Old Testament Women
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I like to read about Queen Esther because her life was very interesting. She went from Jewish orphan to Persian queen. Mordecai,
her cousin, raised Esther after she became an orphan. Later when King Ahasuerus was looking for a new queen, she was one of the beautiful young virgins taken to the palace to be presented. After Esther was at the palace, she treated everyone including the servants with kindness. Esther was not only pretty on the outside, she was pretty on the inside. When she became queen, Esther still listened and respected Mordecai. She did not tell anyone about being Jewish because Mordecai told her not to. However, Mordecai found out that Haman, the King’s highest official, was going to have the Jews killed and their homes taken away. He then sent messages to Esther. He told her that she needed to help save her people. Esther was scared, her being Jewish was still a secret! She made the excuse that the king had not called her to see him in thirty days. No one could go before King Ahasuerus unless he called them. He could have them killed, even the Queen! Mordecai reminded Esther that even though she was the queen, she would still die like the rest of the Jews. He also told her that she may have been put in the position of queen for this very reason. Esther chose to be brave!
Queen Esther and the Jews fasted and prayed for three days. This was a race against time. These things would happen within a year. On the third day Esther went to see the king and requested that he and Haman join her in a banquet. King Ahasuerus accepted her invitation! After requesting a second banquet Esther got the courage to tell the king that the “wicked Haman” was trying to kill her and her people. Because she was brave enough to speak out, the Jews were able to fight for themselves and be saved.
By Meagen Folkes
(Meagen is one of our Young Readers/Young Writers.)
Spring 2013 Issue V6 N2
Are you a noble woman?”
“That’s for queens and princesses and people like that.”
“Ahhhh, the nobility. Women of noble rank. Royalty, in other words.”
“Do you think a woman could be noble in any other way?”
“I don’t know. I’ve never really thought about it.”
“Me neither, until recently. I’m wondering. Maybe we need to search it out and see just what that word ‘noble’ really means.”
The New King James Version shows Proverbs 31:10 like this: “A virtuous wife who can find? For her price is far above rubies.” The literal translation from the original text renders the phrase ‘a virtuous wife’ as ‘ woman of valor.”
The NIV says: “A noble woman who can find?….” We know that a woman of royalty is not spoken of here, if for no other reason than the work that is done by the woman in this passage. A woman of royalty, noble in rank, would have others doing for her what this woman is doing for not only her family, but others as well. So, what does “noble” mean?
According to the Bible Thesaurus and the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, the word “noble” is a noun meaning “one who enjoys rank above a commoner, one of the nobility.” Webster’s Dictionary also adds “a person in a superior position in life.” But the word “noble” is further defined as “the state of being worthy or honorable; elevation of mind or character; degree of excellence; grandeur; a quality suited to inspire respect or reverence; loftiness and grace; impressiveness, stateliness in manner or style; elevation of thought or expression.” Webster’s also adds “being noble-minded”.
So to be noble, one must be different from the ordinary, someone people can look up to with respect, someone whose mind dwells on good things, someone whose actions reflect excellence, doing more than is expected. That brings to mind Galatians 6: 22-23 where Paul lists the Fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, long-suffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Then in 2 Peter 1:5-7 Peter lists faith, virtue, knowledge, self-control, patience, godliness, brotherly- kindness, and love. Paul says in Philippians 4:8 that we are to think on things that are good, just, true, high-minded (noble), pure, lovely, of good report, and praise-worthy. It also brings to mind 1 Peter 2:9 where Peter tells us we are “a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people….”
Reading the above passages (and there are many more that could be considered), being a noble woman, a noble-minded woman, is being Christ-like, being pure in thought and mind, thinking and acting in a Christian manner, unlike the world, setting oneself apart from worldly things.
There is no list of “noble women” in the Bible, but from those women we lift up as examples, it can plainly be seen that they are truly “noble women”. Let’s look briefly at a few.
Queen Vashti in Esther 1:12, was truly of noble rank, but refused to lower herself to be viewed by the men at the King’s feast. Not only did she exhibit courage, but maintained her high character, her noble-mindedness. How many women in the world would also refuse to parade herself before men in today’s world? Sadly, too many would do just that for fame and money, or even worse, just for the “fun of it.”
