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Women of the Bible

Anna, a prophet, was also there in the Temple. She was the daughter of
Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher, and was very old. She was a widow, for her
husband had died when they had been married only seven years. She was
eighty-four years old. She never left the Temple but stayed there day and
night, worshiping God with fasting and prayer. She came along just as
Simeon was talking with Mary and Joseph, and she began praising God. She
talked about Jesus to everyone who had been waiting for the promised King
to come and deliver Jerusalem. (Luke 2:36-38)
Anna was not like most women of her time. She chose a different path.
More than likely, after her husbands death, Anna would have been
encouraged to get married again and have children. Anna, instead, chose to
stay single. She chose to share her faith to as many people as she could. She
chose to serve the Lord. She chose to fast and pray, worshiping the Lord day
and night. She chose to tell them the news of the Savior that was coming, no
matter how long it might be before he came. She knew her purpose and she
didn't let anyone's opinions or comments keep her from it. Anna's choice
would not only affect her life in an abundant way, but also the lives of others
ever since.

The story of Abigail and David ranks almost as exciting and deceitful as that
of David and his most famous wife, Bathsheba. The wife of a rich man when
she met David, Abigail possessed beauty, intelligence, political shrewdness,
and material wealth that helped David at a critical moment when he could
have thrown away his chance at success.
Samuel, Nabal demonstrates
towards David, and Abigail attempts to placate David in order to stop him
taking revenge. She gives him food, and speaks to him, urging him not to
"have on his conscience the staggering burden of needless bloodshed" and
reminding him that God will make him a "lasting dynasty". After Abigail
reveals to Nabal what she has done, "Yahweh struck Nabal and he died,"
after which David married her.
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The text explicitly describes Abigail as "intelligent and beautiful" (1 Samuel

According to the Old Testament, Bathsheba was the daughter of Eliam or
Ammiel, and wife of Uriah the Hittite. David committed adultery with her. The
child born in adultery died. After her husband was slain, she was married to
David, and became the mother of Solomon. She took a prominent part in
securing the succession of Solomon to the throne.

Deborah was a prophetess and the only female, Judge of pre-monarchic
Israel in the Old Testament. Deborah: A prophetess, "wife" of Lapidoth. Jabin,
the king of Hazor, had for twenty years held Israel in degrading subjection.
The spirit of patriotism seemed crushed out of the nation. In this emergency
Deborah roused the people from their lethargy. Her fame spread far and
wide. She became a "Mother in Israel" (Judges 4:6,14; 5:7), and "the children
of Israel came up to her for judgment" as she sat in her tent under the palm
tree "between Ramah and Bethel."

According to the Old Testament, Delilah was the Philistine mistress
of Samson who betrayed him by cutting off his hair and so deprived him of
his strength.
Delilah was a Philistine woman who dwelt in the valley of Sorek. She was
bribed by the "lords of the Philistines" to obtain from Samson the secret of
his strength and the means of overcoming it. She tried on three occasions to
obtain from him this secret in vain. On the fourth occasion she wrung it from
him. She made him sleep upon her knees, and then called the man who was
waiting to help her; who "cut off the seven locks of his head," and so his
"strength went from him."


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Dinah according to the Old Testament was the daughter of Jacob by Leah,
and sister of Simeon and Levi. She was seduced by Shechem, the son of
Hamor, the Hivite chief, when Jacob's camp was in the neighborhood of
Shechem. This led to the terrible revenge of Simeon and Levi in putting the
Shechemites to death. Jacob makes frequent reference to this deed of blood
with abhorrence and regret. She is mentioned among the rest of Jacob's
family that went down into Egypt.

According to the New Testament she was a prophetess, the cousin of Mary of
Nazareth and the mother of John the Baptist. She was a descendant of Aaron.
She and her husband Zacharias (q.v.) "were both righteous before God".
Mary's visit to Elisabeth is described in Luke 1:39-63.
Elisabeth means God is my oath that is, a worshiper of God. In his hymn
of praise, uttered soon after the birth of his son John, Zacharias alludes to
the significance of his wifes name when he said, the oath which God swore
to Abraham. The son was called John by divine command, and means the
mercy or favor of God.

