Women of the Bible (Blogging from A-Z) – L

 

Leah

The Woman Lacking Loveliness Was Yet Loyal

Scripture ReferencesGenesis 29; 30; 49:31; Ruth 4:11

Name Meaning—Leah as a name has been explained in many ways. “Wearied” or “Faint from Sickness” with a possible reference to her precarious condition at the time of birth, is Wilkinson’s suggestion. Others say the name means “married” or “mistress.” The narrative tells us that she was “tender eyed” (Genesis 29:17), which can mean that her sight was weak or that her eyes lacked that luster reckoned a conspicuous part of female beauty which Rachel her sister “beautiful and well-favoured” evidently had.

Family Connections—Because Jacob was Rebekah’s son he was related to Leah by marriage. Leah was the elder daughter of Laban who, by deception, married her to Jacob, to whom she bore six sons and a daughter. By her maid, Zilpah, Leah added two more sons to her family.

The romantic story of Jacob and his two wives never loses its appeal. After fleeing from and meeting God at Bethel, Jacob reached Haran and at Laban’s well he met his cousin Rachel drawing water for the sheep. It was love at first sight for Jacob, and his love remained firm until Rachel’s death in giving birth to her second child. Going to work for his Uncle Laban, Jacob was offered wages in return for service rendered, but he agreed to serve Laban for seven years on the condition that at the end of the period Rachel should be his wife. Because of his love for Rachel those years seemed but a few days.

At the end of the specified period however, Jacob was cruelly deceived by his uncle. As it was a custom of the time to conduct the bride to the bedchamber of her husband in silence and darkness, it was only with the morning light that Jacob discovered that he had been deceived by Laban as he saw Leah and not Rachel at his side. Laban condoned his unrighteous act by saying that the younger girl could not be given in marriage before the first-born, and Jacob covenanted to serve another seven years for Rachel, his true love inspiring him to be patient and persevering. Perhaps Jacob treated the deception as a retributive providence, for he had previously deceived his blind and dying father.

Whether Leah participated in the deceit to win Jacob from her more beautiful sister we do not know. The moral tone of the home was low, and Leah may have been a child of environment. This much is evident, that although she knew that the love of her husband’s heart was not for her but for Rachel, Leah genuinely loved Jacob and was true to him until he buried her in the cave of Machpelah. While Jacob was infatuated with Rachel’s beauty, and loved her, there is no indication that she loved him in the same way. “Rachel remains one of those women with nothing to recommend her but beauty,” says H. V. Morton. “She is bitter, envious, quarrelsome and petulant. The full force of her hatred is directed against her sister, Leah.”

The names Leah gave her children testified to the miraculous faith God had planted in her heart. Somewhat despised by Jacob, she was yet remembered by the Lord. In spite of the polygamous marriage, she became the mother of six sons who were to become the representatives of six of the twelve tribes of Israel. The names Leah chose revealed her piety and sense of obligation to the Lord.

Reuben, her first-born, means “Behold a son,” and Leah praised God for looking favorably upon her. Thus, divine compassion was carefully treasured in such a name which also the holder tarnished.

Simeon, the second son, means “Hearing,” so given by Leah since God had heard her cry because of Rachel’s hatred. Such a name as Simeon is a lasting monument of answered prayer.

Levi, the next to be born implies, “Joined” and Leah rejoices feeling that her husband would now love her, and that through Levi’s birth she would be more closely united to her husband.

Judah was the fourth son to be born to Leah, and she gave him a name meaning “Praise.” Perhaps by now Jacob had become a little more affectionate. Certainly the Lord had been good to both Leah and Jacob, and with the selfishness in her heart defeated, Leah utters a sincere Soli Deo Gloria—“I will praise the Lord.” Leah had two other sons named Issachar and Zebulun, and a daughter, Dinah. Leah was uncomely when compared to her lovely sister, but what she lacked in beauty she made up for in loyalty to Jacob as a wife, and as a good mother to his children. “It seems that homely Leah was a person of deep-rooted piety and therefore better suited to become instrumental in carrying out the plans of Jehovah than her handsome, but worldly-minded, sister, Rachel.”

