Women as Israel


Some time ago, in the journal the Biblical Review, Gary Rendsburg of Cornell University wrote an article titled “Unlikely Heroes, Women as Israel”. Note that Rendsburg does not say “women of Israel” or “women in Israel” but “women as Israel”. And he does so to point out that women are often pivotal in the narrative of scripture and that this in itself is surprising .as women do not usually play leading roles in the literature of the ancient near east—but they most certainly do in the Biblical record

For the sake of time, I will refer to just four of the eight women that he uses as examples: Sarah, Hagar, Deborah, and Rahab. (Who, by the way, is included in the genealogy of Jesus in the NT. and is the only other woman, other than Sarah, to be mentioned in Hebrews 11. Jewish tradition teaches that she married Joshua after she became proselyte, and became the ancestor of eight prophets who were priests, two of whom where the prophet Jeremiah and his contemporary, the female prophet Huldah!)

Rendsburg concludes: “These women best represent the people of Israel and their history. They are not powerful in the eyes of society; they are weak, marginal, and abused. But as such, they are authentic representatives of the pilgrim people of God and their lives contain rich lessons for the people of God today.