Publius-Huldah's Blog

Understanding the Constitution

Sarah Palin & Isaiah 3:12

God Does Raise Up Women Leaders!

By Publius Huldah

May a Christian vote for Sarah Palin?  Amazingly, some in the Christian community say “No!”, because…..she is a woman!

Male supremacist Christians (they prefer the prettified word, “complementarians”) point to Isaiah 3:12 in King James’ version of the Bible (KJV) and triumphantly crow that this proves that “women in positions of authority are the curse of God and shows we are under Judgment of God.”   And, King James’ version of Isaiah 3:12 does say:

As for my people, children are their oppressors, and women rule over them.  O my people, they which lead thee cause thee to err, and destroy the way of thy paths. [italics added]

Well, well!  But we will analyze Isaiah 3:12 using Facts and Logic:

The renderings of Isaiah 3:12 in KJV (1611) and The Geneva Bible (1599) are similar; but KJV omits the Reformers’ Notes:

Because the wicked people were more addicted to their princes than to the commandments of God, he shows that he would give them such princes, by whom they would have no help, but they would be manifest tokens of his wrath, because they would be fools and effeminate. [spelling modernized & italics added]

Effeminate. The New Strong’s Concordance gives both ‘ishshah & nashiym as the Hebrew  word translated “women” in the KJV of Isaiah 3:12; and says ‘ishshah is the feminine of ‘iysh, a man as a male person, or ‘enowsh, a mortal. Is this why the Reformers said, in their margin notes in The Geneva Bible, that Isaiah 3:12 referred to princes who were effeminate?

Now let us consider Strong’s tender of the Hebrew word, nashiym.  The Old Testament was written in ancient Hebrew, a language which omitted vowels in writings. Thus, in translating words in ancient Hebrew, the question is always,  “What vowel goes here?”  To illustrate, look at the English word “p_t”.  What vowel goes in the middle: a, e, i, o, or u?  Do you see?

So! Look now at nashiymAdam Clarke’s Commentary points out that only a vowel distinguishes “noshim” (usurers) from “nashim” (women), and thus Isaiah 3:12 might be rendered:

The collectors of grapes shall be their oppressors; and usurers (noshim, instead of nashim, women) shall rule over them….

So! What’s the correct vowel?  “a”? Or is it “o”?

Well! Vowels were added to the Hebrew Scripture between the 6th to 10th centuries A.D. by the Masoretes, who were Jewish scholars at the Talmudic academies in Babylonia and Palestine. (See: Encyclopaedia Britannica Micropaedia, 15th ed., Vol. VI, p. 671).  They are the ones who inserted an “a” instead of an “o”! What criteria did the Masoretes use in deciding which vowels to insert? Was their selection of “a” over “o” in n_shim guided by their hatred of  women?  WE DON’T KNOW!  I expect male supremacists never gave this a thought.  But the Masoretes’ vowel enriched version of the Hebrew Scripture was the basis of King James’ version of the Old Testament. And until the appearance in 1970 of the New English Bible’s completely new translation of the Old Testament (Oxford Univ. Press), the Masoretes’ version has dominated the field, most later English translations being mere revisions of the KJV.

Now look at the Hebrew word at Isaiah 3:12 which KJV translates as “children”: The Power Bible CD4.5 says `alal is the word (Strong’s #5953).  However, `alal appears in 17 other verses in the Bible where it is rendered “wrought”, “glean”, “mock”, “abuse”, “defile”, “practice”, “done” or “affect”.  Only in Isaiah 3:12 is `alal rendered “children”! Isn’t that odd.  Was “children” chosen because it “fit” with “nashim”? (God’s Word To Women, by Dr. Katharine Bushnell, Lesson 77, paras 621& 622)

The New Strong’s Concordance handles it differently: Strong’s chose different Hebrew words for “children”:  #5768, `owlel or `olal! So! Which is the “real” Hebrew word: `alal? `owlel? `olal?  Change the vowels and can’t it be either?  Other translators thought so:

The Peshitta (George M. Lamsa’s Translation) renders Isaiah 3:12:

The princes shall pluck my people out, and woman shall rule over them.  O my people, your leaders have caused you to err, and disturbed the way of your paths.

