(Photo by Sarah Komisky)
Women of Purity: Beautiful Women in the Bible
By Selma Komisky
The stories in the Bible feature beautiful women of God throughout history. Although some women were mentioned as outwardly beautiful, there were many women mentioned in the Old and New Testament whose beauty, although not stated, was evident in Scripture. Here are some examples.
Sarah (meaning “princess”)
“…indeed I know that you are a woman of beautiful countenance.”
– Gen 12:11-14 (NKJV)
Sarah means “Princess.” She became the mother of nations faithfully following her husband Abraham, the father of nations. Scripture states that Sarah was quite beautiful even at 90 years old. Abraham even feared that kings would fall in love with her beauty [Genesis 12:11-20; 20:1-18]. However, Sarah was barren (childless) as we know in Genesis 16:1. God told Abraham in Genesis 17:5 that he would bless her womb, and she would have a son. Sarah would be the mother of nations; kings of peoples would come from her. Therefore, this prophecy spoke of the King of Kings (Jesus), who would later enter the world for humanity through the promise of God. Sarah later bore a son named Isaac in her old age (Gen 21:1 -2) and God told Abraham and Sarah he would make an everlasting covenant with him and his descendants (Gen 17:19-22). Additionally, Sarah is listed in the “Hall of Faith” in Hebrews 11 for her trust in God despite her earlier struggles with unbelief.
Esther (meaning “star” in Persian name) and Hadassah (meaning “myrtle” in Hebrew)
“The young woman was lovely and beautiful.”
– Esther 1:1; 11:2-3, 7, 9, 15 (NKJV)
Esther was a Jew raised under the guardianship of Mordicai who raised her and loved her as his own daughter. Her story shows the providence of God on her life. God brought Esther to the palace throne and made her queen, marrying her to king Ahasuerus. Esther was courageous, wise, strong, godly and obedient. Esther also risked her life when she revealed her Jewish nationality to the king at the appointed time to help her people and thwart the plan of Haman who sought to destroy the Jewish people.
Still today Jews every year celebrate the Feast of Purim and remember brave Esther who saved the Jews from harm.
Mary – the mother of Jesus (meaning “bitterness”)
“Blessed are you among women.”
– Luke 1:42 (NIV)
The Bible never mentions or discloses anything about Mary’s appearance. Not knowing, we of course automatically picture Mary as a beautiful woman and mother. This young, poor girl from a town viewed as “insignificant” (Nazareth), was the embodiment of a woman with inner and outward beauty. Mary possessed purity, faith, integrity, humility and a deep love and reverence for God with her husband Joseph.
In Luke 1:28, it says she was highly favored and the Lord was with her. Mary was devoted to God and had the privilege of carrying the Son of God upon divine conception, inside her pregnant body. She bore and gave life to Jesus as an infant, raised him throughout his childhood and loved her son until he was a man in his thirties. Mary experienced bitter trials. Simeon told Mary in Luke 2:35 in the Amplified Version, “…and a sword [of deep sorrow] will pierce through your own soul…,” signifying the agony and sorrow she would experience seeing her son go through suffering and crucifixion on the cross.
Tabitha AKA Dorcas (meaning “gazelle”)
“In Joppa there was a disciple named Tabitha (in Greek her name is Dorcas); she was always doing good and helping the poor.”
– Acts 9:36 (NIV)
What a fitting name for Dorcas! A gazelle is an emblem of beauty and grace. In the seaport town of Joppa, Tabitha became known for her acts of charity for the poor, needy, and widows. Tabitha was always thinking of ways to help the poor and she was faithful to carry them out. She wanted to clothe people with kindness (Proverbs 31:13, 20). Tabitha was also a godly woman called a “disciple.” Behind her sewing garments, she had an inward grace and mercy about her and led an unselfish life. She reflected the compassion of Christ in serving others, inspired many and was beloved.
Priscilla (meaning “worthy”)
“Greet Priscilla and Aquila, my fellow workers in Christ Jesus, who raised their necks for my life, to whom not only I give thanks, but also all the churches of the Gentiles…”
– Romans 16:3-4 NKJV
Priscilla was a Jew born in Pontus. She was humble, godly, a missionary, and a faithful wife to Aquila (Acts 18: 2). She and her husband were friends of Paul (co-laborers) and was a student of the Word and knowledgeable of it. Priscilla also exhibited the gift of hospitality and managed her home well. She and her husband used their home as a place for the church to gather, pray and have fellowship (1 Corinthians 16: 19). By trade they were tentmakers and hardworking unto the Lord, (Acts 20:34). She labored alongside her husband in the church serving others which is a beautiful picture of a godly husband and wife team in marriage. She was a discipler (her and Aquila quietly instructed and exhorted Apollos in Acts 18:26). Additionally, Priscilla was a leader and helped spread the gospel, establishing the early church in Ephesus.