Sketches of Women in the Bible

Brian and Maria Kuehmichel





Sarai

Called Sarah


Gen 11:27 & 12:19


I was born and raised in Ur of the Chaldees and there I was married to Abram son of Terah. We had no children when God spoke to Abram saying, "Get out of your country, and from your kindred, and from your father's house, unto a land that I will show you."


Abram took me and all our substance that we had gathered and we went into the land of Canaan and journeyed on toward the southern part.


After Abram and I had dwelled ten years in the land of Canaan I said unto Abram, "The LORD hath restrained me from bearing: you may go in unto my maid" so I may obtain children through her. Abram listened to me and he went in unto Hagar, and she conceived. When she saw that she had conceived, I was despised in her eyes. I said unto Abram, "My wrong be upon you: I have given my maid into your bosom; and when Hagar saw that she had conceived, I was despised in her eyes: the LORD judge between you and me." But, Abram said unto me, "Hagar the maid is in your hand; do to her as it pleases you. When I disciplined her she fled, but the angel of the LORD said to her, "Return to your mistress, and submit yourself under her."


God spoke again to Abraham and said, "As for Sarai your wife, you shall not call her Sarai, but Sarah shall be her name. I will bless her, and give thee a son also of her: yea, I will bless her, and she shall be a mother of nations; kings of people shall be from her. My covenant will I establish with Isaac, which Sarah shall bear to you at this set time in the next year."


I heard this from behind the tent door and laughed, saying, After I am become old shall I have this pleasure, my lord being old too? The LORD said to Abraham, "Why did Sarah laugh, saying, "Shall I surely bear a child when I am old?" Is any thing too hard for the LORD? At the time appointed I will return to you and Sarah shall have a son."Then I denied, saying, "I did not laugh;" for I was afraid. He said, "Nay; but you did laugh."


Soon the LORD visited me, just as he had said, for I conceived a child at eighty-nine years of age. The LORD did as he had spoken and gave Abraham a son in his old age at the set time. Abraham called the name of our son Isaac. Little did I know that God would take Isaac and make him the great ancestor of Christ Jesus, the Savior of the world.


Sarah's Lineage:
Genesis 21:1-3, 25:21-26, 29:31-35,

(Abraham was father and) Sarah was mother of Isaac, Isaac was father of Jacob, Jacob was father of Judah



Tamar


Gen 38:6-30


My name is Tamar which means to be erect; a palm tree. Let me tell you my journey about how I became part of the family line that eventually gave birth to the Messiah also called Christ Jesus. I was not noble in my conduct leading to my having children but God in His sovereign will used me anyway for which I must be grateful.


Judah, the son of Jacob, arranged with my father for me to be a wife for Er his firstborn son. But Er was wicked in the sight of the LORD; and the LORD caused him to die.


Then Judah said to his second son Onan, Go in unto your brother's wife, and marry Tamar, and raise up seed to carry on your brother's name. Onan knew that the first male child would not be counted as his own and the dishonorable thing which he did displeased the LORD: therefore the LORD caused him to die. This was saddening to me because now I had two dead husbands and no children.


Judah spoke to me, his daughter in law, saying, "Remain a widow at your father's house, until Shelah my son is grown and he will be your husband." I went and lived again in my father's house waiting for the proper time.


I saw that Shelah was grown into manhood and I was not given to Shelah to be his wife. So, I conceived a plan to at least become a mother. I took off my widow's garments, and covered myself with a face veil, and wrapped myself attractively and sat down in an open place by the roadside leading to Timnath. I was hoping that some man would come by, find me attractive, and come in to me so I could conceive a child.


When Judah came along and saw me, he thought I was an harlot because I had covered my face. Worse than that, he turned aside from the roadway and came near to me and said, "Let me come in to you" (for he did not know that I was his daughter in law).


