Famous Women of the Old Testament

The role of women as described in the Bible cannot be overemphasized. Women play important roles in the lives of men and the society at large. There are women who are gentle and do not like to be noticed while there are some who are as strong as the men and would always like to be seen at the forefront.

famous women of the old testament

They always take charge wherever they are and their names ring a bell once mentioned. Although there are many women whose names were mentioned at one time or the other in the Bible, our focus in this series will be based on the famous women in the Bible specifically in the Old Testament.

As we look into the peculiar lives of the women mentioned in the Old Testament, we would learn of the various ways in which their characteristics and principles which guided their actions have a significant part in our modern times.

12 Most Famous Women of the Old Testament

  • Eve: Genesis 3:1-24

 Adam and Eve
Jordaens Adam and Eve
The first woman mentioned in the Bible who also became famous is Eve, meaning the mother of all living.  She was taken from the rib of the man and through her, many generations were born. The rib in which she was taken connoted the significant that should exist between a man and a woman, they were to work and live together as one. She was designed to nurture life that the great plan of God might be achieved through procreation.

Although, sin came to the world through her, so also is the redemption of all through that is, the generations that came through her where the Messiah was born.

  • Sarah: Genesis 12-14

Women in the Old testament
Matthias Stom – Sarah Leading Hagar to Abraham

The second woman to be discussed here is Sarah. She was of a royal lineage and happened to be the wife of Abraham, and the mother of Isaac.

Her name was changed from Sarai to Sarah which means mother of all nations. After her marriage to Abraham, they moved to Canaan, the land God gave them as their inheritance. Her faith and that of her husband stood the test of time.

She played a significant role in the life of her husband. All through their stay together, she obeyed her husband and they lived happily. She had good qualities of a mother and this was seen in the life of her son, Isaac.

Although she encountered some challenges before conceiving, God had promised her she would be a mother of all nations. And God fulfilled his promise to her when she was 90 years of age.
Her story is an indication that there is nothing too hard for God to do. Whatever challenges we might be facing, God knows the right time for us to get the breakthrough.

  • Lot’s Wife – Genesis 19: 1-26

Lot's wife
Lot’s wife
The Bible passage describes how she became a pillar of salt after she disobeyed despite the warnings not to. She is known generally as Lots wife as no name was attached to her in the Bible. In some Jewish traditions, she is called Edith or Ado but only a few know about this. She became a pillar of salt in the city of Sodom.
Her story signifies that there is always a punishment for disobedience.

  • Hagar – Genesis 16: 1-16

Hagar Women in the old testament
Cecco Bravo-Hagar and the Angel
Another famous name as indicated in the Bible is Hagar meaning bond woman. She was the maidservant Sarah gave to her husband to sleep with after she had waited for the fruit of the womb endlessly. She became more famous because she had Abraham’s first son, Ishmael.

Although she was later sent out of Abraham’s house, God still showed favor to her and her son.

  • Rebekah – Genesis 25: 19-28

REbbeca women in the old testament
Piazzetta, Giovanni – Rebecca at the Well
Rebekah was the wife of Isaac and the mother of Jacob and Esau. Rebekah means the mother of thousands of millions.

When Abraham sent his servant to search for a wife for his son Isaac, he gave him some qualities to look out for in the women he comes across. All these qualities of a good wife were seen in Rebekah which she displayed at the well by giving water to the servant and all his thirsty camels.

After her marriage to Isaac, she had to wait many years before she conceived and when she eventually did, she gave birth to twins.

The life of Rebekah teaches us that humility and being at the right place at the right time brings blessings.

  • Rachel and Leah

Rachel and Leah
Dante’s Vision of Rachel and Leah
Rachel and Leah were sisters married to Jacob, the son of Isaac and Rebecca. Jacob loved Rachael, the younger sister immediately he set his eyes on her. He agreed to serve her father for 7 years in exchange for her. But since it was against their culture for the younger sister to get married before the elder sister, Leah was given out to Jacob first and had to serve another 7 years to get his original love, Rachael.

  • Deborah – Judges 4: 1-14

Deborah
Deborah

During the period of repentance in the Bible, individuals were appointed by God as judges, they were appointed to deliver the Israelites from their enemies.

Deborah, a prophetess was one of these judges; she was the only woman amongst the judges appointed. Her courage and faith were an inspiration to many and the people enjoyed her reign.
Abigail (wife of David) 1st Samuel, 25:1-42

She was married to Nabal. Her husband scorned David who had provided him with protection. David planned to kill Nabal but Abigail intervened and convinced David not to. On hearing this, Nabal had a stroke which led to his death. After some years, David took in Abigail as his wife.

  • Bathsheba (wife of David) – 2 Sam, 11:1-27

Bathsheba at the Fountain
Peter Paul Rubens – Bathsheba at the Fountain
Her relationship with David started as an illicit affair. This led to the death of her husband. She was the mother of Solomon. Most of the Kings of Israel came through her.

  • Delilah – Judges 16: 4-21

Samson and Delilah
Samson and Delilah by Rubens
She became famous for her role in the life of Samson in the Bible. She was the reason for Samson’s downfall.

  • Esther – Esther 1-10

Jan Victors - The Banquet of Esther and Ahasuerus
Jan Victors – The Banquet of Esther and Ahasuerus
Esther became the queen of Persia and her elevation was a great advantage to the Jews. The plot of Haman for all Jews to be wiped out was aborted through the help of this beauty queen.

  • Hannah – 1 Sam 1:1-27

Hannah
Hannah VICTORS, Jan

She was the mother of Prophet Samuel who happened to be the greatest Judge ever recorded in the history of Israel.

  • Jezebel – 1 King: 16: 30-31

Jezabel
Jezabel-and-Ahab-Meeting-Elijah-in-Naboth-s-Vineyard
She was a wicked queen married to King Ahab.
Other famous names mentioned are Ruth, Potiphar’s wife, Naomi

  • Rahab – Joshua 2: 1-24

Tissot The Harlot of Jericho and the Two Spies
Tissot The Harlot of Jericho and the Two Spies
Rahab was a prostitute in Jericho. She was saved when she realized God was with the two spies sent from Israel and she risked her life for them.

What do you think about my list of famous women of the Old Testament? I am aware there are many others they deserve to be listed. Have any suggestion? Please drop the comment below.

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