Four Old Bible Women Worthy of Imitation

Given the insignificance with which women were treated in Bible times, there is something significant about each one that is mentioned. The details are often sparse, but enough to help the reader decide for or against imitating the woman’s life or action. The mention of old women is especially noteworthy because the New Testament mandate is "that they be . . . teachers of good things" (Titus 2:3).

We can guess the age range of some women by comparison with other individuals in their story. For example, we can deduce that Rebekah was an old woman, when she helped her son Jacob deceive his father; Isaac her husband was old (Genesis 27). Miriam should have been an old woman when she sang and danced after crossing the Red Sea; she was older than her brother Moses (Exodus 15). However, we know for certain that Sarah, Naomi, Elizabeth and Anna were old, because that fact is stated in the text.

It is their legacy and their influence which make them worthy models for men and women of all times.


Sarah: The Mother of a Nation

Sarah obeyed Abraham and spoke to him respectfully. You became Sarah's daughters by not letting anything make you afraid to do good (1 Peter 3: 6 God's Word® Translation).

Sarah Hears The Promise

Sarah listens in on Abraham and the heavenly messenger.
Sarah listens in on Abraham and the heavenly messenger. | Source

“Sarah is the only woman in Scripture whose age, death, and burial are mentioned [Genesis 23:1], probably to do honor to the venerable mother of the Hebrew people.” - Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary

She is also one of the two women mentioned in the Faith Hall of Fame (Hebrews 11:11). This was after she had been presumptuous in arranging for her maid Hagar to bear a child for her husband Abraham. She tried to help fulfill God's promise to make Abraham the Father of a great nation. The result was chaos, but God forgave her faithless bravery.

When at last, God blessed Sarah at age ninety with her own baby, her motherhood instinct took over. She aimed to protect the interest of her child Isaac, by ordering Hagar and her baby Ishmael to leave the household. All throughout the household drama, her loyalty toward her husband and her desire for his success remained intact.

Sarah’s greatest commendation is her love and respect for Abraham, as well as her courage to do the right thing. Women who imitate these qualities become spiritual daughters of Sarah. She also inherits the spiritual daughters of her husband, Abraham, who became the Father of the Jewish nation.


Naomi: Mentor | Mother-In-Law

[Ruth to Naomi] “Your people shall be my people,

And your God, my God” (Ruth 1: 16).

Naomi was not always the perfect woman of faith. When she suffered the loss of her husband and two sons (late husbands of Orpah and Ruth) her first attitude was not one to imitate, although it was one that human beings can understand:

“The hand of the Lord has gone out against me!” (Ruth 1:13)

Naomi: "I am too old to have a husband” (Ruth 1:11)

"Naomi and Ruth" by Philip Hermogenes Calderon
"Naomi and Ruth" by Philip Hermogenes Calderon | Source

She tried to discourage her former daughters-in-law from returning with her to her native country. She explained that she was too old to have children, whom they could not wait on, anyway. Orpah took Naomi’s advice and stayed. However, when Ruth insisted on following the old woman, her desire (stated in the key verse above) gave a glimpse into what made Naomi a model to imitate.

Naomi’s legacy is discipleship. Her temporary expressions of despair and doubt could not distract Ruth from the faith which she [Naomi] consistently demonstrated.

In Naomi’s homeland, she mentored Ruth in the Hebrew lifestyle and helped her find a new husband. Naomi assumed the roles of mother and grandmother to Ruth and her son Obed, who became an ancestor of Jesus Christ. What if every old woman became such a positive influence on one younger woman?


Elizabeth: Called Barren

Now indeed, Elizabeth your relative has also conceived a son in her old age; and this is now the sixth month for her who was called barren (Luke 1: 36).

Record of The Women's Stories

Woman's Name
Bible Texts
Sarah
Genesis 17-18:1-15; 20:1-21; 23: 1,2,19: Hebrews 11:11; 1 Peter 3:6
Naomi
Book of Ruth
Elizabeth
Luke 1: 5-63
Anna
Luke 2: 36-38
Quotations in this article are from the New King James Version unless mentioned otherwise.

There were five other instances of healed barrenness recorded before Elizabeth’s. The women of favor were Sarah, Rebekah, Rachel, Manoah’s wife and Hannah in the Old Testament. In the number six spot was Elizabeth, whose prayer was answered with an extraordinary blessing—the child who became John the Baptist, announcer to the world that Jesus, the seventh (symbol of completeness) miraculous birth was the Messiah.