The Vulgate (Douay translation) renders Isaiah 3:12:

As for my people, their oppressors have stripped them, and women have ruled over them. O my people, they that call thee blessed, the same deceive thee, and destroy the way of thy steps.

The Septuagint was translated into Greek from the original Hebrew during the 3rd & 2nd centuries B.C., 800 -1,300 years before the Masoretes inserted their selected vowels.  (Encyclopaedia Britannica Micropaedia, 15th ed., Vol. IX, p. 63)

The Septuagint renders Isaiah 3:12 (The Apostolic Bible Polyglot, Translation of Charles Van der Pool):

O my people, your exactors (praktores) glean you, and the ones exacting (apaitountes) lord over you; O my people, the ones declaring you blessed mislead you, and the roads of your feet they disturb.

The Revised English Bible (REB) (Oxford Univ. Press, 1992), which consulted the Septuagint, renders Isaiah 3:12:

Moneylenders strip my people bare,

and usurers lord it over them.

My people, those who guide you are

leading you astray

and putting you on the path to ruin.

Do you see?  And look at the context of Isaiah 3:12!  In 3:14-15, God indicts the elders and officers –  not “women and children” – who “ravaged the vineyard”, “grind the faces of the poor”, and steal their stuff!

The Bible gives various examples of women who served, with God’s blessing, as leaders.  The Reformers’ Notes to Isaiah 3:12 in the Geneva Bible, Adam Clark’s Commentary, the Septuagint, and the REB’s rendering of Isaiah 3:12 are consistent with God’s actual practice of raising women as leaders.

But the Masoretes’ version of Isaiah 3:12 contains an unexplained selection by them of an  “a” over an “o”.  King James’ version, which is based on the Masoretes’ text instead of the  much earlier Septuagint, perpetuates the unexplained selection.

King James’ version mistranslates Isaiah 3:12.  Its rendering doesn’t fit the context of Isaiah Ch. 3; and it contradicts God’s actual practice, as revealed in many passages, of raising up women leaders.  And remember: They mistranslated the word they rendered as, “children”, in order to make it “fit” their translation of n­_shim as “women”.  Is that not a shocking thing?

The other passages on which male supremacists rely have been equally mistranslated and distorted by them; and their arguments on these other passages are as easily refuted.  Why even a woman can do it!

So!  May a Christian vote for Sarah Palin?  You betcha!

February 2, 2010
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January 1, 2010 - Posted by | Isaiah 3:12


  1. Your analysis and logic are spot on, but the reason that what is said in Isaiah has no validity is because it is Old Testament Law. As we are currently living in the dispensation of Grace, things such as Law, Dietary rules, tithing, or the Sabbath do not apply. As Jesus made Paul the disciple for the gentiles, arguing over rules for the Nation of Israel is a non starter. Luckily people such as this are a small minority within the community of believers, and should not warrant so much attention.


    Comment by tsnamm | September 5, 2010 | Reply

    • Ponder Matthew 5:17-20. Many other passages in the Greek Scripture also attest to the abiding validity of the Law. All the passages which are quoted to the contrary are mistranslated or misunderstood, or both.

      Many pastors claim that Isaiah 3:12, among other passages, teach that women are inferior beings. Just google isaiah 3:12 and you will find them! There are many male supremacists in the “christian” community. What is sickening is that so many women go along with them: this false doctrine allows them to escape responsibility for their own lives. And they resent women who step outside of the mold – they see us as a reproach.


      Comment by Publius/Huldah | September 5, 2010 | Reply

  2. Publius

    Perhaps you could sit down with the Pope some day and explain that women should also be allowed to be priests!
    Thanks as always you untangle the tortured language!


