OT SS Lesson #20: A Closer Look at that Virtuous Woman

Sometimes I wonder how women in the Judeo-Christian tradition got stuck with the gender role identifications they have. The Old Testament doesn’t include many detailed descriptions of women, but when they do appear, they are not what you’d think. To prove my point, I’m going to investigate two women featured in this week’s Sunday School lesson, plus Deborah the judge/prophetess, and the ubiquitous “virtuous woman” of Proverbs 37.

Deborah

* Prophet – In the Book of Judges where Deborah is introduced into the Biblical record, she is identified as a “woman prophet,” and the wife of Lapidoth. This may strike the members of a patriarchal religion as unusual, but the word “prophet” is a feminine form of the same word as that used to describe Moses and Abraham as prophets.

* Judge — We are told that the people of Israel came to Deborah for judgment. Conservative Christian commentaries sometimes explain that this was necessary, because none of the men were worthy at the time. But there is no indication in the scriptures that unworthiness made a man ineligible to serve as a deliverer. This is especially evident in the case of Sampson. It looks like the people came to her because she was a competent and talented judge, as well as being the one raised up by the Lord for that purpose.

Read the rest of this story at mormonmatters.org
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