Elizabeth and her husband devoted their lives to God. They were both from priestly families and hoped like other devout Jews that they would give birth to the promised Messiah. She thought that her barrenness took away that hope and even exposed her to disgrace; but in God’s time, He delivered her unexpected surprise. Her baby was not the Messiah, but her rejoicing could not be any greater.

Elizabeth’s legacy is her acceptance that God performs in perfect timing, and in our best interest. This is truth worth believing.


Anna: The Consecrated Widow

This woman was a widow of about eighty-four years, who did not depart from the temple, but served God with fastings and prayers night and day (Luke 2: 37).

Anna Recognizes the Messiah

"Hannah and Simeon in the Temple" by Rembrandt
"Hannah and Simeon in the Temple" by Rembrandt | Source

After seven years of marriage, Anna (also called Hannah) became a widow. If she spent all eighty-four years of widowhood in constant devotion, as the text suggests, she reflected on other aspects of life besides the heartache and disappointment caused by her loss. There were other issues she engaged in with God.

She attended temple services so regularly, that it seemed like she was always there. She made prayer and fasting part of her daily routine. Her life of devotion was difficult for wives and mothers to imitate, but she illustrated one way that widows and other lonely people can make their lives useful. No crying over the life she missed or the children she might have had; instead she chose to consecrate her total self to service for God.

When the eight-day old Jesus was presented in the Temple, the devout old man Simeon recognized him as the Christ Child; and right alongside him with an equal gift of discernment was Anna. “Woman as well as man was to utter reverent joy on this supreme occasion . . . for in the kingdom of Christ there is 'neither male nor female;' all distinction of sex is unknown.” - W. Clarkson

Anna gave the first female testimony of Jesus, the Christ. She demonstrated to women, then and now, that a consecrated life brings the benefit of joy and satisfaction.


© 2016 Dora Isaac Weithers

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Comments 60 comments

Ericdierker profile image

Ericdierker 8 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

Really cool I learned a lot and enjoyed this very much. You are a great writer.


MsDora profile image

MsDora 8 months ago from The Caribbean Author

Thanks, Eric. Learning and enjoying are among my writing goals. You encourage me.


lifegate profile image

lifegate 8 months ago from Pleasant Gap, PA

I like your first statement - "Given the insignificance with which women were treated in Bible times, there is something significant about each one that is mentioned." The culture may have placed insignificance on women, but God never did. There was Ruth, Esther, Deborah, and of course Mary. Mary Magdalene was the first to see the risen Lord. The list goes on.Thanks for your well researched and informative article.


Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 8 months ago from Shelton

I too have learned a great deal from this magnificent hub MsDora.. bless you...


lambservant profile image

lambservant 8 months ago from Pacific Northwest

Outstanding. You communicate so simply and eloquently. All those women are to be imitated and commended.


RonElFran profile image

RonElFran 8 months ago from Mechanicsburg, PA

What a well constructed and interesting hub, MsDora. And inspirational as well. It's your commitment, not the clock, that determines your usefulness.


Jackie Lynnley profile image

Jackie Lynnley 8 months ago from The Beautiful South

Great article Dora, I came to read it (yesterday was it?) and it was gone! Glad you got it to stick this time. I truly love the Sarah story when she laughed at God, guess that shows us God doesn't always mind our sense of humor. Little did we know either the end of the story of her handmaiden and her son....

Sharing!


MsDora profile image

MsDora 8 months ago from The Caribbean Author

Thanks Bill, for your affirmation. Women were significant in Jesus' ministry; and look God even brought the Savior into the world through a woman participating with Him. Yes, the list goes on.


MsDora profile image

MsDora 8 months ago from The Caribbean Author

Frank, glad to share. God bless you, too!


MsDora profile image

MsDora 8 months ago from The Caribbean Author

Thanks, Lori. There are many more, but I guess the aging ones have my focus right now.


MsDora profile image

MsDora 8 months ago from The Caribbean Author

Ron, what a beautiful last statement. Thanks for your input.


MsDora profile image

MsDora 8 months ago from The Caribbean Author

Jackie, my title was wrong; it said six instead of four women so I thought best to delete. Thanks for coming back. I agree with you about Sarah. Not even she could tell the outcome, but even the mistakes she made came from loyalty to her husband. That is the admirable part of her life.


celafoe profile image

celafoe 8 months ago from Planet earth. between the oceans

These are all women to whom great honor is due. All young women should read the story of each of them before the reach marriage age.

