This summer the recent film adaptation of Wonder Woman is set to be the second highest grossing movie of the year and recently became the third biggest release of all time for Warner Brothers Studio.Thousands were enthralled with the “girl power” displayed on screen, but it was certainly not the first time the world witnessed the amazing strength of women. The Bible contains numerous stories of women who stood up for their beliefs and did God’s will, despite the cultural limitations put on them at the time. Here are three fantastic “Wonder Women” who reveal the beauty and strength of women when all odds are stacked against them.
After crossing into the Promised Land, the Israelite people called upon various “judges” to lead them. These leaders were not judges in the modern sense of the word, but more akin to military commanders who brought order and personally led the army into battle. Gideon and Samson are probably the most well known judges of Israel. What’s fascinating is that God eventually called a woman to be the next judge over Israel and bring peace to the land. Her name was Deborah and her unique role is described in the Book of Judges.
At that time the prophet Deborah, wife of Lappidoth, was judging Israel. She used to sit under Deborah’s palm tree … where the Israelites came up to her for judgment. (Judges 4:4)
During her time she accompanied an army into battle and explained to her general, “I will certainly go with you … but you will not gain glory for the expedition on which you are setting out, for it is into a woman’s power that the Lord is going to sell Sisera” (Judges 4:9).
Two books of the Bible are named after women. One of them is the Book of Ruth and focuses on a woman vital to Salvation History. She was a Moabite woman who went to Bethlehem and engaged in the task of gleaning grain. Ruth did so freely, knowing the ridicule and abuse she would receive from the other harvesters, especially since she was a foreigner. Despite all of this the overseer was impressed by her vigor and said to Boaz, “Ever since she came this morning she has remained here until now, with scarcely a moment’s rest” (Ruth 2:7). Boaz admired her courage and took her as his wife. The two bore a son Obed, who became the father of Jesse, who became the father of King David. She is mentioned in the genealogy of Jesus in the New Testament.
The other book of the Bible named after a woman is the Book of Esther. Her story is more widely know and has been the topic of several feature films. The story begins when Persian King Ahasuerus chose Esther as his next queen when his previous queen refused to enter into his presence. While she was there Haman, a high ranking official, drew up a plot to exterminate the Jews and received the king’s authorization. The only way to stop the slaughter of her people was for Queen Esther to convince the king otherwise. This proved to be difficult as she could only approach the king if she was summoned. If she entered his presence without first being summoned, she could be killed. Against all odds, risking her own life in the process, Queen Esther entered the king’s presence and eventually foiled Haman’s plot. The king in response killed Haman and let Esther notify the Jewish people about possible armies who were already sent out to kill them. Her letter gave the Jewish people the time needed to muster together and prevail victorious.