I had to scramble together a plan. I said to Judah, "What will you give me to come in unto me?" After haggling we agreed upon the payment of a kid from the flock. At my request Judah gave me a pledge consisting of his signet, bracelets, and staff that he was holding to guarantee his payment would be delivered later. Then I let Judah come in unto me and I conceived a child by him.


After labor began and it was time to deliver the child, the midwife and I learned that there were twins in my womb. While I labored in childbirth, one child put out his hand. My midwife took and bound upon his hand a scarlet thread, saying, "This child came out first." Then he drew back his hand into my womb and, behold, his brother came out. My midwife said, "How have you come out? This breach be upon you." Therefore he was named Pharez. Afterward his brother came out who had the scarlet thread upon his hand: and he was named Zarah.


Judah never kept his word to give me to Shelah to be his wife. God blessed me with my sons. Little did I know that God would send Messiah - the promised deliverer through my son Pharez.


Christ Jesus' Lineage:
Genesis 38:18, 27-30
(Judah was father and) Tamar was mother of Pharez and Zarah

1 Chronicles 2:1-15
These are the sons of Israel generation by generation: Israel begat Judah;
4 And Tamar his daughter in law bare him Pharez
5. Pharez had Hezron
9 The son of Hezron was Ram.
10 And Ram begat begat Nahshon, prince of the children of Judah;
11 And Nahshon begat Salma (Salmon) who married Rahab (Rachab) of Jericho,
and Salma begat Boaz who married Ruth of Moab,
12 And Boaz begat Obed,
and Obed begat Jesse.
13 And Jesse begat David, the seventh son:
and to David was promised the Messiah by the mouth of the LORD.



Pharaoh's Daughter


Exodus 1:21-2:11


My father, Pharaoh of Egypt, commanded all of his people to throw into the Nile river every Hebrew boy that was born, but to let every girl live. I could not agree with him when I heard the crying of a Hebrew baby. Let me tell you about it.


A man from the Hebrew family of Levi had married and the woman became pregnant and had a second son. She saw what a beautiful baby he was and kept him hidden for three months. But when she could no longer hide him, she got a little basket made of papyrus reeds and waterproofed it with tar and pitch. She put the baby in the basket and laid it among the reeds along the edge of the Nile River. The baby's sister then stood at a distance watching to see what would happen to him.


Soon after this I, one of Pharaoh's daughters, came down to bathe in the river. My servant girls walked along the riverbank. When I saw the little basket among the reeds I told my servant girl to get it for me. As I opened it I found the baby boy. His helpless cries touched my heart. I said, "He must be one of the Hebrew children." Then the baby's sister approached me and spoke saying, "Should I go and find one of the Hebrew women to nurse the baby for you?" "Yes, do!" I replied. So the girl rushed home and called the baby's mother. I directed the mother, 'Take this child home and nurse him for me. I will pay you for your help." The baby's mother took her baby home and nursed him until he was older. When the child no longer nursed his mother she brought him back to me. I adopted him as my son and named him Moses because "I drew him out of the water." Moses grew up in my home with all the privilege of Pharaoh's family. I did not live to see my son Moses used mightily by the God of heaven to deliver His people.



Miriam


Exodus 1:22; 2:1-8; 6:20; 15:19-21; Numbers 12:1-15; 20:1; 26:58-59; Deuteronomy 24:9; 1Chronicles 6:1-3; Micah 6:4


My name is Miriam which means "rebelliously." My ancestry is from Jacob's son Levi through Kohath and then through my father Amram who married his father's sister. My brothers were Aaron and Moses. God chose to use the family of Amram mightily when my parents chose to resist the evil commandment of Pharaoh of Egypt. He had ordered our Hebrew people to toss their male children into the river supposing they would drown. Jochebed, my mother, after giving birth to a son (Moses), saw how beautiful he was and hid him for three months. When she couldn't hide him any longer, she took a basket made of papyrus plants and coated it with tar and pitch. She put the baby in it and set it among the papyrus plants near the bank of the Nile River. Then I, the baby's sister, stood at a distance to see what would happen to him.