Hannah, in I Samuel chapters 1 and 2, was a noble woman with a strong faith and trust in God, and when God gave her a son, she showed excellence of character by honoring God with the gift of the very son He had given her. She gave her son, Samuel, back to God to be raised for His work. How many mothers would do the same today?
Mary, the mother of our Lord, is said in Luke 1:28 to be a “highly favored one” by God. No doubt it was because of her excellence of character, her love for God, her noble-minded- ness that set her apart from other women. Not that it made her more holy, to be set apart and worshipped as some of our religious neighbors do, but that God was pleased with her character, her demeanor, her attitude, her very thoughts.
The list of women could go on and on with names like, Lois & Eunice, Ruth, Deborah the Judge, Queen Esther, Sarah, Lydia, Priscilla, but there is one I’d like to look at to close out this study. That woman is Peter’s wife.
Peter’s wife is never named, but is mentioned. The reason I mention her is because Peter tells us in I Peter 5:1 that he is an Elder in the Church. What does that have to do with her being a noble woman? I submit to you that an Elder’s wife must be of such character and Christ-likeness, just as her husband, or the husband could not be an Elder. Titus 2: 3 tells us what women, especially older women should be like–”reverent in their behavior, not slanderers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things–that they admonish the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, home-makers, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God not be blasphemed.” All of these qualities put her, and us, above the norm, apart from the worldly realm. These qualities help husbands to be deacons and Elders, because they exhibit without a doubt what being a”noble” woman means.
As Christian women, we should strive for all those qualities listed by Titus, Paul and Peter, whether or not our spouse is, or seeks to be, an Elder or a Deacon. We should strive for all those qualities because we love God and want to obey Him, and to be like Him, to be like our Savior. Having those qualities shows we are noble women of God. It shows we are set apart from the world.
But how do we become a noble woman of God? It is not something we are born with, as natural instincts, but are taught and learned through the years. They are things we develop throughout our lifetime. It’s that Christ-likeness, or having the mind of Christ that all Christians should be striving for.
However, being older in years doesn’t mean we are noble, or even noble-minded. There are younger women who have attained some of these traits while there are older women who are still struggling with them. It’s an on-going process in our daily walk to Heaven….something we work on every day. While some of these things are easy for us to develop, there will be something we are always striving to do better. And as humans we slip from time-to-time and must pick ourselves up and go on. But that is just part of the maturing and “perfecting” process.
Being noble, noble-minded, having the Mind of Christ, takes patience, much study and much prayer. It also takes interaction and encouragement from our Christian Sisters. We need each other to help us grow. That association with those who truly are noble women of God helps those who are still striving to be. May we never become weary in our growing and learning, and may we always continue so that we will be known as a “noble woman of God.”
By Beth Turner
Originally printed in the Spring 2012 issue V5N2
How many promises have you made? Well, probably a lot in your life, but here is another question to consider. How many promises have you kept? In the Bible, there is a lady named Hannah, who made a promise to God. Hannah could not give birth to children (1 Samuel 1:5). This made her terribly unhappy. Weeping, she went to the temple and asked the Lord to give her a son. Then she made her promise. She told the Lord that she would give her son to Eli, who was the priest, to work in the temple (1 Samuel 1:11). When the Lord heard her prayer, he gave her a baby boy. She called him Samuel “…because I have asked him of the Lord,” (1 Samuel 1:20). She kept her promise and gave Samuel to Eli the priest when she had weened him (1 Samuel 1:23-24).
I think it was hard for her to keep her promise, but she did the right thing and kept it. Exactly like her, we should keep our promises that we make; because there is nothing better than a promise kept!
By Morgan C. age 11
In 1 Samuel 1:11, Hannah prayed for a baby. The Lord had closed her womb. So she prayed that the Lord grant her a baby. She made a promise that she would give him to the Lord. So God remembered her and gave her a baby boy. Hannah remembered the promise that she made and gave the boy to the Lord.
See we as Christian women need to be like Hannah and keep the Lord first. Ok, maybe we have some kids in sports, but what comes first God or sports? GOD! So we always need to put the Lord first and keep our promises to Him. It’s ok if you miss a few services. But don’t hold back and just stop going completely! Come back and get the Lord back in your life! So remember if you make a promise to the Lord, keep it!
