A Tale of Four Women

If you want to know what a Virtuous Woman does, 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.

(, 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!

(, 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.

(a, 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.

( 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.

(, 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 ?

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


31:1 The words of King Lemuel. An oracle that his mother taught him:

What are you doing, my son? What are you doing, son of my womb?
What are you doing, son of my vows?
Do not give your strength to women,
your ways to those who destroy kings.
It is not for kings, O Lemuel,
it is not for kings to drink wine,
or for rulers to take strong drink,
lest they drink and forget what has been decreed
and pervert the rights of all the afflicted.
Give strong drink to the one who is perishing,
and wine to those in bitter distress;
let them drink and forget their poverty
and remember their misery no more.
Open your mouth for the mute,
for the rights of all who are destitute.
Open your mouth, judge righteously,
defend the rights of the poor and needy.

10  An excellent wife who can find?
She is far more precious than jewels.
11 The heart of her husband trusts in her,
and he will have no lack of gain.
12 She does him good, and not harm,
all the days of her life.
13 She seeks wool and flax,
and works with willing hands.
14 She is like the ships of the merchant;
she brings her food from afar.
15 She rises while it is yet night
and provides food for her household
and portions for her maidens.
16 She considers a field and buys it;
with the fruit of her hands she plants a vineyard.
17 She dresses herself with strength
and makes her arms strong.
18 She perceives that her merchandise is profitable.
Her lamp does not go out at night.
19 She puts her hands to the distaff,
and her hands hold the spindle.
20 She opens her hand to the poor
and reaches out her hands to the needy.
21 She is not afraid of snow for her household,
for all her household are clothed in scarlet.
22 She makes bed coverings for herself;
her clothing is fine linen and purple.
23 Her husband is known in the gates
when he sits among the elders of the land.
24 She makes linen garments and sells them;
she delivers sashes to the merchant.
25 Strength and dignity are her clothing,
and she laughs at the time to come.
26 She opens her mouth with wisdom,
and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.
27 She looks well to the ways of her household
and does not eat the bread of idleness.
28 Her children rise up and call her blessed;
her husband also, and he praises her:
29 “Many women have done excellently,
but you surpass them all.”
30 Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain,
but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.
31 Give her of the fruit of her hands,
and let her works praise her in the gates. (ESV)


21 And Miriam sang to them:

“Sing to the Lord, for he has triumphed gloriously;
the horse and his rider he has thrown into the sea.” (ESV)


15:1 Then Moses and the people of Israel sang this song to the Lord, saying,

“I will sing to the Lord, for he has triumphed gloriously;
the horse and his rider he has thrown into the sea.
The Lord is my strength and my song,
and 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 man of war;
the Lord is his name.

“Pharaoh’s chariots and his host he cast into the sea,
and his chosen officers were sunk in the Red Sea.
The floods covered them;
they went down into the depths like a stone.
Your right hand, O Lord, glorious in power,
your right hand, O Lord, shatters the enemy.
In the greatness of your majesty you overthrow your adversaries;
you send out your fury; it consumes them like stubble.
At the blast of your nostrils the waters piled up;
the floods stood up in a heap;
the deeps congealed in the heart of the sea.
The enemy said, ‘I will pursue, I will overtake,
I will divide the spoil, my desire shall have its fill of them.
I will draw my sword; my hand shall destroy them.’
10 You blew with your wind; the sea covered them;
they sank like lead in the mighty waters.

11 “Who is like you, O Lord, among the gods?
Who is like you, majestic in holiness,
awesome in glorious deeds, doing wonders?
12 You stretched out your right hand;
the earth swallowed them.

13 “You have led in your steadfast love the people whom you have redeemed;
you have guided them by your strength to your holy abode.
14 The peoples have heard; they tremble;
pangs have seized the inhabitants of Philistia.
15 Now are the chiefs of Edom dismayed;
trembling seizes the leaders of Moab;
all the inhabitants of Canaan have melted away.
16 Terror and dread fall upon them;
because of the greatness of your arm, they are still as a stone,
till your people, O Lord, pass by,
till the people pass by whom you have purchased.
17 You will bring them in and plant them on your own mountain,
the place, O Lord, which you have made for your abode,
the sanctuary, O Lord, which your hands have established.
18 The Lord will reign forever and ever.” (ESV)


5:1 Then sang Deborah and Barak the son of Abinoam on that day:

“That the leaders took the lead in Israel,
that the people offered themselves willingly,
bless the Lord!

