The Bible gives us an historical record of some things, and makes no mention of others. Today, we have an established tradition of communal Jewish prayer. It is what we know and what we do in synagogue together. But it is not a substitute for personal prayers. Here's a good summary from my Facebook post today, an exchange between LS and me about Biblical Jewish prayer:
LS: Although there is evidence of ancient synagogues all over Israel and the talmud talks about group prayer and jewish prayer is largely group oriented.
MSL: Yes, all true. What I mentioned is also true. Archeological, historical evidence is one thing, a very important thing. But the words in Torah and Chumash are also important. There are plenty of words about animal sacrifices because that's what people did at the time. Now we don't do it. The communal prayer is a substitute for animal sacrifices, as I understand it. My point is that personal prayers were, are and will always be important.
LS: Traditionally there was not much difference between group study and group prayer. i would compare it to the followers of socrates or plato. yes, they were studying their god but it was a study into the elements of the workings of the world. Jews were largely experts on law which was developing in and around ancient babylon. the law, Torah, was largely based on proper judicial practices for fiscal and personal violations, etc. what was given to God was all part of this. animal sacrifice was part of this but only a part. there was so much more to why the Jews practices prayer in a group. the talmud documents an incredible amount about what was going on in the temple. minyans, a group of 10, were the best form of prayer for a multitude of reasons back then.
MSL: I agree with you, Lili Shane. The minyans, however, and the sages and their students were men. I honestly believe women have always been the foremost experts in Jewish personal prayer, of which Hannah is the classic example.
LS: I really like what you are doing. I appreciate your deeply spiritual approach. it is something sorely lacking in all religions. i'm not sure historical religions were really based on deep spirituality. it was a job for those ancient priests. whether they were spiritual or not affected their job position but it was highly suspect. i think spirituality may have been tied to the prophets and maybe the judges, like Deborah. but their understanding of spirituality is deeply different from modern spirituality.
MSL: For sure. My understanding of the practice of multiple wives was not entirely for the man to have more fun, but mostly because there was so much work that one woman could not physically do everything needed to feed, clothe and raise a family. Women were already busy and exhausted beyond our comprehension. Other than praying, "Please help me, Lord," there wasn't much time or energy to be spiritual. So, the men did it. It was a practical necessity, IMO, and it became a tradition.