Do you know what JOY stand for? Jesus, Others, Yourself! I have a new goal in my life: to keep God first. What don’t you try it too? Always remember to keep God first in our lives just like Christian women should do everyday! Just keep Him first!
by Jerrica age 12
In this day and time, we are always in a hurry. We have trained ourselves and our children to expect everything NOW. When our expectations are not met, we often become impatient and frustrated, pushing harder to get what we want. We begin to rely only on ourselves in order to get what we think we “need.” In our quest for more, there is no room for patience or time to wait for God to bless us in His time.
God sometimes asks us to wait. He promises to provide for us in due time if we will wait patiently. Ecclesiastes 3:1 tells us “To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven.” God’s timetable is not the same as ours. We need to trust in God’s promises and not become frustrated when things do not work out according to our plans.
The following women all had one thing in common – they were each barren.Some grew impatient as they waited for a child, and tried to “help” God with His plans. But later, in God’s time, they each bore a great man.
Sarah was promised a child at such an advanced age that she laughed at the news. She tried to rush God’s plan by encouraging her husband, Abraham, to have a child with her handmaid, Hagar. But God blessed Sarah with a child in her old age, and this son Issac was a great man. He was used to test Abraham’s faith in God (Genesis 22). God’s promise was given to Abraham that his seed would be multiplied as the stars in heaven, and that promise was fulfilled in God’s time.
Issac grew up and married a woman named Rebekah (Genesis 25). When Issac realized that Rebekah was barren, he intreated the Lord for his wife and she bore a son named Jacob. Jacob was also given the promise of God and his name was changed to Israel (Genesis 35:10). He became the father of 12 sons, through which grew the great nation of Israel.
Jacob worked for many years for the privilege of marrying the beautiful woman, Rachel. Jacob also married her sister, Leah, who was able to provide Jacob with children. Rachel was very frustrated with her inability to conceive, but in God’s time, He opened her womb and she bore a son named Joseph (Genesis 30:22- 24). Joseph’s brothers were jealous of him and sold him into slavery. But through God’s will, he arrived in Egypt where he became a powerful man, second only to Pharaoh. In this position, he was able to bring all of Israel to Egypt in order for them to survive the famine and continue to become a great nation.
In the book of Judges, we read of Manoah, whose wife was barren. An angel of the Lord promised her that she would conceive and bare a son who would be a Nazarite unto God from the womb. Manoah’s wife did bare a son, who she named Samson. God blessed Samson, and he grew up to deliver the children of Israel out of the hand of the Philistines and became a judge of Israel for 20 years.
In 1st Samuel, we read of Hannah and her sadness at not having a child. She vowed that if she had a son, she would give him to the Lord all the days of his life. Hannah was blessed and bore Samuel, who served God from his youth and was a great judge over Israel all the days of his life (I Samuel 7:15).
Then in the New Testament, we read of Elisabeth who was barren in her old age. But an angel promised her husband, Zacharias, that they would have a son who would be filled with the Holy Ghost from his mother’s womb. Elisabeth did have a son, John, who became known as John the Baptizer. He was perhaps the greatest of these sons who were born, because his duty was to prepare the way for our Lord Jesus Christ. He was given the privilege of baptizing Jesus (Matthew 3:13-17, Mark 1:9-11, and Luke 3:21-23).
In our hurry-up lifestyle, we must remember to have patience and “be anxious for nothing.” (Philippians 4:6) As we are told in Matthew 6:25-34, we do not have to worry about our life and physical needs because God will take care of everything as long as we “seek first the kingdom of God.” When we leave our timetable in God’s hands, we can be free to live a life that is filled with the fruits of the spirit (Galatians 5:16-23).
When we stop being in such a hurry, we can fill our lives with doing good and keep our minds on things that are true, noble, just, pure, lovely, and of good report (Philippians 4:8). We can forget the worry and wanting and remember that God shall supply all our needs (Philippians 4:19).
This fall, let’s slow down and turn over a new leaf. Let us “not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart” (Galatians 6:9).