While Pharaoh's daughter came to the Nile to take a bath, her servants walked along the bank of the river. She saw the basket among the papyrus plants and sent her slave girl to get it. Pharaoh's daughter opened the basket, looked at the baby, and saw it was a boy. He was crying, and she felt sorry for him. She said, "This is one of the Hebrew children." Then I asked Pharaoh's daughter, "Should I go and get one of the Hebrew women to nurse the baby for you?" She answered, "Yes!" So, I brought the baby's mother. Pharaoh's daughter said to the woman, "Take this child, nurse him for me, and I will pay you." My mother took my brother and nursed him. When my brother was old enough, she brought him to Pharaoh's daughter, and he became her son. Pharaoh's daughter named him Moses. This is how I helped rescue my brother who became a great leader of our people.


After Moses, under God's direction, led the Israelite company through the Red Sea Pharaoh's horses, chariots, and cavalry followed us into the sea. The LORD made the water of the sea flow back over them and destroyed them. Then I, Miriam the prophetess, took a tambourine in my hand and all the women followed with tambourines and dancing. I sang to them saying, "Sing to the LORD, for he is highly exalted. The horse and its rider he has hurled into the sea."


I am sorry to report that Aaron and I began to complain against Moses because of his Cushite wife. I said, "Has the LORD spoken only through Moses? Hasn't he also spoken through us?" The LORD heard us and defended Moses who was a very humble man. At once the LORD said to Moses, Aaron and me, "Come out to the Tent of Meeting, all three of you." So we came before the Lord. Then the LORD came down in a pillar of cloud, stood at the entrance to the Tent and summoned Aaron and me. When both of us stepped forward he said, "Listen to my words: 'When a prophet of the LORD is among you, I reveal myself to him in visions, I speak to him in dreams. But this is not true of my servant Moses; he is faithful in all my house. With him I speak face to face, clearly and not in riddles; he sees the form of the LORD. Why then were you not afraid to speak against my servant Moses?'" Then the anger of the LORD burned against us and he left us.


When the cloud lifted from above the Tent I stood leprous, like snow. Aaron turned toward me and saw that I had leprosy. Then he said to Moses, "Please, my lord, do not hold against us the sin we have so foolishly committed. Do not let her be like a stillborn infant coming from its mother's womb with its flesh half eaten away." Moses in his mercy cried out to the LORD, "O God, please heal her!" The LORD replied to Moses, "If her father had spit in her face, would she not have been in disgrace for seven days? Confine her outside the camp for seven days; after that she can be brought back." I was very humiliated by the Lord's words and punishment. I was confined outside the camp for seven days.


After more years of wandering in the wilderness the whole Israelite community arrived at the Desert of Zin and they stayed at Kadesh. There I, Miriam the prophetess, died and was buried.



Rahab


Joshua 2:1-24; 6:12-25: Matthew 1:5; Hebrews 11:31; James 2:25


When Joshua secretly sent out two spies from the Israelite camp at Acacia. he instructed them saying, "Spy out the land on the other side of the Jordan River, especially around Jericho." So the two men set out and explored the area. They came to Jericho where I lived as a prostitute and stayed at my house that night. But someone told the king of Jericho that, "Some Israelites have come here tonight to spy out the land." The king of Jericho sent orders to me saying: "Bring out the men who have come into your house. They are spies sent here to discover the best way to attack us." I replied, "The men were here earlier, but I didn't know where they were from. They left the city at dusk, as the city gates were about to close, and I don't know where they went. If you hurry, you can probably catch up with them." As soon as the king's men had left, the city gate was shut.


