Seven Brides


or The Disunited State of Samaria

“…and they are seven kings;
five have fallen,
one is,
the other has not yet come;
and when he comes,
he must remain a little while.”
(Revelation 17:10)

Time for another weird one. Although it’s probably only weird to the conservative evangelical Bible scholars among us. [1]

Albert’s post on marriage the other day allows us to see the context of the sin of the Samaritan woman. James Jordan observes that this woman was most likely a victim of this unjust system, hence the other Samaritans’ readiness to believe her testimony.

Firstly, whenever the Spirit leaves a woman unnamed, we are to see her as a type of The Woman Whose Offspring Would Crush The Serpent’s Head. There is the millstone woman, Samson’s mother, and many others. When Jesus refers to His mother as Woman, that is what He is referring to. Now, she is not that woman, but the historical narrative orchestrated by God will show us some aspect of the Woman. And the story of the Woman Samaria does just that.

Secondly, this woman had had five husbands, and was now in a de facto relationship. That is six men. It is the five-points of a broken Covenant, with a non-Covenant Man on Day 6. What we see here is a division between the legal side of Covenant and the relational side. Ralph Smith writes:

“Marriage, the very first covenantal relationship among men and the foundation of all others is the quintessential covenant. The relationship binds — ‘till death.’ It is a structured relationship with authority and roles distributed between husband and wife. It is a personal relationship— ‘husbands love your wives as Christ also loved the Church and gave Himself for it.’ A man and woman living together without the bond of the covenant may have a personal relationship, but they are guilty of fornication. A man and woman married may fulfill the structural requirements of the covenant bond, but fail to love one another, separating the personal from the structural aspect of the marriage covenant.

The covenant oath, the personal love, and the structures of authority and responsibility are all required for a Biblically righteous marriage. What the marriage covenant illustrates is that the covenant is a ’social structure.’ As Jordan points out, in the Biblical notion of the covenant, law and love, form and freedom, are in harmony. The love of the covenant is expressed not in spite of the oath or in spite of fulfilling the duties of the covenant, but precisely through the solemn taking of an oath and the faithful fulfillment of one’s duty.” [2]

Jesus turns up, and He, typologically, is the seventh Man. He is not only the Covenant of Torah (five books, and Ten Words soon to be broken at the foot of the mountain), He is going to replace the false Adam and his whole house.

There is also the division between the two mountains, Zion and Gerizim, Judah and Samaria. Not only is this woman with her sixth man, but the sixth matrix step concerns blessing and cursing, the two goats of Atonement (the bride) and the two mountains between which Israel passed into Canaan (Ebal and Gerizim). Jesus is going to supersede both these mountains with a new worship, one that is not divided. (Note: He was also going to rip Olivet (Judaism) in two for the church to pass through “unmolested” as a smoking firepot body to His blazing torch head.)

Now, this poor woman was a picture of division. In a sense, she was the woman in Eden, torn between two lovers, the true Word of God in Adam, and the delightful un-word of the serpent. (Just another thought here on the purpose of having a physical animal: God’s people fought with flesh-and-blood until the Spirit was given. Now we can fight the very spirits.) She is divided between her legal protector who is content to watch and see if she dies, and a seducer who shows her an inordinate amount of “affection.”

The Samaritan, like Mary Magdalene, symbolizes for us the Bride redeemed from the false seven-eyed “Lampstand” Law of the evil one. Jesus casts out the seven demons. Used and abused by men, Eve, the mother of all, became a Legion, a haunt of jackals. That is humanity, divided and filled with the wrong spirit.

Also, her five broken marriages might possibly be the five major Covenants (Adam/Noah/Abram/Moses/David+Restoration). That makes Herod the sixth Man, the man who lived with her without a Covenant, and Jesus the seventh, her Kinsman redeemer/avenger, the one who would free her from the Adamic curse and reunite her split personality by the Spirit into one new Man.