One evident lesson we can learn from the triangle of love in that ancient Israelite home is that solemn choices should not be based upon mere external appearances. Rachel was beautiful, and as soon as Jacob saw her he fell for her. But it was Leah, not Rachel, who bore Judah through whose line the Saviour came. The unattractive Leah might have repelled others, but God was attracted toward her because of an inner beauty which the lovely Rachel lacked. “There are two kinds of beauty,” Kuyper reminds us. “There is a beauty which God gives at birth, and which withers as a flower. And there is a beauty which God grants when by His grace men are born again. That kind of beauty never vanishes but blooms eternally.” Behind many a plain or ugly face there is a most lovely disposition. Also God does not look upon the outward appearance, but upon the heart.

Women in the Bible (Blogging from A-Z) – V

 

Vashti

Vashti

The Woman Who Exalted Modesty

Scripture ReferencesEsther 1; 2:1; 4:17

Name Meaning—Vashti corresponded to the significance of her name, “beautiful woman.” She must have been one of the loveliest women in the realm of King Ahasuerus who thought so much of his wife’s physical charms that at a drinking debauchery he wanted to exhibit her beauty for she “was fair to look upon.”

Family Connections—Bullinger identifies this Persian beauty as the daughter of Alyattes, King of Lydia, but the only authentic record of Vashti is what we have in her brief appearance in Scripture as the queen of the court of Ahasuerus, or Artaxerxes. It would be interesting to know what became of the noble wife after her disgrace and divorce by her unworthy, wine-soaked husband.

While the Book of Esther holds a high place in the sacred literature of the Jews, it yet has no mention of God or of the Holy Land, and contains no definite religious teaching. Martin Luther is said to have tossed the book into the river Elbe, saying that he wished it did not exist for “it has too much of Judaism and a great deal of heathenish imagination.” The book contains a genuine strain of human interest, but it is also heavy with the air of divine providence (compare Esther). Although the story of Vashti only covers a few paragraphs in the book, yet in the setting of oriental grandeur we have the elements of imperishable drama. While the bulk of the book revolves around Esther, from our point of view the shining character in the story is the queenly Vashti, who was driven out because she refused to display her lovely face and figure before the lustful eyes of a drunken court.

By birth Vashti was a Persian princess, possessing along with her regal bearing, an extraordinary, fragile beauty. Although her husband was a king “who reigned from India even unto Ethiopia, over an hundred and seven and twenty provinces,” her self-respect and high character meant more to her than her husband’s vast realm. Rather than cater to the vanity and sensuality of drunkards, she courageously sacrificed a kingdom. Rather than lower the white banner of womanly modesty, Vashti accepted disgrace and dismissal. The only true ruler in that drunken court was the woman who refused to exhibit herself, even at the king’s command.

The Demand

An impressive banquet was to be held in Susa the capital of Persia, lasting for seven days, with the king and his dignitaries joining with hundreds of invited guests in an unceasing whirl of festivities during which wine flowed freely. Both great and small were to be found “in the court of the garden of the palace.” Then came the crowning touch of a drunken tyrant’s caprice. When “the heart of the king was merry with wine” he commanded that Vashti, his royal consort, appear before the guests. For a week, inflamed with wine and adulation, he had displayed the magnificent wealth and power of his kingdom and the princes had poured flattery upon him. Now for the climax! Let all the half-drunken guests see his most lovely possession, Queen Vashti, who was probably the most beautiful woman in his kingdom. He wanted the intoxicated jubilant lords to feast their eyes on her. The Bible plainly declares that Ahasuerus summoned his wife to the feast simply “to show her beauty.”

Had the king been sober he would not have considered such a breach of custom, for he knew that Eastern women lived in seclusion and that such a request as he made in his drunken condition amounted to a gross insult. “For Vashti to appear in the banquet hall, though dressed in her royal robes and crowned, would be almost as degrading as for a modern woman of our modern world to go naked into a man’s party.” What Ahasuerus demanded was a surrender of womanly honor, and Vashti, who was neither vain nor wanton, was unwilling to comply. Plutarch reminds us that it was the habit of a Persian king to have his queen beside him at a banquet, but when he wished to riot and drink, he sent his queen away and called in the wives of inferior rank—his concubines. Perhaps that is the historic clue to Vashti’s indignant refusal for she knew only too well that Persian custom dictated that a queen be secluded during the feasts where rare wines flowed freely.