Esther was the beautiful Jewish queen of the Persian king Ahasuerus
(traditionally identified with Xerxes). Her story is the basis for the celebration
of Purim in Jewish tradition.
Esther appears in the Bible as a "woman of deep piety, faith, courage,
patriotism, and caution, combined with resolution; a dutiful daughter to her
adopted father, docile and obedient to his counsels, and anxious to share the
king's favor with him for the good of the Jewish people. There must have
been a singular grace and charm in her aspect and manners, since 'she
obtained favor in the sight of all them that looked upon her. That she was
raised up as an instrument in the hand of God to avert the destruction of the
Jewish people, and to afford them protection and forward their wealth and
peace in their captivity, is also manifest from the Scripture account.

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Eve is as follows: Adam's wife, the first woman and mother of the human
race; God created Eve from Adam's rib and placed Adam and Eve in the
Garden of Eden. They were banished from the Garden of Eden for eating
forbidden fruit.
There are three names applied to Adams wife. She is called Woman,
because she was taken out of Man (Genesis 2:23). Woman is more of a
generic designation than a name, and is associated with Eves relation to
Adam, a relation she was created to fulfill. Literally woman means maness. Then both Eve and her husband are called Adam. Male and female
created them... and called their name Adam (Genesis 5:2). This inclusive
name implies that the divine ideal for man and wife is not merely that of
association but an indissoluble unity. God made them one flesh and gave
them one name. Eve, the name given her after the transgression and its
prophesied results, was the choice of Adam who called his wifes name Eve;
because she was the mother of all living (3:16, 20). This was the name
describing her function and destiny in spiritual history of which she was the
beginning. Eve means life or life-giving, or mother of all who have life,
and her life is in us all. In Bible days great significance was attached to a
change of name. Why then did Adam change his wifes namewhich was his
own, Adam, to Eve? Donald Davidson says that, In view of the awful
judgment pronounced upon them, the man might have been pardoned if he
had reproached her as death, for it was her sin that brought death into our
world and all our woe. But Adam gives her a name which is expressive of the
prophetic life bound up in her. For through the seed of the woman, sin would
one day be vanquished, and death would be swallowed up in victory.

Hannah is one of two wives of Elkanah; the other, Peninnah, bore children to
Elkanah, but Hannah remained childless. Nevertheless, Elkanah preferred
Hannah. Every year Elkanah would offer a sacrifice at the Shilohsanctuary,
and give Penninah and her children a portion but he gave Hannah a double
portion "because he loved her, and the LORD had closed her womb" (NIV).
One day Hannah went up to the temple, and prayed with great weeping (I
Samuel 1:10), while Eli the High Priest was sitting on a chair near the
doorpost. In her prayer she asked God for a son and in return she vowed to
give the son back to God for the service of the Shiloh priests. She promised
he would remain a Nazarite all the days of his life.

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Eli thought she was drunk and questioned her. When she explained herself,
he sent her away and effectively said that her prayer would be heard and her
desire granted. As promised, she conceived and bore a son. She called his
name Samuel, "since she had asked the Lord for him". She raised him until
he was weaned and brought him to the temple along with a sacrifice. The
first 10 verses of 1 Samuel 2 record her song of praise to the Lord for
answering her petition. Hannah is also considered to be a prophetess,
because in this Biblical passage she foretells history in advance. Eli
announced another blessing on Hannah, and she conceived 3 more sons and
2 daughters, making six in total.