But I had taken the two men up to the roof and hidden them beneath piles of flax. Before they slept I went up on the roof to talk with them. "I know the LORD has given you this land. We are all afraid of you. Everyone is living in terror. For we have heard how the LORD made a dry path for you through the Red Sea when you left Egypt. And we know what you did to Sihon and Og, the two Amorite kings east of the Jordan River, whose people you completely destroyed. No wonder our hearts have melted in fear! No one here in Jericho has the courage to fight after hearing such things. For the LORD your God is the supreme God of the heavens above and the earth below. Now swear to me by the LORD that you will be kind to me and my family since I have helped you. Give me some guarantee that when Jericho is conquered, you will let me live, along with my father and mother, my brothers and sisters, and all their families."


"We offer our own lives as a guarantee for your safety," the two men said. to me. "If you don't betray us, we will keep our promise when the LORD gives us the land." Since my house was built into the city wall, I let them down by a rope through the window. I told them "Escape to the hill country. Hide there for three days until the men who are searching for you have returned; then go on your way."


Before they left, the men told me, "We can guarantee your safety only if you leave this scarlet rope hanging from the window. All your family members, your father, mother, brothers, and all your relatives must be here inside the house. If they go out into the street, they will be killed, and we cannot be held to our oath. But we swear that no one inside this house will be killed—not a hand will be laid on any of them. If you betray us, however, we are not bound by this oath in any way." "I accept your terms," I replied, and sent them on their way.


After hiding two days the spies returned to the Israelite camp and delivered their report. For six days the Israelites marched from their camp and marched once around Jericho and then returned to their camp again. The seven priests with the rams' horns marched in front of the Ark of the LORD, blowing their horns. Armed guards marched both in front of the priests with the horns and behind the Ark of the LORD. All this time the priests were sounding their horns. This was bewildering to us and we were terrified. I hoped that those men and their God would keep their word and protect me and my family.


On the seventh morning the priests again carried the Ark of the LORD. But this day they went around the city seven times. The seventh time around, as the priests sounded the long blast on their horns, Joshua commanded the people, "Shout! For the LORD has given you the city! The city and everything in it must be completely destroyed as an offering to the LORD. Only Rahab the prostitute and the others in her house will be spared, for she protected our spies. Do not take any of the things set apart for destruction, or you yourselves will be completely destroyed, and you will bring trouble on all Israel. Everything made from silver, gold, bronze, or iron is sacred to the LORD and must be brought into his treasury." When the people heard the sound of the horns, they shouted as loud as they could. Suddenly the walls of Jericho, my city, collapsed and the Israelites charged straight into the city from every side and captured it. Those two young men came to my house and rescued my father, mother, brothers, and all my other relatives who were with me. They moved my whole family to a safe place near the camp of Israel. Then the Israelites burned the city and destroyed everything in it "men and women, young and old, cattle, sheep, donkeys" everything and everyone but my family. For we trusted the two men's promise and stayed inside my house. Only the things made from silver, gold, bronze, or iron were kept for the treasury of the Lord's house.


I am so glad Joshua spared me, a prostitute, and my relatives who were with me in my house. I had said to the two men that "the LORD your God is the supreme God of the heavens above and the earth below." I had hidden and protected them and trusted their promise. I lived among the Israelites and married Salmon and we brought forth Boaz. Later, Boaz married Ruth and they had a son, Obed. [See: Tamar's Lineage]


Christ Jesus' Lineage:
1 Chronicles 2:4-13

These are the sons of Israel generation by generation: Israel (Jacob) begat Judah;
4. And Tamar his daughter in law bare him Pharez
5. Pharez had Hezron
9. The son of Hezron was Ram,
10. And Ram begat begat Nahshon, prince of the children of Judah;
11. And Nahshon begat Salma (Salmon) who married Rahab (Rachab) of Jericho,
and Salma begat Boaz who married Ruth of Moab,
12. And Boaz begat Obed,
and Obed begat Jesse.
13. And Jesse begat David, the seventh son:
...and to David was promised the Messiah by the mouth of the LORD through the prophet Nathan. 2 Samuel 7:8-17



