The Women of Genesis: Wild and loveable

As part of Bible Women Project 2012, here’s a summary of the nine women in Genesis who are on record as having spoken — and there’s not a wimpy one among them. Some are skeptical, some are bright, some are defiant, and some are promiscuous. One laughs hilariously in God’s presence. Most are highly committed to having children — or at least bringing them safely into the world (six become mothers and two are midwives). Most take actions that may seem a bit surprising…but only if we came to this thinking Bible women are dull.

There is an old saying that stories don’t tell us what is true, they tell us what must be true. I don’t look to Genesis to necessarily to get straight historical facts, but I do look to Genesis and other Bible books to help understand God and our relationship to God. More, I look to Bible stories because through them we learn about our faith, we grab onto God, we hear some, well, outrageous family systems history, and we benefit from hearing the wisdom of the ages. And, if we let ourselves, we come to greatly appreciate the people in the Bible and why they took the actions they did. In stepping into their sacred circle, we draw closer to God — or at least receive an compelling invitation to do so.

In Genesis, we find:

Eve:

The first woman and the first mother.

The first person to sin.

The only woman in the Bible to talk with an animal (assuming “serpent” fits in the animal category).

Sarah:

The oldest woman in scripture (age 90) to bear a child, and probably the oldest in human history to do so.

The first woman and only woman in scripture to send her husband into the arms of another woman.

The first person to be buried in the Promised Land.

The spiritual foremother of Judaism.

Hagar:

The only person in the Bible to name God.

The spiritual foremother of Islam.

Lot’s oldest daughter:

One of two daughers in scripture (the other was her sister) to initiate incest with her father.

Rebecca

One of the only two girls in Scripture who talks directly with her mother.

The only woman in Scripture to actively trick her husband (so that her younger son receives his blessing).

Rachel

Deeply loved by her husband, the first woman in the Bible to die in childbirth

Leah

The first, and only woman in the Bible, to be swapped for her sister in wedding night festivities.

The dutiful wife of a man who preferred her sister.

Tamar

The first and only woman in the Bible to seduce her father-in-law (so that she might have children).

One of only four women named in Jesus’ genealogy, not including Mary, his mother.

Potiphar’s wife:

The only biblical woman who tries to seduce her husband’s employee (Joseph).

Next week: On to the women in Exodus!

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