The woman takes her husband's last name - biblical?

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fredtgreco

Vanilla Westminsterian
Staff member
That reasoning may sound a bit Johnnie Cochranesque, but I like it.


I always take it that the man's name should be taken for WOman was named after MAN.

The linguistic aspect isn't quite so convenient in the Hebrew, though, are they?

Actually, its is even more direct.

One Hebrew word for man is "ish" (transliterated). Woman is "ishshah" which means "taken from man."

Hence Genesis 2:23

ESV Genesis 2:23 Then the man said, "This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man."

I find it interesting that this is the case in both languages.
 

KMK

Administrator
Staff member
Since then she's tried to talk me into changing our last name a couple of times, for the sake of our daughter of course.

I take it you give your wife the option of picking the kid's names :lol:

Yeah, and she probably is not going to choose 'Seymour'. (How many times have your heard that one?)
 

CovenantalBaptist

Puritan Board Freshman
To clarify, I am in no way advocating anything other than complementarianism. I do not like the 20th century practice of women not taking their husband's names, it is a matter of submission, but I don't think that you can force the issue based on Genesis 5:2alone because of the Hebrew as I described earlier. That was my point. And yes, I would agree, Adam named his wife and that does indicate his authority over her (on top of the creation order itself).

"Modern" means anything from the Reformation to 20th century. I was thinking of it in the epoch sense - from the Reformation to now. In the Scriptures I think you would be hard pressed to give a direct example of Man and Woman having the same last name as we understand it in our "modern" culture. Good and necessary consequence from other Scriptures yes, Genesis 5:2, no. The ESV is a proper translation here and is not conceding to an agenda (although it does make other concessions elsewhere, sadly). If it were, then it would say "people".

Genesis 2:23 is a better argument for the modern practice in (most particularly) western culture as is the forementioned Genesis 3:20.
 

KenPierce

Puritan Board Freshman
I think this is more cultural than Biblical, though I agree a wife ought to take her husband's name.

Some very traditional cultures incorporate the maiden name: for instance, Spanish-speaking cultures. In the deep South, the woman's maiden name is often used as her "middle" name when she gets married. This predates women's lib.

Just an interesting factoid. I do think the woman's name ought to incorprate the husband's name as the indication that this is a "new" family, that she has left and cleft, as it were!
 

Poimen

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
No one has last names in the Bible but they are the 'son of Abraham', or the 'son of Jacob', or... well you get the picture.

In other words, one's identity is wrapped up in their father's name. Of course someone would/could argue that this is merely an ANE convention or practice and by no means establishes a binding principle for all time.

That may be but note that even Jesus was the son of His father and so, by adoption, are we sons of God, baptized in the name etc.
 

Archlute

Puritan Board Senior
Re: Genesis 5:2

Although it is an attractive argument for a modern practice, for those saying that God called Adam and Eve "Adam" - while this is iterally true, one must be careful not to read too much into this as the word "Adam" is in Hebrew both an appellative noun meaning "man", and the proper name of the first man, much as if we in English should denominate the first man simply "Man."

If you read Genesis 5:2 in the ESV, this is made more clear. ::Offtopic::This is one reason that there is some differences of opinion as to what is being referred to in Hosea 6:7. See Warfield for an excellent discussion on that text.

Your are reading your Hebrew studies w/o any theology behind them, which is the way that they are taught in most modern seminaries, so I don't fault you. "Adam" does indeed have great significance in referring to the original man even when it is employed as a noun to denote men/mankind in general.

When the statement "son of man/Adam" is employed in the scriptures it is directly linking us (and Christ!) to the parentage of our father Adam. When the scriptures speak of sons of Adam and our frailty, sin nature, etc. it is reminding us that we derive this from our identity with our earthly father. When scripture denotes Ezekiel (as he is repeatedly denoted) as "son of Adam" it is pointing out not only his identity with fallen mankind, but giving a glimpse into the salvific work and work of the great "Son of Adam" toward whom the prophet is pointing. This of course brings us to Christ, the greatest son of Adam who took upon himself direct identity with the race that had fallen through Adam's sin, and who identified himself with us in our fallen humanity/Adam-ness, and redeemed us from it unto himself. He is both a Son of Adam, and as Paul writes, the Second Adam!