    Comment by Claudia crazy like a fox | August 22, 2010 | Reply

    • Claudia! How lovely to hear from you!
      Women were pastors in the early church! Phoebe, for one, and Paul praised her and her work! Romans 16:1-2
      I was writing a book on what the Bible really says about women – and it has been grossly mistranslated to conceal what the Bible really says! But then I started on The Constitution and had to lay my Greek Bibles aside. I have the definitive Greek text of the NT which has all the variant readings, and it will shock & horrify you to see the differences in the passages about women! I have the Novum Testamentum Graece, Nestle-Aland, 27th ed.

      Phoebe was a “diakonos” & a “prostatis”. When diakonos is used for men, it is generally translated “minister”. When used to describe a woman, it’s “servant”. A “prostatis” was a powerful person, a leader and protector – someone who stand in front of people and protects them – a defender of peoples’ rights. Yet when applied to a woman, they translated it as “helper”. So reading the mistranslated English versions (hatchet jobs) of the Bible, one gets the impression that Phoebe was sort of like a maid who “helps” by doing the laundry for the men.

      My paper on Sara Palin was lifted out of my book on what the Bible really says about women. I heard men pastors warning about the judgment of God coming down on us if we elected a woman to the office of Vice President! What utter nonsense and LIES! I hope to get back to my book. You will be furious at how we have all been lied to about what the Bible really says about women.

      Throughout the centuries, people just changed the Greek text! E.g., at Colossians 4:15, there are 3 versions in 3 different families of GREEK texts! One version says Numphan and the congregation which meets at her house. Another says his house, and a third says their house!

      Over and over one sees this. And women would never know unless they learn Greek! Any honest translator would at the minimum, show the 3 variant readings. I realized that there are a lot of bad people posturing as Christians. People who tinker with SCRIPTURE to justify male supremacy.

      Dr. Ann Nyland has a wonderful new translation of the NT. “The Source New Testament”. I have the edition with extensive notes on Greek word meanings. It’s on amazon. Dr. Nyland also did a study Bible for gays, etc. which shows what the Bible really says in the passages which have been translated as addressing homosexuals. Well! This has made all those “perfect” “christians” who are without sin point their self-righteous fingers of disapproval at Dr. Nyland.
      But I say we are ALL sinners and we ALL need the Gospel.


      Comment by Publius/Huldah | August 22, 2010 | Reply

  3. I’d like to add to what I said. I’m not trying to be obstinate about what you are writing here. I think your work on Isaiah 3:12 was superb. Really enjoyed reading it. But, I do think the natural order of things is that men rule in the town square and women take care of the home. I’m sorry if that offends you. I think the thirty first proverb outlines the roles.

    Like a preacher that I greatly admire says, God’s best is that men take care of ruling and women take care of the home, but when men abdicate their responsibility, then BY ALL MEANS let the women who will rule in a Godly fashion undertake those responsibilities. It is much better to have a woman ruling in a Godly fashion than a man rule in an ungodly fashion.

    I think your faith in Sarah Palin is misplaced. She will let us down. I can guarantee it. She already let us down in that she wouldn’t use her right of “standing”. She has backed candidates in the current election cycle who are rinos. She has obviously done this to help her and the republican party will at all costs. Unfortunately, the “cost” will be our country. If there is a political benefit, SHE WILL CAVE. She has proved it over and over.

    I found your blog by reading your article at canadafreepress on the arizona question about where the case should be tried. Great article. I like your work very much.


    Comment by yo | July 30, 2010 | Reply

  4. You speak of “many other” instances of women ruling in the bible.

    There was Deborah, but she was a prophet, not a ruler.

    There was the woman named, I forget the exact name and spelling, but it was something like Athaliah, but she usuurped authority and was killed by the priests.

    I really don’t know what you are talking about when you say there are many examples of women ruling. Could you give some?

    I never said they couldn’t serve in various capacities and preach in church and even be pastors, but I would like to know what you are talking about when you say that women in the bible lead.


