usually interpreted as directed against the simulated changes of sex in Canaanite religion. Evidence of the latter is derived, however, from sources which are much later than Israelite times. It may be that the motivation comes from the Israelite abhorrence of all that is unnatural.” (see 14:2 = the Hebrews were to be a holy, peculiar nation, unlike the pagan nations; see Lev. 18 where the holiness code is found: prohibitions against pagan sex-sins, especially against same-sex sins, vs.22).

Most believe Deut. 22:5 is a law against the impersonation of the opposite sex in vulgar & lewd entertainment. In paganism such exchange of garments was generally for immoral purposes.

Matthew Henry’s Commentary states: “Here are several laws in these verses which seem to stoop very low... the distinction of sexes by the apparel is to be kept up, for the preservation of our own & our neighbor’s chastity.” He goes on to comment on vs. 5: “Some think it refers to the idolatrous custom of the Gentiles; in the worship of Venus, women appeared in armour, & men in women’s clothes. The law forbids the confounding of the dispositions & affairs of sexes. Probably this confounding of garments had been used to gain opportunity of committing uncleanness & is therefore forbidden.” (p.193).

Back to Josephus

So, we see that Josephus wrote about “no woman use the habit of a man, nor man the garment of a woman.” Josephus wrote about foreign women not to be meddled with by the Jews (p.254), & when women are divorced, they cannot marry another without their former husband’s consent, p.327. On page 237 Josephus wrote about Persian women, or wives, not to be seen by strangers; on page 97 he wrote that women were not allowed to be witnesses: “But let not a single witness be credited; but three, or two at the least & those such whose testimony is confirmed by their good lives. But let not the testimony of women be admitted, on account of the levity & boldness of their sex...”, (Bk.4, chapter VIII, vs. 15). (note: the editor comments: “The Pentateuch says not a word about the exclusion of women as witnesses in courts of justice. It is very probable, however, that this was the practice of the Jews in the days of Josephus.”). Josephus (Joseph ben Mattias) was born the year Gaius (aka Caligula) acceded to the throne of the Roman Empire, A.D. 37, & died sometime after A.D. 100. He wrote about the wars of the Jews/Romans. He was an extra – Biblical writer/historian who mentions Jesus; He also makes mention of John the Baptist (Ant. XVIII.5.2). His mention of Jesus is found in Ant. XVIII.3.3: “Now there was about this time Jesus, a wise man, if it be lawful to call him a man...” He mentions Jesus in Antiquities 20, chap. 9,1.

Back to Chastity

Since God created man/male - woman/female (Gen. 1:27), He expected them to be distinct sex wise. He did not expect them (human race) to exhibit a different sex than what was designed/assigned to them. To do otherwise was called abomination/perversion. These abominations/perversions were found among the Gentile nations.

When God’s people were in Egypt, He was going to send them OUT to go IN to other pagan nations. God spoke to Moses telling him, “Speak to the children of Israel... ‘I am the LORD your God. According to the doings of the land of Egypt, where you dwelt, you shall NOT DO; & according to the doings of the land of Canaan, where I am bringing you, you shall NOT DO; nor shall you walk in their ordinances.’” (Lev. 18:2,3). Verse 6-30 the LORD states the things that the Canaanites did (sexually), which He forbade His people to do. He stated in vs. 24, “Do not DEFILE yourselves with any of these (unclean/sinful) things; for by these sins all the nations are DEFILED.” The sex-sins were so abominable that even the land was affected: “For the land is DEFILED; therefore, I will visit (bring) the punishment of its iniquity upon it, & the land VOMITS OUT its inhabitants,” vs. 25. Please read vss. 26-30, see if God was/is pleased with unlawful sexing/idolatry. (see all my articles on LGBTQ+ sex-sins).

Before I close these articles, I want to quote from Apostolic Constitutions (compiled in A.D. 390, 7. 392): “Do not adorn yourselves in such a manner that you might entice another woman to you... Do not further enhance the beauty that God & nature has bestowed on you. Rather, modestly diminish it before others. Therefore, do not permit the hair of your head to grow too long... Do not wear overly fine garments...” was this admonishment addressed to the women or men? - “entice another woman to you...”

Arnobius (died A.D. 330) was a noted pagan teacher of rhetoric at Sicca, North Africa, who converted to Christianity. He wrote the following: “Though in the form of men, they... curl their hair with curling pins, make the skin of the body smooth, & they walk with bare knees. In every other type of wantonness, they lay aside the strength of their masculinity & grow effeminate in women’s habits & luxury.”

Paul, in 1 Cor. 6:9 gives a vice list, e.g. fornicators, idolaters, adulterers, effeminate, abusers of themselves with mankind, these sex-sins/idolatries will keep one OUT of heaven! (KJV). Now we have ALL these in Churches, behind pulpits, including transgenders. The Early Church Fathers had plenty to say about the distinct roles of males/females. Tertullian didn’t hold back when he wrote about “Christian” women: “... blessed sisters, take heed that you do not admit to your use of flashy & sluttish garbs & clothing.” He goes on to write: “I find no dress cursed by God except when a woman’s dress is on a man. For he says, ‘Cursed is every man who clothes himself in woman’s attire.’”

Clement of Alexandria wrote: “What reason is there in the Law’s prohibition against a man wearing woman’s clothing? It is not that it would have us to be masculine & not to be effeminate in either person or actions?”

Tertullian, again, writes: “His Law, it is declared that the man is cursed who wears female garments. So, what must His judgment be of the pantomime, who is even trained to act the part of a woman?”

Sadly, there are multitudes (calling themselves “Christian”) who go along with all this “Gay Pride” BS today. If they are not “gay” themselves, they endorse the ones who are. Such an ABOMINATION!!!

Cheer up! It’s gonna get worse!

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