When I finished Meriyvah and Malchuth, I thought the next woman to be encouraged by, was a woman named Sarah…however I cannot tell her story without including the mother who wept for her son, the mother who wept with her daughter and the wisdom flowing from a grandmother.
Let me first start by introducing them separately and then we will see how their lives are woven together and what deliverance, joy, peace and restorations happen in their lives.
Their story is found in The Cepher of Toviyahu also called Tobit. This is one of the 23 books of the original scriptures before 1611 (the 23 books were purposely left out so that the scriptures would be lighter). The book can be found in the Apocrypha, in The Cepher, and online.
Deborah was the grandmother to Toviyahu also called Tobit (I will refer to him as Tobit, because a great deal of this story involves his son also named Tovyiahu) she raised Tobit and encouraged him to care for others.
Channah was a wife to Tobit and mother of one son, Toviyahu. We don’t know how old she was when they married nor her age when she gave birth to Toviyahu or what family she was from. She had some type of skill which she was able to use to help her family when her husband could not work. During this time she not only received her wages but she found favor in those she worked for. Like Rivqah her being was knit to her son and she wept for him.
Edna was wife to Re’u’el and mother of one daughter, Sarah. We don’t know how old she was when they married nor her age when she gave birth to Sarah, nor what family she was from nor whether she worked or not. She seemed like she had some type of administrative skill because she helped prepare the written covenant for Sarah’s marriages. She had a close relationship with her daughter offering encouraging words and weeping at the hope she had for her daughter.
Sarah was the only child of Re’u’el and Edna. We don’t know how old she was when she first was married, how many years there were between the marriages, nor how old she was at the time we learn about her. I am sure that she like many girls and women, desired to have a husband and family of her own, however, each time she believed and hoped that she had found one, the husband died. Not once, not twice but seven times and before the marriage bed was even shared! She must have thought something was wrong with her. To add to her frustration, her father’s maids tormented her so bad until she despaired of her life. Yet YAHUAH had a plan…He had her true husband in His plan.
Next we will see how their stories begin.
By the Hand of a Woman – Yahudith Challenge & Final Words
Shalom Sister in YAHUAH,
I pray that you have been blessed, encouraged and strengthened by this study of the remarkable life of Yahudith. I pray that YAHUAH our Elohim would bless the work of your hands and use you in ways you never thought of, only for His esteem.
Remember that we don’t have to sin to win!
You can be:
Without losing yourself and harming others.
Although women in some places are pushed off to the side, we can see that Yahudith did speak to the leaders of the city (this was not a one time event because they said “For this is not the first time when your wisdom has been shown; but from the beginning of your days all the people have known your understanding because of the disposition of your heart is good.” Yahudith 8:29) and that YAHUAH did use her mightily. YAHUAH can use anyone He so chooses. So if YAHUAH moves you to do something – you should do it. Not in a haughty way but in a way that is of a humble and loving mindset. This is not to say that a woman is better than or in place of a man because as you can see, Yahudith knew her place. If a woman has a husband, she must first consult him before doing anything.
Now for the Yahudith Challenge:
The challenge is for us to live a fasting life. Yahudith didn’t all of a sudden start fasting as a result of a problem (which can be done as in the case of Haddassah (Ester)), she lived a life of fasting and prayer before YAHUAH. So set aside sometime each week (not on Sabbath) to pray and fast. I understand this will be a challenge, especially if you cook all the time like me. But years ago, I used to fast all the time, especially on preparation day. I would fast until lunch or dinner. That is where I am going to start.
Also, make a list of the things that are coming against you to try to get you to turn from YAHUAH. Is it financial hardship trying to make you think you must work on Sabbath? Is it your health? Is it your family? Is it the desire for a family?
Take Yahudith’s example, do not put YAHUAH in a box, He will move in our lives in His time schedule, not ours.
I am going to work on praying and fasting more and I encourage you to do the same.
This study on women in the scriptures is not over! By YAHUAH’s leading I will be doing more scripture studies – specifically for woman! I want to thank my husband for proof-reading this study for me!
Shalom and may YAHUAH barak you.
By the Hand of a Woman – Yahudith Lessons to Learn
I encourage you to read the story for yourself because there are parts that I left out however here are some things that we as women who believe in YAHUAH can learn from Yahudith:
- We should be women of prayer and set aside times to pray to YAHUAH. We don’t know what her life was like before her husband died, but it seems reasonable to say that she more than likely had a lifestyle of prayer and fasting and was connected to YAHUAH. She knew who He was and what He would do. She knew that YAHUAH would hear her prayer.
