Othniel and Achsah: Super-Marrieds


Othniel and Achsah: Super-Marrieds

March 15th, 1981 @ 7:30 PM

Genesis 2:21-25

And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof; And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man. And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man. Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh. And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.
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Dr. W. A. Criswell

Genesis 2:21-25

3-15-81    7:30 p.m.


It is a gladness for us in the First Baptist Church of Dallas to welcome the multitudes of you who are listening to this service on radio.  This is the pastor of the First Baptist Church bringing the message entitled Othniel and Achsah: Super-Marrieds.

This is the beginning of a series of eight messages delivered on Sunday night at the 7:00 o’clock service sponsored by separate divisions in our Sunday school, and the one tonight sponsored by the Young Married division and the Young Adult division.  And the message is one chosen by them out of several for the pastor to deliver.

Now as a background, could we turn to Genesis [2] and read out loud verses 21 through 24.  Genesis 2:21-25, third chapter—the second chapter of Genesis, get it right in a minute—the second chapter of Genesis, verses 21 through 25.  Now let’s all read it out loud together.  You ready?  Let’s go:

And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and He took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof;

And the rib, which the Lord God had taken from man, made He a woman, and brought her unto the man.

And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.

Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.

And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.

[Genesis 2:21-25]

Othniel and Achsah: it is an unusual thing that the story of this wonderful couple is told twice in the Bible word for word.  When the Bible recounts anything one time, I would suppose it to be important.  When the Bible recounts something twice, it is, I would suppose, doubly significant.

Now, this story of Othniel and Achsah is told in Joshua 15:15-19, and the same story is told in Judges 1:12-15.  And the story briefly is this.  Caleb asked for Hebron [Joshua 14:12-14] and conquered it and took it [Joshua 15:13-14], but about ten miles to the west of Hebron was a Canaanite city called Debir [Joshua 15:15].  The translation of it in the Hebrew is Kirjath Sepher, which means “the city of books,” the town of scribes.  It was a center of Canaanitic culture.  And Caleb said, “Anyone, any man who will go up against Kirjath-Sepher, against Debir, and take it, to him I will give my daughter, Achsah” [Joshua 15:16].  Now there was a young fellow by the name of Othniel, that is, “the lion of God.”  And he fell in love with Achsah.  Her name, “golden anklet.”  She must have been a beauty; not a golden bracelet, but a golden anklet.

And so great was his devotion and love for Achsah, that this young fellow, Othniel, whose name is “the lion of God,” went up against Kirjath-Sepher, against Debir, and he conquered it [Joshua 15:17].  And at the same time, he conquered her heart, Achsah.  You couldn’t help but love a young fellow like that, brave and courageous and strong and victorious.  So they were married [Joshua 15:17].

And when they married, Caleb was deeply moved, and gave to his daughter, Achsah, a wedding present, a gift of a country that sloped toward the south, toward the desert.  And she came to her father and said, “The land slopes toward the desert.  Would you give me a fertile gift with springs of water?”  And Caleb did more than she asked.  He gave her the upper springs, and the nether springs, the lower springs [Joshua 15:18-19].

And they began their life beautifully and perfectly together.  And in the days of the married life of young Othniel and Achsah, the land was invaded by the king of the Babylonians.  And Othniel gathered together an army of Israelites and defeated the king and delivered the land and judged Israel for forty years [Judges 3:9-11].  And the people had peace and rest under the wise leadership of this young judge Othniel and his beautiful and lovely wife, Achsah; super marriage.

Now with that background, I want to go back to the beginning of this thing of being married.  It was in the mind of God.  He did it.  And this is the way that he did it.  In the passage of Scripture that we read together, there is a drama here.  There is a theme.  There is a tremendous story that for us who read it casually, peripherally, indifferently, summarily, it means no such thing to us at all.  So with the ideal of Othniel and Achsah and the super-married couple and their marvelously influential home, I want to take the dramatic story of what God intended for you, for us all, as seen in that beautiful couple, Othniel and Achsah.

