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Monthly Archives: December 2012

The dance

Salome was the daughter of Herodias and Herod Philip I, one of the sons of Herod the Great. Her name is the feminine form of “Solomon” and means “peace” or “peaceable.” The two Bible texts where she is mentioned refer to her as “the daughter of Herodias” (Matthew 14:6, Mark 6:22). Josephus, the Jewish historian, confirms that her name is Salome, in his account of Herod’s troubles with John the Baptist.[1] She is remembered in connection with John’s murder.

Hateful Herodias

Josephus states that Herod Antipas imprisoned John the Baptist for political reasons. Herod feared John’s growing influence in Judea and his potential to stir up a rebellion. John’s preaching drew crowds of believers who looked for the Messiah. As John’s work prepared the way for Christ, he made strong demands for repentance. His bold pronouncements against sin put him at cross-purposes with Herodias.

Herodias had divorced Salome’s father, Herod Philip I, to marry his brother, Herod Antipas. Antipas divorced his wife and made Herodias queen in her place. However, John had more than once told Herod, It is not lawful for you to have your brother’s wife (Mark 6:18) and condemned the marriage as incestuous. This rebuke threatened Herodias’ position, and she hated John for it.


The Bible states that Herod imprisoned John for his wife’s sake (Matt.14:3), and Josephus cites the additional political reasons that also figured into his action. Herodias was not satisfied with John being in prison. She wanted him dead but Herod “feared John and protected him, knowing him to be a righteous and holy man” (Mark 6:19-20). After some ten months, an occasion for revenge presented itself at Herod’s birthday banquet.

Edersheim places these festivities in early spring, “before the Passover, the anniversary of the death of Herod the Great and of the accession of (his son) Herod Antipas to the Tetrarchy.”[2] Herod gave a banquet for his officials, military officers and leading citizens. As part of the entertainment, “the daughter of Herodias came in and danced [and] she pleased Herod and his dinner guests” (Mark 6:22). As a reward for her performance, Herod granted Salome an extravagant gift that ended in John’s murder.

Co-conspirator or innocent pawn?

How old was Salome when she danced? What kind of dance did she perform? Was she a co-conspirator or an innocent pawn in John’s beheading? Historians present both sides. Noted scholars Alfred Edersheim and Herbert Lochyer portray Salome as a seductress in league with her mother. Her dance, they believe, was a brazen, sensuous trap planned by Herodias.[3] “The evil heart of Herodias planned the evil act of Salome’s dance, and God’s greatest prophet died.”[4] Oscar Wilde in his play Salome and Richard Strauss’s opera adaptation of it reinforced Salome’s sensuous reputation by including the “Dance of the Seven Veils,” a suggestive shedding of veils performed to arouse lustful passion in King Herod.[5]

Youthful exuberance or provocative passion?

The Expositor’s Commentary strikes a middle ground in saying that the dance “may have been very sensual, but the text does not say so.”[6] John Gill comes down on the other side and states that Salome’s dance was “cheerful” and the “airs, gestures, and motions…were so extremely fine and regular, that she gave wonderful satisfaction and delight to Herod, and the whole company.”[7] Those who favor a more encouraging picture of Salome state that the Greek word used for “dance” is the same word used in the Bible for children dancing in street games. Salome entertained her stepfather and his guests with a dance performed artistically. As a father, Herod was pleased that his stepdaughter had performed well.

English: Herodias

English: Herodias (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A deadly deed in progress

These scholars also cite the word korasion, a diminutive form of the Greek word kore that means “girl.” Salome was a korasion, a little girl, perhaps pre-puberty. She may have been a small child or possibly a little girl of eleven to thirteen. A supporting text shows that Salome was still dependent on her mother’s guidance. She was unprepared to answer Herod’s offer of a reward “up to half the kingdom.” She didn’t know what to ask for and had to be “prompted by her mother” (Matt. 14:8). In other words, Herodias didn’t have a plan until Salome said, I don’t know what to ask for, Mother.

Upon consideration

I lean toward Salome being a young girl who danced with youthfulness and pleased King Herod. I think it probable that Herodias snapped up Herod’s offer to Salome. She compelled her daughter to do the dirty work of asking for John’s head. She forced Herod into a decision he couldn’t retract.

