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Hebrew culture and society was male dominated and this is the reason we see mostly males in leadership roles. In the Bible we do not see the ladies often standing out as leaders or prophets. Even though this is true it does not mean that God's inspired word is saying women are inferior. Inspiration does not mean that God is going to keep all imperfect cultural artifacts out of the wording. God's word is about God working his plan through imperfect people and cultures. God is the grand weaver constantly sewing the tapastry of life. With this said there are some wonderful women of the Bible who shined with both faith and courage. Lets briefly look at several of these.
1. Jochebed, the mother of Moses. Her prominent place in history is secure. The aspect of her career especially emphasized in Scripture is that of her clever design to preserve the life of her baby boy. Imagine how troubled her heart was when the Egyptians wanted to kill all the newborn hebrew boys. She hid her baby son in the Nile river. It was her courage and trust in such an act that had far-reaching consequences for the nation that she is placed among the heroines of faith in Hebrews 11:23. Let us recall the trying circumstances of the preservation of Moses which caused his mother to be included among that “great cloud of witnesses” whose lives testified of their faith in God’s providential care.
Her son Moses decades later led the Children of Israel out of Egypt and he received the special 10 Commandments (Exodus 20) from the Lord. Great men of the past often had the most Godly mothers..
2. Deborah, a judge of Israel. In the period between the Exodus and the time of Samuel the House of God had many confrontations with the Cananites. Israel found itself under oppression off and on. At the time there was no kings uniting the Israel people which is both good and bad, but brave individuals would stand out sometimes. These were called 'Judges'. Many scholars have suggested that some of the judges overlap in time and the period of the judges was probably not as long as indicated by some of the numbers. With this in mind God would sometimes move upon an individual and one of these was a lady named Deborah. At that time Deborah, a prophetess, wife of Lappidoth, used to sit under the 'Palm of Deborah' between Ramah and Bethel in the hill country of Ephraim; and the Israelites came up to her for judgement. At one point, She sent for and summoned Barak, son of Abinoam from Kedesh, and said to him, ‘The Lord, the God of Israel, commands you, “Go, take position at Mount Tabor, bringing ten thousand from the tribe of Naphtali and the tribe of Zebulun. I will draw out Sisera, the general of Jabin’s army, to meet you by the Wadi Kishon with his chariots and his troops; and I will deliver him into your hand.” ’ Barak said to her, ‘If you will go with me, I will go; but if you will not go with me, I will not go.’ And she said, ‘I will surely go with you; nevertheless, the road on which you are going will not lead to your glory, for the Lord will sell Sisera into the hand of a woman.’ Then Deborah got up and went with Barak to Kedesh. Barak summoned Zebulun and Naphtali to Kedesh; and ten thousand warriors went up behind him; and Deborah went up with him. Cutting to the chase, Deborah and the Israel soldiers cornered Sisera. The criminal tried to take refuge in a tent but ended up with a wooden nail in his head. Brave Deborah did not swing the hammer but her following the will of God led to it. (Judges 4-5)
3. Esther. She saved her people. Much has been said about the Book of Esther, with some doubting if she even existed. The history of Persia is very convoluted and theories are numerous. I personally believe she is probably the same as 'Queen Amestris' even though there are problems with this as well as any theory. The Book of Esther is uique in that it does not really mention God, except for the Septuagint version, which is a little larger (something to check into).
Esther was active in the 5th century BC, and suffered many trials but prevailed. She rose to prominence due to her charm and beauty. She defeated the evil Haman, who wished to kill both Esther's uncle and the Jewish people. Esther stayed brave despite trying circumstances. This should be a lesson for all.
4. Judith, of Bethulia. (Apocrypha or 2nd Canon). There are many theories about Judith and the Book of Judith. For the most part Judith seems to be a heroine of a historical novel, where she probably symbolized the Judah people, which is being attacked by Assyria, and Nebuchanezzer, along with Holofernes, all of which are presented as one force even though they lived at different times in history. Hence they represent all the eastern enemies of ancient Israel and Judah through time. It is essentially a telescoped history. Another view is that she is a female form of Juda Maccabee, who is up aganist the Selecid forces. Judith decapitates the general Holoferness, just as Juda Maccabee takes the head of Nicor. The parallel is fairly clear. In the story Judith is presented as a beautiful and rich lady of Bethulia. She bravely makes her way to the camp of Holofernes the commander of the great forces of Assyria. He is captivated by her beauty and gets intoxicated. Judith then beheads him. This demoralizes the armies of Assyria, which go home. For Judith to do as she did took both courage and love for her people.
Mary (Miriam) Mother of JESUS. Mary was found with child by the Holy Spirit but this for a brief time left her bethrothed Joseph in doubt, which must have been painful for both but an angel made the truth of Mary clear to Joseph and this made things right between them. After the savior was born they had to flee to Egypt to escape herod, who wished to kill baby Jesus. Although Mary knew it was all Gods plan she still felt anguish and fear.
This listing of these ladies is not meant to be exhaustive. These stand out to me and should inspire others.
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