    Comment by yo | July 30, 2010 | Reply

  5. Publius, have you considered researching the role that the Founders wanted religion to play, and explaining Jefferson’s comment “a wall of separation between church and state” in its original context? Do the Federalist paper speak of this topic?


    Comment by Dave | July 21, 2010 | Reply

    • Hi, Dave,
      Oh yes! I have addressed the “wall of separation” issue. See:

      The Federalist Papers were written to explain the proposed Constitution w/o the Bill of Rights. Thus, The Federalist doesn’t address the first ten amendments. So, I consulted other writings of our founders to learn the original meaning of the “establishment” clause in the first Amendment.

      I think you will find the paper very interesting. Be sure to read the footnotes! Especially the ones about former KKK member Justice Hugo Black who wrote the majority opinion banning prayer in public schools.


      Comment by Publius/Huldah | July 22, 2010 | Reply

      • Ha! I have read this before. Silly me. Just forgot where I read it. Great article! I am currently teaching a class on The 5000 Year Leap and have referenced your article on my site. Thanks again. It’s amazing how anyone (except the elite of course) can be Democrats considering their history, especially over the last 150 years. Amazing! Dem’s latest Robert Byrd, KKK member, was a pillar of the Senate. Revolting!


        Comment by Dave | July 22, 2010 | Reply

  6. Sir I concur, and comiserate! I have been a fool, but have recovered. Our Creator also mentioned that “..your sons and your daughters will prophesy!” I appreciate muchly your efforts to share deeper truths with whom you may; the slouching of minds of our nation’s people is among the causes there are so many divisions, and that communism has known so many successes! Though no-one among them could hold a candle to any of the 56 men who signed the Declaration, nor of those, too few of which were the same as who ratified the Constitution; among the main causes for so doing was the pressing need to establish a firm monetary standard which would also be a set of just weights and measures…I am certsin you understand w/o my elaboration. I wrote also to advise that it is with difficulty that I read much of your material…I pray for “eagle vision” and for a screen with focus and sizing options!


    Comment by Michael L Morgan, D Sc | March 22, 2010 | Reply

    • Thank you, Michael! I don’t know how to enlarge the type in g-mail. So, I’ll double -space

      this. I’m not an expert in computers, but if you press Ctrl and + at the same time, will that

      enlarge the type? I too have problems with small print size. So I finally got a large screen

      which is easy on the eyes. I went to a computer store and just looked for the clearest

      screen. Yes, it breaks my heart that Americans are unable to THINK! That fills me

      with more despair than anything obama & pelosi do. All we can do is our best and trust God

      to handle the results. Publius.


      Comment by Publius/Huldah | March 22, 2010 | Reply

  7. Hi, just got here from the “general welfare” post. Good stuff! And I did not know that the Dead Sea documents were unpointed, which highlights the need to always do our own research and know everything we can in order to refute the common pat answers. And if your experience is anything like mine, people can get testy when you aim at their fallacies!

    Katharine Bushnell is probably the most obscure hero of the faith that has ever lived (at least in the west). She did more with less, and excelled at it. She is one I will be most honored to meet when we get to heaven.

    While we’re talking about people monkeying with the sacred text, did you know that the United Bible Societies were willing to stoop so low as to do a gender bender on Junia the Apostle? They cited “magiscule evidence” for putting an accent to make her name masculine, when even beginning Greek students know that no such accents appear on magiscules! And they broke their own rules for supporting documentation. Over 50 years later they quietly removed the accent, again without documentation, and never let out a peep that a whole generation of translations into various languages was corrupted by their “sophistries”, to borrow a favorite Bushnell term. …


    Comment by Paula | March 19, 2010 | Reply

  8. The LXX was translated from a textual tradition that differs from the text that the Masoretes copied from. And while it’s true that the LXX precedes the Masoretes by many centuries, it is nowhere near a perfect (or even always coherent) translation. What’s more, the Dead Sea Scrolls, which come from the first century A.D., confirm the general reliability of the Masoretic Text. One cannot simply take the LXX (or Vulgate, which comes from the LXX chiefly) over the Masoretic text simply out of preference of removing references to women and children as weaker than adult men. The expression is quite similar to the saying “you throw like a girl” in that being femaleness is associated with weakness or inability. That was taken as true within their culture.