The rest of her story

Shortly after John’s beheading, Antipas arranged for Salome to marry her great-uncle, Philip the Tetrarch. The couple was childless, and Philip died within about two years. Salome then married her cousin Aristobulus of Chalcis.

Nero appointed Aristobulus King of Armenia in 55AD, and he remained an ally of Rome until his death in 92AD. Salome and Aristobulus had three sons, Herod, Agrippa, and Aristobulus. I hope she had a brief measure of joy as the mother of three boys.—Mary Hendren






1 Complete Works of Josephus, XV111 v. 4.

[2] Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah, Alfred Edersheim, p. 461

[3] Ibid., p.462

[4] All the Women of the Bible, Herbert Lockyer, p. 150

[5] Wikipedia, “Dance of the Seven Veils”

[6] The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, Vol. 8, p. 338

[7] An Exposition of the Old and New Testament, John Gill, online version

Unholy seed

Meet the family

The entire family of Herods were Idumeans, having descended from Abraham and Isaac through Esau. Historically some tension existed between the descendents of Esau and Jacob, since Esau’s line did not experience the Egyptian captivity, nor was it part of the group entering the Promised Land. The Herods tended to side with the Romans rather than the Jews in most secular and even some religious matters.

“The Herodian princesses were not themselves Jewish rulers, but were married to those who were. They belonged to the royal family by birth. Though there were others, Herodias, Bernice, and Drusilla are the only Herodian princesses mentioned in the New Testament.”[1]

Agrippa II: 27 A.D.-100 (?) A.D.

Named Marcus Julius Agrippa, he was just a toddler when Jesus was crucified. He was born to Herod Agrippa I and Cypros (the daughter of Phasael, Herod the Great’s nephew, and Salampsio, Herod the Great’s daughter).

His father was the Herod responsible for executing James (Acts 12:1-2), and for having Peter imprisoned (Acts 12:3). He met a horrible end as described in Acts 12:20-23. His uncle, Herod Antipas, ordered the death of John the Baptist. Jesus appeared before Antipas on orders from Pontius Pilate prior to His crucifixion (Luke 3:1).

He had three sisters: Mariamne, Drusilla, and Bernice (aka Berenice or Pherenika).

Agrippa II, seventeen when his father died, was deemed too young and inexperienced by Rome to assume the vacated throne. As a result, Palestine became a Roman province to be governed by provincial governors.

Eventually he was appointed king over several tetrarchies, and curator of the temple in Jerusalem “with power to depose and appoint the high priest and the responsibility of preserving the temple’s treasure and priestly vestments” (The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, vol. 9, p. 548).

Though this king was quite knowledgeable about the Jewish faith, law and customs, his private life did not reflect any religious influence.

Herod Agrippa II was the seventh and last king...

Herod Agrippa II was the seventh and last king of the family of Herod the Great, thus last of the Herodians. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Bernice (Berenice):

Bernice, the eldest daughter of Herod Agrippa I, first married at age thirteen. When her husband died, she married her uncle, Herod of Chalcis, and bore him two sons.

Her life did not get any better. The Woman’s Study Bible notes the following: “Widowed again about A.D. 48, Bernice was the subject of incestuous scandal when she became a consort to her own brother, Agrippa II. Years later, she married a third time to Ptolemy, king of Cicilia” (see topic, “Bernice”). Barnes Notes further comments, “After his death she proposed to Polemon, king of Pontus and part of Cilicia, that if he would become circumcised she would marry him. He complied, but she did not continue long with him.”[2]

She resumed an illicit life with her brother only to leave him once again for a most shocking affair.  Bernice became a mistress to both Emperor Vespasian and his son, Titus, the conqueror of Jerusalem. The latter was so smitten with her that he promised her marriage, a proposal which proved intolerable even to the Roman Senate with all its depravity.

Regional Art Museum, Uzhgorod, Ukraine

Regional Art Museum, Uzhgorod, Ukraine (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Bernice is mentioned three times in Scripture: Acts 25:13, 23, 30. Each has to do with legal proceedings involving the fate of the apostle Paul. She appears at the side of her brother, unabashedly as his consort.

She died in Rome after the fall of Jerusalem

Any redeeming qualities?

Did she have any redeeming qualities? The Woman’s Study Bible (“Bernice”) says, “Bernice, a woman of strong opinions, was once a dauntless defender of the Jewish people. Some sources report that she even risked her own life to intercede on behalf of the Jews. So strong was her faith that at one time she shaved her head and walked barefoot in keeping a vow to God. But her lifestyle pulled her away, and Bernice evidently abandoned her Jewish faith.” (No sources are given regarding this comment.)