According to the Old Testament, Hagar was the Egyptian handmaiden of
Sarah, wife of Abraham. At Sarah's suggestion, she became Abraham's
second wife and mother of mother of Ishmael.
Hagar: Sarah's handmaid (Genesis 16:1; 21:9,10), whom she gave to
Abraham (q.v.) as a secondary wife (16:2). When she was about to become a
mother fled from the cruelty of her mistress, intending apparently to return
to her relatives in Egypt, through the desert of Shur, which lay between.
Wearied and worn she had reached the place she distinguished by the name
of Beer-lahai-roi ("the well of the visible God"), where the angel of the Lord
appeared to her. In obedience to the heavenly visitor she returned to the tent
of Abraham, where her son Ishmael was born, and where she remained till
after the birth of Isaac, the space of fourteen years.
Sarah after this began to vent her dissatisfaction both on Hagar and her
child. Ishmael's conduct was insulting to Sarah, and she insisted that he and
his mother should be dismissed. This was accordingly done, although with
reluctance on the part of Abraham (Genesis 21:14). They wandered out into
the wilderness, where Ishmael, exhausted with his journey and faint from
thirst, seemed about to die. Hagar "lifted up her voice and wept," and the
angel of the Lord, as before, appeared unto her, and she was comforted and
delivered out of her distresses (Genesis 21:18,19). Ishmael afterwards
established himself in the wilderness of Paran, where he married an Egyptian
(Genesis 21:20,21).

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According to the New Testament Joanna was one of the women associated
with the ministry of Jesus. As recorded in the Gospel of Luke as
accompanying Jesus and the twelve disciples.
Joanna is the wife of Chuza, the steward of Herod Antipas, tetrarch of Galilee.
She was one of the women who ministered to our Lord, and to whom he
appeared after his resurrection.

Leah was the eldest daughter of Laban, the sister to Rachel, and the first
wife of Jacob, the Hebrew patriarch.
Jacob took her to wife through a deceit of her father (Genesis 29:23). She
was "tender-eyed". She bore to Jacob six sons, and one daughter, Dinah. She
accompanied Jacob into Canaan, and died there before the time of the going
down into Egypt, and was buried in the cave of Machpelah.

Martha (of Bethany)

Martha is a biblical figure described in the Gospels of Luke and John. Together
with her siblings Lazarus and Mary, she is described as living in the village of
Bethany near Jerusalem. She was witness to Jesus' resurrection of her
brother, Lazarus.
Martha was the sister of Lazarus and Mary, and probably the eldest of the
family, who all resided at Bethany. From the residence being called "her
house," some have supposed that she was a widow, and that her brother and
sister lodged with her. She seems to have been of an anxious, bustling spirit,
anxious to be helpful in providing the best things for the Master's use.
Martha, who was "cumbered about many things" while Jesus was their guest.
Martha was absorbed, preoccupied, abstracted. To Martha life was 'a
succession of particular businesses.

Mary (Sister of Martha and Lazarus)

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Mary the sister of Lazarus is brought to our notice in connection with the
visits of our Lord to Bethany. She is contrasted with her sister Martha. Mary in
contrast to her older sister is quiet earnestness, she who was more
concerned to avail herself of the opportunity of sitting at the Lords feet and
learning of him teach. She is a reverent disciple and a wistful listener.
On the occasion of our Lord's last visit to Bethany, Mary brought "a pound of
ointment of spikenard, very costly, and anointed the feet of Jesus" as he
reclined at table in the house of one Simon, who had been a leper. This was
an evidence of her overflowing love to the Lord. Nothing is known of her
subsequent history. It would appear from this act of Mary's, and from the
circumstance that they possessed a family vault, and that a large number of
Jews from Jerusalem came to condole with them on the death of Lazarus,
that this family at Bethany belonged to the wealthier class of the people.

Mary (Mother of Jesus)

