錫安女子 WOMEN OF ZION 《Isaiah 以賽亞書 3:16 – 4:1》

讀經:  《以賽亞書》三章16節至四章1節

SCRIPTURE READING:  Isaiah 3:16 – 4:1

釋義:  這一段聖經開始的一節和結束都提到錫安女人, 而這段中亦多次及女子或女性動詞和形容詞, 與上文和下文都是男性名詞和動詞截然不同。所以雖然聖經以在那日,七個女人必拉住一個男人,說:「我們吃自己的食物,穿自己的衣服,但求你許我們歸你名下;求你除掉我們的羞恥。」作為新一章的身上節, 但是按著經文所講論的主題,這節應該屬於講論女性的段落, 與下文用男性動詞的內容不同。

INSIGHT:  This passage, from beginning to end, speaks about the women of Zion.  Feminine verbs and adjectives are used throughout this section which are entirely different from the masculine verbs and adjectives used before and after this particular section.  Verse 1 of chapter 4 says:  In that day seven women will take hold of one man and say,  “We will eat our own food and provide our own clothes; only let us be called by your name.  Take away our disgrace.”  Even though this verse is at the beginning of the next chapter, according to the theme of this verse, this verse belongs to the paragraph that talks about the women of Zion, since it is different from the content that follows which contains masculine verbs.

聖經少用女性詞句並非歧視女性, 這實在是古代的表達方式。中文在白話文流行之前, 甚至現時代名詞雖已有分性別, 但是在論及無分性別的事物或教訓時, 仍用男性的你們、他們概括男女兩性。只在講論單適用於女性時, 才用女性動詞或代名詞。以賽亞在本段就講論一個超越文化和時代的女人問題: 美容。

The Bible uses few feminine terms, but this doesn’t mean discrimination against women.  This is actually what was used during ancient times.  Before vernacular Chinese was popularized, and even  now, although nouns are gender-specific, when dealing with gender-neutral things or teachings, the masculine gender is used to include both men and women.   Feminine verbs or pronouns are only used when they are specifically speaking about women.  In this passage, Isaiah talks about a problem that women have which is beyond culture and the times:  BEAUTY.

本段提到廿四種不同的女人服飾:  腳下玎璫、華美的腳釧、髮網、月牙圈、耳環、手鐲、蒙臉的帕子、華冠、足鍊、華帶、香盒、符囊、戒指、鼻環、吉服、外套、雲肩、荷包、手鏡、細麻衣、裹頭巾、蒙身的帕子、腰帶、華服等。其中一些服飾不為現代人所認識或使用, 但是這些美容物品主必除掉, 使到婦女失去美貌、馨香和健康(17,24, 而最令她們羞恥的是失去古代女人最大倚靠的丈夫, 並且對男人失去吸引力, 連企圖運用物質去擄攏男人也不得逞 (25四1)。

This passage mentions 24 different kinds of women’s clothing and accessories:  Ornaments jingling on their ankles,  bangles and headbands and crescent necklaces, earring and bracelets and veils, headdresses and anklets and sashes, perfume bottles and charms, signet rings and nose rings, fine robes and capes and cloaks, purses and mirrors and linen garments and tiaras and shawls.   Some of these clothes and accessories are not known to us or used by us today,  but it says that the Lord will take away  their beauty, their fragrance and their health (v. 17, 24, and they will lose their husbands whom they depended on, this was the most shameful thing for women in ancient times, moreover, they will not be attractive to men anymore, even if they used material things to seduce them (v. 25, 4:1)

聖經其實並不反對女人愛美的天性, 只是因為錫安的女子狂傲,就是上文所指責的自高自私, 透過行走挺項,賣弄眼目,俏步徐行的儀態表露, 才招致責備。所以彼得教訓我們不要以外面的辮頭髮戴金飾穿美衣為妝飾只要以裡面長存久溫柔安靜的心為妝飾這在神面前是極寶貴的 (彼前三3-4)。

Actually, the Bible is not against women wanting to look beautiful; but it was only because of the arrogance of the women of Zion.  They were proud and selfish, walking along with outstretched necks, flirting with their eyes, strutting along with swaying hips, that is what they were accused of doing.  That is why Peter teaches us that our beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes.  Rather, it should be that of our inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight. (1 Peter 3:2-4)

今天婦女固然要留心, 防範不容服飾美容代替神居首位, 但聖經提醒所有男女信徒:以任何事物(和合本翻譯作別神)代替耶和華的,他們的愁苦必加增 (詩十六4) 。

It is true that women today should be careful not let clothes, accessories or cosmetics take the place of God, but the Bible reminds all, men and women believers, that those who run after other gods will suffer more and more. (Psalm 16:4)

每日讀經by 洪同勉牧師 Rev. Tommy Hung