In the first part of this segment, we highlighted a few great women of the Bible who are often overlooked, or in some cases, forgotten entirely. Now, we will explore the stories of five more Biblical women. These particular leaders, queens, and mothers have created a lasting impact on their people, the Christian faith, and all its followers. Like the figures explored in part one, these women of the Bible overcame enormous obstacles and established bright futures for themselves and their descendants, as was God’s will. Many of the lessons taught in their stories provide direction, comfort, and hope for those in the tender stages of early addiction recovery.
Great Women of the Bible in Order of Appearance:
Deborah: A Judge and Leader of Israel
Now Deborah, a prophet, the wife of Lappidoth, was leading Israel at that time. She held court under the Palm of Deborah between Ramah and Bethel in the hill country of Ephraim, and the Israelites went up to her to have their disputes decided.
—Judges 4:4-5 NIV
Deborah, one of the great women of the Bible, played a unique but poignant role in the Book of Judges. During the time that King Jabin of Canaan and his ruthless commander Sisera oppressed Israel, Deborah was the judge who served the Israelite people. She was also the only women of the Bible’s twelve judges, and a prophetess. When the Israelites cried out to God for mercy, Deborah, who had faith in God, summoned a warrior named Barak from Kedesh for help. They readied for battle, and she told him, “I will lead Sisera… and give him into your hands” (Judges 4:6).
Deborah then went with Barak and witnessed the prophesized downfall of Sisera’s army. After that, the Israelites gained enough strength to overthrow King Jabin and free themselves. For the next forty years, Israel was at peace, thanks in large part to Deborah’s leadership and faith.
Deborah’s story shows that, by trusting in God and acting with integrity, anything is possible. Her story also demonstrates that exercising authority as a woman is possible even in a male-dominated culture. It may even leave a much-needed mark on history.
Jael: The Unsung Hero of Israel
“[B]ecause of the course you are taking, the honor will not be yours, for the Lord will deliver Sisera into the hands of a woman.”
—Judges 4:9 NIV
Although Barak led the ten-thousand men that brought down Sisera’s army, Sisera himself was not one of the many who “fell by the sword” (Judges 4:16). In fact, Sisera’s ultimate demise came at the hands of a woman. This woman was Jael, the wife of Heber the Kenite, whose people held an alliance with King Jabir.
When Sisera fled to save his own life, he came upon Jael’s tent and sought refuge there until the battle ended. Now, the Bible does not outright say so, but it is clear that Jael knew full-well who he was and what his crimes against the Israelites were. After serving him and making him comfortable, Jael assured his protection and allowed Sisera to fall asleep in her tent. Then, Jael “picked up a tent peg and a hammer” and “drove the peg through his temple” (Judges 4:21). Sisera died, and Jael revealed her actions to Barak when he came to the tent in pursuit of him. This marked the end of Israel’s oppression and the start of King Jabin’s downfall.
For one of the great women of the Bibles, Jael seems to be the most severely underrated. The lesson she teaches is a powerful one: sometimes you must take extreme action for the greater good. In Jael’s case, her husband and her people were allies of King Jabin, Sisera’s master. And yet, that did not stop her from doing her part in God’s plan to save the Israelites. For her actions, the Israelites went on to celebrate Jael as the “most blessed of women” (Judges 5: 24).
Ruth: A Virtuous Ancestor of Christ
…Orpah kissed her mother-in-law goodbye, but Ruth clung to her.
—Ruth 1:14 NIV
Ruth is very easily one of the great women of the Bible. In fact, the book of Ruth is one of only two books in the entire Holy Scripture named for a woman.
When famine struck the land of Judah, a woman named Naomi and her family left in search of a fresh start. They built a new life in Moab, where her husband Elimelek eventually died, leaving her with their two sons Mahlon and Kilion. After their father’s death, Mahlon married Ruth and Kilion married Ruth’s sister Orpah. Unfortunately, tragedy struck once again when both Mahlon and Kilion died after ten years in Moab, leaving Naomi widowed and childless.
Word eventually reached Naomi that the famine in Judah had passed, and Ruth and Orpah helped prepare for her safe return to her hometown. On their journey back to Judah, Naomi insisted that Ruth and Orpah return home to Moab. After a sad goodbye, Orpah parted ways with Naomi. Ruth, however, stayed with Naomi out of love and loyalty. Naomi, unable to send her away, brought Ruth with her to Bethlehem. Once there, Ruth converted from Paganism to Judaism, remarried, and bore a son named Obed. From that point forward, her bloodline in Bethlehem continued all the way down to the birth of Jesus Christ.
