There are many influential women in the Bible used for God’s purpose and will. Teaching your children about women of the Bible from the Old Testament will help give them a glimpse of the larger story of redemption the Lord has been painting since the beginning of time.
Many influential women in the Bible were used for God’s purpose and will. Teaching your children about women of the Bible from the Old Testament will help give them a glimpse of the larger story of redemption the Lord has been painting since the beginning of time.
Women of the Old Testament
Women of the Old Testament start at the beginning where God created man and woman in the Garden of Eden. From that moment forward, the Lord used women throughout biblical history to bring Himself glory and lead up to the story of salvation we see in the New Testament.
Eve: The First Woman Created
The first woman God created was Eve. The story of Eve is famous because of what she did. She sinned by going against God’s will and eating fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil – something God had forbidden them to do. From there, sin and all of the things tied to sin, entered into the world. Though it is important to talk to your children about the origins of the Fall, there are a few more things we can glean from Eve.
- Eve was made in the image of God. This knowledge reminds us that girls and women are image bearers of God. Why is this important? It reminds us ladies of our inherent value. This statement isn’t just for your daughters, your sons were also made in the image of God. Teaching your children about how they are image bearers encourages them to respect one another in how God made them.
- Eve was created as a helpmeet or an ezer. The Hebrew word ezer means ally or rescuer. It means strong helper. Eve was made to be complementary to Adam. Not subordinate to Adam, but rather an ally with different strengths that helped Adam in the garden.
- Eve was the first mother on earth. She was the first woman to give birth and have a child. Though there is pain in childbirth, there is beauty in God’s creation of human life in Eve’s womb. He continues to create life today in the womb of women around the world.
The Lord created women for a unique purpose. Sharing this with you children helps show them God’s beautiful design.
Sarah: Wife of Abraham and Mother of Nations
Sarah, previously Sarai, was the wife of Abraham. The Lord made a covenant with Abraham and this covenant promised that the Lord would make him the “father of many nations”. For Sarah and Abraham, this seemed an impossible task since she had been barren for many years. However, the Lord had a plan for Sarah, a plan to give her a baby.
Though Sarah had experienced moments of doubt, she ultimately had faith in God to provide her with a baby despite her old age. At the age of 90, the Lord fulfilled His promise and gave her Isaac. He further fulfilled His promise to Sarah because Isaac would go on to father the line of David, which led to the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ.
Sarah would soon become an example of freedom in the New Testament.
“Rejoice, O barren one who does not bear;
break forth and cry aloud, you who are not in labor!
For the children of the desolate one will be more
than those of the one who has a husband.”
Now you, brothers, like Isaac, are children of promise. But just as at that time he who was born according to the flesh persecuted him who was born according to the Spirit, so also it is now. But what does the Scripture say? “Cast out the slave woman and her son, for the son of the slave woman shall not inherit with the son of the free woman.” So, brothers, we are not children of the slave but of the free woman.” (Galatians 4:28-30)
Sarah is a part of the Lord’s larger story of grace and mercy. Through His son Jesus, we have been made new, no longer slaves but, free.
Jochebed: Mother of Moses
Jochebed is the mother of Moses. At the time when she bore Moses, the Pharaoh had made an order that all Hebrew sons born were to be “cast into the Nile”.
Of course we know, Jochebed didn’t cast her son away entirely. She kept him safe for a while, trusting that the Lord had a purpose for her son. From there, Jochebed put her child in a basket and sent him down the Nile. Her actions seem crazy. How could she send her baby away on a river? She again trusted the Lord to protect her child and give him safety.
The Lord did this and even more. Moses’ sister Miriam was there to witness Pharaoh’s daughter discovering her baby brother. Miriam was able to ask Pharaoh’s daughter if she wanted her to find a Hebrew woman to nurse the child. Miriam brought baby Moses to her mother, Jochebed, to nurse him. Though Jochebed faithfully gave up her son in order to keep him safe, she was able to be with him in the end due to the Lord’s goodness.
Jochebed’s faithfulness can be seen in her willingness to give up her son. The Lord would then use Moses to set His people free from Egypt. Though Jochebed played a small role, the Lord used her obedience to set forth the exodus of the Hebrew people.
Rahab: Ancestor of Jesus
Rahab was a Canaanite woman with a less than desirable occupation. The Bible describes her as a “harlot” and a “prostitute”. If you are going to share this incredible story of the Lord using unlikely people, be prepared to answer questions concerning her occupation. For younger kids, be mindful of how you do this.
