A Tale of Four Women

If you want to know what a Virtuous Woman does, Proverbs 31 is a good place to start. But what if you want to know what a Virtuous Woman says?

There are at least four prayers/songs of virtuous women in the Bible. For whatever reason, their words largely go untouched in contemporary Christendom. I think it’s interesting to get an inside peek at what was going on in their minds.

See if you notice any common themes that these women liked to sing about.

Miriam (sister of Moses)

Miriam sang to them:

Sing to the LORD, for He is highly exalted;
He has thrown the horse and its rider into the sea.

(Exodus 15:21, HCSB)

It sounds short, but in truth, she’s recapping/repeating Moses’ song:

Then Moses and the Israelites sang this song to the LORD. They said:

I will sing to the LORD, for He is highly exalted;
He has thrown the horse and its rider into the sea.

The LORD is my strength and my song; He has become my salvation.
This is my God, and I will praise Him, my father’s God, and I will exalt Him.
The LORD is a warrior; Yahweh is His name.
He threw Pharaoh’s chariots and his army into the sea; the elite of his officers were drowned in the Red Sea.
The floods covered them; they sank to the depths like a stone.

LORD, Your right hand is glorious in power. LORD, Your right hand shattered the enemy.
You overthrew Your adversaries by Your great majesty. You unleashed Your burning wrath; it consumed them like stubble.
The waters heaped up at the blast of Your nostrils; the currents stood firm like a dam. The watery depths congealed in the heart of the sea.

The enemy said:
“I will pursue, I will overtake, I will divide the spoil. My desire will be gratified at their expense. I will draw my sword; my hand will destroy them.”

But You blew with Your breath, and the sea covered them.
They sank like lead in the mighty waters.

LORD, who is like You among the gods? Who is like You, glorious in holiness, revered with praises, performing wonders?
You stretched out Your right hand, and the earth swallowed them.
You will lead the people You have redeemed with Your faithful love;
You will guide them to Your holy dwelling with Your strength.

When the peoples hear, they will shudder; anguish will seize the inhabitants of Philistia.
Then the chiefs of Edom will be terrified; trembling will seize the leaders of Moab; the inhabitants of Canaan will panic; and terror and dread will fall on them.
They will be as still as a stone because of Your powerful arm until Your people pass by, LORD, until the people whom You purchased pass by.

You will bring them in and plant them on the mountain of Your possession;
LORD, You have prepared the place for Your dwelling; Lord, Your hands have established the sanctuary.

The LORD will reign forever and ever!

(Exodus 15:1-18, HCSB)

Deborah (Judge of Israel)

On that day Deborah and Barak son of Abinoam sang:

When the leaders lead in Israel,when the people volunteer, praise the LORD. Listen, kings! Pay attention, princes!

I will sing to the LORD; I will sing praise to the LORD God of Israel.
LORD, when You came from Seir, when You marched from the fields of Edom, the earth trembled, the heavens poured rain, the clouds poured water.
The mountains melted before the LORD, even Sinai before the LORD, the God of Israel.

In the days of Shamgar son of Anath, in the days of Jael, the main ways were deserted, because travelers kept to the side roads.
Villages were deserted, they were deserted in Israel, until I, Deborah,I arose, a mother in Israel.
Israel chose new gods, then war was in the gates. Not a shield or spear was seen among 40,000 in Israel.
My heart is with the leaders of Israel, with the volunteers of the people. Praise the LORD!

You who ride on white donkeys,who sit on saddle blankets, and who travel on the road, give praise!
Let them tell the righteous acts of the LORD, the righteous deeds of His warriors in Israel, with the voices of the singers at the watering places.
Then the LORD’s people went down to the gates.

“Awake! Awake, Deborah! Awake! Awake, sing a song! Arise Barak, and take hold of your captives, son of Abinoam!”

The survivors came down to the nobles; the LORD’s people came down to me with the warriors.
Those with their roots in Amalek came from Ephraim; Benjamin came with your people after you.

