Forgotten Women of the Bible Whose Stories You Should Know

Throughout the tapestry of Biblical history, numerous women played pivotal roles in shaping events, cultures, and faith. While some are celebrated like Esther or Mary, others remain overshadowed by grander narratives. This article aims to shed light on some of these lesser-known women, celebrating their contributions and rediscovering their tales.

Shiprah and Puah: The Brave Midwives

In the book of Exodus, two Hebrew midwives, Shiprah and Puah, defied Pharaoh’s orders to kill newborn Hebrew boys. They put their lives on the line to save countless children and were blessed by God for their faithfulness.

Jael: The Tent Peg Heroine

Jael’s story is in Judges 4. She killed Sisera, the Canaanite army commander, by driving a tent peg through his temple, ensuring Israel’s victory. Her act is commemorated in the Song of Deborah.

Deborah: Prophetess and Judge

Before Jael, there was Deborah. In Judges 4-5, Deborah, a prophetess, leads Israel against the oppressive Canaanites. Under her guidance, Israel enjoyed 40 years of peace.

Tamar: Pursuer of Justice

Tamar, found in Genesis 38, was wronged by Judah and his sons. But she bravely sought justice, eventually becoming an ancestor of Christ.

Huldah: The Prophetess of Jerusalem

In 2 Kings 22, Huldah confirmed the authenticity of the “Book of the Law” found in the temple. Her prophecy set the course for Josiah’s reforms.

Abigail: The Peacemaker

1 Samuel 25 chronicles Abigail’s wise intervention, preventing David from shedding unnecessary blood. Her diplomacy resulted in her becoming one of David’s wives.

Rizpah: The Grieving Protector

2 Samuel 21 tells of Rizpah, who guarded the bodies of her sons from birds and wild animals. Her dedication moved King David to give them a proper burial.

Anna: The Prophetess of Devotion

Luke 2 introduces Anna, an 84-year-old prophetess. After years in the temple, she recognized baby Jesus as the Messiah, sharing the joyous news with others.

Priscilla: Teacher of Theology

Together with her husband Aquila, Priscilla is mentioned in Acts 18. They educated Apollos, ensuring he understood the full Gospel.

Phoebe: The Deaconess and Benefactor

Romans 16:1-2 presents Phoebe, a deaconess who was pivotal in the early church. Paul commended her for assisting many, including him.

Lois and Eunice: The Faithful Grandmother and Mother

2 Timothy 1:5 praises Lois and Eunice for their unfeigned faith, which they passed down to Timothy, setting the stage for his ministry.

Mephibosheth’s Nurse: Protector in Flight

2 Samuel 4 mentions the nurse of Mephibosheth who, during a chaotic escape, accidentally dropped him, causing his lameness.

The Shulammite Woman: Symbol of Love

Song of Solomon celebrates the Shulammite woman’s love story, often overshadowed by the grander love narratives.

Jochebed: Mother of Deliverance

Exodus 2 recounts Jochebed’s story. She’s Moses’ mother, who saved him from Pharaoh’s decree by placing him in a basket on the Nile.

The Widow of Zarephath: Woman of Sacrifice

1 Kings 17 introduces a widow who, despite her limited resources, helped the prophet Elijah and was blessed with a miracle in return.

Athaliah and Jehosheba: A Dark Queen and a Saving Princess

2 Kings 11 tells a contrasting tale. Athaliah, the only queen regnant of Judah, killed royal heirs. Jehosheba, however, saved Joash, ensuring David’s lineage.

The Daughters of Zelophehad: Advocates of Inheritance Rights

Numbers 27 recounts five sisters who challenged the status quo, securing property rights for women in Israel.

The Wise Woman of Abel Beth Maacah: City Savior

2 Samuel 20 tells of this woman, who saved her city from Joab’s siege by negotiating and demanding the head of the rebel Sheba.

Zipporah: Moses’ Supportive Wife

Exodus 2 and 4 introduce Zipporah, who saved Moses by swiftly circumcising their son, appeasing God’s anger.

Naaman’s Slave Girl: Beacon of Hope

2 Kings 5 mentions a captive Israelite girl who directs the Syrian commander Naaman to Elisha, leading to his healing from leprosy.

The Prophetess Miriam: Worship Leader

Exodus 15 showcases Miriam, Moses’ sister, leading women in worship after the miraculous crossing of the Red Sea.

Rahab: The Scarlet Cord Savior

Joshua 2 and 6 tell of Rahab, a Canaanite harlot who saved Israelite spies, ensuring her family’s safety during Jericho’s fall.

Orpah: The Other Daughter-in-law

Ruth 1 introduces Orpah, Ruth’s sister-in-law. She made a different choice than Ruth, returning to Moab, but she’s worth remembering.

Michal: David’s First Wife

1 Samuel 18-19 highlights Michal, who loved David and saved him from her father Saul’s murderous intent.

The Witch of Endor: Saul’s Last Resort

1 Samuel 28 tells of this woman who, albeit controversially, conjured up Samuel’s spirit at Saul’s desperate request.

Queen Vashti: The Deposed Queen

Esther 1 recounts Vashti’s story. She was deposed for her refusal to be paraded before the king’s guests, setting the stage for Esther’s rise.

Bilhah and Zilpah: The Other Mothers of Israel

Genesis 29-30 introduces these two, handmaidens to Rachel and Leah, and mothers to some of the Twelve Tribes of Israel.

The Woman of Thebez: City Defender

Judges 9 recounts an unnamed woman who saved her city by dropping a millstone on Abimelech, the oppressive leader.

The Syrophoenician Woman: Mother of Persistent Faith

Mark 7:24-30 features this Gentile woman, who persuaded Jesus to heal her demon-possessed daughter through her persistent faith.

Salome: Mother of Zebedee’s Sons

Matthew 20:20-23 introduces Salome, who requested Jesus for special places for her sons in His kingdom, leading to a teaching moment.

Susanna: Woman of Integrity

Daniel 13, in the Catholic and Orthodox canons, tells of Susanna, falsely accused of adultery but vindicated by the young Daniel.

Tabitha (Dorcas): The Benevolent Seamstress

Acts 9:36-43 showcases Tabitha, a disciple known for her good works and charity. She was resurrected by Peter.

Leah: The Unloved Wife

Genesis 29-31 portrays Leah, Jacob’s first wife. Despite being unloved compared to Rachel, she was blessed with many children.

The Samaritan Woman: The First Evangelist

John 4 recounts Jesus’ conversation with this woman. Her testimony led many Samaritans to believe in Jesus.

Noah’s Wife: The Silent Support

Genesis 6-9 doesn’t name Noah’s wife, but she was instrumental during the ark’s saga, supporting Noah’s God-given task.

Euodia and Syntyche: Women of Dispute

Philippians 4:2-3 introduces these women, whose disagreement was so significant that Paul urged reconciliation, emphasizing their importance in the church’s work.

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