Excellent article. I especially appreciate the way you mention the respecting of the husband, few articles ever mention that. But is so important because women are specifically told to respect their husbands. Men are specifically told the love their wives. and both are told to show each other genuine affection.

Men are given instruction to love, women the instruction to respect, which are not their natural responses.


MsDora profile image

MsDora 8 months ago from The Caribbean Author

Charlie, I am encouraged by your approval of my article. Respect for husbands is one issue for which women these days need to be reminded. Thank you for reading and offering your feedback.


billybuc profile image

billybuc 8 months ago from Olympia, WA

I love the lessons here, Dora, delivered by you with a quiet grace...no lecture, no preaching, just truths. :)


jgshorebird profile image

jgshorebird 8 months ago from Earth

I have read my morning sermon. And if memory serves -- you have touched upon it here -- the seemingly second class-ness of women in the Bible is an often discussed topic among historians. The 1611 KJV 1 COR 11:7 says "For a man in deede ought not to couer his head, forasmuch as hee is the image and glory of God: but the woman is the glory of the man." I'd say too many "men" edited the words...


word55 profile image

word55 8 months ago from Chicago

Very good reminder of how women were significant in the old Bible days and now a days. Thank you Dora. Thumbs up!


MsDora profile image

MsDora 8 months ago from The Caribbean Author

Thanks, Bill. There is the temptation to preach, so thanks for encouraging me not to do so. People can apply the truths as they are impressed by God.


MsDora profile image

MsDora 8 months ago from The Caribbean Author

JG, Thanks for your sweet encouragement. Jesus raised the significance of women, even though some want to ignore it. God loves equally.


MsDora profile image

MsDora 8 months ago from The Caribbean Author

Word, the significance of Bible women surely benefits both men and women nowadays. Thanks for the Thumbs Up!


elle64 profile image

elle64 8 months ago from Scandinavia

You always Come back and write informative yet entertaining hubs


denise.w.anderson profile image

denise.w.anderson 8 months ago from Bismarck, North Dakota

These women are definitely pillars of inspiration to us in our day. Their faith, courage, and tenacity tell us that even in their less than desirable state, they were true to their God! If we, in only a small portion, emulate them, we will be greatly blessed!


Rich kelley profile image

Rich kelley 8 months ago from The Ekklesia

A reading of Proverbs 31 confirms and adds to all you have said here thanks for the article.

Rich


MsDora profile image

MsDora 8 months ago from The Caribbean Author

Elle, thanks for your kind comment. Happy to learn and share.


MsDora profile image

MsDora 8 months ago from The Caribbean Author

Denise, you're so good at conclusions. Your comment makes a good ending to the article.


MsDora profile image

MsDora 8 months ago from The Caribbean Author

Rich, your Proverbs 31 confirmation is encouraging to me. Thanks for reading. I appreciate you.


FlourishAnyway profile image

FlourishAnyway 8 months ago from USA

You have such a mastery of the Bible. A very enriching hub, MsDora.


Faith Reaper profile image

Faith Reaper 8 months ago from southern USA

Hi MsDora,

We can all surely learn so much from these SHeroes of the Bible! Wonderful hub to highlight women we should imitate.

Another wonderful read.

God bless


revokedrift 8 months ago

Thats fabulous


MsDora profile image

MsDora 8 months ago from The Caribbean Author

Flourish, I love Bible study, especially when I can make relevant application to contemporary situations. Makes me happy that you enjoy this. Thanks for following.


MsDora profile image

MsDora 8 months ago from The Caribbean Author

Thanks, Faith. There's so much to learn from the Bible characters when we study them. Thanks for your encouraging comment.


MsDora profile image

MsDora 8 months ago from The Caribbean Author

Revoke, welcome to HubPages. Thanks for your comment, and I'm looking forward to some articles from you.


Theresa Jonathan profile image

Theresa Jonathan 8 months ago from Maseru, Lesotho

Wonderful and well researched Article! You are blessed!


DDE profile image

DDE 8 months ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

Hi MsDora you certainly have a great mind of the bible. I learned a lot from you concerning the bible and enjoyed reading. Thank you.