The leaders came down from Machir, and those who carry a marshal’s staff came from Zebulun.
The princes of Issachar were with Deborah; Issachar was with Barak. They set out at his heels in the valley.
There was great searching of heart among the clans of Reuben. Why did you sit among the sheepfolds listening to the playing of pipes for the flocks?
There was great searching of heart among the clans of Reuben.
Gilead remained beyond the Jordan.
Dan, why did you linger at the ships? Asher remained at the seashore and stayed in his harbors.
Zebulun was a people risking their lives, Naphtali also, on the heights of the battlefield.

Kings came and fought. Then the kings of Canaan fought at Taanach by the waters of Megiddo, but they took no spoil of silver.
The stars fought from the heavens; the stars fought with Sisera from their courses.
The river Kishon swept them away, the ancient river, the river Kishon.
March on, my soul, in strength! The horses’ hooves then hammered–the galloping, galloping of his stallions.

“Curse Meroz,” says the Angel of the LORD, “Bitterly curse her inhabitants, for they did not come to help the LORD, to help the LORD against the mighty warriors.”

Jael is most blessed of women, the wife of Heber the Kenite; she is most blessed among tent-dwelling women.
He asked for water; she gave him milk. She brought him curdled milk in a majestic bowl.
She reached for a tent peg, her right hand, for a workman’s mallet.
Then she hammered Sisera–she crushed his head; she shattered and pierced his temple.
He collapsed, he fell, he lay down at her feet; he collapsed, he fell at her feet; where he collapsed, there he fell–dead.
Sisera’s mother looked through the window; she peered through the lattice, crying out:
“Why is his chariot so long in coming? Why don’t I hear the hoofbeats of his horses?”

Her wisest princesses answer her; she even answers herself:
“Are they not finding and dividing the spoil–a girl or two for each warrior, the spoil of colored garments for Sisera,
the spoil of an embroidered garment or two for my neck?”

LORD, may all your enemies perish as Sisera did. But may those who love Him be like the rising of the sun in its strength.

(Judges 5:1-31a, HCSB)

Hannah (mother of the prophet Samuel)

Hannah prayed:

My heart rejoices in the LORD; my horn is lifted up by the LORD.
My mouth boasts over my enemies, because I rejoice in Your salvation.

There is no one holy like the LORD. There is no one besides You! And there is no rock like our God.
Do not boast so proudly, or let arrogant words come out of your mouth, for the LORD is a God of knowledge, and actions are weighed by Him.
The bows of the warriors are broken, but the feeble are clothed with strength.
Those who are full hire themselves out for food, but those who are starving hunger no more.
The barren woman gives birth to seven, but the woman with many sons pines away.

The LORD brings death and gives life; He sends some to Sheol, and He raises others up.
The LORD brings poverty and gives wealth; He humbles and He exalts.
He raises the poor from the dust and lifts the needy from the garbage pile.
He seats them with noblemen and gives them a throne of honor.
For the foundations of the earth are the LORD’s; He has set the world on them.
He guards the steps of His faithful ones, but the wicked are silenced in darkness, for a man does not prevail by his own strength.
Those who oppose the LORD will be shattered; He will thunder in the heavens against them.
The LORD will judge the ends of the earth. He will give power to His king; He will lift up the horn of His anointed.

(1 Samuel 2:1-10 HCSB)

Mary (Mother of Christ)

And Mary said:

My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord, and my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior, because He has looked with favor on the humble condition of His slave.

Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed, because the Mighty One has done great things for me, and His name is holy.
His mercy is from generation to generation on those who fear Him.
He has done a mighty deed with His arm;
He has scattered the proud because of the thoughts of their hearts;
He has toppled the mighty from their thrones and exalted the lowly.
He has satisfied the hungry with good things and sent the rich away empty.
He has helped His servant Israel, mindful of His mercy, just as He spoke to our ancestors, to Abraham and his descendants forever.

(Luke 1:46-55, HCSB)

And now, a few questions:

Notice any common themes? Do the ladies in your church talk like these Godly ladies? Should we encourage the ladies in our churches to sound like these ladies? Do you think these women sound anything like the people in Rev 19:1-5?

If the women before the Mosaic Law (Miriam), during the Mosaic Law (Deborah and Hannah), in the New Testament (Mary) and in heaven (Rev 19) all sound the same, should the women of your church sing a similar song?

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