Outline for Five Wise Women of the Bible

by Jonathan Spurlock
(Holts Summit, MO)

Intro: Only a few women in the Bible were called “wise women”, even though any number of women were truly wise. A pair of women, both in the Book of 2 Samuel, were called “wise women” and both gave solutions to vexing problems. Abigail, the wife/widow of Nabal the Carmelite (1 Samuel 25) was described as a woman “good understanding”. Jael, wife of Heber the Kenite, in the Book of Judges, personally took action to rid Israel of an enemy, using her wisdom. Finally, one unnamed woman from Thebez, also in Judges, stopped Ahimelech, son of Gideon, from extending his reign over Israel (Judges 9).


Many women used their God-given wisdom to make life better for their homes, husbands, and nation. These five are only a sample and any number of others, named and not named, deserve a closer look at the good they did. It is also true that many women used the wrong kind of wisdom to do untold evil and mischief—in Bible days, as well as these days. Blessed is the woman indeed whose God is the Lord and who seeks to put Him first in all she does.

I The Wise Woman of Tekoa (2 Sam 14)
--This took place before the rebellion by Absalom.
--Tekoa was southeast of Jerusalem (estimate: 12 miles) and Bethlehem (estimate: 6 miles) so relatively close to David’s birth place and capital.
--Joab found her and asked her to play the role of a widow, who had also had one son kill the other son.
--Eventually David figured it out that she was talking about the feud between him and his son, Absalom. Absalom had fled from David three years before (2 Sam. 13).
--She did her part to make reconciliation possible between the king and one of his sons.

II The Wise Woman of Abel-Beth-Maacah (2 Sam 20:14-22)
--This event took place after Absalom’s rebellion had been defeated.
--Abel-Beth-Maacach was in Israel’s far north regions (near Dan).
--Shimei, a Benjamite, had called for another rebellion against David (20:1-2) and had led a good number of Israelites after him. They were fleeing to the north and were living in Abel.
--Joab arranged the soldiers against the city to “besiege” it—wait for the people to starve and had built impressive mounds, etc., against the city.
--The wise woman asked Joab why he was there and he explained. All he asked for was Shimei’s head, proof of execution, and the army would leave.
--She made the request known and Shimei was put to death. Someone in the city threw Shimei’s head over the walls. Joab kept his word and the army left.
--She did her part to keep the city safe from destruction.

III Abigail, the woman of “good understanding (1 Sam 25)”

--She was not only beautiful but wise (25:3); husband was “churlish”
--David’s men had protected Nabal’s workers, livestock, etc., at no charge. (4-9)
--David requested some compensation for the protection rendered; Nabal had none of it (10-11)
--David and men were ready to destroy Nabal and every male in his household (21-22)
--Abigail prepared a feast for David’s men: bread, wine, grain, etc.
--She offered to take all the blame for Nabal’s poor behavior and recognized David’s future greatness (he was just a leader of 600 “irregular” soldiers at this time).
--Eventually she informed Nabal, who died a few days later, and married David. She apparently followed him till her earthly life was over.
--She did her part to prevent unnecessary bloodshed.

IV Jael, the woman who killed an enemy (Judges 4)
--Lived in the time of the Judges, dark period of Israel’s history
--Israel, especially the northern region, oppressed by Sisera, general of King Jabin’s army
--Deborah was the “judge” at that time; Barak selected to be Israel’s military leader
--Israel won the battle with God’s help; Sisera’s army ran for their lives but all were killed except Sisera himself
--Sisera came to house of Heber the Kenite (Jael was his wife) and asked for water; got milk
--Eventually Jael drove a “nail (KJV)” into Sisera’s temple and killed him
--She did her part in destroying an enemy. It must be remembered that in the Book of Joshua, Israel was commanded to destroy all the Canaanite peoples. That they did not, and wound up worshipping the very deities that couldn’t deliver them from Israel in the past, are two reasons why God allowed the Israelites to be subjected.

V The crafty woman of Thebez (Judges 9)
--Not named, only mentioned in one verse (Judges 9:53)
--Ahimelech, son of Gideon, had himself crowned king, years before Saul
--Ahimelech tried to conquer Thebez but this woman threw a piece of a millstone at him. Text says “all to brake (sic) his skull” and most likely means she fractured his skull.
--Ahimelech asked another soldier to kill him, then the other man did so. Israel then went home.
--She did her part by saving her city from certain destruction by an evil man.

Conclusion: each of these studies could be expanded into messages, workshops, etc. There was only one thing each woman had in common: she was led to get involved, but never tried to receive any glory for herself. Godly women need not strive to “reach the top” if the Lord doesn’t want her to be there, but when she realizes her place in God’s kingdom, and strives to serve Him wherever she is, she will be blessed beyond measure.

Scripture quotations taken from the King James Version of the Bible (KJV).

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