Apparently women as word-possessed people is rare. If some people had their way a woman would never be seen with leading words. Even though we have narratives of women of extreme character (all the leading women in the patriarchal households, Deborah, and Bathsheba) it is refreshing to find a woman’s word is the guiding light outside of these prominent examples. If a prophet gives a woman the lead is she not in as good a company as company could get? Since we see our Lord making a woman’s voice and interest part of historic legislation (Numbers 36) and making a woman’s voice the first to tell the news of his exaltation (Matthew 28:1-7) we salute these two alongside the woman with the alabaster box of ointment whose deed we are commended to commemorate wherever the gospel is preached.
The prophet Nathan makes a plan with Bathsheba when it seemed that the crown may go to Adonijah (son of Haggith). He counselled her (yaatz) to ask the king to confirm that her son Solomon would be the king’s successor. Nathan would come right in behind her, join the lady’s conversation with the king, and “fill up” her words. Prophetic counsel can be expected to move a king.
Behold, while thou yet talkest there with the king, I also will come in after thee, and confirm thy words.1 Kings. 1:14
Solomon, as we all know, not Adonijah, succeeded his father on the throne. The other woman with guiding-light words is the woman whom Elijah challenged to use her last oil and flour to give him a meal. In response, the woman swore that she was on her last meal, and was in fact gathering sticks to make a fire.
Elijah’s first request was for water, to which he added ” bring a bite too…”
So he arose and went to Zarephath. And when he came to the gate of the city, behold, the widow woman [was] there gathering of sticks: and he called to her, and said, Fetch me, I pray thee, a little water in a vessel, that I may drink.1 Kings. 17:10,
The woman’s oath was met by what may seem like a ton of selfishness.
OATH: And she said, [As] the LORD thy God liveth, I have not a cake, but an handful of meal in a barrel, and a little oil in a cruse: and, behold, I [am] gathering two sticks, that I may go in and dress it for me and my son, that we may eat it, and die. 1 Kings. 17:12
And as she was going to fetch [it], he called to her, and said, Bring me, I pray thee, a morsel of bread in thine hand.1 Kings. 17:11
Elijah’s puts himself first: please make me that cake first, then feed yourself and your son.
And Elijah said unto her, Fear not; go [and] do as thou hast said: but make me thereof a little cake first, and bring [it] unto me, and after make for thee and for thy son.1 Kings. 17:13
Do as you say (kidbarek)’ according to your word must refer to (a) her handful or meal (b) her few drops of oil (c) the prospect of finding sticks for the fire and (d) the last meal. All of her vision is confirmed in the narrative except her last meal. It would be a thing of great disrtinction if instead of chasing down a prophet or some other figue of authority, if all of us understand that our words cannot lead if they are not intimately with the Way. On the other hand, when our words and actions are connected with the interests of the Way we avoid the catastrophe to which our Lord refers when he taught about the house built on rock or sand.