Biblical women are not often in a position to exert their power or influence, as they are often considered mere property, but there are several instances when they do either directly or indirectly exert their power and affect a situation’s outcome. Some women show their power by simply keeping their faith or by mothering a powerful son while others show their power by leading armies or assassinating the enemies of their people. Because women were considered the property of their fathers or husbands, they were expected to act in prescribed ways. The expected precision of behavior leaves ample room for women’s rebellion in seemingly insignificant and trivial of ways at times. Other women seem to have held power in the political or military realm and stood on roughly equal footing with their male counterparts. There are even four female prophets in the Bible, a position appointed by God and respected by the Israelites, so it was not impossible for women to attain, inherit, or be assigned power, but it was much more common for men to fill the traditional positions of power. Sarah was infertile, and Abraham was told by God that he would father a great nation, so Sarah gave Abraham her
servant, Hagar, to mother his children. The giving of Hagar to Abraham shows Sarah’s use of direct power in an attempt to fulfill God’s prophecy. Sarah also listened at the tent flap while Abraham received the announcement that she would bear a son. If we assume this sort of eavesdropping was a regular behavior of Sarah’s, it seems likely that she asserted a certain level of indirect power by staying informed about all the happenings in their camp. When she mothered Isaac, Sarah helped begin the lineage that Jews and Christians would trace their ancestry through, and thus their relation to Abraham. This sort of indirect power through advancing God’s plans appears in many of the stories of important mothers in the Bible.
Hagar left the camp on her own free when Sarah’s treatment of...
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