- We should trust YAHUAH. Because of her relationship with YAHUAH she trusted that He would respond the way He chose to and not according to peoples limited sight.
“For if He will not help us within these five days, He has the power to defend us when He chooses, even every day, or to destroy us before our enemies. Do not bind the counsels of YAHUAH our Elohim: for Elohim is not as man, that He may be threatened; neither is He as the son of man, that He should be wavering.”
- We are to honor YAHUAH in all that we do. She could have chosen to keep the bounty from the war but she gave it as an offering to YAHUAH. Yahudith gave the esteem to YAHUAH every time she spoke.
“Praise, praise YAHUAH, praise YAHUAH, I say, for He has not taken away His mercy from the house of Yisra’el, but hath destroyed our enemies by my hands this night.”
“Begin unto my YAHUAH with timbrels, sing unto my Elohim with cymbals: tune unto Him a new psalm: exalt Him and call upon His Name.” Chapter 16:2
- The Assyrians weren’t just attacking any nation of people. They were attacking YAHUAH’s set-apart people, thus it was really a battle directed at Him.
“And make my speech and deceit to be their wound and stripe, who have purposed cruel things against Your covenant, and Your set-apart house, and against the top of Tsion and against the house of the possession of Your children.”
- We must know who protects us. Yahudith knew and was confident that YAHUAH protected Yisra’el.
“And make every nation and tribe to acknowledge that You are Elohim with all power and might and that there is none that protects the people of Yisra’el but You.”
- What is our history? Is it that of being a wise woman? Or that of being foolish, having an attitude, full of pride, full or rage, full of contention?
Yahudith had a history of being a wise woman and others knew this so they listened to her. They knew she was not trying to get a few minutes of fame! The way that we choose to live our lives matters to YAHUAH and other people are watching. People knew she was a wise woman by how she lived and what she said (and didn’t say).
“All that you have spoken you spoke with a good heart and there is none that may say anything against your words. For this is not the first time when your wisdom has been shown; but from the beginning of your days all the people have known your understanding because of the disposition of your heart is good.”
- We can get our points across without an attitude or belittling others, especially men. She could have told the leaders how stupid they were and that now she was going to take control of the situation but she didn’t. She did tell them that they were wrong but she believed that YAHUAH was in control and He would do what He wanted
- Keep your integrity! We don’t have to sin to win! Yes she used her beauty to allure the men, but, she did not become a harlot just to win.
- We need to use our words wisely. When people heard her speak, they knew she had spoken with wisdom, not being haughty nor prideful.
“There is not such a woman from one end of the earth to the other, both for beauty of face and wisdom of words.” Yahudith 11:21
- In learning how to be modest, sometimes if feels as if being a woman of beauty is wrong. As if it is a woman’s fault that she is beautiful. But YAHUAH created us to be beautiful and we should not be ashamed of that. Yahudith’s beauty was not only outwardly but inwardly by her words, her choices, her kindness, and her praise.
- She knew who she was (I am a Hebrew) and whose she was. Who are you? Most importantly, whose are you?
- I believe that she truly loved her husband and we would do well to love our husbands, children and others too, as YAHUSHA told us. She knew that the decisions they made would affect others:
“Now therefore, O brothers, let us show an example to our brothers, because their hearts depend on us…” Yahudith 8:24
- We should be wise over the finances and things that YAHUAH has given us. When we met Yahudith she had been a widow for over three years and she was still a wealthy woman. She could have spent all that her husband had left her on foolish things but she did not. Before she died she properly distributed the inheritance from her husband to others. What will happen to your wealth? Do you have a will?
Finally Thoughts up tomorrow and watch for the Yahudith Challenge!
By the Hand of a Woman – Yahudith Part 4
Goes to his bed and cuts off his head, puts it in her bag where she kept her meat and leaves with her servant as if she were just going to prayer!
When she arrives in Yerushalyim she tells the gatekeepers to open the gate, and then all the leaders and other people come to see what she has done. She says to them:
Then she pulls the head of Holofernes out of the bag!
So she didn’t lay down and play the whore to get what she needed!!!!!
When it is discovered that Holofernes is dead by the hand of a Hebrew Woman, the Assyrians get scared and scattered in all directions! Remember what Archoir said:
Speaking of Achior, what happened to him was awesome:
“And when Achior had seen all that the Elohim of Yisra’el had done, he believed in Yahuah greatly, and circumcised the flesh of his foreskin, and was joined unto the house of Yisra’el until this day.”
So what we do, can cause others to believe in Yahuah! Achior, a Captain of all the sons of Ammon is part of Yisra’el.
