Friday, March 6, 2009

Survey of Women in Genesis

Alice C. Linsley

Women are often the hidden persons in Biblical narratives. However, knowledge of the marriage and ascendancy pattern of the Horite and Sethite Hebrew rulers, enables us to identify the relationships of many women to the rulers and to better understand their importance. 

The names of some women are not given in the Bible. An example is Bathsheba, Solomon's mother. She is identified with the ancient royal house of Sheba. Abraham's second wife Keturah was of that royal house also.

As the daughters and wives of ruler-priests, warriors, metal workers, tomb builders, and scribes, most of the women in Genesis (and Exodus) held high status in their communities. 

The high-ranking Hebrew rulers had two wives and the Hebrew hierarchy of sons was based on the position of the wives.

This is a survey of women in Genesis and a few in Exodus. They are grouped according to four categories. A survey of all of the women in the Bible would uncover these same four categories.

Category 1: Women Named in Genesis

Eve (Gen. 3:20)
Adah and Zillah (Gen. 4:20) – Wives of Lamech
Naamah (Gen. 4:22) – Daughter of Lamech the Elder and the wife of Methuselah
Sarai (Gen. 11:29) – Half-sister and wife of Abraham
Milcah (Gen. 11:29) – Wife of Nahor
Iscah (Gen. 11:29) – Probable second wife of Nahor (Ischa is a variant of Ishar, Amram's second wife.)
Hagar (Gen. 16:1) – Sarah’s maid
Rebekah (Gen. 24:15) – Wife of Isaac
Keturah (Gen. 25:1) – Cousin wife of Abraham
Mahalath (Gen. 28:9) – Wife of Esau (the Younger?)
Rachel (Gen. 29:6) – Wife of Jacob
Leah (Gen. 29:16) – Wife of Jacob
Bilhah (Gen. 30:2) – Rachel’s maid
Zilpah (Gen. 30:9) – Leah’s maid
Dinah (Gen. 30:20) – Daughter of Jacob by Leah; raped by Hamor.
Adah (Gen. 36:2) – Wife of Esau (The Elder?)
Oholibamah (Gen. 36:2) – Wife of Esau the Younger
Basemath (Gen. 36:3) – Wife of Esau (The Elder?)
Tamar (Gen. 38:6) – Daughter-in-law of Judah and mother of his twin sons
Asenath (Gen. 41:50) – Wife of Joseph, daughter of the Priest of On (Heliopolis)

Category 2: Named but Voiceless
These women have no voice in the Biblical narratives:

Adah and Zillah
Milcah and Iscah
Ishar/Ishara, Amram's second wife
Bilhah and Zilpah
Adah of Edom
Oholibamah of Edom
Jochebed, the mother of Moses in Numbers 26:59

Biblical Eve
Category 3: Named and with a Voice


Category 4: Nameless and Voiceless

The wives of Cain and Seth; they were the daughters of a great chief named Enoch/Enock/Enosh
The wives of all the men listed in Gen. 4 and 5
The sisters of Jubal and Jabal (Gen. 4)
Noah's wife
The wives of Shem, Ham and Japheth
The wives of the descendants of Noah listed in Genesis 10
The mother of Abraham and Nahor (conspicuously missing)
The mother of Haran and Sarah
Hagar's mother
Lot's wife and Lot's daughters
Keturah's mother
The wives of the 5 sons of Abraham by Keturah
Rebekah's mother
Rebekah's nurse
Tamar's mother
Asenath's mother
The mother of Moses (Exodus 2)

Related reading: The Daughters of Horite Priests; The Bible as The Woman's Story; The Virgin Mary's Ancestry; Wells and Brides; The Marriage and Ascendancy Pattern of the Horite Habiru; Two Named EsauThe Judges Deborah and Huldah

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