What woman is mentioned the most in the Bible? Surprisingly, this is a tricky one and involved counting the old-fashioned way, from several different concordances. I’m awarding top place to Esther,* one of only two women to have a biblical book named after her. Others will say Sarah. My count is from the New Revised Standard Version (NRSV); Esther was also first in the old King James Version (KJV), with a count of 55.

If the Greek additions are added to the original Hebrew, (this was accepted as part of the apocryphal/deuterocanonical books) Esther is way over the top at 95 mentions, as opposed to Sarah’s count of 58. Without those additions, the count is 54 for Esther. So they’re pretty darn close. And they are both outstanding, independent women.

Why does Esther matter? She is willing to sacrifice herself for the redemption and survival of her people. Perhaps it is ironic of me to say that she is a Christ-like figure — and that is obviously from my Christian point of view, for she was Jewish and lived shortly prior to the Maccabean Period (167-135 B.C). Her willingness to step up and put her own life on the line reminds me of Christ. Unlike Jesus, she lived. Like him, her people were saved because of her action.

An unsung hero by many Christians, she was beautiful and humble, courageous and bright. Ironically, the Book of Esther, without the Greek additions, never refers to God — which makes her it all the more intriguing. Given her Jewish background, I believe she knew God and loved him, and her character was forged from faith. But it was her actions that spoke the loudest. She is #1 in many ways.