NOTABLE WOMEN OF THE BIBLE
Abigail - Adah - Anna - Athaliah - Bathsheba - Deborah - Delilah - Dinah - Elisabeth - Esther - Eve - Hagar - Hannah - Herodias -
Huldah - Jael - Jezebel - Joanna - Judith - Keturah - Leah - Martha - Mary - Michal - Miriam - Naamah - Naomi - Noah - Phoebe - Priscilla - Rachel - Rahab - Rebekah - Ruth - Sarah - Salome -Sapphira - Tabitha - Tamar - Vashti - Zeruiah - Zipporah
Usually we know exactly which one is spoken of, but the two (2) Abigails
and Tamars, and six or seven Marys serve to keep us on our toes.
1. Adam & Eve
2. Abraham & Sarah
3. Isaac & Rebekah
4. Jacob & Leah
5. Judah & Tamar
6. Salmon & Rahab
7. Boaz & Ruth
These aren't the only women named in the Bible and others, like Potiphar's wife, the Shunammite woman, Jephthah's daughter, and the woman with the issue of blood aren't given
names at all. A vignette or cameo description of these better known
personalities may serve to remind us of how the WORD OF TRUTH portrays
Quotations are from the King James Version (KJV) unless otherwise noted.
Jesus told the unnamed Samaritan 'Woman-at-the-Well' (John 4), "Ye worship ye know not what". Think that doesn't apply to many other religions today?
Last names (surnames) aren't used in the Old Testament, although Isa44:5 and 45:4 speaks of them. Jesus personally
surnamed Peter, James, and John: Mk3:16,17. History is vague about the practice of a wife giving up her own name and
taking the name of her husband, but it certainly agrees with the New Testament and the implied 'Power of Attorney' bestowed on those 'brides of Christ'. The Versaille "Edict of Tolerance" of 1787, could be an original source of our marriage custom whereby the bride gives up her 'maiden' name, to take the surname of her husband.
The woman choosing a husband selects a new name at the same time. We'll be getting a new name written on a white stone, and it's the name of Jesus that's the greatest. Phil 2:9
"There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is NEITHER MALE NOR FEMALE: for ye are all one in Jesus Christ" Gal 3:28 No doubt still some foolish fellows and silly women, but we are "new creatures" in Christ!
Abigail - means "source or cause of delight" - She interceded with David to dissuade him from killing her slob husband Nabal. 1Sam25.
This wise woman became wife to David after Nabal's drunkeness led to his own death. When David proposed marriage, "she quickly went with five
damsels" to become his wife. 1Sam25:42. Consider/Compare to ten virgins of Matthew 25. *The other Abigail was David's sister.
Adah - means "pleasure" - Only two (2) with this name: wife of Lamech I, Gen4:19, and wife of Esau, Gen36:12.
Anna - means "grace", Lk2:36 - One of the six women called "Prophetess" in the Bible: Deborah, Judg4:4 - Huldah, 2K22:14 - Mirium, Ex15:20 - 'Mrs.' Isaiah, Isa8:3 - Noadiah, Neh6:14.
Rev2:20 speaks of someone named Jezebel who "calls herself a prophetess".
Athaliah - "Jah is strong". This wicked daughter of Jezebel and Omri, King of Israel, became the wife to King Jehoram of Judah. Their son Ahaziah
reigned for one year, and after his death she had others of the royal family murdered and reigned herself. (As Queen). 2Chr22:12.
Bathsheba - means "daughter of the covenant" - Becomes David's wife after he has her husband Uriah murdered.
The baby born of that clandestine affair also dies, but their fourth son, Solomon, eventually succeeds to the throne
after Bathsheba intercedes on his behalf to the king. 1Kings1.
Deborah - means "bee, wasp". Judges 4:4 says: "And Deborah, a prophetess, the wife of Lapidoth, she
judged Israel at that time". She is one of about twelve persons who "judged Israel" in that time period between Joshua
and Saul; leading to the Prophet Samuel. Deborah's only recorded prophecy concerned the outcome of the
battle between Barak and Sisera. Judg4:9. (No other mention of Lapidoth)
The first "two wives" in the Bible were Adah & Zillah (A - Z) (Gen4:19)
Delilah - means "languishing". Like the way Hedy Lamar acted towards Victor Mature. You don't hear this name much, and maybe it's because
the woman is an overt liar who made a mockery of Samson in her quest for money. He'd already been
"played the fool" earlier by the woman pestering him for his Riddle -- surely he knew better than to give up his Secret?
