Quoting Quiverfull: The Unmarried Are Always Under the Headship of Their Fathers?

Quoting Quiverfull: The Unmarried Are Always Under the Headship of Their Fathers? April 29, 2014

by Suzannah Rowntree at Ladies Against Feminism – Unmarried Women and the Things of the Lord

This verse does not command us how things are supposed to be. Rather it describes a tendency, a weakness, among married women to please their husbands above God. The same tendency does not apply as strongly to unmarried women, even in their own families, but if it does, the Lord still tells us we must “hate” our parents and siblings.

Taking this verse as an instruction turns it into a parody of itself. We need to realise that neither marriage nor service at home should be distractions from “the things of the Lord” but powerful means of serving the Kingdom. Were the daughters of Shallum caring for the things of God, or for the things of their father? Both.

The Lord’s heart for unmarried women, communicated again and again in Scripture, is to see them in their homes where possible, under the headship and provision of their fathers, serving and working. These are “the things of the Lord” for us.

QUOTING QUIVERFULL is a regular feature of NLQ – we present the actual words of noted Quiverfull leaders and ask our readers: What do you think? Agree? Disagree? This is the place to state your opinion. Please, let’s keep it respectful – but at the same time, we encourage readers to examine the ideas of Quiverfull honestly and thoughtfully.

Comments open below

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  • The Lord’s heart for unmarried women is the same as it is for unmarried men.

    Ephesians 2:10
    For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.

    Sitting at home pining for a husband and dutifully obeying our fathers isn’t good works.

  • She misuses 1Co 7:34 There is difference also between a wife and a virgin. The unmarried woman careth for the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and in spirit: but she that is married careth for the things of the world, how she may please her husband.

    She basically denies what it say and say that marriage and “service at home” are “the things of the Lord”, and “powerful means of serving the Kingdom” for women. She disrespect the text by asserting the exact opposite – despite the text.


    “Were the daughters of Shallum caring for the things of God, or for the things of their father? Both.”

    Look how obscure a verse she had to go to to see a daughter serving God while serving her father? Neh 3:12. And even then, it is not a case of serving God by staying at home under their father, but of repairing the same gate/section next to the gate – working alongside their father as perhaps functional equals.

  • Mirella222

    I am not sure if this should be considered willful ignorance, or total lack of reading comprehension. Regardless, the text is explicitly clear: it is better not to marry, for both men and women, because then you can focus on good works. Good works means feeding the hungry, clothing the poor, tending to the sick, etc. Not a) staying home with mommy and daddy forever, or b) serving your husband and having 20 kids*. This is not a difficult concept.

    *I don’t think marrying or having kids is bad, but the fact stands that Christianity started out as very anti marriage

  • Mel

    I made the mistake of reading the whole agonizing blog post.

    For people who insist the bible is both literal and self-explanatory, this post involves a lot of sketchy explanations.

    First, let’s look at the verses around 1st Corinthians 7:32-36.

    32 But I would have you without carefulness. He that is unmarried careth for the things that belong to the Lord, how he may please the Lord:

    33 But he that is married careth for the things that are of the world, how he may please his wife.

    34 There is difference also between a wife and a virgin. The unmarried woman careth for the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and in spirit: but she that is married careth for the things of the world, how she may please her husband.

    35 And this I speak for your own profit; not that I may cast a snare upon you, but for that which is comely, and that ye may attend upon the Lord without distraction.

    36 But if any man think that he behaveth himself uncomely toward his virgin, if she pass the flower of her age, and need so require, let him do what he will, he sinneth not: let them marry.

    That passage is pretty clear: single life is more “Godly” than marriage. No need to play with inner or outer sanctification.

  • Mel

    Here’s another gem:

    “Take Ruth, who cared for her widowed mother and rather aggressively pursued marriage. Was her obedience to Naomi a failure to care for the things of the Lord according to 1 Corinthians 7:34?”

    Why on Earth would you compare the actions of an Old Testament woman to the writings of a much later author? That’s just absurd – even if she does “support” the point. A better point would be that Ruth and Naomi were following the laws of marriage as laid out by the Torah…..but that’s not as pat..

  • Suzanne Harper Titkemeyer

    Naomi wasn’t even Ruth’s mother, she was her mother-in-law. So how does this apply to the author’s suppositions? It doesn’t.

  • Mel

    The entire post is just one really long attempt to explain away the most obvious verses that contradict the SAHD movement.

    I enjoy how they need to invoke Mary, too…. even though they traditionally denigrate Catholics for our idol worship and forget that she WAS an unmarried mother during some portion of her pregnancy.