    You cannot simply say “other translators thought so.” “Other translators” may not have worked with the same unpointed text that the Masoretes had. It’s not like they had the same text and just disagreed with the Masoretes on how it should be pointed. They often had different texts.

    Children does indeed fit alongside nashim, and Isaiah is a book of high poetry in Hebrew. Parallelism is not an out-of-place convention. Note that both halves of Isaiah 3:12 start with “my people.” Sure seems like a good context to have parallel statements, don’t you think?

    If you look at Brown-Driver-Briggs, which is a lexicon for people who actually can read and do not need words numbered for them (because that is for people who don’t even know the alphabet, and therefore shouldn’t be commenting), then you will find that ayin-lamed-lamed (a-l-l) actually represents three distinct words (much like how the English “lead” either comes from the verb to “lead” or is the name of a metal).

    The most common root is the one you seem to be stressing. Namely, “to act arbitrarily/unjustly.” (This one also includes “gleaning” within it.) The least common root, which you do not mention, is “to insert or thrust.” Now, the second one in the BDB (implying it’s the second-most common) is quite strange in that we cannot figure out where it comes from. We do not know if it comes from Moabite, Ugaritic, or Aramaic, or what. Its origin, sadly, is undetermined.

    This is the one rendered “child” in Isaiah 3:12. Isaiah 3:12 is the only occurrence of the verb (participle, really) for this root. However, there are 20 occurrences of the related noun “child” in the OT (Strongs #5768), which comes from the same root. Although it is a different “word” (because it is a noun and not the participial form of a verb, as it is in Is 3:12), it is from the same root and does attest to the possibility of meaning “child” in Is 3:12.

    An example: 1 Sam 15:3. Note that in that verse the dot above the ayin is an abbreviated form of the letter vav that you see in between ayin and lamed in Isaiah 3:12. It is an alternate spelling. In that verse it is abundantly clear that it refers to a child. Other occurrences: Jeremiah 6:11 and 9:20, Job 3:16, Micah 2:9, and other places. This root occurs in more than one place with the idea of a child.

    What your source is technically correct on is that the verb form only occurs once and is translated child, and that is indeed 3:12. The noun form “child” occurs in several places, as I just mentioned. The Brown-Driver-Briggs explains the one occurrence like this: “my people – its ruler is acting the child.” This fits, since a-l-l is a participle here.

    So, your source was dishonest with the actual data. The root a-l-l is well-attested as having to do with childishness, and it is true that the verb form only appears with that meaning in Is 3:12, but the root occurs elsewhere with that meaning. Nobody pulled it out of thin air. does not cite any sources for their data. Where did she get the idea that the root is only arbitrarily in this one instance translated with the idea of childishness? Check OnlineInterlinear/Hebrew for 1 Samuel 15:3 and Isaiah 3:12 and you will see that it is the same root for “child.” Your source lied.

    Now, nashim vs. noshim is a difference in pointing. I concede that. However, the verb form for a-l-l that underlies the Hebrew is a different Hebrew word form and is not just a difference in pointing. The Masoretic text has m-a-v-l-l, which is the participle “to play the child.” The Hebrew word form that underlies the Septuagint, according to my Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia’s textual apparatus, says a-l-l-v. The problem is NOT a difference in pointing, but actually has to do with the presence/absence of the letter mem, and also the order of the remaining letters.