The Disobedience

To Vashti, the command of the king—her husband, who alone had the right to gaze upon her beautiful form—was most revolting to her sense of propriety, and knowing what the consequences of her refusal to appear before the half-drunken company would entail, refused in no uncertain terms to comply with the king’s demand. She stood strong in womanly self-respect and “refused to come at the king’s commandment.” Her noble scorn at her threatened indignity deserves finer recognition. What the king sought would have infringed upon her noble, feminine modesty, therefore she had every right to disobey her wine-soaked husband. A wife need not and may not obey her husband in what opposes God’s laws and the laws of feminine honor and decency. All praise to the heroic Vashti for her decent disobedience.

The Deposition

Vashti’s disobedience excited the king to madness. No one, especially a woman, had ever dared to humiliate such a despot whose word was law in all his realm. Such a slight had but one issue, for forth went the decree, “that Vashti come no more before King Ahasuerus.” This degradation also meant divorce, not only from her husband, but also from the life and luxury she had been used to. Thus amid the tragic darkness Queen Vashti—never more queenly than in her refusal—disappears like a shining shadow. The wise men, court astrologers and princes agreed with the king that banishment from the palace was the only fit punishment for such a crime. They knew that Vashti’s bold stand might incite other Persian ladies to disobey their liege lords, and so the warrant, silly as it was royal, was enacted that “Every man be master in his own house, and that all the wives shall give to their husbands honour, both to great and small!”

As a Persian law once made could never be revoked, Ahasuerus, now sober, and likely regretful of his impulsive anger could not reinstate Vashti, thus Esther was chosen to succeed her as queen. It is quite probable that “Vashti continued to live in the royal household, stripped of the insignia of royalty, but with her own integrity clothed in purple.” Surrendering the diadem of Persia, Vashti put on a crown which was beyond the power of a despot king to give or take away, namely, the crown of exalted womanhood. How apropos are the lines of Tennyson as we think of the fine character of Vashti, the pagan Persian—

Self-reverence, self-knowledge, self-control,

These three alone lead life to sovereign power.

Yet not for power (power by herself

Would come uncalled for), but to live by law,

Acting the law we live without fear;

And, because right is right, to follow right

Were wisdom in the scorn of consequence.

Vashti chose deposition rather than dishonor with a mortifying refusal to obey. Her refusal to exhibit herself was visited with “a punishment severe enough to reestablish the supremacy which it threatened to overthrow,” but to Vashti, conscience and personal dignity occupied a higher supremacy and for this ideal she was dethroned. Allied to her beauty and regal charm were courage and heroism, securing her character from the rot of power. Vashti had a soul of her own, and preserved its integrity; and if women today fail to honor their life they will never win the best God has for them. It is to be regretted that in our modern world many women are not as careful as Vashti the pagan was in guarding the dignity of the body. Fashion and popularity are a poor price to pay for the loss of one’s self-respect. Christian ideals in womanhood may be deemed old-fashioned and in conflict with the trend of the times, but divine favor rests upon those who have courage to be ridiculed for such high ideals. Any woman is one after God’s own heart when, as Mary Hallet puts it, she determines by His grace—

To remain refined in speech and action, when it is the style to appear “hard-boiled”—

To be dignified when everyone else pretends to be “wild”—

To maintain a true perspective, a real sense of values, in an irresponsible age.

Women of the Bible (Blogging from A-Z) – N

 

Naomi

Naomi

The Woman Who Tasted the Cup of Bitterness

Scripture Reference—The Book of Ruth

Name Meaning—As indicated under Naamah No. 1 (which see) Naomi means “my joy,” “my bliss,” or “pleasantness of Jehovah,” and is a name suggestive of all that is charming, agreeable, attractive. Until deep sorrow overshadowed her, we can understand Naomi having a nature corresponding to her name. Although her character came to be purged and enhanced by her suffering, Naomi had an innate nobility that gave her personality an irresistible charm.

Family Connections—While both Naomi and Elimelech were staunch members of the Hebrew race, we are told nothing of their genealogy. Elimelech, who married Naomi, is thought to have belonged to one of the outstanding families in Israel, being a brother of Salmon, prince of Judah, who married Rahab. If this was so, then Naomi began her married life in comfortable circumstances. Naomi and Elimelech belonged to Bethlehem-Judah where two sons were born to them, namely, Mahlon and Chilion.