Regarding Hosea 6:7, I don't think that there is really any basis to dispute the reading that speaks of Adam transgressing the covenant, and I believe that Warfield does a good job of pointing out most of the reasons for this (although I can't remember if he gets them all). So the dispute isn't really one that should affect the use of that term; it is pretty clear that it is speaking of the covenant breaking of Adam. A similar passage can be found in Job 25:6.

This is not to say that the translation "man/mankind" is not valid (many times it is a necessity), but it is to say that we should never take the approach of theological neutrality or agnosticism found in many modern grammatical and lexical works, thereby failing to make good theological connections.
 

ColdSilverMoon

Puritan Board Senior
The practice of the wife taking the last name of the husband seems like a cultural tradition based on Biblical concepts. The most compelling Biblical argument to me comes from good ol' Ephesians 5, which compares Christ and the Church to a husband and his bride. If, as Christians, we take the name of Christ after our salvation when He becomes our head, it makes sense to complete the analogy with the wife taking the name of her husband when he becomes her head. It's a nice symbol for the wife to take her husband's last name when she leaves her old name/old identity behind, just as we leave the "old man" and our old identities behind when we are incorporated into the Church.

So, I don't think it's sinful for the wife not to take her husband's last name, but it is a good practice.
 

Archlute

Puritan Board Senior
I always get a kick out of the false dichotomy brought about when people attempt to argue that something is either cultural and therefore of little consequence or biblical and therefore we should take it more seriously. Culture is never neutral, it is either more biblical or less biblical in how it has been influenced. Dismissing something as being unimportant to change/reclaim under the guise of it being "merely a part of Western culture, etc." shows more the negative impact of modern missiology than it does a Christian view of culture. That view would say, "It is both Western and correct, because the Western view is, in this instance, founded on a Christian view of life while the Asian culture is wrong at this point, because it is a cultural practice founded on principles that are devoid of Christian knowledge."

I know some of you won't want to swallow your medicine, but that's too bad, because I also think that Christendom was, in general, a good thing. :p
 

Kim G

Puritan Board Junior
I always get a kick out of the false dichotomy brought about when people attempt to argue that something is either cultural and therefore of little consequence or biblical and therefore we should take it more seriously. Culture is never neutral, it is either more biblical or less biblical in how it has been influenced. Dismissing something as being unimportant to change/reclaim under the guise of it being "merely a part of Western culture, etc." shows more the negative impact of modern missiology than it does a Christian view of culture. That view would say, "It is both Western and correct, because the Western view is, in this instance, founded on a Christian view of life while the Asian culture is wrong at this point, because it is a cultural practice founded on principles that are devoid of Christian knowledge."

I understand what you're saying. However, you can only take it so far. What you are presenting I would consider a "false dichotomy"=everything is either Christian or non-Christian. In ancient Asia, women wore pants and men wore robes. In the West, men wear pants and women (traditionally) wear skirts. Neither is a Christian vs. non-Christian view of life. It's just . . . clothing styles. Same with types of food eaten, traditional music styles, etc. Unless maybe you wouldn't consider this neutral.

In the Bible, I would have been called Kim, daughter of Ken. Upon getting married, I STILL would have been Kim, daughter of Ken, not Kim, wife of Josh, right? So maybe the biblical precident is that the daughter retains the name of her father. :duh:
 

Christusregnat

Puritan Board Professor
Kim,

Here are some examples of the basic way of surnaming a married woman:

Genesis 11:31 Terah took his son Abram, his grandson Lot son of Haran, and his daughter-in-law Sarai, the wife of his son Abram, and together they set out from Ur of the Chaldeans to go to Canaan. But when they came to Haran, they settled there.

Judges 4:4 Deborah, a prophetess, the wife of Lappidoth, was leading Israel at that time.

