There are many women in the Bible but most are unknown.
Several years ago I began a search for the women in the Bible. I knew that there had to be many more then the few we hear most about, Eve, Sarah, Ruth, Esther and Mary mother of Jesus.
Adam and Eve were created by God and had no earthly parents. Everyone else entered this life through a woman. All the Patriarchs and Prophets, all the kings and leaders of the early Church, all the evil doers and spiritual leaders were born of and most times educated by women. In Proverbs, it says son listen to the words of your mother. In this book there are many unnamed women.
These women cover a wide variety of personalities, there are saints and harlots, and faithful mothers and wives, queens, sorceresses, concubines, and businesswomen. In the foreground or background, named or nameless they are all an important part of the Bible. Women played a very important part in God's plan not just for reproduction of the human race, but in the events that are the history of the Bible and of the world.
I began with a book called "Everyone in the Bible", by William P. Barker. The problem with this book was that all persons are listed together in alphabetical order male and female. I had to read every name to find if they were female or male and the related scripture.
Then I found another book, "All the women of the Bible", by Edith Deen. It contains 316 concise biographies of women. How many of you know that there are 316 women mentioned in the Bible? Those are just the ones with names. Most probably do not and many others just don't care. The importance of women in the Bible has been marginalized as it has in society in general.
The three general sections of this book are:
Searching studies of women in the foreground
Alphabetical listing of named women
Chronological listings of nameless women in the background.
The women in the foreground are not women in leadership roles but a listing of the prominent women we are most familiar with, including the names I mentioned earlier, although there are several women in leadership roles. A woman in a leadership role is an uncommon and rare occurrence.
The last section, the nameless women most touched me. Many women in my family tree have only a first name, no sir name. One lady in the 1700's is listed only as the widow Emerick on a tax bill. Yet they are very important for without them I would not be me.
In the Bible there are many women like the wise-hearted woman Exodus 35:25 whose name we do not know. They are daughters, mothers, wives, widows and many other unnamed women.
A few others are
Woman with tabrets 1 Samuel 18:6
The Shulamite sweetheart in the Song of Solomon
The woman with leaven Matthew 22:25-32 and Luke 12:20-25
Many women where there Mathew 27:55
There are women in the Old Testament we can admire and look to for encouragement like Sarah, the mother of nations, Hannah a prayerful mother and Abigail a woman of good understanding. In the New Testament we have Dorcus also called Tabitha a woman full of good works, Mary mother of Jesus and Lydia the first Christian convert in Europe.
There were a few women who where leaders. When I first read about Deborah I was amazed to find a woman who was a Judge over Israel. When I mentioned this to a friend and ask why we hear so little of her, she reminded me that man had written the doctrines of Churches.
This is not a blog about women in leadership roles, but I can also not ignore these women as so many do now as in the past. I read one comment in a blog about women pastors that no one ever names these women leaders. That is not true, for one comment was 6 pages long when I printed it out. Many either don't read about them, ignore them or minimize their importance and accuse others of twisting scripture. I am only going to state where their story can be found.
Deborah's story can be found in the book of Judges. She ruled for 40 years. She was a good leader. Deborah was the wife of Lapidoth. The rabbis say she was a keeper of the tabernacle lamps. I found no mention of her as a mother or as a barren woman.
Athaliah was the only woman ever to rule over Judah. Her story can be found in 2 Kings 8:26, 2 Kings 11:1-3 and also in 2 Chronicles chapters 22 and 23. She ruled for only 6 years and was an evil leader and was murdered and trampled on by horses.
Lydia was a businesswoman, a seller of purple and probably one of the most successful and influential women of Philippi. Acts 16:14 and Acts 16:40
Priscilla also called Prisca can be found in the book of Acts, Romans, 1 Corinthians and 2 Timothy. She was also a leader in the early Church. She and her husband Aquila were tent makers and teachers.
The importance of women in general has long been ignored. They are important enough to God to have their stories written about. Whether in a leadership and foreground role or in the background as a wife, mother, sister or daughter all are of equal importance to our Lord.
There are actually 2 Deborah's. The first Deborah is found in Genesis 35:8 and was Rebekah's nurse. Her role is no less important than the role of Deborah judge and prophetess and wife of Lapidoth.
That is the point of this blog. A woman who follows the leading of God, whether that role is in the foreground or background of life is a righteous and godly woman to be praised.
Happy New Year