According to the New Testament and the early church, Mary was the
daughter of Joachim and Anne. She lived in Nazareth in Galilee and was
betrothed (engaged) to Joseph. She conceived Jesus Christ miraculously by
the agency of the Holy Spirit. She married Joseph and accompanied him to
Bethlehem, where Jesus was born.
Wife to Joseph, the mother of Jesus, called the "Virgin Mary," though never so
designated in Scripture. Little is known of her personal history. Her genealogy
is given in Luke 3. She was of the tribe of Judah and the lineage of David. She
was connected by marriage with Elisabeth, who was of the lineage of Aaron.
While she resided at Nazareth with her parents, before she became the wife
of Joseph, the angel Gabriel announced to her that she was to be the mother
of the promised Messiah. After this she went to visit her cousin Elisabeth,
who was living with her husband Zacharias, at a considerable distance, about
100 miles, from Nazareth. Immediately on entering the house she was
saluted by Elisabeth as the mother of her Lord, and then forthwith gave
utterance to her hymn of thanksgiving. After three months Mary returned to
Nazareth to her own home. Joseph was supernaturally made aware of her
condition, and took her to his own home. Soon after this the decree of
Augustus required that they should proceed to Bethlehem, some 80 or 90
miles from Nazareth; and while they were there they found shelter in the inn
or khan provided for strangers. But as the inn was crowded, Mary had to
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retire to a place among the cattle, and there she brought forth her son, who
was called Jesus, because he was to save his people from their sins. This was
followed by the presentation in the temple, the flight into Egypt, and their
return in the following year and residence at Nazareth. There for thirty years
Mary, the wife of Joseph the carpenter, resides, filling her own humble
sphere, and pondering over the strange things that had happened to her.
During these years only one event in the history of Jesus is recorded, his
going up to Jerusalem when twelve years of age, and his being found among
the doctors in the temple. Probably also during this period Joseph died, for he
is not again mentioned.
After the commencement of our Lord's public ministry little notice is taken of
Mary. She was present at the marriage in Cana. A year and a half after this
we find her at Capernaum, where Christ uttered the memorable words, "Who
is my mother? and who are my brethren? And he stretched forth his hand
toward his disciples, and said, Behold my mother and my brethren!" The next
time we find her is at the cross along with her sister Mary, and Mary
Magdalene, and Salome, and other women (John 19:26). From that hour John
took her to his own abode. She was with the little company in the upper
room after the Ascension (Acts 1:14). From this time she wholly disappears
from public notice. The time and manner of her death are unknown.

Mary Magdalene
Mary Magdalene according to the New Testament was an early follower of
Jesus who came from Magdala in Galilee. She was a reformed sinner and
once washed Christ's feet with her tears and dried them using her long hair.
She was an eye-witness to the crucifixion and the resurrection.
Mary Magdalene (or Mary of Magdala, a town on the western shore of the
Lake of Tiberias) is for the first time noticed as one of the women who
"ministered to Christ of their substance." Their motive was that of gratitude
for deliverances he had wrought for them. Out of Mary were cast seven
demons. Gratitude to her great Deliverer prompted her to become his
follower. These women accompanied him also on his last journey to
Jerusalem where they stood near the cross.
There Mary remained till all was over, and the body was taken down and laid
in Joseph's tomb. Again, in the earliest dawn of the first day of the week she,
with Salome and Mary the mother of James, came to the sepulchre, bringing
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with them sweet spices, that they might anoint the body of Jesus. They found
the sepulchre empty, but saw the "vision of angels". She hastens to tell Peter
and John, who were probably living together at this time, and again
immediately returns to the sepulchre. There she lingers thoughtfully,
weeping at the door of the tomb. The risen Lord appears to her, but at first
she knows him not. His utterance of her name "Mary" recalls her to
consciousness, and she utters the joyful, reverent cry, "Rabboni." She would
fain cling to him, but he forbids her, saying, "Touch me not; for I am not yet
ascended to my Father." This is the last record regarding Mary of Magdala,
who now returned to Jerusalem. The idea that this Mary was "the woman who
was a sinner," or that she was unchaste, is altogether groundless.

According to the Old Testament, Miriam is the sister of Moses and Aaron. Her
name is prominent in the history of the Exodus. She is called "the
prophetess" (Exodus 15:20). She took the lead in the song of triumph after
the passage of the Red Sea. She died at Kadesh during the second
encampment at that place, toward the close of the wanderings in the
wilderness, and was buried there.

Naomi: the wife of Elimelech, and mother of Mahlon and Chilion, and motherin-law of Ruth. Elimelech and his wife left the district of Bethlehem-Judah,
and found a new home in the uplands of Moab. In the course of time he died,
as also his two sons Mahlon and Chilion, who had married women of Moab,
and three widows were left mourning the loss of their husbands. Naomi longs
to return now to her own land, to Bethlehem. One of her widowed daughtersin-law, Ruth, accompanies her, and is at length married to Boaz.

