Leading Women Of The Old Testament

An account of four women in the Old Testament whose courageous lead and saved Israel.

Many of the women in Old Testament times held roles of leadership. This article will look at four of these women: Miriam, Rahab, Deborah, and Esther.


Miriam was the sister of Moses. We first see her as a young girl in the book of Exodus. She is keeping an eye on Baby Moses as he floats down the Nile. Pharaoh's daughter is taking a bath when she finds Baby Moses floating in a basket. Miriam approaches the Princess and tells her of women who can care for the baby. Moses' own Mother becomes his nurse.

The next time we find Miriam she is an adult. In Exodus Chapter 15: 20-21 she is given the gift of prophecy. She also sings a victory song after the children of Israel cross the Red Sea.

In the book of Number she is struck with leprosy for criticizing Moses for his marriage to a Cushite women. But the leprosy is taken away when Moses pleads to God on her behalf.


A former prostitute and dyer of cloths who lived in the walls of Jericho during the days of Joshua. She hid the spies in her home while the men of Jericho were searching for them. The spies told her to hang a piece of scarlet cloth out her window so her family would be saved when the walls of Jericho fell.

In Matthew Chapter 1 records that Rahab is the mother of

Boaz. Boaz was the husband of Ruth, and both were the Great-Great Grandparents of David.

Also in Hebrews Chapter 11 she is listed as one of the " Heroes of Faith."


The story of Deborah is found in the Judges Chapters 4-5. The Jews were in bondage to Jabin, a Canaanite King. Deborah, a Prophetess, served as Israel's Judge when no men were willing to lead. She would sit under a palm tree and the people would bring their cases to her.

One day she sent for a man by the name of Barak and told him to raise an army from the tribes of Naphtali, and Zebulun. Barak agreed to do so if Deborah would go with him.

Deborah said that she would go with him but a woman would receive half the credit for the victory.

Barak, with Deborah at his side defeats the Canaanite troops, but the General Sisera escapes. He seeks refuge in the tent of Heber. Jael, Heber's wife gives him some milk to drink. While Sisera is sleeping Jael drives a nail in his head. Thus fulfilling Deborah's prophecy that Barak would have to share his victory with a woman.


The story of Esther is in the book that bears her name. King Xerexs of Persia had his wife deposed after she refused to entertain some of his friends. A beauty contest was and the Jewish girl Esther was chosen to be the new Queen.

Once Esther becomes Queen, Mordecai (Cousin and Stepfather to Esther) reveled a plot to kill the King. At the same time Haman is made the King's top advisor. All court officials were ordered to bow to Haman. Mordecai refused to bow because he was a Jew.

Haman develops a great hatred for the Jews, and plots to kill them off. He builds a gallows in hopes to publicly hang Mordecai.

Mordecai goes to Esther and pleads for her help. She is afraid to do this because the King had been known to execute people who entered his presence uninvited. But Mordecai explains that the Jews are about fierce persecution and the fate of Israel is in her hands. Esther agrees to do this and she request that the Jews in Presia would to fast for three days. And she promised that her maids would do the same.

Three days later,she enters the King's Court and when he see her standing there, he raises his scepter. This meant that she was welcomed to enter. Esther invites the King and Haman to a private banquet. Haman is now on cloud nine. He goes home and tells his wife and friends of the great things happening in his life.

At the first banquet Esther invites both men to return to a second banquet. Haman's ego expands even more. But things were about to change.

The downfall starts when the King was reading the public records. He read the account where Mordecai uncovered a plot to kill him. The King realizes Mordecai has not been rewarded for his good deed. The King tells Haman of a man who has not been properly awarded and what should he do to make up for this error. Haman thinking the King was referring to him said the man should be dressed in the King's finest clothes, and led through the streets on the King's best horse. The one leading the horse would announce to everyone, "This is whom the King delights."

The King then orders Haman to do this for Mordecai. Haman goes home to tell his wife and friends of his misfortune. They tell him Mordecai will prosper and then he leaves for the second banquet.

At the second banquet Esther tells the King that someone wants to kill her people. The King promises to punish the guilty one and ask who he is. The Queen points to Haman and the King is so angry he goes outside to cool off. When he returns he finds Haman laying in the bed in front of Esther pleading for his life. Believing that Haman is trying to seduce his wife, he orders him to be hanged on the gallows built for Mordecai.

There are more women who played important roles in Old Testament times. But the courage and leadership of these women delivered Israel from their enemies.

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