Tag Archives: Women of the Bible

Women in the Bible: The Mother of Jabez

Though an entire book was written about his prayer, we actually know little about Jabez. The Bible only mentions him in two obscure verses, buried among a lengthy genealogy. We know even less about the mother of Jabez, not even her name.Mother of Jabez

We do know his birth is difficult, and the name she gives him reflects the physical pain his arrival caused her. This is all we know about her.

However, we can infer more of her traits from the character of her son. Jabez is an honorable man, more honorable than others. We also know he has a deep connection with God, for when Jabez prays a bold prayer, God answers it.

We can implicitly connect these qualities with his mother, the woman who raised him. Surely Jabez’s mother is a godly woman, who taught her son how to live an honorable life, follow God, and to pray with effectiveness. What more could a mother give to her son?

What can we do to raise godly, honorable, faithful children?

[1 Chronicles 4:9-10]

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Women in the Bible: Deborah

Deborah’s story is in the book of Judges. Though they call her a judge, she is primarily a prophetess, a person who hears from God. She is notable as the only female judge listed in the book of Judges.Deborah

Deborah receives a message from God for Barak. Through her, God commands Barak to raise an army and attack their enemy. God even promises Barak he will prevail, but Barak balks, saying he will do it only if Deborah goes with him. She consents, although confirming that because of his reluctance, the honor of killing the enemy’s leader, Sisera, will go to a woman.

While we may infer this woman is Deborah, it is actually another woman, Jael. Even so, Deborah receives more credit than Barak for the overall victory.

Although Deborah lives in a male-dominated society, when a man doesn’t do what he is supposed to, she steps in to ensure action is taken. We commend her for her faith and her bravery. She is a strong example to all, both men and women.

[The story of Judge Deborah is in Judges 4 and 5.]

[Discover more about the Bible at A Bible A Day.com: Bible FAQs, Bible Dictionary, Books of the Bible Overview, and Bible Reading Plans.]

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Women in the Bible: Rahab

Rahab is a prostitute who two spies stay with when they scope out Jericho. We don’t know if they seek her for her services or merely want to get out of public view.Rahab

When the king of Jericho commands Rahab to turn the men over to him, she commits treason. She hides the men and lies to the king that they already left, but she doesn’t know where they went.

Rahab knows God favors Israel and will give the city to them. So in exchange for her protecting the spies, she asks for the safety of her family when they raze the city. In her list of who’s included as family, she mentions parents and siblings, but not a husband or any children. After securing their promise of protection, she helps the spies escape.

Later, Joshua confirms Rahab and her family will be spared, while the rest of the city will be destroyed. She then lives with the Israelites.

In the New Testament, Matthew reveals Rahab is one of Jesus’ direct ancestors and the great-great grandmother of King David. She is honored as only one of four women mentioned in Jesus’ family tree. Further, the book of Hebrews affirms Rahab as a person of faith, one of only two women included in its impressive list. Finally, James confirms Rahab is righteous because of her actions in hiding and protecting the two spies.

While our reaction may be to judge Rahab for her profession, God sees her differently, as a righteous woman of faith, rewarding her accordingly.

[The story of Rahab is in Joshua 2 and Joshua 6; she is affirmed three times in the New Testament.]

[Discover more about the Bible at A Bible A Day.com: Bible FAQs, Bible Dictionary, Books of the Bible Overview, and Bible Reading Plans.]

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Women in the Bible: Ruth

Ruth is a widow and foreigner who remains faithful to her mother-in-law, Naomi. Ruth leaves her family to follow Naomi to Israel. The reason for her loyalty to her mother-in-law is a mystery, since Naomi is a bitter woman at this time. However, Ruth also expresses a devotion to God.Learn about Ruth in the Bible

When they return, Ruth goes out to glean grain, at great physical risk, so she and Naomi will have some food. Ruth finds favor with Boaz, who knows of her fine reputation.

