Elizabeth Cady Stanton
Vol. 1: Comments on
Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus,
Copyright © 1895. All Rights Reserved.
12. For I will pass through the land of Egypt this night, and will smite all the firstborn in tile land of Egypt, both man and beast: and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgment: I am the Lord.
18. And the blood shall be to you for a token upon the houses where ye are: and when I see that blood, I will pass over you, and the plague not be upon you to destroy you, when I smite the land of Egypt.
43. ¶ And the Lord said unto Moses and Aaron, This is the ordinance of the passover: There shall no stranger eat thereof:
44. But every man's servant that is bought for money, when thou hast circumcised him, then shall he eat thereof.
45. A foreigner and an hired servant shall not eat thereof.
46. In one house shall it be eaten; thou shalt not carry forth ought of the flesh abroad out of the house; neither shall ye break a bone thereof.
47. All the congregation of Israel shall keep it.
48. And when a stranger shall sojourn with thee, and will keep the passover to the Lord, let all his males be circumcised, and then let him come near and keep it; and he shall be as one that is born in the land: for no uncircumcised person shall eat thereof.
ELIZABETH CADY STANTON
IN commemoration of this promise of the Lord's to pass over their homes in executing vengeance on the Egyptians, and of the prolonged battles between Jehovah and Moses on the one side, and Pharaoh and his Cabinet on the other, the Jews held an annual feast to which all circumcised males were summoned. The point of interest to us is whether women were disqualified, not being circumcised, or whether as members of the congregation they could slip in under the provision in the 47th verse, and enjoy the unleavened bread and nice roast lamb with the men of their household. It seems from the above texts that this blessed feast of deliverance from bondage must have been confined to males, that they only, could express, their joy and gratitude. But women were permitted to perform a subordinate part in the grand hegira, beside carrying their respective infants they manifested their patriotism by stealing all the jewels of gold and silver, all the rich silks arid velvets from their Egyptian neighbors, all they could carry, according to the commands of Moses. And why should these women take any part in the passover; their condition remained about the same under all dynasties in all lands. They were regarded merely as necessary factors in race building. As Jewish wives or Egyptian concubines, there was no essential difference in their social status.
As Satan, represented by a male snake, seemed to be women's counsellor from the beginning, making her skillful in cunning and tergiversation, it is fair to suppose that they were destined to commune with the spirit of evil for ever and ever, that is if women have souls and are immortal, which is thought to be doubtful by many nations. There is no trace thus far that the Jews believed in a future state, good or bad. No promise of immortality is held out to men even. So far the promise to them is a purely material triumph, "their seed shall not fill the earth."
The firstborn of males both man and beast are claimed by the Lord as his own. From the general sentiment expressed in the various texts, it is evident that Satan claims the women as his own. The Hebrew God had very little to say in regard to them. If the passover, the lamb and the unleavened bread, were necessary to make the males acceptable in religious services, the females could find no favor in the eyes of either God or man.
In most of the sacrifices female animals are not accepted, nor a male, born after a female by the same parent. Males are the race, females only the creatures that carry it on. This arrangement must be providential, as it saves men from many disabilities. Men never fail to dwell on maternity as a disqualification for the possession of many civil and political rights. Suggest the idea of women having a voice in making laws and administering the Government in the halls of legislation, in Congress, or the British Parliament, and men will declaim at once on the disabilities of maternity in a sneering contemptuous way, as if the office of motherhood was undignified and did not comport with the highest public offices in church and state. It is vain that we point them to Queen Victoria, who has carefully reared a large family, while considering and signing all state papers. She has been a pattern wife and mother, kept a clean court, and used her influence as far as her position would admit, to keep peace with all nations. Why should representative American women be incapable of discharging similar public and private duties at the same time in an equally commendable manner?
E. C. S.
ELIZABETH CADY STANTON
May the Wisdom Force
be with You.
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