Rachel according to the Old Testament was the younger daughter of Laban,
sister to Leah, and second wife of Jacob.
Rachel was somewhat petulant, peevish, and self-willed though beautiful
younger daughter of Laban, and one of Jacob's wives. He served Laban
fourteen years for her, so deep was Jacob's affection for her. She was the
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mother of Joseph. Afterwards, on Jacob's departure from Mesopotamia, she
took with her her father's teraphim. As they journeyed on from Bethel,
Rachel died in giving birth to Benjamin, and was buried "in the way to
Ephrath, which is Bethlehem. And Jacob set a pillar upon her grave". Her
sepulchre is still regarded with great veneration by the Jews. Its traditional
site is about half a mile from Jerusalem.

Rebekah (Rebecca)
Rebekah: the daughter of Bethuel, and the wife of Isaac. The circumstances
under which Abraham's "steward" found her at the "city of Nahor," in Padanaram, are narrated in Genesis 2427-27. "She can hardly be regarded as an
amiable woman. When we first see her she is ready to leave her father's
house for ever at an hour's notice; and her future life showed not only a full
share of her brother Laban's duplicity, but the grave fault of partiality in her
relations to her children, and a strong will, which soon controlled the gentler
nature of her husband." The time and circumstances of her death are not
recorded, but it is said that she was buried in the cave of Machpelah.

According to the Old Testament, Ruth was the great-grandmother of King
David. Known as Ruth the Moabite in the Book of Ruth.
Ruth: a Moabitess, the wife of Mahlon, whose father, Elimelech, had settled
in the land of Moab. On the death of Elimelech and Mahlon, Naomi came with
Ruth, her daughter-in-law, who refused to leave her, to Bethlehem, the old
home from which Elimelech had migrated. There she had a rich relative,
Boaz, to whom Ruth was eventually married. She became the mother of
Obed, the grandfather of David. Thus Ruth, a Gentile, is among the maternal
progenitors of our Lord. The story of "the gleaner Ruth illustrates the friendly
relations between the good Boaz and his reapers, the Jewish land system,
the method of transferring property from one person to another, the working
of the Mosaic law for the relief of distressed and ruined families; but, above
all, handing down the unselfishness, the brave love, the unshaken
trustfulness of her who, though not of the chosen race, was, like the
Canaanitess Tamar and the Canaanitess Rahab, privileged to become the
ancestress of David, and so of 'great David's greater Son".

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Women of the Bible

Salome according to the Old Testament was the daughter of Herodias and
stepdaughter of Herod Philip I. She beguiled Herod Philip with her dancing
and asked for the head of John the Baptist because he had declared the
marriage between her mother and Herod Philip as unlawful.
On the occasion of the birthday festival held by Herod Antipas, who had
married her mother Herodias, in the fortress of Machaerus, she "came in and
danced, and pleased Herod". John the Baptist, at that time a prisoner in the
dungeons underneath the castle, was at her request beheaded by order of
Herod, and his head given to the damsel in a charger, "and the damsel gave
it to her mother," whose revengeful spirit was thus gratified."

Sarah was the wife of Abraham and mother of Isaac.
According to the Old Testament, Sarah was the wife and at the same time the
half-sister of Abraham (Genesis 11:29; 20:12). This name was given to her at
the time that it was announced to Abraham that she should be the mother of
the promised child. Her story is from her marriage identified with that of the
patriarch till the time of her death. Her death, at the age of one hundred and
twenty-seven years (the only instance in Scripture where the age of a woman
is recorded), was the occasion of Abraham's purchasing the cave of
Machpelah as a family burying-place.

Tabitha was a dressmaker, who made clothes for the poor in her village. A
pious Christian widow at Joppa whom Peter restored her to life (Acts 9:3641). She was a Hellenistic Jewess, called Tabitha by the Jews and Dorcas by
the Greeks.

Zipporah: Jethro's daughter (a priest of Midian), who became the wife of
Moses (Exodus 2:21). In consequence of the event recorded in Exodus 4:2426, she and her two sons, Gershom and Eliezer, went so far on the way with
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Moses toward Egypt, were sent back by him to her own kinsfolk, the
Midianites, with whom they sojourned till Moses afterwards joined them.

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