Yahudith always praised and pointed the esteem to YAHUAH:
Her story ends like this:
“And many desired her, but none knew her all the days of her life, after that Manasses her husband was dead, and was gathered to his people. But she increased more and more in honour, and waxed old in her husband’s house, being a hundred and five years old, and made her maid go free; so she died in Bethulia: and they buried her in the cave of her husband Manasses. And the house of Yisra’el lamented her seven days: and before she died she did distribute her good to all them that were nearest of kindred to Manasses her husband, and to them that were the nearest of her kindred. And there was none that made the children of Yisra’el any more afraid in the days of Yahudith, nor a long time after her death.” Yahudith 16:25
Today, I must also acknowledge Yahudith’s waiting woman/servant who was with her throughout most of her life. We do not have a name for her but she was Yahudith’s right hand. She was there to help Yahudith before Mannasse died and I am sure she helped Yahudith while she was grieving. She laid out Yahudith’s clothes and prepared her food. She was a slave but she was more than likely treated well. But I wonder what her life was like while she was a slave? Did she have family of her own? How old was she? How long was she a slave? What did she do when she was free? Where did she go?
Part 5 up next – Lessons Learned and watch for the Yahudith Challenge!
By the Hand of a Woman – Yahudith Part 3
They leave and then she falls on her face, putting ashes on her head, uncovers the sackcloth where she was clothed and at the time when incense was being offered she cried out to YAHUAH with a loud voice. Here is part of her prayer:
“Behold their pride, and send your wrath upon their heads: give into my hand, which I am a widow, the power that I have conceived. Smite by the deceit of my lips the servant with the prince and the prince with the servant: break down their stateliness by the hand of a woman.
And make my speech and deceit to be their wound and stripe, who have purposed cruel things against Your covenant, and Your set-apart house, and against the top of Tsion and against the house of the possession of Your children.
Try praying that prayer when people are against you because of your belief in YAHUAH?
So okay moving on to Chapter 10 after she stopped praying she called her maid and went down into the house, took off her sackcloth and widows garments. Washed and anointed herself. Braided her hair and put a “tire” on her head (some type of cover or wrap) and then put on her garments of gladness that she used to wear before her husband died. Then she decked herself in some nice sandals, added some jewelry…to allure the eyes of men. Then she and her maid gathered some food and wine and left for their mission.
When the people who were standing at the gate saw her, they were surprised because she was no longer looking like a widow but a beautiful woman! Then they blessed her by asking that YAHUAH give her favor to do whatever she was going to do.
So Yahudith and her maid walked directly into the valley where the Assyrians were waiting. When they saw her, they took her and asked her who she was and what she was doing. She said:
Now when the men heard this they were surprised and wondered why such a beautiful woman would do this. They told her that she had chosen well and that Holofernes would treat her nicely.
So she comes before Holofernes and he says to her that he would have not done anything to her people but because they set their “light against him” that he had to act on them. She then basically tells him that he will not win a war against them unless the people sin because YAHUAH is with them. However since the water has been shut off, that there will be a famine, the people will start to sin by eating things YAHUAH said that are unclean which will be a sin and the people would be punished. She said that she will remain with him and that at night she will go out and pray to YAHUAH, He will show her when Yisra’el sins and that she would then come and tell him.
They said to her:
Holofernes agrees with his servants and agrees to go with her plan. He has a tent made ready for her and then allows Yahudith and her servant to go out to the valley to pray at night. So for days this goes on and by the fourth day Holofernes says he wants to have a feast but only his servants are welcome to come. Then he sends his eunuch Bagoas to ask the “Hebrew woman” to come and join them. His plan was to get her drunk and lay with her. So she agrees to come but only eats and drinks what is prepared by her servant.
Holofernes on the other hand desires her so much that he drinks more in that day than ever before in his life! Eventually, the servants leave and Holofernes falls soundly asleep on his bed. Yahudith sends her maid away and then tells Bagoas that she will soon go to prayer as she had done every night, then he leaves.
Part 4 up tomorrow and watch for the Yahudith Challenge!
By the Hand of a Woman – Yahudith Part 2
If you are just joining us, please feel free to read the beginning of the study on Yahudith:
So when the Yisra’elites found him, they asked what happened and he told them all that Holofernes said that he would do to the Yisra’elites. So all who heard him were afraid and prayed to YAHUAH.
Holofernes then moved his camp closer unto the city of Beyt Ulyah. His men looked at the entrances into the city, stopped up the water and set groups men to watch the city. Then the children of Esau came and said to him “look you don’t have to worry about fighting them because they will die from famine because you shut off their water supply.”
