Why were women valued less than men in the Old Testament?
I love God. I am a strong woman and have always asserted myself and believe that men and women are equal in the eyes of God. There is actually a scripture that says "all of mankind is created equal in the eyes of God." I do know there are different roles for each sex, but why in the Old Testament was it OK for men to sleep with women they were not married to, but a woman was considered defiled and in some cases, stoned to death, if she did the same act. Also, in Numbers 12, Miriam and Aaron are both complaining about Moses, yet God chose to give leprosy to Miriam and leave Aaron unscathed. Frankly, I cannot agree with this. It seems women are less than men. God can do whatever He wants because He made us but this is not cool. I know when Moses went to God and pleaded on behalf of Aaron's request to heal Miriam, God still chose to punish only her by putting her outside the gates for seven days. I do not want to question God, but I cannot accept that women are to be valued less than men.
"For what if some did not believe? Will their unbelief make the faithfulness of God without effect? Certainly not! Indeed, let God be true but every man a liar. As it is written: "That You may be justified in Your words, and may overcome when You are judged"" (Romans 3:3-4).
Whenever men find themselves disagreeing with God, it is never because man is morally superior to God. God doesn't make mistakes; therefore, we have to examine the mistakes we make in looking at the situations.
As a side note, there is no verse that says "all of mankind is created equal in the eyes of God." The closest you can get is "For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus" (Galatians 3:27-28). When it comes to salvation, we are all equal before the Lord.
It has never been right for a man to commit fornication. The law "You shall not commit adultery" (Exodus 20:14) applies equally to men and women. For example, even prior to the Law of Moses, when Joseph was asked to have sex with Potiphar's wife, he replied, "There is no one greater in this house than I, nor has he kept back anything from me but you, because you are his wife. How then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God" (Genesis 39:9). Joseph understood that sex outside of marriage is great wickedness. Adultery was punishable by stoning of both the man and woman. "If a man is found lying with a woman married to a husband, then both of them shall die-the man that lay with the woman, and the woman; so you shall put away the evil from Israel" (Deuteronomy 22:22). If it was provable that it was a case of rape, only the man was killed. "But if a man finds a betrothed young woman in the countryside, and the man forces her and lies with her, then only the man who lay with her shall die" (Deuteronomy 22:25). If both were single, then the woman's father had the right to either insist on their marriage or accept a fine from the man (Deuteronomy 22:28-29; Exodus 22:16-17). If they did marry, any right to divorce is given up.
Yes, Miriam and Aaron were both guilty in Numbers 12. Aaron was not struck with leprosy because he was the High Priest. To fulfill his office, he had to remain pure (Leviticus 22:4ff). As the High Priest, he was also wearing the special garments of the High Priest, but anything that a leper touches, including his clothing, became unclean (Leviticus 13:47ff). Miriam had to go out of the camp for seven days because that was the requirement for anyone cleansed of leprosy. "He who is to be cleansed shall wash his clothes, shave off all his hair, and wash himself in water, that he may be clean. After that he shall come into the camp, and shall stay outside his tent seven days" (Leviticus 14:8). It had nothing to do with male and female. It had to do with justice and not bending rules just because someone was a leading figure. "Then the LORD said to Moses, "If her father had but spit in her face, would she not be shamed seven days? Let her be shut out of the camp seven days, and afterward she may be received again" " (Numbers 12:14).