Crying is a natural emotional response to pain, grief, or distress. As image-bearers of God, both men and women express emotions through tears. However, the Bible speaks specifically to men about making women cry through harsh treatment or abuse.
- The Bible prohibits men from causing women distress through harsh or abusive behavior.
- Men are called to love, honor, and respect women as fellow heirs in Christ.
- Examples of men in the Bible rebuked for making women cry include Reuben, Eli’s sons, and Herod.
- Jesus displayed tenderness and compassion toward women, setting an example for godly men.
- Christian men should be guided by the Holy Spirit to build up women through words and actions, not tear down.
- Churches should promote healthy relationships between men and women based on mutuality and respect.
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Examples of Men Making Women Cry in the Bible
The Bible includes several examples of men whose harsh treatment caused women to weep. These instances are portrayed negatively as a failure to love and honor.
Reuben and Bilhah
In Genesis 35:22, Reuben, the oldest son of Jacob, slept with his father’s concubine Bilhah. This was considered a grievous sin in that culture:
“While Israel dwelt in that land, Reuben went and slept with Bilhah his father’s concubine; and Israel heard about it.” (NKJV)
This sexual sin against his father’s wife was cruel and deeply hurtful. Although Bilhah’s response is not mentioned, this act likely caused her significant pain and humiliation.
Eli’s Sons and the Women at Tabernacle
In 1 Samuel 2:22, Eli the high priest rebuked his sons Hophni and Phineas for their sexual exploitation of the women who served at the tabernacle:
“Now Eli was very old; and he heard everything his sons did to all Israel, and how they lay with the women who assembled at the door of the tabernacle of meeting.” (NKJV)
Rather than honoring these women in ministry, Eli’s sons abused their power to gratify their lusts. Their wicked behavior caused grief and suffering.
Amnon and Tamar
One of the most well-known accounts of a woman made to cry is the rape of Tamar by her half-brother Amnon in 2 Samuel 13. Amnon lusted after the beautiful Tamar and tricked her into coming to him under false pretenses. When she resisted his advances, Amnon overpowered her by force:
“But he would not heed her voice; and being stronger than she, he forced her and lay with her. Then Amnon hated her exceedingly, so that the hatred with which he hated her was greater than the love with which he had loved her. And Amnon said to her, ‘Arise, be gone!’” (2 Samuel 13:14-15 NKJV)
The passage goes on to say that after this cruel act, “Tamar put ashes on her head, and tore her robe of many colors that was on her, and laid her hand on her head and went away crying bitterly” (v. 19). Amnon’s actions toward his half-sister Tamar left deep physical and emotional wounds.
In the New Testament, Herod Antipas promised to grant up to half his kingdom to the daughter of Herodias after she danced for him at his birthday party (Matthew 14:1-12; Mark 6:14-29). At her mother Herodias’s spiteful urging, she requested the head of John the Baptist on a platter. Although Herod was “deeply grieved,” he granted her wish because of his oaths and for the sake of his guests. Herodias’ manipulation of her own daughter in order to punish John by death was a wicked disregard for her child’s well-being. One can imagine the young girl weeping over the prophet’s execution that she unwittingly prompted.
Jesus’ Interactions with Women
The examples above provide a contrast to the gentle, compassionate way Jesus treated women. Throughout his ministry, Jesus elevated the status of women and met their needs with kindness.
The Widow of Nain
In Luke 7:11-17, Jesus encountered a funeral procession for a widow’s only son. He had great compassion on the grieving mother:
“When the Lord saw her, He had compassion on her and said to her, ‘Do not weep.’ Then He came and touched the open coffin, and those who carried him stood still. And He said, ‘Young man, I say to you, arise.’ So he who was dead sat up and began to speak. And He presented him to his mother.” (Luke 7:13-15 NKJV)
By miraculously raising this widow’s son, Jesus showed deep empathy for her suffering and relieved her sorrow.
The Woman Caught in Adultery
In John 8, the scribes and Pharisees brought a woman caught in adultery before Jesus, intent on stoning her. But Jesus responded with grace. When all her accusers left after being convicted of their own sins, Jesus was left alone with the frightened woman:
“When Jesus had raised Himself up and saw no one but the woman, He said to her, ‘Woman, where are those accusers of yours? Has no one condemned you?’ She said, ‘No one, Lord.’ And Jesus said to her, ‘Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.’” (John 8:10-11 NKJV)
By intervening on her behalf, Jesus protected the woman’s life and dignity when she was vulnerable. His compassion spared her from being unjustly shamed and punished.
