Feminists of the bible


I know this is a sticky issue both to the Christians and non-Christians. There’s even a book on the topic. I sure would like to grab a copy and see what lies behind the pages. Before that, let me point out the different parts in the bible that could be supporting feminism.

The Oxford English Dictionary defines ‘a feminist’ as ‘An advocate or supporter of the rights and equality of women’. Yet the term ‘feminist’ has always been contentious. This is partly because it connotes militancy and an ‘anti-men’ stance, but also because it has come to be associated with elite groups of women.

Many women often shy away from this label, because it has been associated with bitter women, who cannot find men and so, are fighting the few men that exist. Is it possible then to find traces of feminism in the bible?

Jesus character seemed to be that of a feminist. This was displayed in more than one place. Remember when the woman caught  in adultery was brought to Jesus in John 8:1-11? The Pharisees brought a woman caught in the act of adultery. Jesus stooped down and wrote in the dust with his finger. They kept demanding an answer, so he stood up again and said,“All right, but let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone!” Then he stooped down again and wrote in the dust. What happened? Everyone walked away leaving the woman alone with Jesus. “Neither do I condemn you”, he said to the woman.

What about the woman with the alabaster jar? Then she knelt behind him at his feet, weeping. Her tears fell on his feet, and she wiped them off with her hair. Then she kept kissing his feet and putting perfume on them. When the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet, he would know what kind of woman is touching him. She’s a sinner!” Jesus said to him  “I tell you, her sins—and they are many—have been forgiven, so she has shown me much love. But a person who is forgiven little shows only little love.” 

The proverbs 31 woman is another feminist I see in the bible. Here is an excerpt She goes to inspect a field and buys it  with her earnings she plants a vineyard. She is energetic and strong, a hard worker. She makes sure her dealings are profitable; her lamp burns late into the night. Her hands are busy spinning thread, her fingers twisting fiber.She extends a helping hand to the poor and opens her arms to the needy.

Deborah was a feminist in that she was brave enough to face the enemy. In Judges 4: 3-10, we read of her exploits. Deborah, the wife of Lappidoth, was a prophet who was judging Israel at that time. She would sit under the Palm of Deborah, between Ramah and Bethel in the hill country of Ephraim, and the Israelites would go to her for judgment.

One day she sent for Barak son of Abinoam, who lived in Kedesh in the land of Naphtali. She said to him, “This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, commands you: Call out 10,000 warriors from the tribes of Naphtali and Zebulun at Mount Tabor. And I will call out Sisera, commander of Jabin’s army, along with his chariots and warriors, to the Kishon River. There I will give you victory over him. Barak told her, “I will go, but only if you go with me.”

“Very well,” she replied, “I will go with you. But you will receive no honor in this venture, for the Lord’s victory over Sisera will be at the hands of a woman.” So Deborah went with Barak to Kedesh. At Kedesh, Barak called together the tribes of Zebulun and Naphtali, and 10,000 warriors went up with him. Deborah also went with him.

Jael is also a feminist because she is the one who killed Sisera the enemy of the Israelites. Judges 4:17-22

Well, what are your thoughts? Do you think there are more men and women of the bible who displayed feminist characters?

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