Women have been fighting for their rights for many years. They have oftentimes been treated as mere property. Some may conclude this is the doing of God.
This could not be more untrue. God does not belittle women. People have done that. Both men and women have contributed to the disrespect of women throughout history.
The reasons for that are not in this article. Instead, we will talk about the diverse women found in the Bible and how most of them were revered and respected.
The Disrespected Exceptions
No woman is perfect no matter how much we admire or respect them. But there are two women that quickly come to mind who are not to be revered. The infamous two are Jezebel and Delilah.
Jezebel is known for her wicked and murderous ways so much that her name is used as an adjective for wickedness. Delilah seduced and betrayed Samson out of greed that led to much destruction.
Many get hung up on these two and consider all women to be like them. The women worthy of respect and honor far outweigh these two.
The Old Testament Women
We’ll start with the Old Testament. Despite the culture and customs in which they lived many of these women deserve our respect. Here are just a few:
Rebecca: The wife of Isaac and mother of Jacob and Esau. God later changed Jacob’s name to Israel making Rebecca the mother of Israel.
Leah was the first wife of Jacob due to the trickery of her father Laban. Leah endured a loveless marriage gave birth to six of the sons of Israel, later to be known as the tribes of Israel. One of her sons was Judah, putting her in the lineage of Jesus.
Rachel: The beloved wife of Jacob who endured childlessness until God opened her womb. Rachel is the mother of Joseph, who God used to deliver Egypt and Israel through years of famine.
Jochebed: The mother of Moses. She followed the guidance of God to hide her son when Pharaoh was killing baby boys.
Miriam: The daughter of Jochebed who watched over Moses in the bulrushes. She saw when Pharaoh’s daughter found Moses, offered to “find a nurse” for the baby and was given permission. Miriam then provided Moses’ mother as that nurse. Later she also became one of the leaders of Israel as Moses led them out of Egypt.
Hannah is known as the mother of Samuel. Enduring childlessness for years, she poured her heart out to God and was given a son who became a great leader of Israel.
Deborah was one of the judges of Israel when they had no king. Many may think only men led God’s people, but Deborah is proof that God trusted a woman as a leader. Because of Deborah, Israel enjoyed peace for 40 years.
Abigail is known as the wife of King David, but her honor is prior to that time. Abigail was married to a man named Nabal (meaning fool) who treated David improperly when he and his mighty men were on the run. Abigail stepped in with wisdom and humility saving David from sinning against God and saving many lives.
Esther is known as the queen of Persia, but her story starts when she was an orphaned child. Growing up traumatized by her circumstances but dearly loved by her uncle, Esther became the deliverer of her people through courageous trust in God.
Daughters of Zelophehad (Mahlah, Noah, Hoglah, Milcah, and Tirzah): These five are grouped together because they acted in unity. Their story ought to be more well known for how they changed the law, and the course of the history, of the nation of Israel. They deserve high honor for how they challenged the status quo with respect and received a just outcome.
Ruth is known as the Moabitess and daughter-in-law of Naomi. Through her faithfulness and love, she became the wife of Boaz teaching us what a kinsman-redeemer is. She is the great grandmother of King David and one of the few women named in the lineage of Jesus.
Rahab is known as the harlot of Jericho who hid the spies from Israel. But her story is much deeper. Through her faith, she demanded of the spies to remember her and spare her when they took the city. She and her household were saved, and she is another one of the women named in the genealogy of Jesus.
Tamar is less well known, and some may think her claim to fame to be dishonorable. However, the Bible calls her honorable. Hers is a story of tragedy and redemption. She was the daughter-in-law to Judah whose sons failed to give her an heir. Through deception, she obtained twin sons from Judah. She is one of the four women named in the lineage of Jesus.
Bathsheba is known mostly through the story of King David. But her reach is much further as the mother of Solomon and is the fourth woman named in the genealogy of Jesus.
The New Testament Women
In the New Testament, Jesus begins a different view of women. Here are just a few:
Elizabeth lived a lifetime barren until an angel delivered the news that she would have a son to precede the Messiah. She is the mother of John the Baptist and cousin of Mary the mother of Jesus.
The Marys (Mary of Nazareth, Mary of Bethany, Mary Magdalene, Mary mother of Jesus): The Marys are an important part of Jesus’ ministry. They were devoted to him and knew that they were beloved.
The woman at the well (or the Samaritan woman): Jesus went out of his way to see this woman. She is the first evangelist.
Salome: The wife of Zebedee, mother of two of the disciples of Jesus (James and John) and was a disciple of Jesus herself.
Joanna: Another woman that Jesus welcomed into his circle. She was a woman of means and influence but also a wholly devoted follower of Jesus to the end.
Woman with the issue of blood: Three of the four gospels tell her story even though they give her no name. Jesus gave her honor. Not only did he heal her, but he saw her and removed her shame by having her share her testimony.
Daughter of Abraham: She doesn’t have a name but is worthy of honor as a woman of faith who Jesus healed in Luke 13.
Lydia: Known as a seller of purple cloth but commended by Paul for her hospitality.
Dorcas is also known as Tabitha and was a charitable woman who made things for the needy. When she died, her circle of friends entreats Peter who raised her from the dead.
Phoebe is mentioned only once by Paul in the Book of Romans but with high respect instructing others to give her any help that she needs.
There are many more women in the Bible who deserve respect and reverence, but space does not allow. However, it is clear in the Bible that God honors women.
For further reading:
Photo Credit: ©iStock/Getty Images Plus/Prostock-Studio
Danielle Bernock is an international, award-winning author, coach, and speaker who helps people embrace their value and heal their souls through the power of the love of God. She’s written Emerging With Wings, A Bird Named Payn, Love’s Manifesto, Because You Matter, and Compassion Was Born. A long time follower of Christ, Danielle lives with her husband in Michigan near her adult children and grandchildren. For more information or to connect with Danielle https://www.daniellebernock.com/