Priceless perfumes and oils. Royal luxuries available at Esther’s request. But for what purpose? The King demanded a beautiful virgin to replace the queen he banished in his drunken anger. To satisfy his immoral desires, the Persian King exploited his power by taking the most beautiful women from their homes and forcing them to undergo a year of beauty treatments so that one of them might be acceptable in his sight.
Throughout history, women have been used as sexual property, disposed of as mere slaves, neglected basic human rights and considered inferior and worthless compared to men.
In 20th century India, missionary Amy Carmichael watched with a broken heart as an ignorant little girl was sold, taken away and hidden in a Hindu temple. This small child was to be “married to the gods.”
In the 1990s, according to Fox News, the Taliban “banned girls from attending school and women from appearing in public without full body coverings and male escorts.” Today, the futures of women in Afghanistan appear bleak, as many are forced back into these oppressed lifestyles.
Now, according to an organization called Project GRL, women all over the world spend over 200 million hours walking to retrieve water for their families while the boys attend school.
In contrast to many worldly cultures and religions, Christianity offers hope to all women. All throughout the Bible, God prizes women as priceless creatures created in His image, invaluable to His plan. Renowned Bible commentator and pastor Matthew Henry said, “[Eve was] made of a rib out of the side of Adam; not made out of his head to rule over him, nor out of his feet to be trampled upon by him, but out of his side to be equal with him, under his arm to be protected and near his heart to be beloved.”
In the Old Testament, God establishes guidelines to protect women. He designed rules about remarriage, divorce and polygamy to prevent women from being taken advantage of and easily discarded. In the New Testament, husbands are instructed to love their wives as Jesus loved His church, being willing to sacrifice anything for her. According to author Becky Seltzer from the Answers in Genesis organization, a woman’s role as a helper to her husband is not a position of weakness but “a position of great responsibility and gentle strength.”
Jesus showed compassion toward women. When Mary anointed Jesus' feet with oil, He defended her from Judas’s mocking and greatly honored her kindness and sincerity of heart. While on the way to Jerusalem, Jesus talked to the Samaritan woman at the well. He honored her by revealing that He was the Messiah, the Living Water, so that she would be His witness in Samaria. In a time when the testimonies of women were considered worthless, Jesus made His first appearance to 3 women after His resurrection. He gave them the exciting news that He was alive before He appeared to His disciples.
God also honored four imperfect Gentile women by placing them in Jesus’ genealogy: Tamar, who deceived Jacob; Rahab, a prostitute; Bathsheba, who lied to her husband; Ruth, a pagan Midianite.
God demonstrates His unconditional love for all different types of women throughout the Scriptures. Consequently, Christianity elevates women, giving them hope and purpose.