All girls need solid role models in their lives. The modern media doesn’t always provide good examples of true femininity, and many girls are unsure what the world expects from them, as well as what they should expect from themselves. When television, movies, and books are not providing worthwhile role models for our daughters, we have a responsibility to search out more suitable examples, as well as to serve as a role model ourselves.
When I was in high school, I spent a semester studying the Hebrew Scriptures, and my teacher made sure to emphasize the female characters that we came across (it was an all girls school). Now that I have a daughter of my own, I want her to become familiar with some of the amazing female biblical role models that I discovered as a teen. Here are eight of my favorites.
Sarah was the wife of Abraham, and the mother of Isaac. She is a perfect example of patience and fidelity. Promised a much-desired child in her old age, she waited patiently for God to do as He had said. And my favorite part? When she was told she’d have a child in her old age, she laughed!
Esther became queen when she was chosen by the king of Persia to be his bride. When the lives of all Jews living in the empire were threatened, she showed great strength and courage to beg for their lives, even if it meant her own death. God rewarded her fortitude, and the lives of all the Jews were spared.
Deborah is the only female judge appointed over Israel mentioned in the Bible. She is known for her compassion and wisdom when making decisions for her people.
Judith used her profound beauty to infiltrate the Assyrian army, and after being invited into the tent of the wicked Holofernes, she beheaded him. This death allowed the Israelites to defeat the Assyrians, and Judith was responsible for developing the strategy that brought about this epic defeat by herself, showing great wisdom and creativity.
Like Sarah, Hannah was thought to be barren. In exchange for blessing her with a son, Hannah promised to consecrate her son, Samuel, to God and allowed him to be raised in the temple. She was rewarded for her faith and fidelity, and Samuel became a prophet who anointed both Saul and later David as kings of Israel.
As a young widow, Ruth made the decision to remain with her mother-in-law Naomi, who was also a widow, rather than returning to her own family. Choosing to help her mother-in-law, God rewarded her for her loyalty and kindness, and she later married an Israelite by the name of Boaz. They had a son, Obed, who was the father of Jesse, and the grandfather of King David. Jesus Christ was descended from the line of David, and thus was a descendant of Ruth.
Rachel patiently waited to marry her intended husband Jacob, even after her own father tricked her love into marrying her sister Leah (This occurred during a time when polygamy was still practiced in the Hebrew community.). And when she struggled to conceive, she kept faith and did not despair, eventually giving birth to two children, Joseph and Benjamin. Joseph, along with Jacob, Isaac, and Abraham are considered the forefathers of our faith.
Miriam was the sister of Moses and Aaron, as well as a prophetess herself. She helped to save her younger brother Moses at his birth, showing great courage. She later supported her brother as he led the Hebrew people out of slavery and to the Promised Land. She lived in hope, and died knowing her people would return to their homeland.
In a time when female role models in the media seem to be few and far between, the Old Testament (as well as the New) is filled with wonderful examples of true femininity and beauty. So the next time you or your daughter is looking for someone to admire, crack open your Bible and consider one of these incredible, faith-filled women.