    In short: I would urge you to 1. get a Brown-Driver-Briggs, 2. Ditch the Strong’s, because it’s not accurate or scholarly in the 21st (or 20th!) century, and 3. not trust sources that don’t cite data for their claims, such as saying that Isaiah 3:12 was the only occurrence of the root being translated as child in the OT. That, really, was bogus. I will admit that the New Strong’s Concordance seems to support your view, but then again, that is over a century old, and is not a reference anyone scholarly uses anymore. Get a BDB. Now that we have the Dead Sea Scrolls, our understanding of Hebrew is much better. Strong’s doesn’t take it into account since the DSS were discovered in 1947, exactly 57 years after the publishing of his concordance.

    If you don’t believe me, that’s fine. Just check a more reputable lexicon than that ancient Strong’s.


    Comment by Gary Simmons | January 14, 2010 | Reply

    • Addendum: it’s “complementarian.”

      Complimentary: “having to do with giving someone a compliment” (as in, “that is a hilarious shirt”)

      Complementary: “having to do with completing something” (as yin and yang complete each other)


      Comment by Gary Simmons | January 14, 2010 | Reply

      • Thank you! I corrected the spelling.
        Stamp out mistakes!


        Comment by Publius/Huldah | January 14, 2010 | Reply

    • 1. The controversy in my paper is about the vowels which the Masoretes added. Does an “a” or an “o” go in n_shim? The Masoretes added an “a”. Were they correct?

      Re the Hebrew word which the KJV translates as “children”: What’s the real Hebrew word? alal? owlel? olal? Something else? And is it consistently translated in the KJV?

      2. The Dead Sea Scrolls don’t support the Masoretes’ selections of vowels because the Dead Sea Scrolls don’t have vowels. The same goes for the other unpointed texts which other translators used. So, the Question remains: Were the Masoretes correct in their selections of vowels?

      3. The LXX translated the Hebrew word rendered as nAshim in the Masoretic text, as the Greek word, apaitountes [apaiteo]; and translated the Hebrew word rendered as alal, owlel, olal (or something else) in the Masoretic text, as the Greek word, praktores [praktor]. These Greek words have nothing to do with “women” and “children”; but rather with extractors, usurers, one who squeezes something out of someone or something.

      But you said the LXX “…is nowhere near a perfect (or even always coherent) translation.”

      So, I ask: By what standard are you measuring its asserted lack of perfection? If your standard is the Masoretic text with its inserted vowels, then you are begging the question (as the logicians say). And as to the LXX not always being “coherent”, we both know that respecting ancient MSS, we don’t always know the word meanings, idioms, etc. And better some incoherence than some copyist somewhere along the line “fixing up” unclear passages! And furthermore, can’t that charge be levied against any ancient MS which has not been “corrected” by anonymous copyists?

      4. It seems that while Jerome started to use the LXX as the basis for his Latin translation, he later switched to Hebrew versions and translated the entire Old Testament from them. (Encyclopaedia Britannica Micropaedia, 15th ed, Vol. X, p. 502). My point was that Jerome looked at the Hebrew word which the Masoretes later translated as a Hebrew word meaning “children”, and rendered it as exactores, meaning “oppressors”. Lamsa looked at the Aramaic of the Peshitta and rendered the word as “princes”.

      5. I do not rely on Strong’s. But many people think Strong’s is the next thing to Scripture. I speak and write using other peoples’ frames of reference so that I can be understood by them. I am not a Hebrew scholar, so rely on others such as the editors & translators of the Revised English Bible (Oxford University Press). I cited God’s Word to Women to give proper attribution to Dr. Bushnell.

      6. Thank you for your post – this was fun!


      Comment by Publius/Huldah | January 15, 2010 | Reply

  9. You Know Ms PH, just the fact that the media makes fun of her and tries to discredit her, tells me she is worth looking into for president and must be a force to be reckoned with or the forces that be in the media wouldn’t be attempting to assassination her character as they are doing.


    Comment by Mike | January 2, 2010 | Reply

    • True, Mike! And at the same time, “conservative” “christian” male supremacists say Christians shouldn’t vote for her just because she is a woman. There is much wickedness in the world, isn’t there? So much hatred, envy & resentment.


      Comment by Publius/Huldah | January 2, 2010 | Reply

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