My beloved spiritual brothers and sisters in Our Risen Lord,
CHRIST IS RISEN! TRULY HE IS RISEN!
HISTORICAL WOMEN IN THE OLD TESTAMENT
EVE (Hebrew ‘Life’)
In the Book of Genesis 2:21-25, we read: "Then the Lord God built the rib He took
from Adam into a woman, and brought her to him, So Adam said, ‘This is now bone
of my bones, and flesh of my flesh. She shall be called Woman because she was
taken out of her Man. For this reason, a man shall leave his father and mother and
be joined to his wife; the two shall become one flesh,’ Now the two were naked,
both Adam and his wife, and were not ashamed."
Eve in Hebrew ‘Chava’ BECAUSE SHE WAS ‘the mother of all living (Genesis 3:20).
In the Book of Genesis Chapter 3:1-4:2, we read the following: "Now the serpent was more cunning
than all the wild animals the Lord God mad on the earth. And he said to the woman, ‘Has God
indeed said, ‘You shall not eat from every tree of the garden?’ And the woman said to the serpent,
‘We may eat the fruit from the trees of the garden; but from the fruit of the tree of the garden in
the middle of the garden, God said, YOU SHALL NOT EAT FROM IT, NOR YOU SHALL TOUCH IT,
LEST YOU DIE.’ Then the serpent said to the woman, ‘You shall not die by death. For God knows
in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like gods, KNOWING GOOD AND
EVIL. So when the woman saw THE TREE WAS GOOD FOR FOOD, WAS PLEASANT TO THE EYES,
AND A TREE BEAUTIFUL TO CONTEMPLATE, SHE TOOK ITS FRUIT AND ATE. She also gave it
to her husband with her, and he ate. Then the eyes of the two were opened, and they knew they
were naked. So they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves coverings…
"Then they heard the voice of the Lord God walking in the garden that afternoon, and Adam and
his wife hid themselves within the tree in the middle of the garden FROM THE PRESENCE OF THE
LORD GOD. So the Lord God called Adam and said to him, ‘Adam where are you?’ He replied,’ I
heard Your voice as You were walking in the garden, and I was afraid BECAUSE I WAS NAKED SO
I HID MYSELF.’ Thus He said, ‘Who said you were naked?’ Have you eaten from THE ONE TREE
FROM WHICH I COMMANDED YOU NOT TO EAT?’ Then Adam said, ‘the woman You gave me, gave
me of the tree and ate.’ So the Lord God said to the woman, ‘What is this you have done?’ The
woman said, ‘The serpent DECEIVED ME, AND I ATE.’
"…To the woman, He said, ‘I will greatly multiply your pain and your groaning, and in pain, you shall
bring forth children. Your recourse will be to your husband, and he shall rule over you.’
"…Now Adam knew his wife, and she conceived and bore Cain, and said, ‘I have acquired a man
through God.’ Then she bore again, this time his brother Abel…". Adam and Eve had three children
Cain, Abel, and Seth (Genesis 3; 4:1).
The SERPENT of course is the devil ( 2 Corinthians 11:3; Revelation 12:9), and he tempted and deceived Eve with the promise OF THEOSIS (DEIFICATION) ("YOU WILL BE LIKE gods, KNOWING GOOD AND EVIL.") However THEOSIS (DEIFICATION) COMES FROM OBEDIENCE TO
GOD, NOT THROUGH DISOBEDIENCE.
SARAH – WIFE OF ABRAHAM
Sarah or Sarai (Hebrew ‘Princes’) was the wife of Abraham (Genesis 12:11). She was a very beautiful woman. She became his wife before the family let Ur of the Chaldeans on the long journey to Haran, and from there to Canaan. She was the first of the four biblical matriarchs, the others being Rebekah, Leah, and Rachel.
Sarah’s great beauty described in to two similar events. When they journeyed to Egypt because of famine, Abraham passed her off as his sister out of fear that he might otherwise be killed on her account. Pharaoh took her into his harem, bestowing gifts on her alleged ‘brother’. The Lord protected Sarah’s virtue.