Bathsheba


2 Samuel 11:1-12:25; 1 Chronicles 3:1-24; Kings 1:1-48; Matthew 1:1-18; (Luke 2:5-7); 3:23-38

My name is Bathsheba which means "daughter of an oath." I was the daughter of Eliam and the wife of Uriah the Hittite. During the time of war, King David sent Joab out with the whole Israelite army including my husband while he remained behind. One evening David got up from his bed and walked around on the roof of the palace and saw me bathing and sent messengers to get me. When I arrived David required me to sleep with him and I conceived a child. I sent word to David, saying, "I am pregnant." By use of his power as King, David sought to first cover up his actions toward me. He arranged for my husband to be placed in battle where he knew the strongest enemy defenders were placed. My husband, Uriah the Hittite, died. When I heard that my husband was dead I mourned for him.

After my time of mourning was over David brought me to his house. I became his wife and bore him our son. But the whole thing David had done displeased the LORD. Nathan the prophet spoke to David saying, "Because by doing this you have made the enemies of the LORD show utter contempt, the son born to you will die." After Nathan had gone home the LORD struck our child and he became ill. Though David pleaded with God for the child on the seventh day our child died. David comforted me in my added grief. Later, I conceived and gave birth to a son whom we named Solomon. The LORD loved him and sent word through Nathan the prophet to name him Jedidiah. Together we had four children named: Shammua, Shobab, Nathan and Solomon.

King David had other sons by other wives. One son named Adonijah conspired with Joab son of Zeruiah and with Abiathar the priest to take the throne of Israel by subtlety. Nathan the prophet came and asked me as Solomon's mother, "Have you not heard that Adonijah, the son of Haggith, has become king without our lord David's knowing it? Now then, let me advise you how you can save your own life and the life of your son Solomon. Go in to King David and say to him, "My lord the king, did you not swear to me your servant: "Surely Solomon your son shall be king after me, and he will sit on my throne? Why then has Adonijah become king?" While I was still there talking to the king Nathan the prophet also arrived and bowed with his face to the ground. Nathan said, "My lord the king, have you declared that Adonijah shall be king after you, and that he will sit on your throne? Is this something my lord the king has done without letting his servants know who should sit on the throne of my lord the king after him?" Then King David spoke an oath to me saying, "As surely as the LORD lives, who has delivered me out of every trouble, I will surely carry out today what I swore to you by the LORD, the God of Israel: Solomon your son shall be king after me, and he will sit on my throne in my place."

Then I, Bathsheba, bowed low with my face to the ground and kneeling before the king said, "May my lord King David live forever!" Then King David said, "Call in Zadok the priest, Nathan the prophet and Benaiah son of Jehoiada. Have Zadok the priest and Nathan the prophet anoint him king over Israel. Blow the trumpet and shout, 'Long live King Solomon!' Then you are to go up with him, and he is to come and sit on my throne and reign in my place. I have appointed him ruler over Israel and Judah." What joy it brought to me to have Solomon, my son, sit on the royal throne of Israel.


