The Bible often takes a hit from critics as somehow being “anti-women.”
Someone hasn’t done her homework.
Take the obscure passage I noticed just this morning in 1 Chronicles 7:24. That biblical detail tells us that Ephriam’s daughter Sheerah “built Lower and Upper Beth Horon as well as Uzzen Sheerah.” So she was a builder. That’s cool. Cooler still, those who compiled the words of the Bible made a note of it.
No big deal?
Think again. Truth is, the ancient, Eastern culture that is the framework of the Bible was a male-dominated society. Women had a traditional role in family life and in their communities. And yet the Bible is not afraid to say, “Hey, look at Sheerah. She was quite the builder!”
But Sheerah’s notation is only an obscure one, and only one of many obscure, positive references to women.
Proverbs 31, the acrostic poem about great women, is unique in all of ancient literature. You won’t find such an uplifting and lengthy passage about women in Greek, Roman, Assyrian, Babylonian, Egyptian, Islamic or Asian antiquity. In many copies of the Hebrew Bible, the book of Ruth immediately follows Proverbs, as if to give us an example of a woman living out the ideal of a woman of noble character.
Then there is Esther, who saved the Jewish people from annihilation, and Huldah, the Jewish prophetess. Did you know she was the only one of the Bible’s prophets who was buried on the Temple Mount grounds?
Jesus treated every woman he met with great respect, no matter their status, reputation or sin. Did you know there was a group of women who traveled with Jesus and supported him financially?