299. The Old Testament sense in which “to be in subjection” is sometimes used, is highly suggestive and instructive. Psalm 62:1 reads in the English, “truly my soul waiteth upon God; from Him cometh my salvation.” At verse 5 of the same Psalm, we read: “My soul, wait thou only upon God.” In Psalm 37:7 we find the words: “Rest in the Lord and wait patiently for Him.” The words “wait” in the first passages, and the word “rest” in the last are all three represented in the Greek version by the single word hupotasso, “be in subjection,” while the literal sense of the Hebrew original word is “be silent unto.” Compare this with 1 Peter 3:1,2, where wives are exhorted to win unbelieving husbands by “subjection.” Surely Peter is not here exhorting wives to blindly obey unbelievers, for if heathen, they would at once remand them back to the worship of the gods; if Jews, back to Judaism. Rather, they are to win them away from these by their “manner of life,” “without the word,”–actions speaking louder than words. “Coupled with fear,”–such fear of God as would cause these women, so gentle, quite and patient in daily life, to be as adamant in their truth to God; and the husbands so overawed by their quite maintenance of principle, whereas they are so ready to yield to their husbands when principle is not involved, that the husbands dare not try to compel their wives to violate conscience, and thus are themselves gradually led into the Christian faith.
Where “subjection” is spoken of as a woman’s duty, without further immediate specification, it has been too readily assumed that this means subjection to a husband. But many women even from Apostolic days, and certainly an increasing large proportion of women in latter days, have no husbands. In both 1 Corinthians 14:34, “let them be in subjection”; and in 1 Timothy 2:11, “learn in all subjection,” this O. T. idea of waiting on God, or the thought of a spirit of humility towards God, may be all that is intended.