The Book of Ruth, which is one of the most lovely idylls in literature, and has enchanted every age, presents us with two women who are among the best-loved in history and whose story still captivates the world because of their unique devotion. Naomi and Ruth, her daughter-in-law, afford a relief after characters like Tamar, Delilah and Jezebel. In this sketch let us try to delineate the life and experience of Naomi who knew a great deal about “the ringing groove of change,” to use Tennyson’s phrase. Because of her manifold changes in life, Naomi came to fear God in a deeper way (Psalm 55:19).

Her Change of Country

During the rule of the Judges, Israel suffered a serious famine which was deemed to be one of the punishments visited upon the people when they had sinned (Leviticus 26:14, 16). Driven to consternation, Elimelech the Ephrathite of Bethlehem decided to emigrate with his family to another land where food was more plentiful, and so traveled from Judah and settled in the highlands of Moab. For Naomi such an uprooting from her native home must have constituted a real sacrifice. Sincere in her faith, she loved the people of God and was strongly attached to the wonderful traditions of her race.

In taking the initiative to go to Moab—a foreign country—from Bethlehem, Naomi’s husband stepped out of the will of God. If the famine was a judgment upon the nation, Elimelech should have repented, tried to have helped his fellow countrymen back to God, and prayed for the removal of the scourge (Psalm 34:9, 10, 17). One may argue that Elimelech was wise in taking Naomi and their two sons out of a famine-stricken area to another land where there was sufficient food. But Elimelech was a Hebrew, and as such had the promise, “In the days of famine, thou shalt be satisfied.” Elimelech means, “My God is King.” Had he truly believed God was his King, he would have stayed in Bethlehem, knowing that need could not throttle God who is able to furnish a table in the desert. But Elimelech belied the name he bore when he left Bethlehem—“the house of bread”—for Moab, meaning “waste” or “nothingness.” With his family he went from a place where God was honored to another land so heathen in its ways.

Although the land of Moab may sound remote it was only some 30 miles from Bethlehem-Judah—a long enough journey in those far-off days when they had no transportation. The distance, however, was not one of miles, but of mind. As H. V. Morton puts it, “Distances in the Bible are not measured from one place to another, but from God. Naomi and her husband felt they were going into a far country because Moab was a land of foreign worship.” Thus Bethlehem to Moab measured the distance from God to the alien worship of an alien country. What disturbed feelings Naomi must have had as, with her family, she found herself in a strange land, unknown, and with all the problems of establishing a home in repellant surroundings.

Her Change of Connections

It was not long before Naomi discovered the error in leaving Bethlehem for in the new and heathen land nothing but misfortune dogged her footsteps. Her two sons married women of Moab. Instead of helping to support their mother they took wives of the alien country they were in. The Jewish law forbade marriage outside of the nation. Naomi’s husband, Elimelech, died. He had fled to Moab to escape a possible death from famine, and died in the midst of plenty leaving his wife a widow in a land of idolaters. Bereft of her husband, Naomi loses all heart to live on in a land of foreigners.

When the stem dies, the leaf that grew

Out of its heart must perish too.

Naomi became one of the widows whom Paul describes as being “desolate.” To add to her desolation and grief, she also lost both of her sons and so Naomi “was left of her two sons and husband.” By this time she was old and helpless with her widowed daughters-in-law, Ruth and Orpah, to shelter. As they were not of her people, nor of her faith in God, Moab true to its name, must have been empty, desolate and inhospitable to Naomi’s grief-stricken, aching heart. Doubtless, Ruth and Orpah, whose hearts too had been emptied, were a source of comfort to Naomi, even though they knew that their marriage to Mahlon and Chilion was against her religious principles. So, as George Matheson fittingly expresses it—

To all appearance Naomi was desolate. Husband and children were gone—the place of sojourn was a land of strangers &–;the voices of the old sanctuary were silent. Her heart and spirit were broken, her conscience was up in arms. The God of her fathers, she felt, had deserted her for her desertion of Him. She must retrieve the past—she must go back—back to the old soil, back to the favour of her God.

Bethlehem was Naomi’s native land, and all her relatives and friends were there. Thus she left for Bethlehem, not so much because of her cup of sorrow in Moab, but because she had heard that “the Lord had visited his people in giving them bread.”

