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The Similarities and Differences Between Two First Millennium (BC) Widows Mentioned in the Bible

Updated on January 28, 2020
OGUNDARE OLUSEGUN profile image

Studying the bible is always good. For years, I have been studying the bible and I found it wonderful

Widow
Widow

Introduction

Widowhood is a period that all women who have been married would one time or another experience except if the woman and her husband died together. Sometimes they may not die together, but they would die at short intervals from each other. Some people have ascribed this form of death to mean that they have been joined together in the spiritual realms even before they became married on earth.

Well, the bible does not say something like this, this essentially comes from the ancient anthological collections of some deities, those whom the bible refers to as small gods.

Widowhood is a trying moment for married women who have lost their husbands, particularly those who find it hard sustaining themselves and their children after the demise of the husband.

Widow is defined as a woman whose husband has given up the ghost and this woman has not remarried. Apostle Paul while writing to his spiritual son, Bishop Timothy added an important point to this definition of widow when he says that the Bishop shouldn’t a woman who is below the age of sixty a widow. Shall we see his words from the bible?

“Let not a widow be taken into the number under threescore (60) years old, having been the wife of one man,” (1 Ti 5:9 (figure mine))

From his ministerial experiences he cannot but add this that such a woman shouldn’t be considered a widow because he knows that such a person can still re-marry.

Reasons for Re-marrying by Widows (or Widowers)

The bible supports a woman to re-marry after losing her spouse because it is better for her to do that. Thus, we find it happening that some people who had once said they won't remarry remarrying. When such happens we shouldn't think otherwise of them. Here are some of the reasons why such could happen.

1. Sexual Gratifications

Sometimes some widows would think they can contain themselves and would say they do not want anything in the world again, that they wanted to stay as they are and be looking unto God,

some would add that they are now married to Jesus Christ after the demise of their spouses, but after a short while because they have tasted sex before, the sexual urge would be stirred up in them such that they may not be able to control it again

and thus, to avoid “burning” and inordinate desires, as Christians who do not want to go the way of the unbelievers, they would resort to what they do not want to do before, which is re-marrying, and they would go and marry someone else.

I say therefore to the unmarried and widows, it is good for them if they abide even as I.

But if they cannot contain, let them marry: for it is better to marry than to burn. (1 Co 7:8-9)

2. Because of Their Welfare

Some do not re-marry because of sexual urge but because of their upkeep and their children’s. The people of the world during the days of prophets and presently now hardly take care of widows. The compound the situation, the global and local recessions affected many people, Christians are not immune to it because we live in the world too such that to even feed as a person is difficult not to talk of assisting another person and the children left behind by the deceased.

In this part of the world many would promise heaven and earth at the venue of the burial of their loved ones that they would take care of the wife the man left behind, but shortly after departing the place they would forget about such utterances. Some may not forget, but as said earlier that the recession affects all and sundry because of the recession they wouldn’t be able to support the widow and her children.

3. Cultural Beliefs

In some parts of the world, because of their culture, the woman wouldn’t be allowed to live alone after the demise of the husband and the close kin to the woman’s husband would be told to go and marry the woman. Such practice is common in Yoruba land and other African cultures including the Jews as found in the bible.

And Judah took a wife for Er his firstborn, whose name was Tamar.

And Er, Judah's firstborn, was wicked in the sight of the LORD; and the LORD slew him.

And Judah said unto Onan, go in unto thy brother's wife, and marry her, and raise up seed to thy brother. (Gen 38:6-8)

Mosaic Law
Mosaic Law

4. Mosaic Law Says This

There are women who have lived with their husbands before their deaths (or say there are women who were once married) but had no issues (children) who do not want to be married again. They do not want to be married because of what they have seen during the time they are married and living with their partners and after their partners demise do not want to be involved in such again. However, because of what the Law says they have no option and would have to remarry.

Saying, Master, Moses said, if a man die, having no children, his brother shall marry his wife, and raise up seed unto his brother. (Mat 22:24)

The Sadducees, written in Greek as “Σαδδουκαῖος”, Romanized form of which is Saddoukaios (pronounced as sad-doo-kah'-yos) the Strong Dictionary says they are followers of some certain heretical beliefs, and chief of which is, say(ing) that there is no resurrection, (Mat 22:23b) went to Jesus and put him in remembrance of what the Mosaic Law states, and gave him examples of a widow who for culture married seven times.

Vendetta
Vendetta

5. Because of Personal Vendetta

There some ancient histories of a woman who after the demise of her spouse went and remarry because she wants to take vengeance of what has been done to her and perhaps her late husband whom she loves dearly but who has been killed by the enemies.

