June 4, 2018 Matthew

How Many Times Does God Speak to a Woman in the Old Testament?

The following is a list of all the interactions between God and a woman or women in the Old Testament. The times that God speaks with men are countless, but with women they are not. Here’s every instance in the Scripture:

  1. Eve. Then the Lord said to the woman, “What is this you have done?” And the woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.” (Gen. 3:13) To the woman he said, “I will surely multiply your pain in childbearing; in pain you shall bring forth children. Your desire shall be contrary to your husband, but he shall rule over you.” (Gen. 3:16)
  2. Hagar. And he said, “Hagar, servant of Sarai, where have you come from and where are you going?” She said, “I am fleeing from my mistress Sarai.” The angel of the Lord said to her, “Return to your mistress and submit to her.” The angel of the Lord also said to her, “I will surely multiply your offspring so that they cannot be numbered for multitude.” And the angel of the Lord said to her, “Behold, you are pregnant and shall bear a son. You shall call his name Ishmael, because the Lord has listened to your affliction. He shall be a wild donkey of a man, his hand against everyone and everyone’s hand against him, and he shall dwell over against all his kinsmen.” (Gen. 16:8-17) And God heard the voice of the boy, and the angel of God called to Hagar from heaven and said to her, “What troubles you, Hagar? Fear not, for God has heard the voice of the boy where he is. Up! Lift up the boy, and hold him fast with your hand, for I will make him into a great nation.” (Gen. 21:17-18)
  3. Prophetess Miriam. Miriam and Aaron spoke against Moses because of the Cushite woman whom he had married, for he had married a Cushite woman. (Num. 12:1)
    And suddenly the LORD said to Moses and to Aaron and Miriam, “Come out, you three, to the tent of meeting.” And the three of them came out. And the LORD came down in a pillar of cloud and stood at the entrance of the tent and called Aaron and Miriam, and they both came forward. And he said, “Hear my words: If there is a prophet among you, I the LORD make myself known to him in a vision; I speak with him in a dream. Not so with my servant Moses. He is faithful in all my house. With him I speak mouth to mouth, clearly, and not in riddles, and he beholds the form of the LORD. Why then were you not afraid to speak against my servant Moses?” And the anger of the LORD was kindled against them, and he departed. When the cloud removed from over the tent, behold, Miriam was leprous, like snow. And Aaron turned toward Miriam, and behold, she was leprous. And Aaron said to Moses, “Oh, my lord, do not punish us because we have done foolishly and have sinned. Let her not be as one dead, whose flesh is half eaten away when he comes out of his mother’s womb.” And Moses cried to the LORD, “O God, please heal her—please.” But the LORD said to Moses, “If her father had but spit in her face, should she not be shamed seven days? Let her be shut outside the camp seven days, and after that she may be brought in again.” So Miriam was shut outside the camp seven days, and the people did not set out on the march till Miriam was brought in again. (Num. 12:6-14)
  4. Wife of Manoah.  And the angel of the LORD appeared to the woman and said to her, “Behold, you are barren and have not borne children, but you shall conceive and bear a son. Therefore be careful and drink no wine or strong drink, and eat nothing unclean, for behold, you shall conceive and bear a son. No razor shall come upon his head, for the child shall be a Nazirite to God from the womb, and he shall begin to save Israel from the hand of the Philistines.” (Judges 13:5)
  5. Women of Israel. Hear, O women, the word of the LORD, and let your ear receive the word of his mouth; teach to your daughters a lament, and each to her neighbor a dirge. For death has come up into our windows; it has entered our palaces, cutting off the children from the streets and the young men from the squares. Speak: “Thus declares the LORD, ‘The dead bodies of men shall fall like dung upon the open field, like sheaves after the reaper, and none shall gather them.’” (Jeremiah 9:20-22)
  6. Weathly women of Samaria. “Hear this word, you cows of Bashan, who are on the mountain of Samaria, who oppress the poor, who crush the needy, who say to your husbands [Heb. adoni, lords], ‘Bring, that we may drink!’ (Amos 4:1)

For perspective, the Old Testament has 21,145 verses. Miriam is the only female prophet who exclusively contributes a prophetic utterance to the Word of God and it’s only one verse:

And Miriam sang to them:

“Sing to the Lord, for he has triumphed gloriously;
the horse and his rider he has thrown into the sea.” (Exodus 15:21)

None of the Psalms are written by a woman. However Deborah, another female prophet, contributes parts of a song in partnership with Barak. A few verses of the song are clearly her own:

The villagers ceased in Israel;
they ceased to be until I arose;
I, Deborah, arose as a mother in Israel.
When new gods were chosen,
then war was in the gates.
Was shield or spear to be seen
among forty thousand in Israel?
My heart goes out to the commanders of Israel
who offered themselves willingly among the people.
Bless the Lord. (Judges 5:9)

“Awake, awake, Deborah!
Awake, awake, break out in a song!
Arise, Barak, lead away your captives,
O son of Abinoam. (Judges 5:12)

Some like to construe Deborah as being a ruler in authority over men in Israel. She was not. She was, as she says herself, as a mother in Israel. That carries pretty significant meaning when you consider what it meant to be a father in Israel. All the Levitical priests were men. This means only men were allowed into the inner courts and the Holy of Holies. Women were permitted to serve at the entrance (Exodus 38:8, Eze. 8:14, 1 Sam. 2:22). God is absolutely consistent with his own work throughout the scriptures and its very hard not to notice the obvious pattern and imagery in every interaction between God and women in the Old Testament—it has to do with motherhood or child bearing. That pattern lines up perfectly with the identity of Eve as a mother and extends all the way to its fulfillment in the Church, the Bride of Christ who also is, incidentally, a mother (Gal. 4:26).

The importance of seeing the ministry of these women correctly, along with many others in the Old Testament, is found in the truth that these women are prophetic types of the Church. In Deborah and Barak’s song, we can see plainly the allegory of Christ and the Church: “Awake Deborah! Arise Barak!” It is a consistent, unbreakable chain that spans the entire Bible from Eve in Genesis 2 to the Bride of Christ in Revelation 21:2. Believing men are called sons of Abraham (Gal. 3:9,26 Gal. 4:6). Believing women are called daughters of Sarah (1 Pet. 3:6). Abraham and Sarah had two very distinct roles in the Great Commission. Abraham was given the promise. Sarah was made to represent the New Covenant (Gal. 4:21-26). This consistent pattern of the feminine is where women find their place of honor, glory, and redemption. Women who resist or reject this are, essentially, resisting or rejecting the very Gospel itself to their own shame.

 

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