Of the 3,237 people named in the Bible, only 188 are women. The Bible mostly relates stories of religion and politics, fields largely involving men in Biblical times. The women who do make it into the Bible are extraordinary. Women such as Eve (Genesis 2–4), Sarah (Genesis 12–23), Ruth (the Book of Ruth and Matthew 1:5) and Mary the Mother of Jesus (particularly Matthew 1 and Luke 1) are considered special because of their roles in accomplishing God’s promises. Being cast in unexpected or nontraditional roles is another reason for naming women in the Bible. For example, the episodes involving Deborah (Judges 4–5) and Jael (Judges 4) are striking because they cast women in military roles.
Contrary to these shining examples of Yahweh’s followers, foreign women, who worship other gods, are often viewed negatively. Jezebel (1 Kings 16-2 Kings 9) and Delilah (Judges 16) are examples.
The naming of a character can highlight her role in Yahweh’s plans (e.g., the midwives in Exodus 1, Shiphrah and Puah, manage to save many Hebrew babies from Pharaoh’s command that they all be killed).
In addition to the named women, there are at least 270 unnamed women depicted in the Biblical text.
How many women are named in the Bible?
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