Women in the Bible For Dummies Cheat Sheet - dummies
Cheat Sheet

Women in the Bible For Dummies Cheat Sheet

From Women in the Bible For Dummies

By Rev. John Trigilio, Jr., Rev. Kenneth Brighenti

Women in the Bible are prominent and obscure: the Bible mentions women by name, by title, by familial relationship (wife, mother, daughter, widow), and sometimes just by geographical location. This Cheat Sheet provides insight into the bad girls, the top moms, and the visionaries and entertains you with some little-known facts and songs about Biblical women.

Five Bad Girls of the Bible

In such an epic piece of literature as the Bible, it’s not surprising to find a couple of villains. What might surprise you is that several of them are women. Following are five Biblical gals with whom you wouldn’t want to cross paths:

  • Jezebel: A notorious evil queen who encouraged her husband to falsely denounce their neighbor Naboth, which results in Naboth’s unjust execution merely to acquire his vineyard. She dies a gruesome death. See 1 Kings 16:31, 18:4, 19:1–2, 21:5, 23, and 2 Kings 9:30–37.

  • Herodias: The wife of Herod Antipas and mother of Salome. After marrying her uncle Herod Philip, she dumps him for his brother Herod Antipas and collaborates with her daughter, Salome, to have John the Baptist beheaded (because he denounced Herodias’s adulterous marriage). See Matthew 14:3–11 and Mark 6:17–25.

  • Athaliah: The daughter of Jezebel who killed her own grandchildren to secure the throne for herself. See 2 Kings 8:26.

  • Delilah: The mistress of Samson who betrayed him to the Philistines by revealing the secret of his strength. See Judges 16:4–20.

  • Maacah: The mother of King Asa who was deposed by her own son for promoting idolatry. See 1 Kings 15:13.

The Bible’s Top Moms

As you might imagine, the Bible contains stories of several women who were great mothers. Mommy Dearest, they weren’t. These ladies are considered some of the best mothers from the Bible:

  • Jochebed: The prudent mother of Moses, Miriam, and Aaron. She saved Moses’ life by floating him down the Nile River, where he was later discovered by the daughter of Pharaoh, who raised him as her own. See Exodus 6:20; Numbers 26:59.

  • Hannah: The thoughtful mother of the prophet Samuel who dedicated him to God after praying for a child for many years. Each year, she made him a new robe that she brought faithfully to her son when she and her husband visited the Temple. See 1 Samuel 1:2-2:21.

  • Virgin Mary: The devoted mother of Jesus of Nazareth. She was present at his first public miracle (the wedding feast of Canan), where he changed water into wine, and at the crucifixion, death, and burial of her son. See Matthew 1:18–25, 2:11, 14, 20, 21, 12:46–48, 13:55; Mark 3:31–32, 6:3; Luke 1:26–56, 2:5–19, 34, 48, 51, 8:19–20; John 2:1–5, 12, 6:42, 19:25–27; and Acts 1:14.

The Bible’s Female Visionaries

Some of the women in the Bible, mostly in the Old Testament, were great visionaries. These women played an important and vital part — not only in salvation history itself but also in the journey of faith.

  • Miriam: The first prophetess and the sister of Moses and Aaron. See Exodus 15:20.

  • Deborah: She prophesied the Canaanite defeat by Barak (Hebrew General of the Army who, with the help of Deborah, conquered the troops of Sisera, the Canaanite Commander). See Judges 4:4–9.

  • Huldah: Her prophecy brought about a religious revival under King Josiah. See 2 Chronicles 34:22–28.

  • Anna: The only prophetess in the New Testament. She lived to see the infant Jesus. See Luke 2:36–38.

Little-Known Facts about Biblical Women

Women in the Bible are prominent and obscure: the Bible mentions women by name, by title, by familial relationship (wife, mother, daughter, widow), and sometimes just by geographical location. Want to sound really smart? Throw these little bits of trivia into any conversation:

  • Sarah is the only woman in the Bible to have her name changed — from Sarai to Sarah.

  • Deborah is the only female Judge.

  • Athaliah is the only woman to rule the Kingdom of Judah.

  • Seven hundred women became wives of Solomon.

  • The daughter of Herodias is never identified by name, but historians believe she was called Salome.

Important Songs of Women in the Bible

Three songs (hymns or poems) of significant women appear in the Bible. They are expressions of the deep faith, gratitude, and trust these ladies had in God and in his love and mercy. Though their stories were written by someone else (the sacred author for each book), the particular song attributed to them is considered their own and merely retold by the scripture writer.

  • Song of Hannah: Recited at the dedication of her son, Samuel. It expresses enormous gratitude for the blessings that come from God. See 1 Samuel 2:1–10.

  • Song of Deborah: An epic poem that retells the victory of the Hebrews over their enemy the Canaanites while Deborah was Judge of Israel. See Judges 5:1–31.

  • Song of Virgin Mary: This song is called the Magnificat, from the first word in the Latin Vulgate Bible of St. Jerome. Similar to Hannah’s maternal song of gratitude, it was said by Mary, the mother of Jesus, after she visits her cousin Elizabeth. Both women were pregnant at the time, Mary with Jesus and Elizabeth with John the Baptist. The song expresses profound appreciation for the goodness of the Lord. See Luke 1:46–55.