Dinah - means "justice" (No doubt it's for all...) She's the only daughter in Jacob's family of twelve sons -- curious how 'the father' had such great
love for the two younger boys, but barely a mention of Dinah other than her rape in Gen34. Her mother, Leah the unloved, had six of those sons
and two of them, Simeon and Levi, avenged their sister by killing all the men of that city.
Elisabeth - means "God of the Covenant" (or oath) -- [Heb: berith, Grk: diatheke, Eng: contract/agreement/pledge/promise] - Mother of John the Baptist, wife of Zacharias the priest,
and cousin of Mary, mother of Jesus. Elisabeth was barren until late in life, as were Sarah, Rachel, Hannah, etc. Her name comes from
the wife of the non-celibate high priest Aaron: Elisheba had four sons: Ex6:23.
BARREN: but finally had a son! Sarah - Rachel - Hannah - Elisabeth - Shunammite
See the pattern? It takes the "incorruptible seed" (Jesus; 1Pet1:23) to make us fruitful!
Esther - means "Star". One of just two books named after women. She's the young Jewish beauty selected
to replace the disobedient Queen Vashti. Her next of kin Mordecai believed it was "for such a time as this" that she was instrumental in
providing a Way for the saving of her people from annihilation, and deliverance from the prideful Haman. (type of Satan)
Four (4) Queens: 1. Queen of Sheba 1K10:1, 2.Wicked Queen Athaliah 2K8:26, Wicked Queen Maachah 2Chron15:16,
plus Queen Vashti in the Book of Esther.
More about Esther, Queen of Persia? Click here.
Eve - means "living" - When the serpent came with questions, she only knew what Adam had told her, and he had several things
wrong; like about not touching the tree, and "maybe" it would cause death -- and did she know which tree was which? Rebellious Adam
and the wily serpent got a "because" from God, but Eve was deceived and suffered (shared) the consequences, including the pain of childbirth.
And so it is today...
Hagar - means "wandering", cp Jude 1:13, Dt27:18 - Egyptian mother of Ishmael, Gen16, and the Arab nations, Gen25:12, who bore Abram's first son because Sarai was still barren. Her name spelled 'Agar' in Galatians 4:24 re allegory of the Two Covenants.
Hannah - means "grace". One of two wives, Hannah was the one with no children until she prayed fervently and went to the house of the Lord.
The priest there "marked her mouth" and thought she was drunk (cp Acts2), but in time she gives birth to Samuel the Prophet. They are of the tribe of Ephraim, and only the Levites were allowed to be priests. 1Sam1.
Herodias - means "fem.of Herod". A wicked woman who had left Philip for Herod; she advised her daughter to have John the Baptist beheaded on that occasion after she had danced at Herod's birthday party. Herod had made the daughter an extreme promise, but kept his word. Matt14:6
Huldah - means "weasel". 2Chr34:22 says she was a prophetess who lived at the college in
Jerusalem and was consulted by the great King Josiah (he'd always been a follower of the Lord) who "found a lost book" and now
realized they'd been disobedient to what had been written. 2K22:14
Jael - means "chamois". Don't mess with this lady. She offered Sisera buttermilk when he'd only asked for water--"she brought forth butter in a
lordly dish". (COVENANT OF SALT) - Deborah had prophesied the outcome: Jael offered the protection of "the" tent, but he had cowardly crawled into "her tent" (OFF LIMITS to men) and fallen asleep,
so she killed him with a tent peg to the head. Judg4:22
"Whatsoever things that were written aforetime were written FOR OUR LEARNING!" * Rom15:4
Jezebel - means "w/o cohabitation". This wife of wimpish King Ahab is the most notorious woman in the Bible, and perhaps the stupidest, too,
for her attempt on the life of Elijah. In the end, she was eaten by dogs as Elijah had prophesied. The "Jezebel" spoken of in Revelation 2:20 is probably not
her given name, but rather characterizes those ungodly ways.
Joanna - Lk3:27 and 8:3 - Only two with this name (one male/one female) - The 2nd Joanna
is 'wife of Chuza', (and follower of Jesus) but the first is 'son of Rhesa', so apparently the name is not gender specific. (Like the
name Noah was also used by a female, Numb26:33)
JUDITH - Gen26:34 - Wife to Esau
Keturah - means "fragrance". She married Abraham after Sarah died, and gave him six sons! No disrespect to Sarah, but it was the second
wife who was more "fruitful", with an older Abraham! Gen25 The romantic triangle with Sarah vs Hagar has shifted the fact/truth of Keturah to the dusty archives.