Drusilla was the youngest daughter of Agrippa I—ten years younger than Bernice. She was only six years old when her father died in A.D. 44. Already beautiful, she had been promised in marriage to Epiphanies, son of the king of Comangene. When Epiphanies refused to go through a prerequisite of circumcision, the agreement was rendered void. However, another suitor, Azizus, king of Edessa, was willing to comply, and obtained her as his wife.

True to her heritage, Drusilla was enticed away by a man named Felix. Josephus says, “Felix was procurator of Judea, he saw this Drusilla, and fell in love with her; for she did indeed excel all other women in beauty.” According to the historian Tacitus, Claudius Felix was a base man. He “had been a slave, in the vilest of all positions, at the vilest of all epochs, in the vilest of all cities.” [3] As a procurator he “exercised the prerogatives of a king, with the spirit of a slave, rioting in cruelty and licentiousness” (Tacitus, Annals 12:54).

“He sent a Jew to persuade her to forsake her present husband, and marry him,” promising he would make her a happy woman. She accepted, in part to get away from her jealous sister, Bernice. Eventually she bore him a son, whom Felix named…Agrippa. According to the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, this son perished under Titus in an eruption of Mt. Vesuvius (see article, “Drusilla”).

Mentioned once

Drusilla is mentioned only once, in Acts 24:24-27:  “And after some days, when Felix came with his wife Drusilla, who was Jewish, he sent for Paul and heard him concerning the faith in Christ. Now as he reasoned about righteousness, self-control, and the judgment to come, Felix was afraid and answered, ‘Go away for now; when I have a convenient time I will call for you.’ Meanwhile he also hoped that money would be given him by Paul, that he might release him. Therefore he sent for him more often and conversed with him. But after two years Porcius Festus succeeded Felix; and Felix, wanting to do the Jews a favor, left Paul bound.”

The end of the matter

With the death of Herod Agrippa II, the Herodian dynasty came to an end. All that is left is the sordid account of a brutal, ruthless, dysfunctional family that left its mark on the lives of Jesus, his disciples and apostles, believers, and the very fabric of Palestine itself.

[1] The New Unger’s Bible Dictionary (1988), “Herod”
[2] Barnes’ Notes, Acts 25:13, Electronic Database Copyright © 1997, 2003 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.
[3] The New Unger’s Bible Dictionary (1988), “Drusilla”

Here come the Royals: the house of Herod

Some of the most fascinating personalities in the Bible are members of a royal family or dynasty. The fact that there are 99 named kings and that the word “king” appears 2,256 times throughout its pages attests to the importance of such an imperial designation. References to queens are not so plentiful—that term is mentioned only 54 times, most of which have to do with Queen Esther or Queen Vashti.

The reason for this disparity is because kings governed Israel and Judah almost entirely. Only Athaliah is listed as a ruling queen in Israel, a position she murderously usurped, as we discovered last week when discussing Johosheba.

The genealogy of the kings of Israel and Judah...

The genealogy of the kings of Israel and Judah. Based on a literal interpretation of 1 and 2 Kings. Note: In the kings of Israel, a horizontal arrow can indicate a change of dynasty (lack of known genealogical connection). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Keeping it all straight

Sometimes it is difficult to keep the line of kingly succession straight because of a duplication of names, or the use of alternate (aka) names. This presents a challenge when trying to follow the chronologies of the kings of Israel and Judah. For example, in 2 Kings 8:25, Jehoram (Joram), king of Judah, reigns at the same time as Joram (Jehoram) king of Israel. Careful reading and sometimes even charting and note taking are necessary to keep on track.

This also holds true in the New Testament. Seven Herods[1] reigned just before and during the first century. Herod the Great, the patriarch of the Herodian dynasty, is the infamous king responsible for the “slaughter of the innocents” (Matthew 2:16). He died in 4 B.C. Herod Agrippa 2 was the last of his line.