Naomi sets about to find another husband for Ruth, targeting Boaz and developing a strategy to bring that about. The result is capturing Boaz’s attention. He sets out to make Ruth his wife, deftly dealing with another possible suitor.

Boaz and Ruth marry. She has her first child, Obed. Obed is the father of Jesse, the father of David. That makes Ruth, the great grandmother of King David and a direct ancestor of Jesus.

Let’s review: Ruth’s loyalty to her mother-in-law and God rewards her. She marries again, is saved from poverty, and has a son. As a result, she’s later honored by Matthew who includes her in the family tree of Jesus, one of only four women mentioned.

[Read about Ruth in the book of the Bible bearing her name.]

[Discover more about the Bible at A Bible A Day.com: Bible FAQs, Bible Dictionary, Books of the Bible Overview, and Bible Reading Plans.]

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Women in the Bible: Eve

Eve (along with her husband, Adam), is a well-known biblical figure. I’m surprised she’s only mentioned by name four times in the Bible, twice in Genesis and twice in the New Testament.Discover more about Eve in the Bible

I’ve never understood why Eve bears the heaviest criticism for disobeying God. Adam is likewise culpable, and he could have—and should have—put a stop to eating the forbidden fruit. More contemptible is the serpent, who resorted to lies to trip up Eve.

Because of their actions, all three—Adam, Eve, and the serpent—suffer consequences, which they will pass on to future generations.

Looking specifically at Eve, she receives three punishments: pain in childbirth, a desire for her husband, and him ruling over her. The middle phrase doesn’t make much sense, but the NLT renders it differently: “you will desire to control your husband.”

So before Adam and his wife messed up, things must have been the opposite: childbirth was easy, women did not seek to control their husbands, and men did not rule over their wives.

Going forward, women would desire to control their husbands, and husbands would rule their wives. However, in the beginning there was neither controlling nor ruling; there must have been equality, with God intending spouses to live as equals.

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Women in the Bible: Anna

Anna is widowed after only seven years of marriage. A devout woman, she dedicates her life to God, spending as much time as possible in the temple fasting, praying, and worshiping him.Anna thanks God she lived long enough to see Jesus

Anna is at least eighty-four years old when Mary and Joseph show up to consecrate Jesus. First, she recognizes him as the savior who the people have been expecting for centuries. Then she thanks God she lived long enough to see Jesus and then tells everyone about him.

After a lifetime of devotion to God, he rewards her by allowing to to see Jesus. How many other people were likewise as devout, but never got to see him?

God calls us to focus on him, but we may not receive any reward for our loyalty during our lifetime. Will we be faithful anyway?

[Luke 2:36-38]

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Women in the Bible: Elizabeth

Childless, Elizabeth and husband Zechariah are getting old; their chance for kids is slim. Still they pray for the improbable. Despite not receiving what they yearn for, their faith remains strong. They are a righteous couple who honor God.Women in the Bible: Elizabeth

One day at work, an angel shows up and tells Zechariah that he and his barren wife will finally have a son—not just any son, but a special one. He is to be set apart for service to God, the Holy Spirit will empower him, and he will spark a nationwide revival. They are to name him John.

Elizabeth does indeed get pregnant. In her sixth month, Mary—who will later give birth to Jesus—comes for a visit. Inside Elizabeth, John jumps for joy at the sound of Mary’s voice. Then the Holy Spirit comes upon Elizabeth and she prophesizes, blessing Mary and her unborn baby.

When John is born, Elizabeth and Zechariah’s friends and family celebrate with them. They praise God and share in her joy for finally having a baby.

Elizabeth and Zechariah prayed for a child even when it no longer made sense; God answered their prayers by giving them a son named John, John the Baptist.

Are we willing to pray for the impossible? Will we patiently wait for God’s answer?