Leah - means "weary". She's the older sister of Rachel, whom Jacob had planned to marry after 7 yrs.
labor. The surprising switch was made on the wedding night and he found himself married to Leah instead. In the end he serves
14 years for the two wives, but it was Leah "the unloved" who gave him six sons and a daughter, and with whom he was buried. Gen49:29
Other names, or more information to these thumbnail or nutshell sketches may be found on other pages. Use the search feature
on the home page to enter the desired name.
Martha - means "lady". Jesus said "Martha, Martha" (FIG. OF SPEECH) to this sister of Mary and Lazarus who lived in Bethany. Luke 10:41. Martha had complained that her sister wasn't helping with the chores,
but Jesus took up for Mary who was attentive to his words . Later, it was Martha who met Jesus at the tomb of Lazarus, while Mary stayed home until called.John 11:28.
Mary, mother of Jesus - means "bitter", just as Naomi said to call her "Mara" instead. The "Blessed Virgin" may have been (figuratively) a "daughter of Zelophehad", Numb26:33, meaning her father, Joseph (son of Jacob II), had no sons. So she was required to marry within her own tribe. Nu36.
Seven (7) Marys!
1. Mother of Jesus - *
2. Mary Magdalene - Mt27:56 *
3. Mother of James, Joses - Mt27:56 *
4. Sister of Martha - John 11:1 *
5. Wife of Cleopas - John 19:25 *
6. Mother of John Mark - Acts 12:12 *
7. Saint Mary of Romans 16:6. (Maybe not all 7 were Saints?) [#1 & #3 could be the same person.]
Mary called Magdalene was among the women healed of evil spirits and infirmities, Luke8:2, including Joanna and Susanna. Jesus had cast
seven devils out of this Mary, who saw him crucified (Mk15:40) and three days later
accompanied Salome and the mother of James with spices to anoint the body.
She was the one who ran to tell Peter about the empty tomb, and who later saw the two angels, and Jesus telling her to "touch me not..." John20:17
Michal - fem. of Michael --"Who is like God?". David's first wife; the younger daughter of Saul, and sister of Jonathan.
She loved David (maybe unrequited), and saved him from her father's wrath using a dummy in the bed, but later despised him for dancing, (2Sam6:16)
so perhaps was "an unbeliever", to snare David as Saul intended. She died childless (w/o "fruit"), but raised her sister's five 5 sons for hanging. 2Sam21:8.
Man's name? Woman's name? What makes them different? Most appear to be obvious, but Noah the daughter of Zelophehad, Numb26:33, and Joanna of Lk3:27, 8:3, and 24:10 (only in Luke, and only those chapters)[3x8=24] gives us pause to reflect.
Miriam - means "rebellious". Sister to Moses & Aaron, who became leprous and was ejected from the camp for seven (7) day period
for her criticism of Moses marrying the Ethiopian woman. God said: "If her father had but spit in her face, should she not be ashamed?.." Numb 12:14 |
No reason given for why Aaron escaped similar punishment.
Naamah - Means "lovely". Only two with this name: the daughter of Lamech in the line of Cain, Gen4:22, and the mother of Rehoboam (a 'hidden' wife or concubine of Solomon!), the only son of Solomon. Some speculate that first Naamah was a wife aboard Noah's Ark, but it isn't confirmed anywhere and there's a 2-generation difference in ages. The name also applies to a city of Judah. Josh15:41
Naomi - means "pleasant". She left Bethlehem with a husband and two sons, but they all died in that foreign
land, and she returned to the "House of Bread" empty. This mother-in-law to Ruth led her to Boaz in fashion as the Holy Spirit leads us to Christ. When we glean in his fields, he'll drop some "bread" special for us, and become
our bridegroom covering. Ruth 1:9
Noah - One of the five(5) daughters of Zelophehad: he had no sons. Numb26:33. Marriage and Inheritance involved here. Numb36:6 |
Precepts of how a Son carries on the "The Name", but daughters inherit too, and brides receive New Name!
Phoebe - means "bright". Spelled Phebe, w/o the "o" in Romans 16:1 (KJV) where Paul commends her, and seems
to qualify her as a 'deaconess' (per NIV). Other likely woman names in this chapter include Priscilla, Mary, Persis, Julia, Tryphena, and Tryphosa. |
Priscilla also spelled Prisca - Wife to Aquila (eagle);
this New Testament couple had accompanied the Apostle Paul, and so they took Apollos (who was very
learned in O.T. theology) aside to explain things more fully. Acts 18:24. Paul called them his "helpers in Christ", Rom16:3, and
referred to the Church in their house with the mystery "Mary" who labored in the Lord.
