Subject Area



The women of the Old Testament were not merely ancillary to the men. From the matriarchal era down to the monarchical period, the Old Testament eloquently attests to the equality and shared responsibility between man and woman. The creation of הָֽאָדָם֙ (mankind) in the image and likeness of God confers on both the male and female an ontological equality; an equality that is shown in their joint authority over creation (Genesis 1:27-28). While not denying the fact that the Old Testament can rightly be viewed as a product of predominantly male authors and features a galaxy of male actors, it is also true that from cover to cover, the Old Testament is replete with narratives that clearly support the view that in very many ways, God directly called women to be agents of his divine plan. This is true not just in the time of the patriarchs with matriarchs such as Sarah, Rebekah and Rachel, but also in the era of the Judges with Deborah, the most visible leader of her time. The period preceding Israel’s monarchy and the early period of the monarchy featured important women like Hannah, who becomes a source of hope to a declining nation, (1 Samuel 1-3), and the wise Abigail who played a very prominent role in David’s rise to kingship (1 Samuel 25). Indeed, these women took bold and decisive steps that would lead to the ultimate realization of God’s plan of salvation.