Of all the heroes in the Bible, Ruth stands out for her upright character and unequaled kindness— qualities that her descendent Christ also has. Her story shows that doing the honorable thing always leads to something even greater. In Ruth’s case, her loyalty to Naomi and dedication to God led to a happy marriage, motherhood, and a place in Biblical history as the most virtuous ancestor of the Messiah.
Bathsheba: The Mother of King Solomon
One evening David got up from his bed and walked around on the roof of the palace. From the roof, he saw a woman bathing. The woman was very beautiful, and David sent someone to find out about her. The man said, “She is Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam and the wife of Uriah the Hittite.”
—2 Samuel 11:2-3 NIV
Bathsheba was the loyal wife of Uriah the Hittite, a soldier of Jerusalem. Even though Bathsheba was happily married, David used his influence as king to force her into an adulterous affair with him. During this affair, Bathsheba became pregnant with David’s child. To hide this, David arranged for Bathsheba’s husband Uriah to die in battle. He then forced the widowed Bathsheba to become his wife. This angered God, and He punished David with the untimely death of his infant son. Unfortunately, Bathsheba suffered this loss, too.
It wasn’t until the birth of her son Solomon that Bathsheba found any real happiness. With his mother’s counsel, Solomon grew up to become the wisest king who ever lived. He shared his fame with his mother, who became the Queen Mother of Israel.
Bathsheba’s story, although dark, is one of the most powerful in the Bible. It carries several valuable lessons that anyone can learn from during recovery. First, Bathsheba’s story demonstrates that most misfortunes are out of our control. It also shows that God never turns His back on us. God saw that Bathsheba was suffering, and yet she never lost faith in Him. So, He rewarded her with Solomon, whose upright character and leadership as king was a testament to Bathsheba’s love and loyalty. Lastly, Bathsheba’s story shows that God always punishes the wicked. The consequences of David’s sins followed him to his deathbed.
Esther: The Queen of Persia
“[If] I perish, I perish.”
—Esther 4:16 NIV
Esther is one of the most celebrated great women of the Bible. In fact, hers is the only other book besides Ruth’s to be named after a woman. Her story begins when the king of the Persian Empire, Xerxes I, set out to find a new queen after banishing his disobedient first wife. Xerxes hosted a beauty pageant, where he chose Esther to be his second wife. Soon after that, she became the new Queen of Persia.
During this same time, Mordecai, Esther’s cousin and guardian, was at odds with Haman, the king’s vizier, and highest official. When Haman discovered that Mordecai was Jewish, he conspired to have every Jew in Persia killed by tricking the king into passing laws that would make it possible. When Mordecai learned of Haman’s evil plan, he shared what he knew with Esther. Now, Esther was also Jewish, but no one in the palace knew this. Still, even when she feared for her own life, Esther was motivated to do the right thing by her people.
After praying and fasting for three days, she came forward to reveal her heritage to her husband, Xerxes. She also told him about Haman’s evil plot. Only the latter angered Xerxes, and he had Haman executed for treason. After that, Xerxes reversed all of Haman’s decrees, Esther inherited all of Haman’s property, and Mordecai became Xerxes’ new vizier.
Esther’s story shows that having courage and trusting in God can mean the difference between what is possible and what is impossible. In Esther’s case, she was able to save herself, her cousin, her people, and even her marriage because she chose to do the brave and honorable thing.
Remember the Great Women of the Bible— Their Lessons Can Help in Recovery
Outside of prayer, the Bible is the best way to receive guidance from God. The Bible contains many stories of great leaders who have left a positive influence for millennia. So many Biblical figures have used their faith in God to accomplish their goals, establish long-lasting leadership, and pave a stable path for themselves and the future generations of their people. While many of these situations may not be seen today, the lessons that come from them are still relevant and valuable. This is why the great women of the Bible can offer a lot of insight into how to handle early recovery from addiction.
At Road to Freedom, our staff of addiction treatment professionals, counselors, and pastors are here to help you find your way back to the path that God has set for you. If you or someone you know would like more information about our programs or services, please call us at (844) 432-0544.