After the Lord God, in the second chapter of Genesis, after He made everything in the garden, all of the animals and all of the people, I mean, all of the trees and all of the things in the garden, why, it says beginning at verse 18: “And the Lord God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a help meet for him [Genesis 2:18].  I will make him somebody like him, somebody who can be his helper and his companion, and to think his thoughts and talk his language and to live his life and to share his destiny.  I will make a help like him, meet for him.”  Now this is the theme of the drama as it unfolds, namely, “It is not good that the man should live alone” [Genesis 2:18].  And the Lord dramatizes it in the story that immediately follows:

And out of the ground the Lord God had made every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and He brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof.

And Adam gave names to all cattle, and to the fowl of the air, and to every beast of the field; but for Adam there was not found an help meet for him.

[Genesis 2:19-20]

Now there’s a reason for that.  In the story of the drama, Adam, who is alone, is placed in a situation, on an elevation, and before him God brings all of the creation that He had made, all of it.  And as they passed before Adam, Adam gives names to them, each one of the creation [Genesis 2:20].  Now there was a twofold reason for that: number one, it was to heighten the sense of need and incompleteness in Adam.

They passed there before him, two by two, and he named them.  There was a lion and a lioness.  There was a goose and a gander.  There was a stallion and a mare.  There was a bull and a cow.  There was a tomcat and a pussycat.  There was a whole thing, all of it emphasizing the loneliness of Adam.  That was one thing.

And the other thing was to emphasize the incompleteness of Adam.  There was the lion and the lioness.  There was the male and the female.  And they passed by Adam, all the creation of God; but for Adam, “there was not found a help meet for him” [Genesis 2:20], not anything in that great animal group was able to be a fit companion for him.

Now I grant you that they sometimes say a dog is a man’s best friend.  And I’m sure that’s true, but I can’t conceive of God having made it that a man live with a dog.  It’s just unthinkable to me.  It’s not meet for him.  And they say that a horse is a wonderful companion to a man.  And I’m sure many of these cowboys look upon their horses as some men look upon their wives.  I don’t doubt that, but it isn’t meet.  It isn’t the way God made it.  And the Lord did that in order to emphasize the incompleteness of Adam and his aloneness.  “But for Adam, there was not found a help meet for him” [Genesis 2:20].  So the drama continues and the suspense increases.

Then it says, “And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept, and He took one of his [Genesis 2:21]—and He took out of his tsela”—in everywhere in the Bible that’s translated “side,” like the side of the tablet, side of the ark, everywhere in the Bible.  Here it’s translated “rib” with no reason at all [Genesis 2:21].  God took out of his side, tsela.  God took out of his side, Adam’s, close to his heart, out of his side, close to the very soul of the man, God took out of his side, and with that side—with that taking out of his side, the Lord God made a woman [Genesis 2:22].  Now that word “made” translated there is one of those most striking words in the Hebrew language.  It’s banah, and it is “built.”  It means “built.”

With the side that He had taken out of Adam, God built a woman.  Now that’s doubly striking because everywhere else in the Bible, everything is made out of the dust of the ground.  The animals were made out of the dust of the ground [Genesis 2:7].  Adam was made out of the dust of the ground [Genesis 2:19].  The whole creation is made out of the dust of the ground, but not that woman.  She is built. That’s something God did.  He built her.  He built a woman.  And He brought her unto the man [Genesis 2:22].

And now we’re going to get us a Criswellian translation.  You absolutely have no sense of what happened there in the garden of Eden at all by reading this dull, prosaic English translation.  There is a word in Hebrew, zo’t, zo’t.  It’s an exclamation!  And it is used again and again in this one little verse.  And I’m going to write it out as I think it is.  This is a Criswellian translation of that Hebrew, zo’t, an exclamation!  What it says here, that when God built that woman and brought her unto the man, Adam said, “Zo’t!”  [Genesis 2:22-23]. He went berserk.  He was a wild man!

