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ISBE: FEMALE
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Female

FEMALE [ISBE]

FEMALE - fe'-mal: Two Hebrew words are thus translated:

(1) neqebhah, which is merely a physiological description of the sexual characteristic (from naqabh, "to perforate"), and which corresponds to zakhar, "male" (see under the word).

(2) 'ishshah, with the irregular plural nashim (only Gen 7:2, in all other places "wife," "woman"), the feminine form of 'ish, "man."

The Greek word is thelus, literally, "the nursing one," "the one giving suck" (from thelazo, "to suckle").

Israelitic law seems frequently guilty of unjust partiality in favor of the male sex, but we have to consider that most of these legal and religious disabilities of women can be explained from the social conditions prevailing at the time of legislation. They are therefore found also in contemporaneous Gentilereligions. Though traces of this prejudice against the weaker sex are found in the New Testament, the religious discrimination between the sexes has practically ceased, as is evident from Gal 3:28: "There can be no male and female; for ye all are one man in Christ Jesus"; compare also 1 Pet 3:7.

H. L. E. Luering


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