Wives, are you doing what is right?

Do you ever think about choices? Do you ever ask yourself whether you are choosing the right thing? Are you sure you even know what is the right thing?

Genesis 18 records a statement that Sarah made about her husband. At first glance, her statement seems to have no special significance; however, when Peter wrote one of his letters, he used Sarah’s statement to illustrate a choice that all wives need to make. Let’s look at the context of Sarah’s statement, and then we will see what Peter had to say about it.

Genesis 18 tells us about a time when Yahweh promised that Sarah would have a son. Sarah responded in disbelief because she and Abraham were “too old” to have children. Notice the term that Sarah used to refer to her husband in this dialogue.

Gen. 18:1 ¶ Now the LORD appeared to him by the oaks of Mamre, while he was sitting at the tent door in the heat of the day.

Gen. 18:9 ¶ Then they said to him, “Where is Sarah your wife?” And he said, “There, in the tent.”

Gen. 18:10 He said, “I will surely return to you at this time next year; and behold, Sarah your wife will have a son.” And Sarah was listening at the tent door, which was behind him.

Gen. 18:11 Now Abraham and Sarah were old, advanced in age; Sarah was past childbearing.

Gen. 18:12 Sarah laughed to herself, saying, “After I have become old, shall I have pleasure, my lord being old also?”

Sarah referred to her husband as her “lord”. The word “lord” is a translation of the Hebrew word “adon”. The word “adon” is also used in Genesis 39 where it is translated “master”.

Gen. 39:1 ¶ Now Joseph had been taken down to Egypt; and Potiphar, an Egyptian officer of Pharaoh, the captain of the bodyguard, bought him from the Ishmaelites, who had taken him down there.

Gen. 39:2 The LORD was with Joseph, so he became a successful man. And he was in the house of his master, the Egyptian.

Joseph was bought as a slave, and the person who bought him was his “adon”. Sarah referred to her husband as her “adon”. In using the word “adon”, Sarah was acknowledging Abraham’s authority over her and she was placing herself under that authority.

Sarah’s use of the word “adon” is the statement that Peter referred to in his writings. The following verses are from the book of 1 Peter. What instructions did Peter give to wives?

1Pet. 3:1 ¶ In the same way, you wives, be submissive to your own husbands so that even if any of them are disobedient to the word, they may be won without a word by the behavior of their wives,

1Pet. 3:2 as they observe your chaste and respectful behavior.

1Pet. 3:3 Your adornment must not be merely external — braiding the hair, and wearing gold jewelry, or putting on dresses;

1Pet. 3:4 but let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God.

Peter instructed wives to place themselves under the authority of their husband, and to adorn themselves with  a gentle and quiet spirit.  In the next two verses, Peter mentioned the holy women from former times as examples of wives who submitted to their husbands and adorned themselves with a gentle and quiet spirit. He specifically mentioned that Sarah obeyed Abraham and that she called him lord. But while writing this, Peter pointed out that wives have a choice to make. Notice the phrase “if you do what is right”, particularly the word “if”.

1Pet. 3:5 For in this way in former times the holy women also, who hoped in God, used to adorn themselves, being submissive to their own husbands;

1Pet. 3:6 just as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord, and you have become her children if you do what is right without being frightened by any fear.

When Peter used the phrase “if you do what is right”, he was pointing out that wives have a choice. Just as Sarah had to choose whether or not to do what is right, all wives need to choose whether or not they are going to do the right thing. Wives, are you doing the right thing? Are you following Sarah’s example? Are you adorning yourself with a gentle and quiet spirit? Are you chaste and respectful? Are you trying to win your husband without a word? Are you submissive to your husband?

Doing the right thing can be very difficult, not just for wives, but for everyone. However, no matter how difficult it is to obey, the Bible tells us what we should do, and we need to choose whether or not we are going to do what is right.


Further Reading

What should we do when an authority figure is unreasonable?

How do we prepare to meet God?

Does God have regard for you?


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“Scripture quotations taken from the NASB.”