Her Change of Character

Naomi was determined to return to Bethlehem alone, but her daughters-in-law left with her, possibly excited about a new start in a new land. But on the journey back, Naomi paused and pleaded with Ruth and Orpah to return to Moab. She knew what it would mean for them as Moabites to cross the boundary line, stressing the point that in Canaan there would be very little prospect of their finding husbands. What a moment that must have been as those three widows stood there at the parting of the ways. Orpah, without much ado, kissed Naomi, and then went back to her own idolatrous people, but Ruth clave unto Naomi and begged her to take her to Bethlehem (see href=”/id/42383737-3241-4331-2D36-3537322D3339″>Ruth).

As Naomi and Ruth entered the city together the thoughts of each must have been different. To Naomi there came flashing back thoughts of a happy youth and of a life at peace with God—thoughts which tended to aggravate her desolation. But for Ruth, there was the novelty and strangeness of a foreign people, a speech not fully understood, and youth’s quest for new adventure. Naomi’s arrival in the old community created a sensation. Quickly it passed from lip to lip that the well-known, beautiful and pleasant woman who had left ten years before was back, and as all the city met her they cried, “Is this Naomi?” Why the question form of their welcome? Did they detect a radical change in her appearance and demeanor? The repetition of her significant name irritated her as she cried—

Call me not Naomi [pleasant, winsome, agreeable], call me Mara [bitter]: for the Almighty hath dealt very bitterly with me. I went out full, and the Lord hath brought me home again empty: why then call ye me Naomi, seeing the Lord hath testified against me, and the Almighty hath afflicted me?

Naomi could not bear the contradiction between the name she bore, and the person she was. Ten years in Moab with all its anguish, and also the loss of fellowship with God and His people had dried up her finer feelings. Once so sweet, Naomi was now sour, and blamed God for the poverty and desolation she had endured. But why chide God? Was not her cup of bitterness the result of the act of disobedience when, with her husband, she left Bethlehem for Moab? Had she stayed in her own land and maintained her trust in God, in spite of the famine, He would have undertaken for her and her family and brought them through. But the journey to Moab was a journey from God, and consequently her bitterness was the fruit of such an act of disobedience.

Her Change of Circumstances

Naomi was back in Bethlehem as a “returned empty.” She went away to Moab with plenty but retraced her steps in poverty. How descriptive of her adverse circumstances is her lament! “I went out full, and the Lord hath brought me home again empty.” Naomi and Ruth, then, clinging to each other, plunge into the poverty and solitariness facing them—but with a different outlook. Both women were widows and sufferers, but suffering old age often yields to hopelessness and despair, whereas suffering youth rebounds and seeks to be responsive to the life that is around. Thus Ruth felt the stir of excitement in her new surroundings. Naomi and she must eat, and knowing that her mother-in-law, whom Ruth surrounded with loving care, was too old to bend her back to work in the fields, Ruth goes out and secures work as a gleaner in the fields of Boaz. Under Jewish law the poor were allowed to glean in any harvest field, and Ruth qualified for the weary, humble task of following the reapers and gathering up the gleanings for Naomi and herself.

What romance followed is more fully told in our study on Ruth (which see). Boaz, related to Naomi’s husband, was therefore connected by marriage to Ruth, and by Jewish custom, Boaz, as next of kin, could be regarded as Ruth’s rightful betrothed. Naomi, with her bitterness now subdued and her former pleasant disposition restored, took a lively interest in the kindness of Boaz to Ruth, and advised her in the steps leading to her marriage to Boaz. The idyllic conclusion was reached as Naomi, through her tender boldness, saw Ruth lifted out of obscurity and poverty into marriage with a godly man, as well as a mighty man of wealth. For Naomi, the winter of desolation was past, and the time of the singing of birds had come. Although her natural hopes had perished, Naomi lived again in the life of her dear, sacrificial daughter-in-law, and there were loud rejoicings when Ruth’s first-born, Obed, was carried to Grandma Naomi. Now her daughter-in-law who loved her was better to Naomi “than seven sons.” How lovingly she would nurse Ruth’s child and bless God because, as Professor R. G. Moulton expressed it—

The family she thought she had seen perish has been restored to the genealogies of Israel; for baby Obed lives to become the father of Jesse, and Jesse is father of the great King David. And in the genealogical tables of Matthew, the Moabitess who left her people for love of Naomi is duly named as an ancestress of the Messiah Himself.

