women Summary and Overview
Bible Dictionaries at a Glance
women in Smith's Bible Dictionary
The position of women in the Hebrew commonwealth contrasts favorably with that which in the present day is assigned to them generally in eastern countries. The most salient point of contrast in the usages of ancient as compared with modern Oriental society was the large amount of liberty enjoyed by women. Instead of being immured in a harem, or appearing in public with the face covered. The wives and maidens of ancient times mingled freely and openly with the other sex in the duties and amenities of ordinary life. Rebekah travelled on a camel with her face unveiled until she came into the presence of her affianced. #Ge 24:64,65| Jacob saluted Rachel with a kiss in the presence of the shepherds. #Ge 29:11| Women played no inconsiderable part in public celebrations #Ex 15:20,21; Jud 11:34| The odes of Deborah, Judg 5, and of Hannah, #1Sa 2:1| etc., exhibit a degree of intellectual cultivation which is in itself a proof of the position of the sex in that period. Women also occasionally held public office, particularly that of prophetess or inspired teacher. #Ex 15:20; Jud 4:4; 2Ki 22:14; Ne 6:14; Lu 2:36| The management of household affairs devolved mainly on the women. The value of a virtuous and active housewife forms a frequent topic in the book of Proverbs. ch. #Pr 11:16; 12:4; 14:1; 31:10| etc. Her influence was of course proportionably great.
women in Fausset's Bible Dictionary
Enjoyed a status in Israel not assigned to them in the East now. Mahometanism especially has degraded women in Asia and Africa; anciently they had a liberty not now accorded them, veiling was not then required as now: e.g. Rebekah, Genesis 24:64-65; Rachel, Genesis 29:11; Sarah, Genesis 12:14-19; Miriam led a band of women with triumphant song, Exodus 15:20-21; so Jephthah's daughter, Judges 11:34; the maidens of Shiloh, Judges 21:21; the women meeting Saul and David after victory; 1 Samuel 18:6-7; Hannah, 1 Samuel 2:1; Deborah, Judges 4 and Judges 5; Huldah, 2 Kings 22:14; Noadiah, Nehemiah 6:14; Anna, Luke 2:36.
The virtuous matron is admirably pictured Proverbs 31:10, etc. Polygamy transferred power from the wives to the queen mother (called therefore gebiraah "powerful"), 1 Kings 2:19; 1 Kings 15:13; separate establishments were kept for the wives collectively or individually, "the house of the women" (Esther 2:3; Esther 2:9; 1 Kings 7:8); the wives had severally a separate tent (Genesis 31:33); the women were present at table (John 2:3; John 12:2; Job 1:4).