Jephthah's daughter (unnamed) was NOT burned to death as some teach. She bewailed her virginity (never married) as a type of Nun who marries Christ. "Burnt-offering" a precept of the new and true baptism with Holy Ghost and FIRE (of the tongue). Jas3:5
Rachel - means "Ewe". Jacob saw her first and wanted her to wife and served 7 yrs. for her -- Like the O.T. is God's first wife, his
Chosen People -- who finally birthed the "Lamb of God", Jesus. The "7 spiritual years" is become a literal 2,000. Instead of the Jews coming into their kingdom, behold, it was the Gentiles turn!
We are the second wife, like Keturah and Leah, and we're supposed to be fruitful!
Rahab - means "proud". Called a harlot in Joshua 2 & 6, and twice in the N.T., besides being used poetically
in the Psalms and Isaiah. Only her name to justify that occupation, and in this day and age we'd be more apt to call her
a traitor to her own people for making the salvation deal with Israel. |
She hid the two un-named spies--so reflect on how we hide the Word in our heart, and how Jesus said "I and my Father are One".
Psalm 68:11 - "The Lord announced the Word, and great was the company of those who published it".
The KJV translators of this verse failed to mention that this company is a FEMALE company! (cp NEV, NASV or TLB)
Rebekah - means "flattering". Wife of Isaac, and mother of Esau and Jacob who had "two nations in her womb". Gen25:23.
She had been watering the camels (think Living Water to the unsaved) when the un-named servant came looking for a wife for Isaac. Like the Holy Spirit has now
come looking for a bride for the bridegroom Jesus.
Ruth - means "Friend". Think Truth with a capital "T".
Her first mother-in-law is Naomi, but her second is Rahab who marries into the tribe of Judah, and bears a son named Boaz:
the Redeemer-Husband! Isa54:5
Ruth is a Gentile: the scripture foretelling concerning the Bride of Christ, the Church or part thereof, and how we achieve the victory
by gleaning in His fields only.
Want more about Ruth? Click here.
Salome - means "happy, friendly". Her name appears only twice: Mk15:40, 16:1, both times in connection with Jesus' death. She's sister to |
James-the-less and Joses (Mt13:55), so she may be half-sister to Jesus.
Sarah - means "princess". Sarai ("JAH is prince") must've been a beauty because she was over 65 when Abimelech took her into his harem (but quickly
returned her). Abraham called her his sister; considered a half-truth because they really did have the same father and now Jesus says the
same spiritual "father" as well. God told Abraham: "I will bless her, and she shall be a mother of nations", Gen17:16. A miracle birth which preceded the main
futuristic MIRACLE BIRTH! So Sarah was 90 and Abraham 100 when Isaac, the son of their own flesh was born -- son of the promise, like Jesus.
Sapphira - means "Sapphire" (a blue gem). Together with her husband Ananias, Acts5, they conspired to "lie to the Holy Spirit". It didn't seem a crime
worthy of the death penalty when they withheld some of the voluntary contribution they had promised. Nevertheless, they died within a 3 hr. period after it was
revealed to Peter what they had done. First the man--then the woman. This couple are associated with Peter's Ministry to the Jews, in contrast to the way Priscilla and Aquila are associated
with Paul's Ministry to the Gentiles.
Tabitha - AKA"Dorcas" (doe or roe), Acts9:36. Raised from the dead by the Apostle Peter, this woman from Joppa "was full of good works and almsdeeds.." Peter had a special ministry to the Jews, Gal2:7, so "notified" the Gentile beginning with Cornelius, and the "dying" of Ananias & Sapphira, as well as this "raising" of the good female. More precepts for our learning.
Tamar - means "Palm". She had been widowed twice when she "played the harlot" because Judah's
third son had not married her (IAW Deut25:5) The Saducees built upon this story in Gen38 to inquire about the
hypothetical instance of seven who had had the same wife. Judah acknowledged that Tamar "had been more righteous than himself",
and one of her twins (Pharez) born of that act carried on the generations to Christ. MORE?
The daughters of Job (42:15) were the fairest in the land!
His seven sons aren't named, but his three daughters were Jemima, Kezia, and
Interesting how the 3rd daughter seems to have a hyphenated name, isn't it?
Tamar, David's daughter. This contemptible story is told in 2Sam13, long after the Law against incest had been given. Tamar was wearing a garment "of divers colors, for wearing by the king's daughters that were virgins" when the rape by her brother Amnon
occurred. The act brought on the hatred of another brother, Absalom, who then plotted and carried out Amnon's death, and later named his own daughter 'Tamar'.
