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Biblical Examples of a Woman's Words

  1. A woman can make or break a man. The well-known story of Samson and Delilah shows how even a virile, physically strong man can be destroyed by the words and influence of a woman. Delilah nagged Samson to death—literally. When Samson wouldn’t tell her the source of his strength, Delilah whined about how he didn’t really love her. Judges 16:16 says, “With such nagging she prodded him day after day until he was tired to death.” We know how that story ended—all because Samson succumbed to the power of a woman’s words.
  2. Esther used her words to save her people. When Haman’s hatred for the Jews drove him to deceive King Xerxes, persuading him to sign an edict that would result in the annihilation of the Jews, Esther stepped in. She risked her very life, boldly going before the king even though she had not been summoned. She fasted and prayed in preparation, and knew going into it that she could lose her life. But she said, “If I perish, I perish” (Esther 4:16).
    When the king asked what she wanted, and said he would grant her request—up to half his kingdom—Esther’s reply was succinct and forthright: “If I have found favor with you, O king, and if it pleases your majesty, grant me my life—this is my petition. And spare my people—this is my request. For I and my people have been sold for destruction and slaughter and annihilation” (Esther 7:3,4). Xerxes was furious and demanded to know who perpetrated such a vile campaign. Haman was subsequently hanged, and Esther’s people were saved.
  3. Little is known of Manoah’s wife, who was the mother of Samson—so little, in fact, that her name is not even recorded! Though she was barren, the thirteenth chapter of Judges tells how an angel of the Lord appeared to tell her she would have a son. When she and Manoah made a sacrifice to the Lord, “the angel of the Lord ascended in the flame” (Judges 13:20). Manoah reacted in stark fear, as evidenced by his response: “We are doomed to die! We have seen God!” (verse 22). But his wife exhibited stalwart faith, and assured Manoah, “ If the Lord had meant to kill us, he would not have accepted a burnt offering and grain offering from our hands, nor shown us all these things or now told us this” (verse 23). Her steadiness and her calm spirit shown by her words, no doubt eased her husband’s fears.
  4. Isaiah 50:4 says, “The Sovereign Lord has given me an instructed tongue, to know the word that sustains the weary” (NIV). The story of Naomi and Ruth illustrates the power of such a tongue. When Naomi lost her husband and two sons, she decided to return to the land from whence she came. She encouraged her two widowed daughters-in-law to leave and find other men to marry. Orpah agreed and subsequently left. But Ruth clung to Naomi, saying, “Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God . . . May the Lord deal with me, be it ever so severely, if anything but death separates you and me” (Ruth 1:16,17). Ruth proved to be a great comfort and consolation when Naomi otherwise would have felt totally alone.

Reflection Questions

Name one more biblical example of a woman whose words were powerful.

How did the woman’s words affect people and/or circumstances?

All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV®. COPYRIGHT ©1973, 1978, 1984 BY INTERNATIONAL BIBLE SOCIETY®.

“The Power of a Woman's Words” is published by the National Women’s Department at women.ag.org, 2020. Permission granted for personal use or within a teaching setting. Do not reproduce.