You don't have to read very far in the Bible to discover the wisdom often inherent in God's creation, Woman. No, women are not infallible, but God knew "it is not good for the man to be alone," Genesis 2:18, and He was right as always. The more you read the Bible the more you realize that God has given woman great influence, wisdom and power.
Radical feminism has charged the Bible with "sexism," claiming that restrictions placed upon women in both Jewish and Christian societies have kept them from having their rightful place in civilized cultures.
However, historians and social scientists have said for years that the Bible is and has been the greatest source of support and strength for woman. There is no biblical reason for men and women to be in competition with each other. There is too much to be done today for us to allow competition to divert our attention from our task. While it is true that God gave man leadership in the home and the church, this denotes no inferiority in women. Someone must lead, we know that, and the responsibility for leadership was given to men.
The Bible narrative, added to our experience, illustrates the wisdom found in women, past and present. Solomon wrote in Proverbs 15:1:
"A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger."
Perhaps this passage says more than we have realized. Is woman more willing to give the "soft answer" to a conflict than a man? If so, this may be where wise women in the Bible show their wisdom most clearly and most decisively.
Abigail: A Wise Woman
In 1 Samuel 25, David sent emissaries to a man named Nabal. We are informed of his "churlish," ill-mannered behavior, and it is seen in his response to David's men. Nabal's wife, Abigail, seeing the danger into which Nabal was running headlong, used the wisdom so abundant in a woman. Strife was imminent, for Nabal [his name was a synonym for fool] had threatened violence against a man who would not countenance such behavior. Her gracious plea for her husband was not rejected, and David did not seek vengeance. How many men have made rash decisions or sought vengeance when, had they heeded a woman's wisdom, they might have been spared much grief? David told Abigail,
"Blessed be thy advice, and blessed be thou, which hast kept me this day from coming to shed blood, and from avenging myself with mine own hand," 1 Samuel 25:33.
The Wise Woman of Abel
Another incident in David's life involved the intervention of a wise woman. Joab, David's commander, cornered the rebellious Sheba in the city of Abel of Bethmaachah. As he prepared to take the city by siege, the residents of the city were fearful for their lives. In the moments before the battle and the destruction began, a woman of the city called for Joab to hear her plea. She reminded Joab that her fellow-citizens were guiltless of Sheba's rebellion, and asked:
"Thou seekest to destroy a city and a mother in Israel: why wilt thou swallow up the inheritance of the Lord?" 2 Sam. 20:19
Joab's military mind-set would have resulted in an entire city being ravaged just to end the rebellion of one man. A wise woman asked the question that caused Joab to take a second look at his plans.
The Lord's church would be well served today if some wise women asked, "Why wilt thou swallow up the inheritance of the Lord?"
We still need women who will exhibit godly wisdom – every day!
Qualities of a Wise Woman
These women, and others who could be mentioned, have qualities of wisdom that are often overlooked:
- They are respectful, but they are not afraid to ask the hard questions. The wise women of the Bible did not try to usurp the authority of those in authority, but did not hesitate to speak up when prudent words and wise action were needed.
- They are willing to risk themselves for a great cause. Esther carried a heavy responsibility in representing God's people. She risked death for approaching the king uninvited, but said, "If I perish, I perish," Esther 4:16. Wisdom and courage walk hand in hand with a wise woman.
- They are willing to submit to the authority of God. No one is wise who has no respect for the Lord. "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom: a good understanding have all they that do his commandments," Psalm 111:10. Anyone who rebels against God's authority exhibits folly, not wisdom.
- They can see the real issues without distraction. Men often allow pride, ego, or a thirst for power to make them abandon common sense. The woman who came to Solomon seeking her baby's life, 1 Kings 3, realized that she might win the argument but lose her baby. In her love for the child, she showed the purest form of wisdom.
The church has benefited from the wisdom of many a wise woman down through the years. Lemuel's words written many centuries ago (Proverbs 31:10-31) describe the virtuous woman of that era as well as God's woman for the 21st century. Praise God for every wise woman among us!