Vashti - Persian for 'beautiful woman' - We applaud her for not appearing at that drunken party, Esther 1:12, but that perspective blurs
the allegory of how Israel & Judah were "wives", Jer3:8, as were Rachel & Leah, and so Vashti represents the Old Covenant and Esther the New.
Zeruiah - means "balm". David's sister (like Abigail), 1Chr2:16. Her 3 sons: Joab, Asahel, and Abishai, were among David's "mighty-men". 2Sam23:23. Initially we
hadn't been aware that David had sisters.
Zipporah - means "little bird". Wife to Moses, and one of the seven daughters of Jethro, 'Priest of Midian'.
She circumcised one son under difficult circumstances (Ex4:24) but they had two, Gershom and Eliezer, and
perhaps the "second-born" had been trying to slip through unscathed.
Two husbands! Women of the Bible with two or more husbands were: Abigail (Nabal-David) - Bathsheba (Uriah-David) - Ruth (Mahlon-Boaz) - Tamar (Er-Onan) - Herodias (Philip-Herod) and, of course,
the nameless woman-at-the-well in John 4, with five!
The Time-Line Metaphor..Jesus is "the Life", and so the Garden of Eden period would represent the time that babies spend in the womb.
Two (2) Covenants are spoken of explicitly in Galatians 4:24 -- not only are they the pattern for the Jew first,
and then the Gentile, but they also illustrate how the male comes first (to plant the seed), and then comes the
woman to bear fruit.
The Old was the "seeing" covenant -- they SAW those mighty miracles -- but the New
Covenant is the "hearing" covenant -- "Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the
Word of God", Rom 10:17.
The Apostle Paul wrote this very controversial "bone of contention":
"I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence.
For Adam was first formed, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression". 1Tim2:12-14.
You greatly err if you think this puts the blame on Eve and excuses Adam - that's NOT what Paul is saying!
Once we become 'new creatures' in Christ, we are no longer male and female, and Adam knew exactly what God had said (but was rebellious), whereas Eve only knew what her husband had told her. The recent news story of the Baptist Church which fired an experienced woman Bible teacher, based on the scripture verses above, is a classic case of an ignorant pastor, or maybe a deacon-possessed board.
These two women are in Timothy's Generation:
2Tim1:5 "When I call to remembrance the unfeigned faith that is in thee, which dwelt first in thy grandmother Lois, and thy mother Eunice; and I am persuaded that in thee also".
5 wise and 5 foolish virgins, and the midnight call of the bridegroom is found in Matt 25.
So we aren't simply salt and light, but also vessels, trees of righteousness, and clay and lively stones and living epistles and one bread, and one body, and VIRGINS!
A spiritual virgin is somehow who "lets Christ be formed in him/her", Gal 4:19, because they've confessed "Be it unto me
according to thy Word", and because they're giving the Bible priority so that they have 'no other God before Him'.
The Apostle Paul wrote to believers: "I have espoused you as a chaste virgin to Christ", 2Cor11:2.
Isaiah wrote: "Thine maker is thine HUSBAND", Isa54:5 -- Our Heavenly Husband!
God said: "I am married to you, and I will give you pastors according to my heart, which shall feed you with knowledge and understanding." Jer3:15.
Adam's bride was Eve, who was taken from his own body! So won't the 'bride of Christ' be taken from the church: the 'body of Christ"?
Abraham sent his trusted servant to fetch a bride for Isaac, and Rebekah was found watering the camels. Now the Holy Spirit has come seeking the
Bride of Christ, and he's looking for the faithful who are feeding the Living Water to those who haven't heard.
The tribe of Benjamin (means 'Son of the Right Hand') was nearly wiped out, Judges 21, and it seemed that 600 men of that tribe wouldn't be able
to find wives! What a strange and puzzling tale, but what a calamity today, if the Holy Spirit isn't able to locate wives for the REAL 'Son of the Right Hand', Jesus!
BOTTOM LINE? If there is one, it's probably this: Romans 7:2 tells us "the woman which has a husband is bound by the law to her husband so long as he lives;
but if the husband be dead she is loosed from the law of her husband". So Jesus died on the cross! The Father sent the Son on purpose, and the greatness and
complexity of the account of the Bride of Christ has been told so we'll know the Truth of the Holy Trinity!!
BRIDE OF CHRIST!
The meanings of names are sometimes found in the scripture itself (usually in the first instance
of that name), or else from Young's Analytical or Strong's Exhaustive concordances.
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