Some have said that this woman cannot picture the people of God. She is not innocent. But she is really TWO women isn’t she, like the two prostitutes in one house? The flesh lusts against the Spirit. So Jesus is Solomon, “bring me a sword,” and she is suddenly no longer bipolar. The seventh Man casts out the seven demons, the false Shekinah, and she is clothed and in her right mind (That chapter in Matthew follows the same pattern. See Why Jesus Healed Some.) In Christ, Judah and Samaria were reunited on one mountain.

On the BH list, John Barach also commented:

Mike points out that Jesus, here, is the seventh man.  Note, too, that it’s not only that the woman has been married to or involved with SIX men. It’s also the case that it’s the SIXTH hour … but Jesus tells her that “an hour is coming…” (Earlier, of course, we’ve seen Jesus turn SIX jars of Old Covenant purification water into New Covenant celebration wine.) [4]

Something else to notice, if you’re so inclined: According to Fowler White and Warren Gage, in their John-Revelation project (which you can still find online somewhere), John and Revelation are chiastically related, so that this woman is parallel to Babylon, the great harlot (“five have fallen, one is, the other has not yet come”). Whatever that means.

It means that the breaking of the Covenant in the Garden of Eden has structured every part of history and biblical revelation since the beginning. It is written into us, and it is written for us, if we have eyes to see.


mikewazowski[1] Never watch a clever film with a conservative Bible scholar. He won’t get it. He might have Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek under his belt (and I most certainly envy that), but it is becoming more and more apparent to me that each one of these guys should have failed English. They have no imagination whatsoever. I guess that’s the way God works. We each have our gifts. We are all splinters of The Door. There, did anyone get that reference? We need to read the Bible like children. (“Kids these days. They just don’t get scared like they used to.”) Anyone capable of simple analysis of poetry, music or film, or recognizing a subtle allusion in any of these (my kids play Can You Guess Where This Film Or TV Quote Is From? in the car) can cope with the Bible’s themes. But these gents I am coming across (it’s Sydney Anglicans for me) amaze me. They lack the intuition which comes from reading or watching a long-running series. Their compromised worldview stops them from entering the world of the Bible (which is actually the world in which they live). But the kids in my high school Bible classes do get it, which means that due to a combination of postmodernism and good Bible teaching, the next generation of Bible scholars will be as incredibly perceptive as the current crop are bovine and unimaginative. (See also Typology Is Female , Exegetical Blinkers 1, 2 and 3, Cross-eyed Exegesis and Systematic Theology.) Now, I believe systematic theology is important, but it is a theology that is formed and not filled, just like the incomplete theology of Nicodemus. The Bible communicates truth through our imaginations, especially the bits that scholars entirely mishandle and then pat each other on the back as though they have actually dealt with the text as a text. (While I’m at it, see also Mercury Rising).
[2] Ralph Allan Smith, James Jordan’s Trinitarianism,
[3] John’s gospel is also following the Tabernacle pattern (at three levels!). In the secondary pattern, we are up to the Laver. The woman is by a well, a bride found by Abraham’s “oldest servant.”

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4 Responses to “Seven Brides”

  • john cummins Says:

    Yes on your footnotes. I remember going to a conference around here an an ardent student was talking to George Grant about something he’d said. The student was saying, “according to systematic theology it’s this or that” George turned to him and said, “that’s the problem, the Bible is based on Covenental Theology NOT systematic theology”

  • Mike Bull Says:

    Thanks John

    Yes – just as a Covenant is legal and relational, systematic theology only gets the legals. Biblical symbols are relationships.

  • Robert Murphy Says:

    If you know of a Presbyterian Church down there who will put up with a Yank (in three years, after I graduate) then nominate me! My kids get plot movement, Mike Wazowski, and Biblical Themes!

  • Mike Bull Says:

    Perhaps write a letter expressing your interest and see what they have. I’m sure you’d be welcome.

    Or come to Katoomba – there hasn’t been a Presby church here for a few decades. They sold the building and put the money in trust. I have a friend who’s keen to start one.