Influential Women of the Old Testament
The Old Testament contains hundreds of stories that are. In order for those stories to be used they had to have a great impact. Not too many stories on women were written in the Old Testament, but the ones that did were monumental. A lot of the times women are mentioned in the bible, it is in a negative way, as in Lot's daughters, who essentially raped their father after getting him drunk. Women also got punished for the bad deeds of their husbands. An example of that is when David had Uriah killed, and God made David's neighbor rape his wife while everyone watched. Despite all the negative ways women were portrayed they definitely had positive impacts too. Women in the bible can be overlooked quite easily. Women have been important throughout history and it is important that they are not overlooked when looking at the Old Testament. The books in the Old Testament of Esther, Judith, Ruth, Deborah, Rebekah, and Rahab are examples of women who were very strong in the bible.
Esther is rarely self-assured for a woman during her time. In a time where it would have been much easier to back down and be passive she was the opposite. She wanted the best for everyone and was strong enough to do so. She was a strong and assertive woman put her own life on the line. Esther proved that a women can have a backbone and put up a fight for a group of people just the same as a man would. According to Heil (2013) "Some, like Queen Esther, were entrusted with political power that led to life-and-death consequences". She was put into one of those situations when she stood up for the Jewish people when she could have easily let them all die. Even though she wasn't the most powerful person in society she showed that each person's voice counts and people should do what is right, rather than what society wants. Being the attractive woman that she was, Esther probably used her looks to be chosen by the king in the beginning, but when it was all said and done she was remembered for her actions and her words.
Deborah was one of the greatest all around people of all time. She was the only female judge of Israel and was one of the best at that. Deborah was one of very few female prophetess' and had more wisdom than any man during her time. She was the leader of the army, and fought in the front line with Barak against the Canaanites in a battle they won. Klein(2003) says in his book "Men may follow women in other respects when the women, like Deborah, lead the people in the ways of the Lord". People followed her with their life. Deborah was very well all around. She was a poet, singer, judge, warrior, and wife. She was also considered the "Mother of Israel" because of how she cared for all the people. She showed women that they could do anything a man could do, and in all honesty she did her job better than any man ever could. Also she worshipped God religiously. After winning the battle against the Canaanites she gave all the glory to God and said they wouldn't have win the battle with Him.
Judith is definitely one of the most hard to read women of the Old Testament. When she is first introduced it seems as if she is a sinner. She lies to Holofernes, the army general from Assyria and eventually beheads him. After more and more time it begins to show that Judith is actually a very good follower of God. She even follows God with her life on the line. Judith does everything in her power to do what she thinks God wants her to do. She risked her life at the Assyrian army camp for the good of God. She went into the camp "to have sex" with Holofernes, and instead that is when she killed him. DeSilva (2006) says "Judith is a heroine in the cause of God in part because of the risk she was willing to take putting herself in the power of a drunken soldier in order to have a shot at protecting her people and defending the honor of her God". In her mind the God would have accepted her...
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