Sunday, February 1, 2009
"A woman's heart should be so hidden in God that a man has to seek Him just to find her." — Max Lucado
[illustration] The Formation of Eve, by Gustave Doré. The name Eve in Hebrew means “life.” She was the first woman and the mother of all living. “And I, the Lord God, caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam; … and I took one of his ribs … [and] made I a woman. … And Adam said: This I know now is bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of man” (Moses 3:21–23).
Rebekah at the Well, by Michael Deas. Rebekah in Hebrew means “ensnarer.” She was the wife of Isaac and the mother of Esau and Jacob. Rebekah served water to Abraham’s servant Eliezer at the well and later accepted his offer to go to the land of Canaan to marry Abraham’s son Isaac.
Hagar and Ishmael Expelled, by George Soper. Hagar in Hebrew means “flight.”She was an Egyptian and Sarah’s handmaiden, whom barren Sarah asked Abraham to take as his wife that he might have children. When Hagar’s son, Ishmael, mocked Isaac, Sarah asked Abraham to cast them out, “for the son of this bondwoman shall not be heir with … Isaac. And the thing was very grievous in Abraham’s sight because of his son. And God said unto Abraham, … hearken unto [Sarah’s] voice: for in Isaac shall thy seed be called. And also for the son of the bondwoman will I make a nation, because he is thy seed. And Abraham rose up early in the morning, and took bread, and a bottle of water, and gave it unto Hagar … and the child, and sent her away: and she departed” (Genesis 21:10–14).
Is Anything Too Hard for the Lord? by Elspeth Young. Sarah in Hebrew means “princess.” She was of royal lineage, the wife of the prophet Abraham and the mother of Isaac. Abraham and Sarah, his barren wife, were in their old age when the Lord spoke to Abraham saying, “And I will bless her, and give thee a son also of her: yea, I will bless her, and she shall be a mother of nations” (Genesis 17:16). They named the promised heir Isaac. Isaac’s son Jacob became known as Israel, and his descendants became the twelve tribes of Israel. Through the house of Israel, the covenants and promises made to Adam and Eve were restored.
Charity Never Faileth, by Elspeth Young. The widow of Zarephath’s name is not known. She fed the prophet Elijah the last morsel of her food before feeding her son and herself. Because of her faith, the Lord fed her, her household, and Elijah for many days. “And she went and did according to the saying of Elijah: … and the barrel of meal wasted not, neither did the cruse of oil fail, according to the word of the Lord, which he spake by Elijah” (1 Kings 17:15–16).
Waiting for the Promise, by Elspeth Young. Rahab in Hebrew means “spacious.” She was a harlot in Jericho. She hid the Hebrew spies in her home and “let them down by a cord through the window: for her house was upon the town wall.” They in turn promised to save her and all of her family from the destruction of Jericho (see Joshua 2:12–21). In the painting, Rahab awaits the fulfillment of that promise as Jericho is destroyed. Rahab’s faith is discussed by Paul (see Hebrews 11:31), and her good works by James (see James 2:25). The spies made good on their word: she and her family were the only survivors of the battle of Jericho.
A Lamp unto My Feet, by Elspeth Young. Abigail in Hebrew means “father of joy.” She was the wife of Nabal and later of King David. She “was a woman of good understanding, and of a beautiful countenance.” She gathered foodstuffs to take to King David’s army after her husband refused to help them. “Abigail made haste, and took two hundred loaves, and two bottles of wine, and five sheep ready dressed, and five measures of parched corn, and an hundred clusters of raisins, and two hundred cakes of figs. … But she told not her husband Nabal” (1 Samuel 25:3, 18–19). Her act of courage saved the lives of her whole household.
Elijah Raises the Widow of Zarephath’s Son from Death, by Robert T. Barrett. Later when the widow’s son fell sick, “that there was no breath left in him,” Elijah “cried unto the Lord and said, … let this child’s soul come into him again.” And the Lord “revived” the child, and Elijah took him “out of the chamber into the house, and delivered him unto his mother: and Elijah said, See, thy son liveth” (1 Kings 17:17, 21–23).
Rebekah, by Del Parson. After the long journey, Rebekah met Isaac. When she saw him, Rebekah put on a veil as a sign of her virtue, modesty, respect, and readiness for a covenant marriage. (See Genesis 24:45–65.) Later, when her twins, Esau and Jacob, struggled within her womb, she inquired of the Lord. “And the Lord said unto her, Two nations are in thy womb, and two manner of people shall be separated from thy bowels; and the one people shall be stronger than the other people; and the elder shall serve the younger” (Genesis 25:23). This prophecy came to pass symbolically when the adult Esau sold his birthright to his younger brother, Jacob, for “bread and pottage of lentiles” (see Genesis 25:29–34).