Holofernes was happy with this knowledge so he said he would wait.
Sure enough, the Yisra’elites started to become thirsty. The children, women and young men began to faint. So then the people gathered together and went to Uzziyahu and other leaders, blaming them for not making peace with the Assyrians. So Uzziyahu basically said “Okay I hear you but don’t worry. Let’s wait five more days to see if YAHUAH will deliver us. If He doesn’t then we will become the slaves of Nabuchodonsor.”
Finally, here comes Yahudith! When she hears what is happening she is mad (Mutually Angry & Determined)!
So she told her waiting woman to go and get the leaders of the Uzziyahu, Chabris, and Charmis, the ancients of the city…she had something to say, listen to this:
These words alone are powerful. But do you know what the men’s response was? Listen to this:
Now do you think that if she said what she said with an attitude, stating that men were being stupid in their decisions and that she knows so much and that she knows better than them that they would have listened to her?
Okay moving on, she then tells them that she has a plan; that they are not to ask what she will do but that she will leave tonight with her waiting woman (servant) and that within the days that they have asked YAHUAH to deliver them, they will be delivered by the hand of a woman.
Part 3 up tomorrow
By the Hand of a Woman – Yahudith Part 1
Yahudith was a Ivriyt (Hebrew) widow living in Bethulia and they had not long come out of a recent time of captivity. Her husband’s name was Manasses and he died during the barley harvest. Now Manasses was a wise and very well off man because Yahudith did not have to want for anything when he died. She had fields, lands, servants, attendants, gold, silver, and cattle. There are several scriptures that show different grieving times, some say seven days and others say thirty days. But she remained in her grief a long time – three years and four months! She lived in tent on top of her house, fasted everyday accept the Sabbath and Festival days and wore widows garments. Yahudith 8:1-8
This let’s me know that she loved her husband and they must have had a great relationship. I wonder what their marriage was like? How did they get along? How did they resolve conflict? How long had they been married before he died?
In the 12th year of Nabuchodonsor’s (Nebuchadnezzar)reign – he was king of the Assyrians (in Nineveh) he made war with king Arphaxad. So Nabuchodonsor sent to all that lived In Persia, Dilicia, Damascus, Libanus, Antilibanus, all that were on the sea coast, the nations of Carmel, Gallaad, Galilee, Esdrelom, Samaria, beyond the river Jordan, Yerushalyim, Ramesses, Gesem, Tahpnes for all of them to come and help in battle against Arphaxad. But they refused and didn’t’ think much of him. So he became very angry and said that he would destroy basically North Africa.
In the 17th year of his reign he marched against Arphaxad and won. Then he returned to Nineveh and had a party for 120 days. Later in the 18th year of his reign someone reminded him of an oath he made to destroy all those who would not come to war with him. So he called Holofernes who was the chief captain on his army and told him to destroy all the cities who would not help. Holofernes was told to slaughter everyone who rebelled against his command.
So Holofernes did what he was told and gathered some men for battle, 120,000 and 12,000 archers on horseback. Not to mention the other countries that came to help…they were as locusts and unable to be numbered! He destroyed Phud and Lud Rasses, Ishmael, all the cities that were on the river Arbonai. He killed all that resisted him, burned tabernacles, burned harvest fields, destroyed flocks and herds, utterly destroyed their countries, and killed their young men.
Nations were so afraid of him so they sent ambassadors of peace to him saying they would be servants of Nabuchodonosor. So Holofernes said okay and took his men throughout the cities and pitched a tent between Geba and Scythopolis and waited a whole month.
Now when the children of Yisra’el heard all that Holofernes had done they were very afraid. They were particularly afraid because they had just returned from captivity – they did not want to be taken captive again! So the priest Joacim, told them to be ready for war and stop anyone from coming in the entrances of Yehudah. Then everyone one humbled themselves by fasting and prayed to YAHUAH.
When Holofernes heard that they had prepared for war he became very angry and asked those who were with him “Why did these people not come and meet me…?”
Then Achior who was a captain of all the sons of Ammon basically told Holofernes the story of the Yisra’elites and how YAHUAH had moved on their behalf many times. He ended by saying this:
Keep Achior and what he said in your mind.
So the other people who were with Holofernes were upset and wanted to kill Achior for what he said, saying “we will not be afraid of the face of the children of Yisra’el; for lo, it is a people that have no strength nor power for a strong battle.” Holofernes didn’t like what Archior had to say either and told Archoir that he would not see his face anymore. He then commanded his men to take Archior to the children of Yisra’el and leave him there with them (obviously he planned to kill him too).
Part 2 up tomorrow