By Nancy Branson
Originally printed in the Fall 2010 issue V3N4
The name of Deborah means bee. “Science confirms the ancient belief that of all the animal kingdom, the bee ranks among the highest in intelligence. Deborah stands out as among the wisest of all the Old Testament.” (Mary Hallet)
The Bible does not tell us much about Deborah’s family. We know that she was married to a man named Lapidoth (Judges 4:4). They lived between Bethel and Ramah in the hill country of Ephraim. The palm tree under which Deborah sat as she judged for the children of Israel became a landmark known as “The Palm of Deborah” (Judges 4:5). She was referred to as “a mother in Israel” (Judges 5:7), but there is no record of any children being born to Deborah and Lapidoth.
Deborah, having superior spiritual, mental and physical powers, was called by God to be a judge over the Israelites. God also gave her the task of delivering her people once again from captivity. A captivity brought on by their idolatry and trying to do what was right in their own eyes. She was one of the females called a prophetess in the Scriptures. Being a prophet or prophetess meant having the ability to speak for God. In other words, being a prophetess, she was able to be the mediator between God and the Israelites.
Deborah, however, did more than prophesy; she also gave her people the determination to free themselves from their bondage. As the people came out to hear her wisdom, she talked to them of their deliverance, with the help of the Lord, from their oppressors. After 20 years of oppression, Deborah became the deliverer of her people. After the victory over Sisera, she was judge over all Israel for 40 years. During this period Israel rested from war and captivity (Judges 5:31).
It was because Deborah believed God could and would do what He said that she sent for Barak, a trained man of war (Judges 4:6,7) and said to him, “Has not God commanded, ‘Go and deploy troops at Mount Tabor; take with you 10,000 men of the sons of Zebulun and against you I will draw Sisera, the commander of Jabin’s army, with his chariots and his multitude at the River Kishon; and I will deliver him into your hand?’”
To Barak the task seemed hopeless. He did not appear to have as much faith as Deborah because his answer was, “If you will go with me, then I will go; but if you will not go with me, then I will not go.” (Judges 4:8) Maybe it was because Israel had been in slavery so long that it made Barak seem a little afraid.
Did Deborah hesitate? Not for an instant – she replied “I will surely go with you, nevertheless, there will be no glory for you in the journey you are taking, for the Lord will sell Sisera into the hands of a woman.” Then Deborah arose and went with Barak to Kedish. (Judges 4:9)
Sisera had 900 iron chariots and a multitude (100,000) of soldiers, and Barak had only 10,000 men plus God to fight for him. But in spite of the odds, Deborah’s faith in God did not waver. God was her ally. Even the “stars in their courses fought against Sisera.” (Judges 5:20) God sent a tremendous rain/hail storm that caused the river of Kishon to flood, rendered the chariots useless and overwhelmed the army of Sisera. The men with Barak were able to kill all the men of Sisera except Sisera. He left his chariot and fled. Barak pursued him but did not find him. Sisera went to Jael’s house. Here was the woman, Deborah had told Barak, “God would deliver Sisera into the hands of a woman.” (Judges 4:9)
Sisera met Jael in the road, and she invited him into her house to rest. “And he said to her, ‘Please give me a little water to drink, for I am thirsty.’ So she opened a bottle of milk and gave him a drink; then she covered him. (Judges 4:19; 5:25) She covered him with a blanket, and when he was asleep she drove a tent peg through his temple in to the ground. (Judges 4:21, 5:26) She received the glory of killing Sisera as well as much criticism, but Deborah was known as the woman who, through her faith in God, rescued her people from their enemy.
Deborah could not only prophecy, arouse, rule and fight, but also write. After her victory over the Canaanites, she composed a song which is regarded as one of the finest specimens of ancient Hebrew poetry, being superior even to the celebrated song of Miriam. Deborah’s song in Judges 5 magnifies the Lord as being the one who enabled Israel’s leaders to defeat their enemies. No character in the Old Testament stands out in bolder relief than Deborah, prophetess, ruler, warrior and poetess. Her song is immortal because her life was dedicated to God, and her deeds heroic and sublime. (Dr. Lockyer) Her dedication and trust in God was her most valuable of all her talents.