In the days when the Israelites camped outside of Jericho, Joshua sent spies to check on the city. When the king of Jericho discovered spies in the city, he went to Rahab knowing the men had been to her house. Rahab hid the spies in her home and prepared to speak to the king.
She told the king that the men had in fact come to her home, but they had already left. The king left and continued his search for the spies. Why would Rahab do this? She was not a Hebrew woman. Her city was going to be destroyed, what would she gain from harboring two Israelite spies?
Rahab knew of the Hebrew God. She knew of His goodness and His strength. “For we have heard how the Lord dried up the water of the Red Sea before you when you came out of Egypt, and what you did to the two kings of the Amorites who were beyond the Jordan, to Sihon and Og, whom you devoted to destruction. 11 And as soon as we heard it, our hearts melted, and there was no spirit left in any man because of you, for the Lord your God, he is God in the heavens above and on the earth beneath.” (Joshua 2:10-11)
Her belief in God led to the protection of her and her family when the Israelites destroyed Jericho. Rahab became a part of the Israelite family and eventually became the mother of Boaz, and ultimately an unlikely ancestor to Jesus. The Lord used someone unlikely to accomplish His will.
Ruth and Naomi: Faithful Women of God
The story of Ruth is a beautiful illustration of how the Father can use “the least of these” for His will. Ruth’s tale, however, cannot be told without discussing her mother-in-law, Naomi. During a time of famine in Bethlehem, Naomi and her husband settled in Moab. Naomi’s two sons took Moabite wives while they lived there. Naomi’s husband and two sons died, leaving all three women to be widows.
Naomi heard the Lord had come to Judah and “given them food.” She knew she could go home and seek help among her people and she encouraged her daughters-in-law to do the same. Orpah left and returned to her family as Naomi had suggested. Ruth, however, refused and remained with Naomi. Her loyalty to her mother-in-law showed how much she cared for her. Ruth chose to go to a new land, where people thought lowly of Moabites, rather than return to her family.
Though the story of Ruth and Naomi begins with sorrow, the Lord redeemed both of their lives. Naomi’s faithfulness in the midst of bitterness revealed to her the Lord had been with her all along. Ruth’s loyalty to Naomi and trust in the Lord proved fruitful through the marriage to Boaz, the family redeemer, and the Lord using Ruth to be a part of the line of David.
These women walked faithfully during an extremely difficult time. In doing so, the Lord used them for His greater story of redemption.
Hannah: Mother of Samuel
Hannah is seen in the beginning of 1 Samuel as a barren wife to Elkanah. Though she desires to be a mother, she has not yet conceived. She is bullied because of her lack of children and this causes her to feel immense sorrow and distress.
The sadness she felt brought her to her knees. She cried out to the Father, bringing her sorrow and her desire to be a mother before Him. As she prayed, she did not hold back her feelings. She was honest with the Lord and trusted He would listen to her request.
“And she vowed a vow and said, “O Lord of hosts, if you will indeed look on the affliction of your servant and remember me and not forget your servant, but will give to your servant a son, then I will give him to the Lord all the days of his life, and no razor shall touch his head.” (1 Samuel 1: 11)
Hannah reminds us to bring our brokenness to the Father. He already knows what we face, but He wants us to come to Him with prayer and supplication. The Lord listened to Hannah and blessed her with a child, the boy Samuel. As she vowed to the Lord, Hannah gave him up so he could be trained in the life of holy discipline. Hannah had faith and prayed out of the reverence she had for our Holy God. She knew He would answer and listen.
More Women of the Bible From the Old Testament
There are many women in the Old Testament who played a role in God’s bigger plan: the redemption of all people through His Son, Jesus Christ. The Lord used wives, mothers, sisters, leaders, faithful women, and also women who failed for His glory and His purpose. Here are a few more women you can learn from and teach your children about from the Old Testament:
Wives of the Old Testament
Rebekah: Genesis 24
Rachel: Genesis 29
Leah: Genesis 30
Abigail: 1 Samuel 25
Female Leaders of the Old Testament
Miriam: Exodus 2
Deborah: Judges 4
Esther: Esther 2
Huldah: 2 Chronicles 34
Women Redeemed in the Old Testament
Bathsheba: 2 Samuel 12
Hagar: Genesis 16
Women Who Did What Was Right in the Old Testament
Jehosheba: 2 Kings 11
Jael: Judges 4
Shiphrah and Puah: Exodus 1
Final Thoughts on Women of the Bible from the Old Testament
God uniquely designed women in His image. The women in the Bible from the Old Testament are an example of how the Lord can use His people to bring Him glory. Shedding light on these female figures from the Bible reminds us that the Lord can use all people, male or female, for His greater purpose.
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