This review will be featuring short stories from the book- Bad Girls of the Bible; that features 10 women who were considered bad. I will be reviewing 5 stories of each story and sharing the lessons learnt.
Eve: Man has his will—but woman has her way – Oliver Wendell Holmes
Eve was the wife of Adam and her story is found on Genesis 3, where there is a full account of the depiction of the fall of man. Hers is a story of betrayal and disobedience towards God. There are many lessons to learn from the first biblical story. The structure was all over the place. We all know the creation story, I feel it wasn’t well blended with fiction part of the story. The narrative involved other couples which diluted the creation story. The story could have been written better.
The lessons learnt here are immense, Eve went through temptation with the devil. What stood out for me was that she failed to do one important thing that is mentioned in James 4:7 (submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.) She instead went ahead to challenge the devil and he succeeded in convincing her to eat the forbidden fruit.
Potiphar’s wife: Heaven has no rage like love to hatred turned, nor hell a fury like a woman scorned. William Congreve
The story of Potiphar’s wife is documented in Genesis 39.
In summary she tried to seduce Joseph but was unsuccessful in her attempts.
I found it strange that some of these women were not addressed by their names but called in relation to their husbands. Where was her identity? The structure with this narrative was much better than the first story. I personally feel that as a wife, mother, sister and friend; my identity should not get lost when people describe me. I should simply be “Sharon”. And this can only be done by politely correcting people and when introducing myself to others I should do so with my first name.
My biggest lesson learnt from the story is not to let emotions and pride override common sense. Potiphar’s did this and it ended up tragic.
Lot’s Wife: Dust in the air suspended Marks the place where a story ended- Thomas Stearns Eliot
Here is another story told of a woman without an identity. Also living in the danger of mundane life of routines: waking up, going to work, going back home and repeat. Then suddenly Jesus comes back. The question is will you and I be ready. Another take home from this story is not to hold on too tight to physical things of this earth for they too shall come to pass. Lot’s wife really held on to her property and wealth and it was difficult for her to let go of the past and what she was leaving behind.
Wasn’t it also unfortunate that Lot tried to sell his daughters to the highest bidder just to protect himself? He was a selfish man. He seemed lazy and loved the easier way out. He chose the better looking land and let Abraham go to the desert, little did he know that this town would be destroyed.
All the speculations as to why Lot’s wife turned back were plausible. It could have been any of the reasons mentioned in the book. I learnt from Lot’s wife’s story that the most important thing in our lives is obedience to God. If we obey God, in most cases we would be avoiding heart ache and bad decisions that we make when we decide to do things our way. The instructions were very simple. Do not look back. But she disobeyed.
My biggest challenge right now is distinguishing the voice of God. I don’t want to be like Lot’s wife where I am asked to do something and I end up disobeying.
Dying for a drink: The woman at the well
Here is another story of a woman without and identity. It seems over the years women have come a long way in gaining their rights to identity. Most of the stories so far show women without names but identities coming from their husbands, children or actions that made them memorable.
I don’t think the omission of her name from scripture made her story more or less believable. What is important is that the message of Christ to all who believe got to anyone who came across it.
So why the woman at the well was considered a bad girl? First because she was a Samaritan woman. Samaritans were generally looked down upon by Jews. Secondly she had five husbands.
I didn’t like the structure of this story line. I felt it was all over the place. The introduction started off well, however I didn’t get to the conclusion of the story before comparisons with the biblical part of the story begun then suddenly again another reference was done with the author’s experience. I liked the first story of the woman who worked in a pub because it is easy for women who work in such professions to be compared to the woman at the well.
That said there are a few lessons that stood out for me from this story. First is that we as humans love to judge others. We make a lot of assumptions about people without first getting to know them. I have been judged too before based on my physical appearance.
The woman at the well was thirsty spiritually, something I can identify with. I am thirsting to have a deeper relationship with God and sharing it with others and here is my first stop.
Delilah: There is a lot to say in her favor, but the other is more interesting. Mark Twain
The story of Delilah and Samson is told in the book of Judges. Samson was one of the Judges at the time when Israel did not have a king. Samson is described as one of the strongest people in the world at the time. The Philistines were out to kill him, they waited to do so but he escaped their snares. Delilah was a Philistine woman. She nagged and nagged Samson into revealing the source of his strength. It was not about his hair, the secret to Samson’s strength lay in in his devotion to God, and an oath that forbade him to cut his hair. His hair was cut and as soon as it was, the Lord departed from him.
Back to the structure of the book. I still don’t get the point of giving analogy to this story and yet I know what eventually happened to Samson and Delilah. The lessons learnt are still the same through and through.
My biggest lesson from this story is that God turns failure into divine victory. His strength was finally restored, after his eyes were gorged out, tortured and in bondage. He pulled down the pillars of the place he was in bondage killing 3000 Philistines in the process.
What I love most about this book is that it makes you go through these Bible stories again. I may have issues with the structure of the book, however I think the lessons re-affirmed in each story makes the book all worthwhile.
This is a summary review of the stories of the first five women featured in the book. Part 2 will feature the remaining stories of five more women who were considered bad girls.