The historians used to say, history has a way of repeating itself, it is logical to add that such still happen in the world today. Some women after the demise of their husbands would remarry to take vengeance on what has been done unto them.

Having seen some reasons why widows and or widowers could remarry let us now see those mentioned widows in the bible.

First Millennium

Millennium is defined by google as a period of a thousand years (or a time when a period of one thousand years ends), especially when calculated from the traditional date of the birth of Christ.

Online Wikipedia says, “the first millennium BC was the period of time between the year 1000 BC to 1 BC (10th to 1st century BC; in astronomy: JD 1356182.5-1721425.5). it encompasses the iron Age in the old world and sees the transition from the ancient near East to classical antiquity”.

Jesus says there were many widows during the times of the prophets, but only selected ones were mentioned, only selected ones were helped by the Prophets. Why such were helped could not be unconnected to their dispositions to the word of God which essentially hinges on the Mosaic Laws, their approach to the prophets and the mercy of God.

But I tell you of a truth, many widows were in Israel in the days of Elias, when the heaven was shut up three years and six months, when great famine was throughout all the land; (Luk 4:25)

It is two widows that the bible mentioned during this period that I want us to see some of the similarities and the differences between them.

Similarities Between the Two widows

1. They were under the age of 60 years according to Apostle Paul’s definitions. This could be confirmed to be true because of their children, because their children were under the ages of 18 years then. And since they did not have late marriages neither had delays before they gave birth to their children, they expectedly would have fit into the words of apostle Paul that they were under 60 years of age.

2. They were widows in the first millennium BC,

3. It is likely that they sell oil,

4. They were not barren,

5. They were Israelites,

6. They were hard working,

7. They did not re-marry, for it they had re-married they wouldn’t be called widows,

8. They had contacts with renown prophets of their days,

9. Their lives and businesses were touched by the words of prophecies of the prophets.

Having seen the similarities, let us briefly see the differences between the two widows.

First Millennium

Millennium is defined by google as a period of a thousand years (or a time when a period of one thousand years ends), especially when calculated from the traditional date of the birth of Christ.

Online Wikipedia says, “the first millennium BC was the period of time between the year 1000 BC to 1 BC (10th to 1st century BC; in astronomy: JD 1356182.5-1721425.5). it encompasses the iron Age in the old world and sees the transition from the ancient near East to classical antiquity”.

Jesus says there were many widows during the times of the prophets, but only selected ones were mentioned, only selected ones were helped by the Prophets. Why such were helped could not be unconnected to their dispositions to the word of God which essentially hinges on the Mosaic Laws, their approach to the prophets and the mercy of God.

But I tell you of a truth, many widows were in Israel in the days of Elias, when the heaven was shut up three years and six months, when great famine was throughout all the land; (Luk 4:25)

It is two widows that the bible mentioned during this period that I want us to see some of the similarities and the differences between them.

Differences
Differences

Differences

Numerical
Characteristics
First Widow (1 Kings 17:8-24)
Second Widow (2 Kings 4:1-7)
1.
Prophet
Elijah
Elisha
2.
Period of the millennium
900-849 BC (Early)
892-832 BC (Late)
3.
Sons
One (Probably Jonah)
Two
4.
Husband
Not Stated
Prophet (Probably Obadiah)
5.
Debt
None
Indebted
6.
Recession/Drought
Present
No Drought
7.
Prophet Accommodation
Accommodated Elijah
Did not
8.
What Brought About Contact with Prophet
God directed Elijah to her
She went to Elisha herself
9.
Dedication/Devoted
Not stated
Dedicated (devoted)
10.
Children death
Son died and brought back to life by the prophet
Nil
11.
Lender Harassment
Nil
Harassed
12.
Borrowed Money
No
Yes (probably husband)
13.
Location
Zarephath
Probably Samaria
14.
Reference by Jesus
Yes
No
Table Showing the differences between the two widows mentioned in the first millennium

Conclusion,

This is simply a quick outlook into the lives of the two widows mentioned during the days of prophet Elijah and his successor, Prophet Elisha. From their lives we can learn a lot.

© 2020 OLUSEGUN

Comments

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    • OGUNDARE OLUSEGUN profile imageAUTHOR

      OLUSEGUN 

      4 months ago from NIGERIA

      @ Cheryl E Preston, thanks, The honor has been mine for reading through.

    • Cheryl E Preston profile image

      Cheryl E Preston 

      4 months ago from Roanoke

      Thank you again for a very enlightening and detailed article.

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