The nearest you could translate it is, “Look at this!  Man, look at that, Look!”  I can understand that exactly.  He’d been up there on some kind of an eminence naming all of those animals, male and female, all of which emphasize his loneliness [Genesis 2:19-20], and suddenly, suddenly God brings before him a woman that He built.  And she stood there, naked, in all of her femininity and beauty [Genesis 2:25], and Adam, I say, went berserk.  He went wild.  “Zo’t!  This …” he says [Genesis 2:22-23].

Now let me translate that thing.  You have it translated, “This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be Woman because she was taken out of Man” [Genesis 2:23].  Now let me translate that exactly.  “This is it.  This time God has really done it!  This is my other self.  This is bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh.  To this, God brought His genius to build one I call ishah because out of ish was taken, created, this!”  Over and over again in that short verse you have the word zo’t, this, this.  “This” is an exclamation.  He was ecstatic!  He was outside of himself when he saw Eve, when he saw the woman God built [Genesis 2:22-23].

Now the reason I say that this is a dull translation here in the King James Version, it’s lost the exclamation.  It’s lost the ecstasy.  It’s lost the wildness that Adam felt when he first saw Eve.

It’s the exact thing as if a man were on a radio describing for us the Super Bowl game.  And it’s the last second, and Dallas is behind five points.  And the quarterback throws a ninety-yard pass, and the guy catches it in the end zone, and the announcer says, he says, “This is now the third time Dallas has won the Super Bowl.”

Man, it wouldn’t be that way at all.  If he is an announcer for KRLD, or one of these Dallas stations, and in the last second of the game the quarterback throws a ninety-yard pass and that wide receiver catches it, he says, “Wow, look at that!  Look at that!  Look at that!  Hey, look at this!  Look at this!”

That’s exactly what had happened!  And that—and I’m not exaggerating at all—in the Hebrew, that’s exactly what happened when Eve in her beauty was brought before Adam [Genesis 2:22-23], he jumped up.  “Hey, look at this!  Look at this!  Look at this!”  He went wild.  He went berserk.  I’m just expounding the Word of the Lord, that’s all.  That was beyond his wildest dreams and imagination.

Then the Lord said, “Therefore shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.  And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not embarrassed, were not ashamed” [Genesis 2:24-25].  Now, let’s look at that for just a minute.  This is the super marriage.  This is the Othniel and Achsah.  This is you in the devotion of your life.  Look at it.

First of all, marriage is sex.  You can’t get away from that.  That’s what it is.  Marriage means sex, and God created it, and God established it.  It’s the finest consummation of God’s genius creation.  And the Lord never changed His mind.  You listen to this.  In Deuteronomy 24:5, “When a man hath taken a new wife, he shall not go out to war, neither shall he be charged with any business: but he shall be free at home for a full year, and shall cheer up his wife which he hath taken.”

Now that word “cheer her up” is a real interesting word.  I like these Hebrew words.  Man, they’re expressive.  Samach, samach, it means to express joy, to cause to rejoice, to give forth loud expressions of joy.  They were to shout and be happy in one another for a solid year.  Now that’s God.  That’s God.  That is marriage.  God invented it.  God created it.  And in the Mosaic legislation, that’s the way the Lord legalized for a man to be with his wife for a solid year.  He’s not to be called to the army.  He’s not to go out and be charged with business.  He’s to be free at home, and samach, to give himself to expressions of joy with his wife.  Isn’t that great?  There’s nothing wrong with that.  That’s God.

All right, another thing about super marriage.  You got to leave your in-laws out of it.  “Therefore shall a man leave his father and mother” [Genesis 2:24].  I don’t know why, but there’s no house in this world big enough for two women.  It just doesn’t work.  It just doesn’t work.  God never intended it that way.