Read Judges 5 carefully. The most important lesson we can learn from the study of the life of Deborah is that faith in God will give us courage to overcome. It was her unfailing faith in God that gave her the courage to deliver her people. (Judges 5:31)
From the study of the Old Testament we can learn how God dealt with His people and all He did for those who obeyed Him. If we only believe and obey, He will do for us all that He promised. Just as Deborah is remembered because she served God to the limit of her ability, we should also strive to serve Him in the same capacity.
The author of this article is Unknown
Originally printed in the Summer 2010 issue V3N3
even to those we don‘t know.
Hospitable treatment of strangers, widows, and the fatherless is discussed in
the Bible as early as Exodus 22:21-22 and Exodus 23:9. Later, in Leviticus
19:10, the poor are mentioned in addition to strangers. Again in
Deuteronomy 23:12-13, instructions are given for the treatment of strangers,
widows, and the fatherless. Do we consider these groups when extending our
The New Testament gives us many examples of women who showed
hospitality. Many are commended for receiving others into their own homes.
Mary and Martha: Martha welcomed Jesus into her home in Luke 10:38.
Later, Mary and Martha provided supper for Jesus and his disciples in their
home (John 12:1-3).
Dorcas: Tabitha, also known as Dorcas, was known for her good deeds in
Lydia: Lydia persuaded Paul and Silas to stay with
her household in Acts 16:14-15.
Widow of Zarepath: The widow mentioned in I Kings 17:18-24 was rewarded not once, but twice,for her hospitality to the prophet Elijah. The first reward was a bin of flour that was never used up and a jar of oil that never ran dry and continued to
provide for her and her household. The second reward was the revival of her son.
Shunammite Woman: In II Kings 4:8-37, the Shunammite woman is rewarded for her hospitality to the
II Timothy 3:16-17 tells us we must be equipped for every good work. Romans 12:13 tells us we need to
feed our enemies. We should be like the virtuous woman described in Proverbs 31:20, who extended her
hand to the poor and needy.
Being hospitable to all we meet can come easily to us if we make the effort to help in small ways every day.
We are being hospitable when we lend a helping hand, take time for a child or an older person, take a meal
to someone in need, or donate whenever we have the opportunity. When we send cards of encouragement,
make visits, and open our homes to visitors and new members to our congregation we are showing our
hospitality. God can see our hospitality in what we do. Therefore, let us strive to be a useful servant
for our Master, prepared for every good work (II Timothy 2:21) and use the talents given to us by our
Lord (Matthew 25:13-46).
By Nancy Branson
Originally published in the 2010 winter issue N3V1
We, as women know that much is expected of us. God created us to be man’s helper (Gen 2:18) and helpers we are. When children are added to the mix, women suddenly become much more than just helpers. In fact, in a study done by Salary.com, “the typical mother puts in a 92- hour work week, and works at least 10 jobs. In order of hours spent on them per week, these are: housekeeper, day-care center teacher, cook, computer operator, laundry machine operator, janitor, facilities manager, van driver, chief executive officer and psychologist.” By figuring out the median salaries for each position, and calculating the average number of hours worked at each, the firm determined that the work completed by the average housewife should pay approximately $138,095 per year. Of course, we all know that we are not compensated in this manner. Our rewards come in various ways and some may not come until we leave this earth. Let’s take a look at the “worthy woman” described in Proverbs 31. The worthy woman brings her husband good and not evil all the days of her life (v. 12). She goes to great lengths to provide food for her family (v. 14). She works before the dawn and well into the night to provide food and clothing (v. 15-18). She works vigorously (v. 17), and is not idle (v. 27). Even after all she does for her household, she still finds time to help the poor and the needy (v.20). She is strong and dignified and still knows how to laugh (v. 25). Because of this, her children call her blessed and her husband praises her (v. 28). To sum it all up, “Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised. Give her the reward she has earned, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate” (v. 30- 31). Nothing gives me more hope than to know my labor in the Lord is not in vain (1 Corinthians 15:58). May we all see the blessings of being wives and mothers, and continue our work for the Kingdom.
‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You were faithful with a few things, I will set you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.’ Matthew 25:23
originally printed in the Spring 2008 issue
reprinted in the Spring 2012 issue