The Syrophoenician Woman
In Mark 7:24-30, Jesus delivered the daughter of a Syrophoenician woman from demon possession in response to the mother’s persistent prayer and faith. Though Jesus had referred to the Gentiles as “little dogs,” unworthy of the children’s bread, the woman boldly pled her case, and Jesus honored her request:
“And He said to her, ‘For this saying go your way; the demon has gone out of your daughter.’ And when she had come to her house, she found the demon gone out, and her daughter lying on the bed.” (Mark 7:29-30 NKJV)
Jesus’ power over demons brought relief to this anguished mother. She surely rejoiced when her daughter was finally free.
The Women of Jerusalem
In Luke 23:27-31, Jesus showed compassion to the women of Jerusalem even as He was being led to His crucifixion:
“And a great multitude of the people followed Him, and women who also mourned and lamented Him. But Jesus, turning to them, said, ‘Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for Me, but weep for yourselves and for your children.’” (Luke 23:27-28 NKJV)
Despite His own suffering, Jesus thought of the future calamity that would befall Jerusalem and exhorted the women not to focus on His plight but their own.
Through His ministry to women, Jesus demonstrated that godly men value and respect women, treat them with dignity, champion their rights, defend them, and care deeply about their well-being. He never exploited or took advantage of women.
Biblical Principles for Men in Relationships with Women
Beyond Jesus’ personal example, the Scriptures lay out principles for healthy relationships between men and women. Godly men should follow these precepts.
Do Not Mistreat Widows
God is said to be “a defender of widows” (Psalm 68:5 NIV). As His representatives, men should not take advantage of widows’ vulnerability. Rather, they should protect and care for them.
Do Not Covet Another Man’s Wife
Exodus 20:17 warns against coveting anything that belongs to one’s neighbor, including his wife. Men must combat lustful thoughts and refrain from flirting with or propositioning married women. Adultery begins in the heart.
Be Considerate of Women’s Physical Needs
1 Peter 3:7 instructs husbands to live with their wives in an understanding way as with a weaker vessel. Out of love, men should be sensitive to a woman’s physical body and not force themselves on their wives. Consideration applies to all women.
Do Not Engage in Domestic Violence
Some men resort to physical violence in their marriages. But Scripture prohibits abuse. Jesus said, “You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I tell you not to resist an evil person. But whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also” (Matthew 5:38-39 NKJV). Men are not given license for retaliation.
Speak to Women With Respect
The apostle Peter commanded husbands to treat their wives with respect as fellow heirs of grace (1 Peter 3:7). All men should be courteous in speech to women and not insult or belittle them.
Walk in Sexual Purity
First Thessalonians 4:3-5 states that God’s will is for each man to control his own body in holiness and honor, not in lustful passion. Men must treat women as sisters in Christ, not as objects of desire.
When relating to women, Christian men should follow Christ’s example and the Bible’s precepts for healthy, mutual relationships.
Promoting Godly Relationships Between Men and Women in the Church
Tragically, some churches have suppressed women and condoned abuse. Yet the Bible calls men and women alike to reflect Christ in their gender roles and relationships. Churches can take several steps to foster healthy relationships between men and women:
- Model Godly Marriages: Church leaders’ own marriages should be loving and respectful partnerships that share power based on giftedness, not just gender.
- Teach Mutuality: While affirming loving male headship in submission to Christ, teach mutuality in service, leadership, and decision-making based on the spiritual gifts given to women and men alike.
- Promote Women’s Welfare: Include women’s perspectives in decision-making. Ensure policies prevent abuse and care for vulnerable women.
- Disciple Young Men: Mentor boys and young men to pursue purity, control anger, resolve conflicts peacefully, and honor women as sisters in Christ.
- Develop Women Leaders: Recognize and empower gifted women leaders based on their talents. Release women to vibrant ministry service.
Churches can nurture healthy relationships between men and women centered on Christ’s example of sacrificial love, nurture, and humility.
Sin has corrupted God’s good design for relationships between men and women. Throughout history, many men have exercised power over women in destructive ways, causing untold harm. But Jesus shows us a better way. As redeemed image-bearers of God, Christian men should honor Him by honoring the women He created and redeemed. With the Spirit’s help, men can build up women in the church and society rather than inflict pain. They can model Christ’s humility, compassion, and grace in all their relationships with women.