When you are a little child, a dependent child, the Bible says you are to obey your parents [Colossians 3:20].  But when you get grown, you are to honor your parents [Exodus 20:12].  Leave them.  God bless them.  That doesn’t mean snub them or cease loving them, but they’re to have their house and their home and their way.  And if they come to live with you, you make it another apartment.

“This is where Mother lives,” or, “This is where Dad lives.  And they’re over there, and we’re over here, but we’re not together in the same house.”

“Therefore shall a man leave his father and mother.”  Now look at the next word, “And shall cleave unto his wife” [Genesis 2:24].  That’s permanence.  That’s forever.  “I give my heart to you till I die.  I love you as long as there is breath in my soul.”

“He shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh” [Genesis 2:24].  In Ephesians, chapter 5, where that is quoted, “They shall be one flesh.” He says that “The man never hates his flesh; but he cherisheth it and he nourisheth it” [Ephesians 5:29].  So the man with his wife, she is one with him, and he is one with her, and they are to build each other up and to encourage each other.

I don’t know of anything that I see that I think is worse than when I see a woman, a wife, try to put down her husband, or when I see a husband try to put down his wife, try to humiliate her, or try to make her look little and lose self-esteem.  We’re to build each other up.  And it’s a wonderful thing when a wife will do that for her husband and the husband will do that for his wife.  Build her up as he would himself, present her as he would himself.  Make her shine as he would hope he would shine.  That’s great.  That’s the way super marriages are.  So many times is it; often.

I one time heard one of the craziest things in my life.  Up there in heaven God separated the men from the women.  And He had a line over here, two of them.  And on this line there was a sign, “All the henpecked husbands, you stand over here.”  And on this side, “All of the heads of the house, you stand over here.”  And a marvelous, unbelievable thing happened.  All the men in heaven lined up over here on the line for “henpecked husbands.”  And on this line over here, “heads of house,” there was one scrawny little fellow, just one.

Well, the reporters rushed over there to him and interviewed that little fellow, and they said to him, “Man, this is unbelievable!  This is unimaginable.  Look at you.  All of those men over there lined up behind that “henpecked husband” and you over here by yourself, the head of your house.  How do you account for that?” [He said, “I don’t know.  My wife just told me to stand over here.”

They are to be one flesh [Genesis 2:24].  They’re to be together to build up, to encourage, bless.  And they’re to work.  Isn’t that strange?

Before God made anything beyond the garden of Eden, He took the man, placed him in it to dress it and keep it [Genesis 2:15].  It was God’s intention from the beginning in the creation that the man work, to dress and to keep it [Genesis 2:15].  And in the third chapter of the Book of Genesis, in the Fall [Genesis 3:1-6], God said, “He still has to work.  It is by the sweat of his face” [Genesis 3:17-19].

Now it’s a wonderful thing when the couple can sit down together and solve that money problem.  Money is ten thousand times ten thousand a bone of contention in a family.  And a wife can absolutely destroy a man’s incentive, lead him to despair, or the man can drive a woman to distraction.  Sit down and plan the life and the program together.  Both of you work at it.  Work at it.  Work at it.  God intended that.  That’s super marriage.

And then last, “And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed” [Genesis 2:25].  That is perfect communication.  That is perfect love.  That is perfect in uninhibited sharing of life.  Just my whole soul and my whole self is open to you.  It was only wrong and sin that covered it over.  It was God’s intention that we be fully open with one another and with God.  And it’s a marvelous couple that can approximate and approach that idea, open before God and open before one another; a beautiful and a happy life.

In that openness, I often talk to a couple as you would know, “We’re going to be married.”  And I say to them, “If you’ll do these five things, you’ll have a wonderful life.

“Number one: before you eat, say grace at the table, pray.  Dogs don’t do it and hogs don’t do it, I know, but you do it.  Before you eat, bow your head, maybe join hands.  One of you pray, both of you pray, or the whole family prays.  Say grace.

“Number two: sometime during the day, read a passage of Scripture, and pray.  Before you eat breakfast in the morning, before you go to bed at night, sometime read a passage of Scripture, and pray.

