Women of significance in the Old Testament

For a very patriarchal society, God used a remarkable set of women in the stories of the Old Testament:

  • Eve was the mother of all living (Genesis 3:20).
  • Miriam is described as a prophet (Exodus 15:20). She may have been the sister who watched over Moses in his basket when he was discovered by Pharaoh. She led the women in singing and dancing after Moses led the Children of Israel across the Red Sea (Exodus 15). She was temporarily struck down with leprosy after complaining against Moses (Numbers 12)
  • Sarah played a significant role in the story of Abraham and the formation of the Israelite people (Genesis 17-25).  The same is true of Rebecca (Genesis 24-29), and Rachel and Leah (Genesis 29-35).
  • Rahab protected the two spies Joshua sent to Jericho (Joshua 2).
  • Deborah was a prophet and judge ruling over Israel. She led the Children of Israel to victory in a battle against the Canaanites (Judges 4). Barak, the commander of the army, refused to go into battle without her, and God granted them victory.
  • Jael killed Sisera, captain of the Canaanite army by driving a peg through his temple (Judges 4).
  • The five daughters of Zelophehad faced Moses and the entire community of Israel to demand land as their inheritance (Numbers 27).
  • Ruth and Naomi are a beautiful example of God’s dealings with women
  • Hannah was barren until God answered her prayers. She gave birth to the Samuel whom she dedicated to God (1 Samuel 1)
  • Abigail saved her household by providing for David (1 Samuel 25). She later became King David’s wife.
  • A young servant girl directed Naaman to go to Elisha for healing (2 Kings 5)
  • When King Josiah didn’t know what to do, his advisors consulted with Huldah, a female prophet, who spoke God’s word to them (2 Kings 22).
  • God used Queen Esther to save the Jewish people (Esther).

Not only does the history of Israel include these women, several women are described in the genealogy of Jesus: Rahab, Ruth and Bathsheba (Matthew 1). God has used women throughout human history.

 

  Photo Credit: BrianHenry ////|// via Compfight cc

5 thoughts on “Women of significance in the Old Testament”

  1. Hi Felicity, Awesome list! When will you publish your book and what will be the approach, what questions will you address?

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    1. The book is about 3/4 complete. I’m hoping to have the final manuscript done by June. We will address all kinds of questions–issues of justice and dignity, dealing with the challenging Scriptures, the role of women in the life of Jesus and Paul, as well as what both men and women can do to open the doors for women. The aim of the book is to give both women and men permission to champion women to do anything God is calling them to.

      Pray we get the right publisher!

      Thanks for asking.

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  2. Of course, I’m sure that any list could be longer, but a couple of less prominent women who stand out to me in the old testament: 1. A good friend of mine has always been inspired by Sheerah (1 Chronicles 7:24), who made it into the genealogy with the acknowledgement that she built Lower and Upper Beth Horon and Uzzen Sheerah; 2. I’ve personally been drawn to the story of Jephthah’s daughter (Judges 11). Although her story is tragic, I think it’s significant both that she is remembered in the Bible and that the young women of Israel annually commemorated her. Surely she is a great example of steadfast faith, obedience, and sacrifice.

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