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How Does the Old Testament Treat Women?

Updated on January 11, 2022
Nyamweya profile image

Nyamweya is a global researcher with many years of experience on practical research on a diversity of topics

The book of Proverb in the Bible asks if anyone has found a noble woman. According to Old Testament, any valiant woman had a role in most occupations played by men. For example, right from the story of creation women plays a key part in the all periods. The essence of this paper is to showcase the depiction of women and their roles in the context of the Old Testament.

Among the roles played by women in the Old Testament is that of religious leadership. A good example is the prophet Miriam who is well illustrated in the book of Exodus as an exemplary religious leader. She led the people of Israel with praising songs during times of exodus. In addition, Miriam challenged the leadership of Moses complaining if it was him alone whom God could communicate through, this act led to her punishment from God.

Jehosheba, the wife of King Jehoram the high priest, stood as a guard to Joash by hiding him from murderous, ‘Queen Athaliah’, wanting to kill him that he may not become a king on coming days. However, Jehosheba saved him from death, hence, leading her recognition as a guard.

In the book of Judges16:4-20 Delilah a woman who was a prostitute and a traitor being a wife of Samson but week in will, was being used by the philistine to kill Samson a strong man, who had been born as a superman to save their people. This works to portray the power of women, and what they are capable of doing by simply using their “womanhood”.

In the the book of Judges 4-5, Debora is considered as hero by killing the oppressor of his people by the name Jael. Later Debora acted as religious leader and she appointed the general military person. What is more, she also acted as a prophet and arbiter of dispute since Israelites came to her for judgment and decision making.

In addition, the book of Ruth, explains well that, Ruth was a girl who grow in the land of wicked people, whereby; idol worship was widely practiced, but she could stand with the truth. Ruth followed the Moabite who was her mother in law to the foreign land; hence, God graded her favor, whereby her goodness and loyalty led to wining the heart of Boaz, and thereafter, caused her to become an ancestress of Christ.

Another famous woman in the Bible is Sarah, who was the beautiful wife of Abraham. Upon seeing no hope of having her own child, she gave Abraham her maid to bore her a son by the name Ishmael. However, later in her old age she bore Isaac miraculously, which caused her to send a way the maid. The fact that she influenced her husband Abraham to bear a child with the maid and later send her away shows how influential she could be towards her husband.

Michal the first wife of David the King of Israel, and a daughter of King Saul acted as guard by protecting David since she loved him very much. However, she lost favor with David, hence she overlooked the kind of protection she was supposed to provide to her husband.

Peninnah the first wife of Elkanah kept on mocking Hanna who was the second wife of Elkanah and a barren woman, which kept her tears near always. However, she later became the mother of Samuel the prophet who acted as a leader and the kings of Israel could enquire from him when there need be.

Bathsheba, who was formerly the wife of Uriah was envied by King David due to her beauty. Her extreme beauty made King David to commit adultery with her while causing the death of Uriah one of David’s mighty men that he could rely on the time of war.

To conclude, it is well recognized that women, do meet together for good or ill, and every act under any condition should be kept under records for reference purposes, since there are other valiant women in the Old Testament that did other mighty things recognizable. Essentially, the Old Testament also shows that women could a part from being influential play almost any role as men and in many cases more powerful than men.


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