“Number three: before you go to sleep at night, both of you kneel down by the side of the bed and pray out loud where the other one can hear you.”  There’s no one of us that is perfect, not one.  “There are going to be times when you’re irritable.  There are going to be times when you don’t understand.  There are going to be times when you are short-tempered and unsympathetic.  You can’t help it.  We’re just all made out of flesh and blood.  But before you go to bed at night when you pray, and the other hears, if you’ve been unkind or unsympathetic, when you pray and the other one hears, it will all dissolve away.”

One of the great professors said there are nine words that will make any marriage happy.  “I’m sorry.  Will you forgive me?  I love you.”  It will never fail.  Before you go to bed at night, don’t go to sleep in anger or unsympathetic.  When you go to bed at night, pray out loud for the other one to hear, and it will all dissolve away.

“Number four: dress up and go to church on Sunday.  I believe in dressing up when you appear before the Lord with the finest clothes that you have.  And they may be rags—make them clean rags—but dress up the best you can and come before God in the house of the Lord.

“And number five: just do something for Jesus, anything.  Open a window, stand at the door, sweep out the floor, it doesn’t matter.”

I said in Marvin Watson’s—Dr. Marvin Watson’s house, president of DBC, with a wonderful banker and his wife, they belonged here to our church.  And it was supporting the development program of Dallas Baptist College.  I was glad to see him.  He’s an executive vice president of one of the big banks in Dallas.

I said, “Are you in Sunday school yet?”

“I’m in Mrs. Criswell’s class.”

I said, “What do you do in Mrs. Criswell’s class?”

He said there in the presence of all the people around that table, he said, “I arrange the chairs each Sunday morning.”

I thought, “Nobody else thought of such a thing, but,” I thought, “that’s great.  This is the vice president, the executive vice president of one of the biggest banks in Dallas, and he arranges the chairs in his Sunday school class each morning.  Humble but dedicated, loves God.  That’s great.  You do that.”

You don’t have to elect me to be president or chairman.  I’d just do anything for Jesus.  Knock at a door, pick up a child, teach a little Sunday school class.  As I say, open a window or stand at the door.  If you’ll do that, you’ll have a happy and wonderful home.

Say grace at the table.  Read the Bible sometime during the day and pray.  Pray out loud where the other one can hear you.  Dress up and go to church on Sunday, and do something for Jesus, anything.  He will love you for it.  And he will bless you for it.  Super marriage.  Now may we bow our heads while our orchestra finds its way?

Our Lord in heaven, it’s a wonderful thing God has done for us.  The infinite care by which He has provided for us and the incomparably precious way that God has made us, male and female, to fall in love, to be strengthened and comforted and helped and encouraged by this other self, this is what God has created.  Blessed be His wonderful name.  And, our Lord, humbly we ask now Thy blessings upon the appeal that we make, and may the Lord in His Holy Spirit make strong on the foundation of the faith the house we built and do build with one another.  Thank You, Lord, for the blessing, in Thy precious name, amen.


Judges 1:11-15;
Judges 3:8-11

15:13-19) Gen. 2:18-25

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Debir – 10 miles west of Hebron.

-occupied by the Anakim.

-captured by Joshua, retaken by

-center culture for Canaanites: Kiriath-Sepher
= “turn of Gods”

Caleb offered his
daughter Achsah (anklet) to the man told it Othniel (“lion of God”)
loved the girl: conquered it.

:conquered her heart: brave courage here.

The wedding:
parents deeply moved.

: she brilliant. now ask for land well-water
the south land to the desert. Caleb did
more, gave both upper springs and the nether springs.

: he 3:8-11 the land had
rest forty years.

: a great couple:

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All weddings are happy: it’s the
living together afterwards that causes all the trouble. From holy matrimony to holy misery. Marriage is a cafeteria: you take what looks
good to you now and pay for it later.

