In honor of Women’s History Month, I wanted to share a few powerful quotes from women in the Bible. Yes, the Bible is predominately written by men, but don’t think women lacked meaningful contributions. Here are my top 5 favorite biblical lines by women.
”No! He is to be called John.”
-Elizabeth, mother of John the Baptist (Luke 1:57-62)
During that time, family names were particularly important. So people naturally assumed that Elizabeth and Zechariah’s child would be named after Zechariah or at least receive a family name. They were surprised when Elizabeth proclaimed that their child’s name would be John.
Why It’s a Favorite: In my mind, Elizabeth had a certain level of sass when she said this line...at least she does when I read this passage.
”Our father died in the wilderness. He was not among Korah's followers, who banded together against the LORD, but he died for his own sin and left no sons. Why should our father's name disappear from his clan because he had no son? Give us property among our father's relatives."
-Zelophehad’s Daughters (Numbers 27:1-11)
In Old Testament times, Hebrew law only gave sons the right to inherit possessions when a father died. Zelophehad had no sons. He had 5 daughters who thought it was absurd that they couldn’t inherit anything because there wasn’t a male heir. They took their complaint to Moses. He took it to the Lord and God responded in the women’s favor.
Why It’s a Favorite: Mahlah, Noah, Hoglah, Milkah, and Tirzah were trailblazers for inheritance laws. They noticed an injustice in a law and worked to address it.
“Lord, help me!”
-Canaanite Woman (Matthew 15:21-28)
Here’s this woman who approached Jesus asking for help because her daughter was suffering. The disciples wanted to send her away and on the surface it appears Jesus was super disrespectful to her. However, by the end of the story, Jesus not only heals her daughter but commends this woman for her faith. This woman’s pure and genuine cry for help was heard. It wasn’t because she prayed a super long prayer. It wasn’t because she shared her story with others. It was because she was honest, humble, and believed that Jesus could heal her daughter.
Why It’s a Favorite: Though I can’t relate from a maternal perspective, I have been in a place where the only words I could utter were ‘Lord, help me’. So I understand this woman’s vulnerability.
“And I, where could I take my shame?”
Tamar, daughter or David + rape survivor (2 Samuel 13:1-22)
I don’t want to kill the high that we have going with all these biblical girl boss quotes and moves, but I must include Tamar’s powerful, heart wrenching attempt to prevent her own rape. Though her appeal was unsuccessful and she was still raped, her words are meaningful. She was abused by her half brother, ignored by her dad, and basically told to get over it by her other brother.
Why It’s a Favorite: Tamar articulated what many abuse survivors struggle to say. She put her emotions into words and that takes a certain level of boldness. There is power in Tamar’s raw, honest words.
“No one, Lord”
-Woman Caught in Adultery (John 8:1-11)
That’s the number of people who condemned an adulterous woman. In an effort to trick Jesus, a group of men brought a woman to him. According to the men, this woman had been caught in ”the very act of adultery.” If Jesus said she shouldn’t be stoned, He would be violating Old Testament law. If He urged her stoning, they would have reported Him because Jews were not permitted to carry out their own executions. Jesus‘ response was (of course) perfect. It avoided the trap and put the group of men in their place.
Why It’s a Favorite: As only Jesus can, He managed to challenge the culture and affirm a woman’s value all at the same time. He didn’t condemn this woman, but He also didn’t dismiss her sin. This woman's words are powerful because they're still relevant today. They're a reminder that no one can condemn us.
These are my top 5 verses from biblical women, but there are so many more! Check out Deborah's words to Barak, Abigail's words to David, and/or the Samaritan woman's (at the well) words to Jesus. The list goes on and on.
Let me know some of your favorite words from biblical women in the comments below.