Women of the Word: Lot’s Daughters

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The story of Lot’s wife gets a lot of attention. She is the one who looked back at Sodom and Gomorrah as it was being destroyed, even though she was told not to. As a result, she was turned into a pillar of salt. But the story of her daughters receives a lot less attention, though their lives are just as tragic as their mother’s.

Genesis 19:12-17 tells us that Lot’s daughters were engaged to marry two men before Sodom and Gomorrah was destroyed. The angels warned Lot about the coming destruction and told him to get his family out. Lot went and told his soon-to-be son-in-laws to get out of the city before it was destroyed, but his soon-to-be son-in-laws thought he was joking. They didn’t listen to him and continued on living the way they had always lived. When the angels saw this, they were like, “Forget them, Lot! Just get your wife and daughters and get yourselves out!” When Lot hesitated, the angels took him by the hand and took his wife and daughters by their hands, and led them out of the city to safety. Once they were outside of the city, the angels let them go and told them, “Flee for your lives!” The angels also warned them not to look back. We all know that Lot’s wife did look back, but Lot and his daughters did not. Can you imagine how they must have felt when they finally stopped and discovered that Lot’s wife was not with them? In one day, Lot’s daughters lost both their mother and the men who they were planning to marry.

After the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, Lot and his two daughters went to Zoar. Because Lot was afraid to stay in Zoar, they soon left that city and went to live in a cave. It is then that the two daughters wrongly conclude that no other men are left alive on earth for them to marry and have children by, so they come up with a plan to have their father impregnate them so they can continue the human race. The entire unfortunate account of this event is told in Genesis 19:30-38. The daughters eventually give birth to two sons named Moab and Ben-Ammi.

We do not know how Lot reacted when he found out that he was not only the grandfather of his daughters’ firstborn, but also the father. And we do not know how the lives of Lot and his daughters ended. Did they stay in the cave until they died? Were they ever reunited with Abraham and his household? We do know that the sons, Moab and Ben-Ammi, returned to civilization and found women to marry because they became the fathers of their own races, the Moabites and the Ammonites. Whatever the ending of Lot’s daughters may have been, their lives were marked with disgraceful behavior and marred by destruction and death. Continue reading

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Women of the Word: Merab

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As we observed in the profile of Merab’s younger sister, Michal, both of these girls were the first princesses of Israel because their father, Saul, was the first King. Before Saul gave Michal to David, he first promised to give him Merab if David served him bravely and fought the battles of Israel. David did exactly that, but jealousy caused Saul not to keep his promise. Instead of giving Merab to David, he gave her to Adriel of Meholah to marry. You can read all about this in 1 Samuel (14:49; 18:17, 19). Adriel and Merab had five sons together, but unfortunately these sons were killed by the Gibeonites as revenge for what Saul had done to them (2 Samuel 21:8-9).

This is all the Scripture that we have on Merab, the oldest daughter of Saul. We don’t know how she reacted to her father’s broken promise about her marrying the future king of Israel. We don’t know how she handled the horrible green-eyed monster that her father became in his obsessive pursuit to get rid of David. We don’t know how she reacted to the deaths of her father and brother, Jonathan, at the hands of the Philistines. We don’t know how she dealt with the horrible deaths of her five sons (although, some believe that she died young and was not around when this happened). Whatever the case, if the musical Annie had been around back then, I’m almost certain Merab would have readily sang ‘it’s a hard-knock life for me!”

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Women of the Word: Mary, Mother of John Mark

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Acts 12 recounts one of several instances in which Peter was miraculously delivered from prison. In the middle of the night, an angel appeared to Peter, freed him from his chains, and led him out into the city. Peter thought that it was all a dream, but when the angel left him and he found himself standing alone in the middle of a street, then he knew for sure that God had sent His angel to deliver him. Verse 5 of this chapter says that while Peter was kept in prison, prayer was made without ceasing by other Christian believers unto God for him. One of the places where prayer was being made for him was at the house of Mary, the mother of John Mark. Verse 12 reads:

And when he had considered the thing, he came to the house of Mary the mother of John, whose surname was Mark; where many were gathered together praying.

To read about another woman who makes an appearance in this Scripture passage, see Rhoda; but first, here’s what we can learn from Mary, mother of John Mark. Continue reading

Women of the Word: Four Hundred Virgins of Jabesh-Gilead and the Young Women of Shiloh

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To understand what takes place with these four hundred virgins and young women in Judges 21, you have to first read what happens in the previous two chapters. Judges 19-20 details the brutal beating, abuse, and gang rape that a Levite’s concubine suffers at the hands of wicked men. When the Levite finds his concubine dead, he cuts her body into twelve pieces and sends the pieces to the twelve tribes of Israel. When the tribes are alerted to this horrible crime, eleven of the tribes judge that the twelfth tribe of Benjamin is responsible for this act, since the men of Gibeah, the place where the concubine was raped and killed, were Benjamites. The tribe of Benjamin is told to hand over the perpetrators so they can be punished, but the Benjamites refuse. Instead, they go out to fight against the other eleven tribes and suffer a terrible defeat. Nearly the whole tribe is wiped out with 18,000 Benjamites being killed.