Terms of administration

  • Caesar: title given to a Roman emperor
  • Governor: chiefly refers to officers of the Roman imperial administration (Matthew 10:18; 2 Cor. 11:32)
  • King: one who governed a specific territory under the rule of the Roman Caesar
  • Procurator: In ancient Rome, this was an administrative official with legal or fiscal powers. Examples are Pilate, Felix and Festus.
  • Queen: In the context of the tribes of Israel, a term “queen” might refer to the queen mother—that is, the mother of the king. She potentially had a great deal of influence over the internal affairs of the palace, as in the case of Bathsheba, but not as the acting ruler of a nation. Often the designation is generic, signifying a woman married to a king. Two non-Israelite queens mentioned in the Bible apparently enjoyed administrative powers of position and wealth: the Queen of Sheba (1 Kings 10), and Candace, the title of the queens of Ethiopia (Acts 8:27-28).
  • Tetrarch: Gospel accounts sometimes reference the name of a specific Herod with the designation of tetrarch: “At the time Herod the tetrarch heard the report about Jesus…” (Matthew 14:1). A tetrarch signifies a prince who governs one-fourth of a domain or kingdom (International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, topic “Tetrarch”).

Coming attractions

With all this as a backdrop, the next posts will examine the intrigue surrounding the lives of several notorious royals: Drusilla, Bernice, and the ever-intriguing and controversial Salome.

[1] The rest of his dynasty is as follows:

  • Herod Philip 1 (or simply, Philip), son of Herod the Great and his third wife, Mariamne 2, daughter of Simon the high priest (Matthew 14:3)
  • Herod Archelaus, son of Herod the Great and his fourth wife, Malthace, a Samaritan (Matthew 2:22)
  • Herod Antipas, brother of Archelaus. Married Herodias, wife of brother, Herod Philip 1.
  • Herod Philip 2 (also called Philip the Tetrarch), son of Herod the Great through his fifth wife, Cleopatra of Jerusalem. He married his niece Salome, daughter of his half-brother Herod Philip 1 and Herodias.
  • Herod Agrippa 1, son of Aristobulus, son of Herod the Great by Mariamne 1
  • Herod Agrippa 2, son of Agrippa 1

Next week: here come the Royals

The British royal family on Buckingham Palace ...

The British royal family on Buckingham Palace balcony after Prince William and Kate Middleton were married. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This week the media is abuzz with the announcement of the birth of a new royal in the offing:

LONDON (Reuters) – Britain’s Prince William and his wife Catherine are expecting a baby, destined to be the country’s future monarch, although the mother-to-be is in hospital with a type of very acute morning sickness that sometimes indicates twins.

“Their Royal Highnesses The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are very pleased to announce that The Duchess of Cambridge is expecting a baby,” the prince’s office said in a statement on Monday, adding that Queen Elizabeth and the royal family were delighted.

Nothing seems to catch the attention of the world at large like the life of royalty, especially the British monarchy. The Bible has its share of royals, and next week we’ll take a look at individuals among the more famous…or infamous, and some who barely merit a sentence in the whole context of their times.

Thanks for dropping by. This journey is so much nicer in the company of friends

Courage: also known as


So far, we’ve seen courage exhibited as the nerve to step forward, or the determination to go back. Each decision was fraught with its own unique “what-if”—what if Naaman was outraged at the thought of consulting the spokesman for the God of Israel, and took it out on the little maid? She would be defenseless. Or, what if Naomi met hostility and harsh judgment for having gone to Moab in the first place, much less for staying on indefinitely? Then what would she do?

Both embarked on a course of action, willing to meet the resulting consequences—unintended or otherwise. Their stories ended on a positive note.

In other words

I thought it might be interesting to explore more characteristics of courage as manifested in the lives of several other women from the Book. The broad definition of courage appears simple and concise, i.e., boldness or braveness, but its nuances reveal many fascinating, complex facets.

For this post, we will consider a list of its synonyms, and then revisit some Bible accounts of this attribute at work in its various forms.

First the synonyms…

















intestinal fortitude












Meet the women: courage at work

English: Jael Smote Sisera, and Slew Him, circ...