MsDora profile image

MsDora 8 months ago from The Caribbean Author

Thanks, Theresa. Glad you approve. I receive the blessing and pray the same for you.


MsDora profile image

MsDora 8 months ago from The Caribbean Author

Yes, Devika. I like to study and to share the Bible. Glad that you are learning from my articles.


manatita44 profile image

manatita44 8 months ago from london

I like how you end and kudos to you for giving praise to women. It has been a hard struggle and within the church it still is, but times are getting better.

"Elizabeth’s legacy is her acceptance that God performs in perfect timing, and in our best interest. This is truth worth believing." -Ms Dora

The Highest message to me and my spiritual Teacher, is what the Saviour Christ has taught us. " Thy Will be done." Elizabeth's spirit demonstrates this awesome Truth. It's in my book and You have it, I believe.

Glance at brother Laurance's from time to time or Sadhu Sundar Singh's At The Feet of The Master. Both on Amazon. I gave you also The Imitation of Christ, no? Much Love.


MsDora profile image

MsDora 8 months ago from The Caribbean Author

Good to hear from you, Manatita. Thanks for the books, authored by you and others. Occasionally, I hear Christian preachers as well making reference to some of the authors. They are so insightful.

Sometimes, I call myself an Elizabethan; that old woman is a phenomenon; she gives hope to all the aging and aged.


manatita44 profile image

manatita44 8 months ago from london

Actually this reminds me of royalty and hierachy. So in that sense, perhaps you were. Many of them including Victoria, were truly great Souls. Prestige and glamour does not always hide the beauty of the Heart. Lincoln, Jefferson, Gorbachev, Mandela ... were all Heads of State and yet very good men. Much Love.


swalia profile image

swalia 8 months ago

I know almost next to none about Bible (except for just the brief life history of Jesus). This hub was quite interesting and I came to know about many new things. Thanks for sharing!


Greensleeves Hubs profile image

Greensleeves Hubs 8 months ago from Essex, UK

As I think you know Dora, I'm not a believer in God, so you may be surprised to find me reading this and posting a comment here. But nonetheless I can find great interest in the stories and lives of people who lived long ago, including Biblical characters, and I can also recognise the value of learning from the examples of such people.

And particularly women. The stereotypical view is that women were very much subjugated in past times - stereotypical, but largely true - and it follows that any woman who became a figure of importance and respect must have had a strong personality or possessed stand-out qualities. In the case of virtuous women, that makes them people to learn from.

For followers of the Bible, but possibly for all others too, stories of women like this can provide inspiration and examples to model one's behaviour upon.


MsDora profile image

MsDora 8 months ago from The Caribbean Author

Thank, Manatita. Your input is always so enlightening.


MsDora profile image

MsDora 8 months ago from The Caribbean Author

Swalia, the story of Jesus is very significant to Bible believers, as are so many lessons from the lives of other characters and events. Glad you liked the stories of these women.


MsDora profile image

MsDora 8 months ago from The Caribbean Author

Alun, thank you for sharing. Although we are not on the same page concerning our belief in God, we are on the same page with our respect for women. I appreciate and admire you for reading and commenting.


celafoe profile image

celafoe 8 months ago from Planet earth. between the oceans

mantita- why do you say those men were "good men" which is contrary to scripture. which says there is no such thing unless they are "in Christ" and we know for a fact that some of these men were not.


manatita44 profile image

manatita44 8 months ago from london

Forgive me, my Brother Celafoe. First this is Dora's Hub and I generally, as a matter of principle, like to keep it wholesome. She's a great friend and a wonderful Christian.

Secondly, I am a student of Peace and one who enjoys having 'beginners mind.' I'm an ant, trying to climb a mountain, so what do I know of who is in Christ and who isn't? I respond to examples ...the Heart as I feel it. In that sense it is safer to say 'good' than anything else.

I ask you lovingly to remember that this is MsDora's Hub. I try to be a child of Love ... a servant. This is repeated in all my 300 plus Hubs and on Q's and A's. What do I know of debate, discussion? I would rather feel Compassion in my Heart, than speak of it; taste the mango than speak of its contents. We are all different. Much Love.


celafoe profile image

celafoe 8 months ago from Planet earth. between the oceans

m- and that is the problem with what is considered as "the christian church" today. Be sure you do not offend anyone, NEVER use harsh scriptures, "love" everyone. The problem is that Jesus said and did the opposite. Love is not the generic thing that you that use it as a mantra want us to believe.

