Biblical View of Women and the Socially Disadvantaged Israel


Reading the Women of the Bible

In the Bible’s Old Testament we are able to see a connection between the individual stories and the deeper overall  meaning. Frequently the stories can be seen as pointing to a broader, deeper teaching that the author wants us to understand.

In her book, Reading the Women of the Bible (2002), Frymer-Kensky related the socially disadvantaged and subordinate position that women found themselves in, to the powerless position that Israel found itself in, while both maintain equality and worth.  The Bible describes the created male and female in a way that denotes human equality and does not give any justification of maltreatment or prejudice related to sex. Not to say that men are not different than women but, for example, they were never described, in the Biblical text, in a way that was derogatory or demeaning, when compared to the descriptions of men.

The women in the Bible did not ever attain “political power”, none the less, they show great resilience and tenacity.  They are able to show power and influence circumstances, through strategies and methods that are no different than their male counterparts (xv).  Biblical stories with women as the main character are divided into 4 categories, according to the author.  The Categories are “Women as Victor,” “Women as Victim,” “Women as Virgin (Bride-to-be),” and “Women as Voice (of God).”

Two stories that the Frymer-Kensky (2002) uses as examples are, first, the woman named Rehab, from the “Women as Voice (of God)” category, who announced that God has given Israel the land showing that the marginalized can be chosen.  Second, the women in the books of Judges and Second Samuel, from “Women as Victim” category.  These women’s stories can be said to indict the political system in which they were victimized.

The position of all the women in the Bible, whether they were weak and powerless, or heroic, directly correlates to understanding the moral and social political state of Israel at that time.  Like the women of the bible, no matter the state that Israel found itself in, its worth in God’s eyes was never diminished.



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