  • I had to break my lurking silence to add to this…Ruth is probably the LAST example patriarchal Christianity ought to be using if they want to prove that daughters are always under somebody’s headship.
    According to every little thing I’ve read about the theology, for Ruth to have done what they say is correct, she should have gone back to her father’s house. Not go running off with her mother-in-law to a strange country where she would be forced to provide for both of them. Instead, she goes off with a bunch of strangers because she knows her mother-in-law–who is exactly zip to her at this point, other than a beloved older friend, as there’s no longer any legal tie between Ruth and Naomi–won’t be able to provide for herself. Gleaning the fields was hard, awful, difficult work for an extraordinarily small payoff–basically, you got enough dirty grain to feed yourself and that’s it. If you wanted to translate Ruth’s story up into modern times, that’s basically going to work for McDonalds. I’d also read it as flipping dangerous work for women. There’s a verse in there where Boaz says “I’ve told the men to leave you alone” to Ruth. Jewish law states that they weren’t allowed to drive off the poor people gleaning, so I tend to read that as less “They’ll let you glean” and more “If they rape you I’m going to fire them”.

    So yeah. Using a story that’s the bible time’s equivilant of abandoning your family to move in with a poor old lady in another state and working at McDonalds so you can support her is probably NOT the best choice for the Stay-At-Home-Daughter’s movement.

  • Mel, it is clear evidence that these people love their pre-suppositions, not Biblical truth.
    Someone told me – I am unsure if this is true – that the “thou shall not take the name of God in vain” has nothing to do with saying God’s name when a hammer lands on your thumb. According to Jewish tradition it allegedly has to do with using God’s name to endorse something, when God is not actually behind it. I don’t know if that is true, but it really sounds more sensible than the Christian understanding of taking God’s name in vain.
    If that is true, this LAF example is a prime example of taking God’s name in vain.

  • Mel

    That is so true! Plus, Ruth was a fairly active participant in ‘catching’ Boaz.

  • Joy

    I wish Christianity would swing back a little more towards that. At the very least, it would be nice if singleness would be as celebrated as marriage is!

  • Allison the Great

    I think it’s both poor reading comprehension and trying to manipulate scripture so that it means what they want it to mean.

  • Allison the Great

    Um, we don’t need headship, period. I really resent the stupid bitches who try to manipulate scripture to convince other women that we do. I find it difficult – nearly impossible – to tolerate women who endorse things like these, and being stupid, simpering, weak doormats all for the sake of being what they think is feminine.

  • Nightshade

    Of course we don’t need ‘headship.’ We have heads of our own, and we know how to use them.

  • Allison the Great


  • Astrin Ymris

    Why would women need “headship” from guys who can’t think straight if a woman’s clothing is “immodest”? (Which can apparently mean something as benign as “fitting well enough to allow free movement”.)

    Seems to me that would indicate that it’s MEN who need to be under female “headship”.


  • Allison the Great

    Exactly. “Excuse me, bitch but you can’t even think for yo’ self, what makes you think I’ll let you think for me? You fucked up your life royally with your thinking, there is no way in hell that your fucking up mine by telling me I have to live to please a man. BItch, shut the fuck up with that shit.”

  • persephone

    I’d like to be able to say, “You can’t make this sh** up,” but every Quoting Quiverfull post blows that out of the water.

  • Jenny Islander

    Yeah, like, you’re never supposed to say “I swear to God I’m gonna do (whatever)” just to get somebody off your back, because you know you don’t mean it, i.e., you are speaking in vain.

  • Jenny Islander

    Somebody of this mindset told me that because my father had died when I was a little girl, I should have gone from my mother’s house to the home of my eldest brother, who would guide and direct me and protect me from the big bad world. Would that be before or after the chemotherapy and the bouts of vomiting and days spent in bed? I asked. And if he up and died on me, should I inflict myself on my middle brother, who had an extremely classified job around things that make mushroom clouds, or my youngest brother, whose last contact with me had been to weasel some of my mother’s life insurance out of me with a sob story about a loan when I would’ve probably given it to him if he’d nutted up and just asked for it? And seeing as how all of my uncles and grandparents are dead, if I run out of brothers, should I look up one of the cousins whose names I barely know because they live in states I’ve never been to?

    Never did get an answer.

  • Yea, well, what do you do when your father has Alzheimer’s Disease?

  • Independent Thinker

    I think that falls under the umbrella of it was “God’s Plan” for you to be a live in servant to your father during your adult years. Putting your life on the shelf until the day he dies in which you are totally lost because you can not relate to your peers, your maturity has totally been stunted, and you are completely unable to make decisions for yourself because up until now it has been totally forbidden.

  • gimpi1

    I took care of my father, who had traumatic brain-damage for years, SJ. I guess in having power-of-attorney, adding a mother-in-law apartment for him, having a job and looking after his needs, I was sinning. Who knew?

    I should have allowed his disability and damaged cognition to leave us starving under a bridge somewhere, I guess.

  • Astrin Ymris

    Now, now– don’t overdo it! A few well-placed profanities adds punch to your message; too many tend to obscure it.

    I do a lot of fanfic concrit– Does it show?


  • Allison the Great

    True. I do get a little bit revved up at the idea of some guy telling me that I can’t think for myself because of the “XX” chromosomes. That ticks me off, so that leads me to do a little bit more cursing. It happens, lol.