[Luke 1:5-60]

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Women in the Bible: The Virgin Mary

Mary Receives Shocking News

An angel visits Mary, a teenage girl engaged to be married. The angel celebrates her as one highly favored by God. Perplexed, she wonders about the angel’s shocking greeting. Then he further stuns her by saying she will become pregnant, and her child will save her people.Women in the Bible: The Virgin Mary

“How,” Mary asks? “I’m a virgin.”

The angel explains that the Holy Spirit will supernaturally impregnate her.

Mary trusts God in this and accepts it without arguing.

When Joseph, her fiancé, finds out about her condition, he’s going to dump her, but an angel visits him and tells him not to. Though they eventually marry, they remain celibate until after Mary’s miracle baby is born.

The Birth of Jesus

However, before that happens, Mary and Joseph must travel to Bethlehem for a mandatory census. Unable to find a room to stay in, they hunker down in a barn. There, among the filth of livestock, Jesus is born.

This is no ordinary birth: angels celebrate, shepherds bow down, and royalty offer expensive gifts. Then at Jesus’ consecration, people give astounding prophecies and thanks for him. Twelve years later, Jesus amazes his parents, especially his mom, when they find him at the temple in deep discussion with the religious leaders.

At age thirty he starts his ministry. Three years later, during his execution, Jesus asks his close disciple John to care for Mary. The last we hear of her is at a gathering of Jesus’ followers after he rises from the dead and returns to heaven.

Though we praise Mary for her pious acceptance of God’s assignment, the townspeople did not likely celebrate her situation. They probably dismissed her claim that God did it, and she forever carried the stigma as the girl who got pregnant before being married.

Sometimes there is a price for following God. Would we be willing to suffer a lifetime of humiliation to conform to his plan for us?

[Matthew 1:18-2:11, Luke 1:26-38, Luke 2:1-51, Acts 1:14]

Read about more amazing biblical women in Women of the Bible.

The Apostle John and the Chosen Lady

In John’s second letter he writes to the “chosen lady” and her kids. Some people assume John is employing an intimate metaphor to reference the church (the chosen lady) and its members (her children). But this interpretation falls apart because the New Testament considers the people as the church, not as two separate parts.The Apostle John and the Chosen Lady

Rather, a literal understanding is that the chosen lady is an actual person, one who the Amplified Bible calls Cyria. John’s note is one of encouragement and instruction to someone he cares for deeply. Because the Bible preserves his letter for us, we can vicariously receive this same reassurance and teaching.

The Chosen Lady is a faithful follower of Jesus, and she, no doubt, desires to pass this on to her kids. She is likely a good mom, one who does her best to raise her children well. As a result, some of her kids are living good lives. But not all are. Some pick up her legacy; others do not.

She has done what she can to raise her kids right, but ultimately the decision of how they live their lives is up to them. John affirms her actions, but he doesn’t hold her accountable for results outside of her control.

Whether we are parents of biological children or spiritual children, we need to do our best to raise our offspring well. Though we can’t determine which path our kids take, we can point them in the right direction.

[2 John 1:1]

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Women in the Bible: Athaliah

Athaliah is an evil woman. She encourages her son, the king, to act wickedly. He does and is soon assassinated. Then Athaliah seizes control and asserts herself as queen. Her lust for power is so great, she kills all the members of the royal family, including her own grandchildren.Athaliah

One baby, however, is rescued by his aunt, Jehosheba. His name is Joash. Six years later, he, the rightful heir to the throne, is crowned king by the priest, with the support of the Levites and heads of the leading families.

Athaliah accuses them of treason and tears her clothes to express her outrage. But she can’t change what has happened. At the direction of the priest, the army kills her.

The country celebrates her death and calm returns.

Athaliah could have positively influenced her son and helped him rule wisely. She could have protected and groomed his successor. Had she done so, the people would have celebrated her life; instead they celebrated her death.

Is our life worthy of celebration?

[2 Kings 11 and 2 Chronicles 22-23]

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