About 600 Benjamites escape and find refuge at the rock of Rimmon. Now they were faced with the dilemma of keeping their entire tribe from becoming extinct. Because the other eleven tribes had vowed that none of their daughters would marry Benjamites, the remaining men of the tribe of Benjamin are without wives and thus without a way for their line to be preserved. They were only saved from their plight by the four hundred virgins of Jabesh-Gilead. An additional 200 or so more women from the daughters of Shiloh were gathered until every remaining Benjamite had a wife. Continue reading

Women of the Word: Lo-Ruhamah

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In a previous post, we discussed the life of Gomer. Gomer was a prostitute who became the wife of the faithful prophet Hosea. Hosea and Gomer had three children together: a boy named Jezreel, a girl named Lo-Ruhamah, and another boy called Lo-Ammi. The book of Hosea gives a fuller narration of what took place between Hosea and Gomer and how God used their story (in particular, Gomer’s unfaithfulness and the names of their children) to send messages regarding judgment and restoration to the people of Israel. The daughter, Lo-Ruhamah, is mentioned twice in Hosea’s book. Hosea 1:6 reads:

Gomer conceived again and gave birth to a daughter. Then the Lord said to Hosea, “Call her Lo-Ruhamah (which means “not loved”), for I will no longer show love to Israel, that I should at all forgive them.

And Hosea 1:8 reads:

After she had weaned Lo-Ruhamah, Gomer had another son.

Gomer probably lacked natural love for her daughter. After all, she abandoned her family and returned to her old ways of promiscuity and immorality, before Hosea went searching for her and brought her back. However, Lo-Ruhamah was loved by her father. And we can be certain that she was loved by God, just as all of us are loved by God. Continue reading

Women of the Word: Lemuel’s Mother

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Most of the book of Proverbs was written by King Solomon; however, the last two chapters of the book have different authors. Agur wrote chapter thirty, and King Lemuel wrote chapter thirty-one. There are some who say that King Lemuel was actually Solomon, in which case his mother would be Bathsheba (Lemuel being a nick name that she gave him), but there is no clear evidence of this, so we are talking of King Lemuel as a totally new person. King Lemuel begins his chapter by giving credit to his mother for being the inspiration behind his wise sayings through the things she taught him. The first verse reads:

The sayings of King Lemuel—an inspired utterance his mother taught him.

King Lemuel’s chapter is most known for its section on the “Proverbs 31 woman.” Perhaps King Lemuel knew what attributes a woman of noble character had and could describe them so well because he saw them exemplified in the life of his own queen-mother. Continue reading

Women of the Word: Lamech’s Daughters

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Lamech’s daughters are mentioned early in the Bible, in Genesis 5. Specifically, verses 28-31 read:

And Lamech lived an hundred eighty and two years, and begat a son: And he called his name Noah, saying, This same shall comfort us concerning our work and toil of our hands, because of the ground which the Lord hath cursed. And Lamech lived after he begat Noah five hundred ninety and five years, and begat sons and daughters: And all the days of Lamech were seven hundred seventy and seven years: and he died.

Several subsequent chapters give an account of the Flood and how only one of Lamech’s children, Noah, was saved. Lamech’s other children all perished with the rest of humanity in that Flood. Why were Lamech’s daughters not saved along with their brother, Noah? Continue reading

Women of the Word: Julia

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In Romans 16:15, Paul sends salutations to a group of Roman Christians, and Julia is mentioned among this group. Other than this salutation, she is not mentioned again Scripture, so information on her is scarce. There are some who believe she was a member of the imperial court of the Roman Empire and perhaps even a member of Caesar’s household. Whether she was or not, what is most important is that Julia was a member of God’s household. Continue reading

Women of the Word: Joanna and Susanna

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Joanna and Susanna are two women who are introduced in the book of Luke and served alongside Christ during His earthly ministry. Luke 8:3 describes Joanna as “the wife of Chuza, the manager of Herod’s household.” Susanna is mentioned alongside her, and Scripture says, “these women were helping to support them [Jesus and His twelve disciples] out of their own means.”

Luke 24:10 goes on to say that Joanna was among the group of women who visited Jesus’ tomb after His resurrection. This Scripture specifically mentions Mary Magdalene, Joanna, and Mary the mother of James, but it is possible that Susanna was among the “others with them” who told the apostles that Jesus was risen. Continue reading