Judges 5:24 "Most blessed of women be Jael,
the wife of Heber the Kenite,
most blessed of tent-dwelling women.

2 Samuel 12:10 Now, therefore, the sword will never depart from your house, because you despised me and took the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be your own.' (note, 11:3 mentions her specifically as the daughter of Eliam, as well as the wife of Uriah; but the "wife of" is her ongoing title).

1 Kings 14:5-6 But the LORD had told Ahijah, "Jeroboam's wife is coming to ask you about her son, for he is ill, and you are to give her such and such an answer. When she arrives, she will pretend to be someone else." 6 So when Ahijah heard the sound of her footsteps at the door, he said, "Come in, wife of Jeroboam. Why this pretense? I have been sent to you with bad news.


Luke 8:3 Joanna the wife of Cuza, the manager of Herod's household; Susanna; and many others. These women were helping to support them out of their own means.


John 19:25 Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother, his mother's sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene.

Revelation 21:9 One of the seven angels who had the seven bowls full of the seven last plagues came and said to me, "Come, I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb."

Notice in each case, that the "second name" to describe who this woman is identifies the woman with her husband; this is the function of our surname, and reflects Eve's identity as Mrs. Adam, and the church's identity as the Mrs. The Lamb.

Cheers,

Adam

In the Bible, I would have been called Kim, daughter of Ken. Upon getting married, I STILL would have been Kim, daughter of Ken, not Kim, wife of Josh, right? So maybe the biblical precident is that the daughter retains the name of her father. :duh:
 

Kim G

Puritan Board Junior
Kim,

Here are some examples of the basic way of surnaming a married woman:

[snip]

Notice in each case, that the "second name" to describe who this woman is identifies the woman with her husband; this is the function of our surname, and reflects Eve's identity as Mrs. Adam, and the church's identity as the Mrs. The Lamb.

Thanks for correcting me. (That's why I added "right?" at the end of my sentence. I guess I should edit it to say "wrong!") :lol:
 

Archlute

Puritan Board Senior
I always get a kick out of the false dichotomy brought about when people attempt to argue that something is either cultural and therefore of little consequence or biblical and therefore we should take it more seriously. Culture is never neutral, it is either more biblical or less biblical in how it has been influenced. Dismissing something as being unimportant to change/reclaim under the guise of it being "merely a part of Western culture, etc." shows more the negative impact of modern missiology than it does a Christian view of culture. That view would say, "It is both Western and correct, because the Western view is, in this instance, founded on a Christian view of life while the Asian culture is wrong at this point, because it is a cultural practice founded on principles that are devoid of Christian knowledge."

I understand what you're saying. However, you can only take it so far. What you are presenting I would consider a "false dichotomy"=everything is either Christian or non-Christian. In ancient Asia, women wore pants and men wore robes. In the West, men wear pants and women (traditionally) wear skirts. Neither is a Christian vs. non-Christian view of life. It's just . . . clothing styles. Same with types of food eaten, traditional music styles, etc. Unless maybe you wouldn't consider this neutral.

In the Bible, I would have been called Kim, daughter of Ken. Upon getting married, I STILL would have been Kim, daughter of Ken, not Kim, wife of Josh, right? So maybe the biblical precident is that the daughter retains the name of her father. :duh:

No, you would still have been called Kim, the wife of Josh; see Gen. 24:15, 36:10, etc.
 

Christusregnat

Puritan Board Professor
Kim,

I took it as a question, and my response more of an answer than correction, but thanks for confirming your intent :detective:

Cheers,

Adam


Thanks for correcting me. (That's why I added "right?" at the end of my sentence. I guess I should edit it to say "wrong!") :lol:
 

MrMerlin777

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
Not that it realy mattered to me at the time, but when my wife and I married, she took my name and kept her middle name dropping her maiden name entirely.

She's quite comfortable with that discision and as we have grown more covenantal over the years she finds it to be appropriate as she is no longer under her father's headship but mine.

Just the way things have worked out in the Jacobs' household anyway.
 
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