The bishop/priest delivered an
inspiring sermon on the beauties of the married life. Two toil-worn women left the service: “a beautiful service
his reverence gave this a. m.” “It was indeed. I just wish I knew as little about the
subject as he does.”

To a woman’s
meeting: In the Middle East- often see a donkey and a woman hitched up
together. One piped up: “not so
unusual. Often see that over here

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Gen. 2:18-25 A drama, to them “It is not good to be

Gen. 2:18 He had a good secure job (dress, Keep the

He had a good employer.

He had every fringe benefit could think of.

He had a very green garden with fruit trees, flowers.

He had everything a man could want.

But, “not good.”

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2:19 the animals
paraded, named in pairs

lion and lioness

goose and the gander

stallion and the mare

bull and cow

tom cat and the pussy

to demonstrate the
man’s incompleteness.

to create source
of loneliness.

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2:20 all rejected,
“but for Adam not found a help-meet for him”

a dog a man’s best

a horse a daily

pet birds, pet animals

but, none like Adam.

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2:21 the drama
continues–suspense heightens. — the climax on the way, yet to come.

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2:22 “built
” a woman

A striking Hebrew
verb. All others out of the ground, she
was out of Adam.

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2:23 The result is
devastating. The woman built to
complete the race.

The man cries out
in response to the divine success.
“This is it!, Look, this is it!”

The Hebrew
exclamation: Threefold use of the
word. This is it! This time God had
really done it! This [is] bone of my
bone, flesh of my flesh (my other self).”

To this God
brought His genius to build woman.
Because out of man, was taken this.

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The English
translation; so true 2:23

Superbowl–last seconds, 90 yard pass, touchdown, Dallas wins. Announcer calmly says, “This is now the
3rd time Dallas wins Superbowl.”

No! jumps up and
down, hollers, exclaims “This, look at this! did you ever see the likes of

So, when Eve was
brought before Adam,


Before God and
angels, look in upon it.

(a)Sir Thomas Moore. Poet 1779-1852

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There’s a bliss beyond all that the

minstrel has told,

When two, that are linked in

one heavenly tie,

With heart never changing, and

brow never cold.

Love on through all ills, and love

on till they die.

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Our hour of a passion so sacred

is worth

Whole ages of heartless and

wondering bliss;

And oh! if there be an Elysium

on earth,

It is this–it is this!

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(b) Shakespeare:

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She is mine own,

And I as rich in having such

a jewel

As twenty seas, if all their

sand were pearl

The water nectar, and the rocks

pure gold.

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(c) Robert Browning

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All the breath and
the bloom of the year in the bag of one bee;

All the wonder and
wealth of the mine in the heart of one gem:

In the core of one
pearl all the shade and the shine of the sea:

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Breath and bloom,
shade and shine–wonder, wealth and how far above them—

Truth that’s
brighter than gems,

Trust, that’s
purer than pearl.—

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Brightest truth,
purest trust in the universe–all were for me

In the kiss of one

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Adam refused to
live without her.

I Tim 2:14 “Adam: not

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1. Sex.

Marriage means it. God intends it.

Deut. 24:5 to express joy, to cause to rejoice, to give
forth love and expression of joy.

compare: trading
off sexual favors for money, prostitution.

(sell)ing off sexual favors for self gratification, not for husband.

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2. “Leave
parents.” Children
“obey” Grown, own home.

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“cleave” permanence.

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4. “one

Eph. 5:29 Nourish, cherish/

Build each other
up; not made to feel little.

(a) Heaven, henpecked—–

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5. Gen. 2:15
“dress it and keep it”

Gen. 3:19 “sweat of face” Money, work, planning,


(a) he the big things……

she the little things……

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6. 2:25

Not just two people without clothes.

Total self-giving.

Eph. 5:22
following. Submission to God, to each
other. Not retaliate, insult for
insult. Let God—He will do a better

Prov. 15:1

“I am sorry,
forgive me, I Love you.”

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The five fingers
for a happy home.

(a) Homer Brady.

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not available with outline——-

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