“Hear, O kings; give ear, O princes;
to the Lord I will sing;
I will make melody to the Lord, the God of Israel.

Lord, when you went out from Seir,
when you marched from the region of Edom,
the earth trembled
and the heavens dropped,
yes, the clouds dropped water.
The mountains quaked 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 highways were abandoned,
and travelers kept to the byways.
The villagers ceased in Israel;
they ceased to be until I arose;
I, Deborah, arose as a mother in Israel.
When new gods were chosen,
then war was in the gates.
Was shield or spear to be seen
among forty thousand in Israel?
My heart goes out to the commanders of Israel
who offered themselves willingly among the people.
Bless the Lord.

10 “Tell of it, you who ride on white donkeys,
you who sit on rich carpets
and you who walk by the way.
11 To the sound of musicians at the watering places,
there they repeat the righteous triumphs of the Lord,
the righteous triumphs of his villagers in Israel.

“Then down to the gates marched the people of the Lord.

12 “Awake, awake, Deborah!
Awake, awake, break out in a song!
Arise, Barak, lead away your captives,
O son of Abinoam.
13 Then down marched the remnant of the noble;
the people of the Lord marched down for me against the mighty.
14 From Ephraim their root they marched down into the valley,
following you, Benjamin, with your kinsmen;
from Machir marched down the commanders,
and from Zebulun those who bear the lieutenant’s staff;
15 the princes of Issachar came with Deborah,
and Issachar faithful to Barak;
into the valley they rushed at his heels.
Among the clans of Reuben
there were great searchings of heart.
16 Why did you sit still among the sheepfolds,
to hear the whistling for the flocks?
Among the clans of Reuben
there were great searchings of heart.
17 Gilead stayed beyond the Jordan;
and Dan, why did he stay with the ships?
Asher sat still at the coast of the sea,
staying by his landings.
18 Zebulun is a people who risked their lives to the death;
Naphtali, too, on the heights of the field.

19 “The kings came, they fought;
then fought the kings of Canaan,
at Taanach, by the waters of Megiddo;
they got no spoils of silver.
20 From heaven the stars fought,
from their courses they fought against Sisera.
21 The torrent Kishon swept them away,
the ancient torrent, the torrent Kishon.
March on, my soul, with might!

22 “Then loud beat the horses’ hoofs
with the galloping, galloping of his steeds.

23 “Curse Meroz, says the angel of the Lord,
curse its inhabitants thoroughly,
because they did not come to the help of the Lord,
to the help of the Lord against the mighty.

24 “Most blessed of women be Jael,
the wife of Heber the Kenite,
of tent-dwelling women most blessed.
25 He asked water and she gave him milk;
she brought him curds in a noble’s bowl.
26 She sent her hand to the tent peg
and her right hand to the workmen’s mallet;
she struck Sisera;
she crushed his head;
she shattered and pierced his temple.
27 Between her feet
he sank, he fell, he lay still;
between her feet
he sank, he fell;
where he sank,
there he fell—dead.

28 “Out of the window she peered,
the mother of Sisera wailed through the lattice:
‘Why is his chariot so long in coming?
Why tarry the hoofbeats of his chariots?’
29 Her wisest princesses answer,
indeed, she answers herself,
30 ‘Have they not found and divided the spoil?—
A womb or two for every man;
spoil of dyed materials for Sisera,
spoil of dyed materials embroidered,
two pieces of dyed work embroidered for the neck as spoil?’

31 “So may all your enemies perish, O Lord!
But your friends be like the sun as he rises in his might.”

And the land had rest for forty years. (ESV)


2:1 And Hannah prayed and said,

“My heart exults in the Lord;
my strength is exalted in the Lord.
My mouth derides my enemies,
because I rejoice in your salvation.

“There is none holy like the Lord;
there is none besides you;
there is no rock like our God.
Talk no more so very proudly,
let not arrogance come from your mouth;
for the Lord is a God of knowledge,
and by him actions are weighed.
The bows of the mighty are broken,
but the feeble bind on strength.
Those who were full have hired themselves out for bread,
but those who were hungry have ceased to hunger.
The barren has borne seven,
but she who has many children is forlorn.
The Lord kills and brings to life;
he brings down to Sheol and raises up.
The Lord makes poor and makes rich;
he brings low and he exalts.
He raises up the poor from the dust;
he lifts the needy from the ash heap
to make them sit with princes
and inherit a seat of honor.
For the pillars of the earth are the Lord’s,
and on them he has set the world.