English: Jael Smote Sisera, and Slew Him, circa 1896-1902, by James Jacques Joseph Tissot (French, 1836-1902) or follower, gouache on board, 5 7/16 x 7 3/8 in. (13.9 x 18.8 cm), at the Jewish Museum, New York (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

  • Jael (Judges 4:17-23):  the Kenite woman who killed Sisera, Israel’s formidable enemy during the time of Deborah. Jael witnessed a man running towards her from some unseen threat. She recognized him as Sisera, and instantly knew his problem: Barak and ten thousand of his men were in hot pursuit. Always resourceful, she invited him into her tent, implying sanctuary. With customary hospitality, she gave him a drink of fermented milk, lulling him into a false sense of security and eventually, sleep. Jael, with quiet deliberation, picked up a hammer and proceeded to drive a tent peg through his temple, thus fulfilling Deborah’s prophecy: “…for the Lord shall sell Sisera into the hand of a woman” (vs. 9).
  • Jehosheba (2 Kings 11:2; 2 Chron. 22:11):  the half-sister of King Ahaziah who saved her nephew from assassination. After Ahaziah died in battle, his mother, Athaliah, attempted to kill all her grandsons while usurping the throne. Spurred by the horror of impending disaster, Jehosheba rescued Ahaziah’s youngest son, the infant Joash. With the help of her husband, the righteous priest Jehoiadah, she hid the boy in the Temple for six years until he was old enough to be proclaimed the rightful king. Jehosheba’s act preserved “the house and lineage of David” (Luke 2:4), from which Jesus was descended.
  • Jochebed (Ex. 2:1-4): the mother of Moses who devised a plan to save him from the Pharaoh’s death decree targeting all Hebrew baby boys. After three months, she knew she could no longer safely hide Moses herself. So she secreted her infant among the reeds along the riverbank, and stationed his older sister Miriam to stand vigil. Jochebed’s valiant efforts to spare her child succeeded, and she possibly lived to see Moses become the revered leader and liberator of the people of Israel.
  • Michal (1 Sam. 19:10-17): king Saul’s younger daughter, and David’s wife. Michal learned of her father’s demented intention to kill her husband, and her only thought was to save her beloved. She helped David escape through a window, and used her quick-thinking to devise a plan. Through subterfuge, she deceived her father (a risky activity given Saul’s often unstable state of mind), and assured her husband’s getaway.
  • Rahab (Joshua 2:1-6): the harlot who secretly housed two men sent by Joshua to scout out Jericho, and helped them avoid apprehension. First, she hid them in stalks of flax on her roof; and then, after sending the king’s messengers on a false trail, Rahab let the spies down the outside wall by a rope through the window of her house.

    Judah and Tamar (painting circa 1650–1660 by t...

    Judah and Tamar (painting circa 1650–1660 by the school of Rembrandt) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

  • Tamar (Gen. 38:6-30): the widow of Er, the wicked firstborn son of Judah who was slain by the Lord. According to the law of levirate marriage, Judah’s second son, Onan, should have married Tamar. Their first child would have been regarded as his brother’s, and carried on his name. However, Onan refused to comply, and Judah encouraged Tamar to wait for his third son, Shuah, to reach maturity. Time passed. Shuah grew to manhood, but no marriage union was forthcoming. Undaunted, Tamar devised a plan. She tricked Judah himself into having sex with her in order to produce offspring, and secure her family’s rights of inheritance as part of Judah’s posterity.
  • Servant girl of En-rogel (2 Sam. 17:17): the girl who carried military intelligence obtained by Hushai, David’s spy, when Absalom’s revolt forced David to flee Jerusalem. It is possible that females of her status (she may have worked in the temple complex or for a wealthy loyalist) had freedom of movement in and out of Jerusalem, thereby allowing her to go unnoticed as she went about her covert activities.

The courage to go home

Naomi faced a decision. Should she stay in Moab or return to Bethlehem? It wasn’t clear. It was uncertain either way. And what she did would affect her daughters-in-law, too. With Elimelech and her sons gone, Ruth and Orpah were her family. She loved them and they loved her. If she stayed in Moab, could they find some way of looking after one another?

To remain in Moab would be difficult because they were all widows with no means of support. To be a widow without support in the ancient Middle East was a hardship, even in one’s own country. Her only sons, Mahlon and Chilion, who would have supported her, were dead. It was even more desperate to be a widow outside one’s country. She was an Israelite widow in Moab without family support. It was ominous.[1]

Logically it would be better for Ruth and Orpah to stay in Moab. When each woman returned to her father’s house she would have the help of her family. Ruth and Orpah were young. Their kinfolk would help them find husbands. They would have a better chance for happiness and security in their own country than in Israel.

But how could they separate from one another? Would she be a hindrance to them in Moab? Would a Moabite man want a wife encumbered with an Israelite mother-in-law?