The sons of David
1 Chronicles 3:1-24

1 These were the sons of David born to him in Hebron: The firstborn was Amnon the son of Ahinoam of Jezreel; the second, Daniel the son of Abigail of Carmel;
2 the third, Absalom the son of Maacah daughter of Talmai king of Geshur; the fourth, Adonijah the son of Haggith;
3 the fifth, Shephatiah the son of Abital; and the sixth, Ithream, by his wife Eglah.
4 These six were born to David in Hebron, where he reigned seven years and six months. David reigned in Jerusalem thirty-three years,
5 and these were the children born to him there: Shammua, Shobab, Nathan and Solomon. These four were by Bathsheba daughter of Ammiel.
6 There were also Ibhar, Elishua, Eliphelet,
7 Nogah, Nepheg, Japhia,
8 Elishama, Eliada and Eliphelet—nine in all.
9 All these were the sons of David, besides his sons by his concubines. And Tamar was their sister.
10 Solomon's son was Rehoboam, Abijah his son, Asa his son, Jehoshaphat his son,
11 Jehoram his son, Ahaziah his son, Joash his son,
12 Amaziah his son, Azariah his son, Jotham his son,
13 Ahaz his son, Hezekiah his son, Manasseh his son,
14 Amon his son, Josiah his son.
15 The sons of Josiah: Johanan the firstborn, Jehoiakim the second son, Zedekiah the third, Shallum the fourth.
16 The successors of Jehoiakim: Jehoiachin his son, and Zedekiah.
17 The descendants of Jehoiachin the captive: Shealtiel his son,
18 Malkiram, Pedaiah, Shenazzar, Jekamiah, Hoshama and Nedabiah.
19 The sons of Pedaiah: Zerubbabel and Shimei. The sons of Zerubbabel: Meshullam and Hananiah. Shelomith was their sister.
20 There were also five others: Hashubah, Ohel, Berekiah, Hasadiah and Jushab-Hesed.
21 The descendants of Hananiah: Pelatiah and Jeshaiah, and the sons of Rephaiah, of Arnan, of Obadiah and of Shecaniah.
22 The descendants of Shecaniah: Shemaiah and his sons: Hattush, Igal, Bariah, Neariah and Shaphat—six in all.
23 The sons of Neariah: Elioenai, Hizkiah and Azrikam—three in all.
24 The sons of Elioenai: Hodaviah, Eliashib, Pelaiah, Akkub, Johanan, Delaiah and Anani—seven in all.



Priscilla


Acts 18:1-19:1; Romans 16:3; 1 Corinthians 16:19; 2 Timothy 4:19


Aquila, my husband, and I had recently come from Italy after Claudius had ordered all the Jews to leave Rome. We met Paul in Corinth and because he was a tentmaker he stayed and worked with us. Each Sabbath we joined together with others at the synagogue where Paul tried to convince the Jews and Greeks alike that "The Messiah you are looking for is Jesus." When the Jews opposed him and insulted him, Paul shook the dust from his robe and said, "Your blood be upon your own heads—I am innocent. From now on I will go to the Gentiles." After that he stayed with (Titius) Justus, a Gentile who worshiped God and lived next door to the synagogue. Crispus, the leader of the synagogue, and all his household believed in the Lord. Many others in Corinth also became believers and were baptized.


We worked with Paul and later traveled with him to Ephesus. We labored together in the work of sharing the gospel adding to the other believers in that city. A Jew named Apollos, an eloquent speaker who knew the Scriptures well, had just arrived in Ephesus from Alexandria in Egypt. He had been taught the way of the Lord and talked to others with great enthusiasm and accuracy about Jesus. When we heard him preaching boldly in the synagogue he knew only about John's baptism. We took him aside and explained the way of God more accurately. Apollos had been thinking about going to Achaia, and the Christians in Ephesus encouraged him in this. They wrote to the believers in Achaia, asking them to welcome him. When he arrived there, he proved to be of great benefit to those who, by God's grace, had believed. He refuted all the Jews with powerful arguments in public debate. Using the Scriptures, he explained to them, "The Messiah you are looking for is Jesus."


Paul continued to travel to spread the Gospel and to encourage the budding churches. We received greetings in his epistle known as the Letter to the Romans (16:3) "Greet Priscilla and Aquila. They have been co-workers in my ministry for Christ Jesus. In fact, they risked their lives for me. I am not the only one who is thankful to them; so are all the Gentile churches. Please give my greetings to the church that meets in their home. Greet my dear friend Epenetus. He was the very first person to become a Christian in the province of Asia."


Again Paul mentioned us in his epistle to the Corinthian church (1 Co 16:19) "The churches here in the province of Asia greet you heartily in the Lord, along with Aquila and Priscilla and all the others who gather in their home for church meetings. The other believers here have asked me to greet you for them. Greet each other in Christian love." Later he sent his love and greetings in his personal letter to our dear brother Timothy (2 Tim 4:19) "Give my greetings to Priscilla and Aquila and those living at the household of Onesiphorus."