Jeroboam's Wife: The Enduring Contributions of the Old Testament's Least-Known Women

Book, 2018, 270 pp
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Miriam, Rizpah, Wise Woman of Abel Beth Maacah, Wife of Jeroboam, Widow of Zarephath, Israelite Slave Girl, Athaliah

Much has been written about prominent women of the Bible such as Sarah, Ruth, and Esther. But little attention has been paid to the obscure or unnamed women of the Old Testament whose words are not recorded. Yet even while mute, these women often played critical roles in the unfolding of God’s plan, at times signalling the emergence of great events.

In Jeroboam’s Wife, Robin Gallaher Branch introduces seven of these obscure yet noteworthy women and girls. Through her careful examination of the literary contours of the biblical narratives, she highlights their unique challenges and indelible contributions. Drawing from contemporary biblical, psychological, and sociological scholarship, Branch brings these women and their stories to life in fresh ways. Thoughtful questions for personal reflection or group discussion help contemporary readers ponder how these women’s lives are still relevant.

Includes questions for further reflection.

(9 sessions)

“Amid a plentitude of literature on feminist interpretation, Robin Gallaher Branch here offers a singular contribution that merits careful attention. She combines careful, informed attention to the text with daring imagination that turns the text in new directions. Who would have thought to focus on the wife of Jeroboam who never speaks but who turns out to be an engine for compelling interpretation? Certainly not I! The book is reliable and suggestive, enhanced by over fifty pages of endnotes. Here is a book in which the long silenced are brought to speech!” —Walter Brueggemann, Professor Emeritus, Columbia Theological Seminary

“Robin Gallaher Branch examines scriptural narratives that contain women and girls who qualify as “minor characters.” Some are not even named in the narrative. She deftly subjects the narratives to close readings, brings the modern reader along with her through sensible, insightful commentary, and enters into dialogue with exponents of the Jewish and Christian traditions. Time and again the reader will want to respond to the author’s analysis with: ‘There is nothing minor about that!’”—J. Andrew Dearman, Professor of Old Testament, Fuller Theological Seminary

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