Going home was fearful. She had been gone ten years. She would go back destitute with no prospects for the future.

Naomi and Elimelech had left home for a while because of a famine (Ruth 1:1). They didn’t intend to stay away, but when the famine was over, they didn’t go back. They stayed in Moab—in a “land of idolaters.”[2]

Although Bethlehem was only a short distance to Moab—thirty miles—Naomi came to see it as a long way from God. She came to believe that the deaths of her husband and sons were punishment. She had deserted her homeland and the God of her fathers.[3] She resented how things had gone in her life. “Call me Mara, because the Almighty has made my life very bitter. I went away full, but the LORD has brought me back empty. Why call me Naomi? The LORD has afflicted me; the Almighty has brought misfortune upon me” (Ruth 1:20-21).

Naomi entreating Ruth and Orpah to return to t...

Naomi entreating Ruth and Orpah to return to the land of Moab by William Blake, 1795 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When she made the decision to go home, Naomi asked Orpah and Ruth to return to Moab and not continue on to Israel. She appealed to their common sense. A law in Israel allowed a childless widow to marry another son in the family of the deceased husband (Deut.25:5-10). Under that law, Ruth and Orpah would be entitled to marry any other sons in Naomi’s family. “I have no more sons for you,” she said. And even if she could remarry and have sons right away, should Ruth and Orpah wait around for them when there were eligible men in Moab now? Customarily when a young widow returned home, “preparations for another marriage [were] initiated,”[4] so it would be easier for them to find husbands in their own land.

After advising Ruth and Orpah, Naomi asked God to bless them. “May the LORD show kindness to you, as you have shown to your dead and to me. May the LORD grant that each of you will find rest in the home of another husband” (Ruth 1:8-9).

Nothing more is said about Orpah and how the blessing was fulfilled in her life. Scripture follows Ruth into Israel and recounts the favor shown her by an honorable man for “what you have done for your mother-in-law since the death of your husband—how you left your father and mother and your homeland and came to live with a people you did not know before” (Ruth 2:11). Ruth was additionally blessed with an advantageous marriage. She and Boaz were blessed with the birth a son named Obed.

Not all courageous decisions end well, but Naomi’s did. Her difficult homecoming began a chain of events that brought blessings to generations of people through the lineage of her grandson (Ruth 4:18-22).

For Naomi personally, the village women rejoiced, “He will renew your life and sustain you in your old age. For your daughter-in-law, who loves you and who is better to you than seven sons, has given him birth” (Ruth 4:15).

Then she took Obed into her arms.—Mary Hendren

[1] The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, Vol. 3, p.520, note on Ruth 1:4

[2] All the Women of the Bible, Herbert Lockyer, p.117

[3] Ibid, p. 117.

[4] The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, Vol. 3, p. 521

The many faces of courage

The word courage usually brings to mind visions of Daniel in the lion’s den, David facing the giant Goliath, Elijah confronting the priests of Baal, or perhaps Deborah[1] and Barak—all legendary heroes who fought against formidable odds, or took a stand against evil. There are, however, other kinds of courage manifested in the actions of ordinary individuals, who in times of personal crises, exhibit pluck, daring, and sometimes, momentary bravery.

Poesy learns to climb the stairs, poolside, Ho...

Poesy learns to climb the stairs, poolside, Hotel Zaza, Houston, TX, USA 3.JPG (Photo credit: gruntzooki)

This attribute is no respecter of persons: it’s found in young and old, privileged and poor, sinner and saint. In thinking about the topic and considering various Bible examples, I noted a common thread: the courageous person leaves a comfort zone to make difficult decisions, and then is compelled to follow through with actions having known or unknown consequences.

For instance, consider Paul, who after having so violently persecuted the church, repented, and then humbly but resolutely faced the very group he had savaged. He served them until his dying day, and there undoubtedly were those who never forgot his hurtful deeds.

Hebrews 11:35-38 speaks of that great anonymous group of believers who endured incredible suffering, and bravely held on, faithful, unflagging in their zeal–of whom, the scripture says, “… the world was not worthy….” (vs 38).

In this week’s posts we’ll be visiting the lives of some noteworthy women and an exceptional young girl, all of whom faced difficult challenges and risks. Through some inner strength we call courage, they were able to prevail.

[1] For a fascinating account about Deborah, please see

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