The tragedy of Sarah’s life was that she was barren. Her childless condition was painful, although God kept on promising Abraham that "I will make your seed as the dust of the earth; that if a man could number the dust of the earth, then your seed also could be numbered," (Genesis 13:16), and that all of Canaan would belong to his descendants.
Sarah, due to her childlessness, came up with a solution to the problem which was permitted at the time. She offered Abraham her Egyptian maidservant Hagar, who bore him a son called Ishmael. However, Sarah could not conceal her jealousy when Hagar conceived, and at one point the pregnant maid "fled from her" (Genesis 16:6) but was persuaded by an Angel of the Lord to return.
When Abraham was 99 years old, the Lord announced to him that Sarah would bear him a son. He was skeptical, because Sarah was then 90 years old and long past child-bearing age. The announcements was later repeated by three strangers, ANGELS IN DISGUISE, who visited Abraham at Mamre. Listening to the conversation from inside the tent, Sarah laughed scornfully to herself. But in due time the child was born and named Isaac, which in the Hebrew language means, "she or he laughed."
Sarah remained sensitive about having a child in her old age. Sarah lived till 127 years old and was buried in the Cave Mechpelah at Hebron, which he had bought to serve a family tomb. Also called Sarai. (Genesis 11, 12, 16-18).
Sarah was a good wife, a loyal helper, a good mother, and a builder with Abraham. Her faith was unwavering and she serves as a shining example for everyone who has to wait on God to act.
REBEKAH – WIFE OF ISAAC
Rebekah was another great matriarch of Israel. Like her mother-in-law Sarah, she was barren. When her husband Isaac prayed for her, God opened Rebekah’s womb and she conceived and gave birth to twin sons, Esau and Jacob.
At a time when women were usually submissive, Rebekah was quite assertive. At times Rbekah took matters into her own hands. However, sometimes she was successful, but other times the consequences were damaging.
Rebekah was the daughter of Bethuel and the grandaughter of Nahor, Abraham’s brother. This part of the family stayed behind in Paddan-aram (Northern Syria) when Abraham moved in the land of Canaan with his wife Sarah and his nephew Lot.
Rebekah went one evening to fill her water-jar at the well. As she was returning, a stranger in charge of a string of laden camels stopped this attractive young girl and asked for a drink. She gave it to him and offered to draw water for his camels as well. For her kindness he gave her a gold earring and two gold bracelets.
The man was Abraham’s trusted servant, sent to find a wife for his master’s son Isaac from among his relatives. Having earlier sought the help of an Angel, he knew that this was the girl he was looking for. He asked who her parents were and whether there was room in her home for him to stay there that night. Again, and with much politeness, she invited him to follow her to her home.
Abrahams servant revealed his mission to her family and gave them gifts sent by Abraham. After some discussion, and with Rebekha’s consent, it was agreed to Canaan to be the bride of her relative Isaac.
As she came close to their destination, Rebekah saw a man walking through the fields toward them at dusk, and was told by the servant that this was Isaac her future husband. Indeed, Rebekah became Isaac’s wife and he brought her to the tent of his late mother Sarah.
Rebekah remained with barren for many years, but after Isaac prayed to the Lord, she bore him two sons, Esau and Jacob. Old and almost completely blind, Isaac asked his favorite son Esau, a skilled hunter, to bring him a dish of venison. He would then bestow his patriarchal blessing on Esau, the first-born. Rebekah overheard the conversation but decided to secure the blessing for Jacob, the twin brother she loved the best. She ordered Jacob to chose two young kids (goats) from his flock and prepared a delicious dish of meat. Jacob carried the food to his father, after Rebekah gave him Esau’s coat garment to wear and covered his smooth hands and and neck with the fleece of the kids, because Esau was a hairy man. Isaac was tricked into bestowing the blessing on Jacob, announcing that he would succeed his father as head of the family and his brothers would serve him. Learning that Esau threatened to kill Jacob in revenge, Rebekah convinced Isaac to send Jacob to her brother Laban, in Northern Syria, so he too could find a bride among his own people.
When Rebekah died she was buried in the family tomb in the Cave of Mechpelah in Hebron.
(To be continued)
"Glory Be To GOD
– Saint John Chrysostomos
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With sincere agape in His Holy Resurrection,
The sinner and unworthy servant of God
+ Father George