Women of the Bible (Blogging from A-Z) – O

 

Orpah

Orpah

The Woman Who Rejected Her Chance

Scripture ReferenceRuth 1

Name Meaning—Various interpretations have been given of Orpah. Wilkinson says that by a not unusual change of letters it can be identified with Ophrah meaning, “a fawn, or young doe” and so is the feminine of Ephron, a Canaanitish name, signifying a “roebuck or stag.” Orpah is also said to mean “double-minded” which means to describe her dilemma when the crisis on that road to Bethlehem-Judah demanded a decision. Should she, like Ruth, go on to Bethlehem with Naomi, or return alone to Moab. James reminds us that a double-minded person is unstable in all his ways (James 1:8; 4:8). Other scholars assert that Orpah is derived from a Hebrew word for “neck” and so means “stiff-necked” or “stubborn” because of her turning back from following the other two widows (Ruth 1:4-14; 4:9, 10).

Family Connections—Of her pedigree we know nothing save that she married Chilion, the son of Elimelech and Naomi after they took up their abode in Moab. Because Ruth married the other son, Mahlon, Orpah became her sister-in-law. After Naomi lost her husband and two sons it is quite possible that both Orpah and Ruth lived in Naomi’s home, but what a difference there was in the two young women of Moab, hence the personal decision of each when Naomi, going back to her own country, urged Orpah and Ruth to return to theirs.

Both had been brought into contact with the truth of Jehovah because of their relation by marriage to the sons of Elimelech and Naomi. But while Ruth opened her heart to the revelation of the true God, and was ready to say to Naomi, as she urged the two widowed maidens to return home, “Thy God shall be my God—thy people my people”; Orpah continued to embrace Moloch, the heathen god of Moab as the object of her worship. Kuyper suggests—

Naomi had often studied Orpah, and had frequently observed that beneath her apparent piety there lurked the unmistakable influence of her former, heathen tendencies.

Naomi was determined to put Orpah to conclusive test. But when that test came, Orpah failed. She looked at the aged, childless and embittered Naomi of whom she no doubt thought highly. She also saw Ruth determined to go all the way with Naomi into an uncertain future, and felt that a bird in the hand was worth two in the bush. So she made her choice in favor of the rich and prosperous Moab she knew. She was likewise aware that the Jews hated the Moabites and she preferred to be with her own kin and kind. Ruth said to Naomi, “Thy God shall be my God,” but Orpah wanted nothing of Jehovah. She had left Moab along with Naomi and Ruth, but Moab was very much in her heart and so, after embracing Naomi, Orpah went back to her own people and to her own gods. After the farewell kiss, Orpah separated herself not only from Naomi and Ruth, but from the only true God. Back to Moab and Moloch Orpah went, and also into obscurity. She also vanished from the pages of sacred history. Calvary was enacted on that Bethlehem-Judah road. From the side of Naomi one woman went out into an abundant life, and the other retreated into darkness and despair. From the riven side of Jesus, one thief went to paradise, the other to perdition.

Women of the Bible (Blogging from A-Z) – T

 

Tryphena and Tryphosa

Tryphena and Tryphosa

Tryphena and Tryphosa

Scripture ReferenceRomans 16:12

Name Meaning—Delicate or dainty one

As Paul links these two Christian ladies together, we shall think of them as one—which they were in many ways. Probably they were twin sisters in the flesh, as well as in Christ, or very near relatives, and belonged to the same noble Roman family. They must have been conspicuous in the service of the church at Rome—perhaps deaconnesses—otherwise Paul would not have singled them out for his expression of gratitude for their devoted labor in the Lord.

Their names, characteristically pagan, are in contrast to their significance. Having a similar resemblance in appearance and constitution, if twins, they were given names having a like meaning. Being of noble birth they “lived delicately,” that is, in plenty and pleasure and luxury. Lightfoot says that, “It was usual to designate members of the same family by derivatives of the same root.” “Delicate” may, of course, refer to physical weakness, and as tender and delicate women, Tryphena and Tryphosa stand out as early examples of incessant and arduous labors in the service of the church.

Whether of gentle and refined manners, or delicate in health, or both, these active workers carved a niche for themselves in Paul’s portrait gallery of saints. Early Christian inscriptions in cemeteries used chiefly for the servants of the emperor contain both of these female names, and so can be identified as being among “the saints of Caesar’s household” (Philippians 4:22). How we bless God for the record of those early “honourable women which were Greeks” (Acts 17:12) who became humble followers of the Lamb!