BR 14:02, Apr 1998
Does the Bible refer to God as feminine?
Most good Bible teachers have a secret satchel of especially enticing insights that liven up a class and engage students. We want to present one of these little gems in Insight in each issue of BR. We hope this new department will surprise, teach and entertainand thereby compel your interest. We invite submissions, from scholars and lay readers alike.
In at least one instance in the Hebrew Bible, God is referred to as feminine.
This is not apparent in English translations because you is neither masculine nor feminine. However, many other languages, including Hebrew, use masculine and feminine forms of you.
The feminine reference to God occurs in Numbers 11:15. The children of Israel are in the desert. Despite their rescue from Egyptian bondage, they are complaining bitterly. In Egypt, they recall, they ate fish and cucumbers. They had melons and onions and garlic and leeks. Here they have only manna. Moses himself is distressed at the burden of having to lead the people: I cannot carry all this people by myself, he tells the Lord. It is too much for me.