“He will guard the feet of his faithful ones,
but the wicked shall be cut off in darkness,
for not by might shall a man prevail.
10 The adversaries of the Lord shall be broken to pieces;
against them he will thunder in heaven.
The Lord will judge the ends of the earth;
he will give strength to his king
and exalt the power of his anointed.” (ESV)


46 And Mary said,

“My soul magnifies the Lord,
47 and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
48 for he has looked on the humble estate of his servant.
For behold, from now on all generations will call me blessed;
49 for he who is mighty has done great things for me,
and holy is his name.
50 And his mercy is for those who fear him
from generation to generation.
51 He has shown strength with his arm;
he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts;
52 he has brought down the mighty from their thrones
and exalted those of humble estate;
53 he has filled the hungry with good things,
and the rich he has sent away empty.
54 He has helped his servant Israel,
in remembrance of his mercy,
55 as he spoke to our fathers,
to Abraham and to his offspring forever.” (ESV)


19:1 After this I heard what seemed to be the loud voice of a great multitude in heaven, crying out,

“Hallelujah!
Salvation and glory and power belong to our God,
for his judgments are true and just;
for he has judged the great prostitute
who corrupted the earth with her immorality,
and has avenged on her the blood of his servants.”

Once more they cried out,

“Hallelujah!
The smoke from her goes up forever and ever.”

And the twenty-four elders and the four living creatures fell down and worshiped God who was seated on the throne, saying, “Amen. Hallelujah!” And from the throne came a voice saying,

“Praise our God,
all you his servants,
you who fear him,
small and great.” (ESV)


19:1 After this I heard what seemed to be the loud voice of a great multitude in heaven, crying out,

“Hallelujah!
Salvation and glory and power belong to our God,
for his judgments are true and just;
for he has judged the great prostitute
who corrupted the earth with her immorality,
and has avenged on her the blood of his servants.”

Once more they cried out,

“Hallelujah!
The smoke from her goes up forever and ever.”

And the twenty-four elders and the four living creatures fell down and worshiped God who was seated on the throne, saying, “Amen. Hallelujah!” And from the throne came a voice saying,

“Praise our God,
all you his servants,
you who fear him,
small and great.”

Then I heard what seemed to be the voice of a great multitude, like the roar of many waters and like the sound of mighty peals of thunder, crying out,

“Hallelujah!
For the Lord our God
the Almighty reigns.
Let us rejoice and exult
and give him the glory,
for the marriage of the Lamb has come,
and his Bride has made herself ready;
it was granted her to clothe herself
with fine linen, bright and pure”—

for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints.

And the angel said to me, “Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.” And he said to me, “These are the true words of God.” 10 Then I fell down at his feet to worship him, but he said to me, “You must not do that! I am a fellow servant with you and your brothers who hold to the testimony of Jesus. Worship God.” For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.

11 Then I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse! The one sitting on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he judges and makes war. 12 His eyes are like a flame of fire, and on his head are many diadems, and he has a name written that no one knows but himself. 13 He is clothed in a robe dipped in blood, and the name by which he is called is The Word of God. 14 And the armies of heaven, arrayed in fine linen, white and pure, were following him on white horses. 15 From his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations, and he will rule them with a rod of iron. He will tread the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God the Almighty. 16 On his robe and on his thigh he has a name written, King of kings and Lord of lords.

17 Then I saw an angel standing in the sun, and with a loud voice he called to all the birds that fly directly overhead, “Come, gather for the great supper of God, 18 to eat the flesh of kings, the flesh of captains, the flesh of mighty men, the flesh of horses and their riders, and the flesh of all men, both free and slave, both small and great.” 19 And I saw the beast and the kings of the earth with their armies gathered to make war against him who was sitting on the horse and against his army. 20 And the beast was captured, and with it the false prophet who in its presence had done the signs by which he deceived those who had received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped its image. These two were thrown alive into the lake of fire that burns with sulfur. 21 And the rest were slain by the sword that came from the mouth of him who was sitting on the horse, and all the birds were gorged with their flesh. (ESV)

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