Love as used in scripture is VERY SPECIFIC, in fact there are more than 25 different kinds of love in scripture.

Scripture is clear that the most important love is SAYING AND DOING WHAT IS NEEDED WHETHER IT IS WELCOME OR NOT.

The truest form of Christian love can be found in Pauls charge to Timothy. 2 Tim 4:1-5 4 I charge you therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who will judge the living and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom: 2 Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. 3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; 4 and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables. 5 But you be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.

Sorry but what teach as christian love has no place in Christianity and because so many "churches preach the same foolishness is the reason the worln is such a mess. Pleasing MAN is not part of the plan, pleasing God is the plan.


manatita44 profile image

manatita44 8 months ago from london

Thank you. How do you feel about this Hub? Dora's Hub?

"Four Old Bible Women Worthy of Imitation."

It is not my Hub, and we will stray if we are not careful. Or don't you care? In courtesy to Dora, Please forgive me if it's my last response. Much Love.

Note: Today is her birthday. You may want to wish her well.


celafoe profile image

celafoe 8 months ago from Planet earth. between the oceans

i have made my comments to her EXCELLENT article, as they usually are.

saying this is not your hub is a copout to hide behind instead of dealing with the issue, which is what you always do. When you or anyone else transgress the scriptural truths and bring false doctrine into the mix with real scriptural truths they MUST BE CONFRONTED with their error no matter who wrote the article. This is supposed to be a Christian discussion an is no place to bring your false doctrines.

The scriptures make it clear--THERE IN ONLY TRUTH IN JESUS CHRIST and not in ANy false religion. you are deceived and trying to deceive others and must be confronted. Since you are trying to deceive in an open discussion, the place to confront and expose you is here.

Jesus shares His position with No man or false God.


Greensleeves Hubs profile image

Greensleeves Hubs 8 months ago from Essex, UK

manatita44, I do not know if you will reply again to this thread as you indicate you may not, but I would like to add my thoughts by saying that having read these exchanges, I totally respect and admire the gentle way you conduct yourself in correspondence here. My best wishes to you. Alun

Also, if this your birthday Dora, as Manatita44 says, then my very best wishes to you too. I truly hope you have a good day, and a great year ahead.


MsDora profile image

MsDora 8 months ago from The Caribbean Author

Thank you, Alun. It is my birthday and I appreciate your wishes. Manitata is very kind for enlisting others to wish me well.

Thanks also for reading the article and comments and making your contribution.


manatita44 profile image

manatita44 8 months ago from london

Thank you, Alun.

I really appreciate you for this; for your best wishes to Dora. I wish you God's continued Love. Let us pray for one another. Glory be!


Theresa Jonathan profile image

Theresa Jonathan 8 months ago from Maseru, Lesotho

Happy birthday MsDora! May the Lord continue to enrich you with bravery in continuing Jesus Ministry! Keep it up!


MsDora profile image

MsDora 8 months ago from The Caribbean Author

Thank you, Theresa. I appreciate your prayerful encouragement and pray the same for you.


aviannovice profile image

aviannovice 8 months ago from Stillwater, OK

In this day of ludicrous politics, we must have something good and just to focus on. It sure isn't in this country right now.


MsDora profile image

MsDora 8 months ago from The Caribbean Author

De, thank God for the gift of choice. Thank you for your comment.


rajan jolly profile image

rajan jolly 7 months ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

These stories show that God accepts us as human beings with all our follies and times when we lose faith temporarily. He best knows the right time to give us what we should.

Very enlightening read. It is always a pleasure to get acquainted about Bible stories. Your writing style makes it so interesting.


MsDora profile image

MsDora 7 months ago from The Caribbean Author

Rajan, I appreciate your encouraging comment. Glad to share these Bible stories.


Tamarajo profile image

Tamarajo 6 months ago from Southern Minnesota

Ms Dora, Lovely observations of four Biblical women as examples to us. Anna intrigues me the most. A woman widowed young who makes serving the Lord her mission for the remainder of her days. Her loyalty the the Lord is stunning!

God bless


MsDora profile image

MsDora 6 months ago from The Caribbean Author

Tamarajo, Anna's example is truly inspiring. Glad for the positive influence she is on all of us who desire to live a life of Christian surrender. Thanks for your comment.

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