I was reading Psalm 78 this morning, and verse 64 hit me. It says, “Their priests fell by the sword; and their widows made no lamentation.” Why? Why would a widow not weep and mourn over her husband’s death? Well, the context of the psalm recounts God’s faithfulness and the miracles he performed and Judah’s/Israel’s rebelliousness and unbelief. And we know from cross referencing other books that the priests were unfaithful too. It’s likely their wives were also unfaithful, but that the widows of the priests would make no lamentation says something. Don’tcha think? Some commentaries say they could not weep, because the killing had been so swift and violent, the widows didn’t have time to mourn. Maybe. But why does the text specifically mention the priests and their widows?
May I pose a possibility? Priests and leaders are held to a higher standard because of their position and knowledge. Even the New Testament says, “Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers and sisters, because you know that we will be judged more strictly.” How do we feel about someone who teaches a certain thing and yet doesn’t do it themselves? How do children feel when their parents have a double-standard? Could it be that the wives didn’t lament the death of their husbands because their husbands the priests didn’t treat them very well? Could it be that in their idolatry, their husbands sacrificed their own children with fire? How would you feel if your husband showed little regard for your children?
I know Moses was a good, humble leader, but it appears from Scripture his wife probably rebelled against him, and we know the Israelites certainly did! Hosea was a faithful priest and husband, and yet his wife adulterated herself, so an argument could be made for the priests and against their wives. But leaders must first ask themselves if they are a good, humble leader like Moses or a faithful priest and husband like Hosea. Do they plead for their people like Moses did, and do they, like Hosea, seek to redeem those who have wandered away? Or do they blame the people rather than examining their own hearts and actions? Would their followers or loved ones mourn when they are gone? Or would there be no weeping widows?