How Well Do You Know the Women of the Bible?

By: Jodi C.
Image: YouTube

About This Quiz

Queens and servant girls, the righteous and the wicked ... the women of scripture are a memorable and diverse lot! Now, test your knowledge of women in the Bible with our quiz!

It's said I tempted my husband with an apple, but Genesis just calls it "fruit."

Eve, of course, famously ate from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, and persuaded her husband to do the same. After that, they "realized" they were naked ("realized" seems to mean that they began to consider nakedness sinful) and made clothes to cover themselves.

I was Abraham's wife, and barren for some time before conceiving Isaac.

It's a common trope in the Old Testament for women favored by God -- or whose husbands are favored by God -- to be barren until God gives them the gift of a son. This was the case with Abraham's wife, Sarah, who was named "Sarai" early in her marriage, before God gave her the name Sarah, meaning "princess."

I was just a servant, but became the symbolic mother of the entire Arab world.

Hagar bore Ishmael for Abraham when Sarah could not, at first, conceive. It's possible that Hagar is the same person as Keturah, the second wife of Abraham later mentioned in Genesis. Either way, she is traditionally thought of as the mother of the Arab nations.

My husband labored for 14 years to be able to marry me.

Laban required Jacob to work for the hand of his daughter, Rachel. It was supposed to be seven years, but ended up being fourteen because of Laban's trickery.

I'm Rachel's older sister, whom Jacob had to marry first.

Laban tricked Jacob into marrying Leah first, because it was traditional that the elder daughter marry before the younger. But Laban gave Rachel in marriage as well, as soon as Jacob promised he would stay and work another seven years.

I am a saint in Catholicism, venerated in the Q'uran, and one of the most common subjects of art in the world.

Mary is sometimes shown in art as cradling her dead son after the crucifixion. This posture or scene is known as a "pieta."

My husband was found in a reed basket in a river when he was an infant.

Zipporah was the Midianite wife of Moses. Often spelled Tzipporah, it is still a girl's name among observant Jews, though it has fallen out of use among Christians.

I was the mother of Jacob and Esau.

Rebecca readily gave water to Isaac's servant and to his camels. This was a sign from the Lord that this was the young woman chosen to be Isaac's wife. (Bethuel, if you're keeping score, is a man's name -- he was Rebecca's father).

Joseph fled, leaving his garment behind, rather than commit a sexual sin with me.

Joseph was not the servant of the Pharaoh, but of one of the Pharaoh's captains, Potiphar. When his master's wife tried to seduce him, he fled, literally slipping out of the cloak or shirt that she had grabbed on to.

After I tearfully begged God for a son, He gave me Samuel.

Hannah was so emotional in her plea that the priest, Eli, thought she had been drinking. On realizing she had not, Eli blessed her, and soon after she conceived Samuel.

I gave birth to John the Baptist.

Elizabeth and the Virgin Mary were pregnant at the same time. In one of the Gospels's more poetic passages, Elizabeth's unborn baby "leaps in the womb" when Mary visits while carrying the unborn Jesus in her womb.

His love for me brought this famous strong man down.

Samson was a Nazirite, a holy man forbidden to cut his hair. When Delilah did so, in Samson's sleep, he lost all his renowned physical strength.

Mary _________ is variously portrayed as a reformed prostitute, a brilliant scholar, and even as Jesus' wife.

Mary Magdalene is one of the most famous women of the New Testament. Though there is no historical evidence she was a prostitute or adulteress, her second name is sometimes used in literature to mean "fallen woman."

I killed Sisera with a tent peg and hammer.

Sisera was a Caananite military leader. Evidently not recognizing Jael as allied with the enemy, he allowed her to serve him milk, and then lay down to sleep. Jael killed him by driving a tent peg through his skull, an act that even Biblical scholars have some difficulty defending.

Seeing me bathing made a king come unglued.

The story of Bathsheba is a morally complex one. David does a horrible thing in seducing the wife of one of his military leaders, Uriah, and then arranging Uriah's death on the battlefield to cover up his betrayal. Yet Bathsheba became the mother of King Solomon, suggesting to believers that the hand of God was at work even in David's sinfulness.

I showed loyalty to my mother-in-law ... and became King David's great-grandmother.

Ruth refused to abandon her mother-in-law, even after the death of her husband. She also took a menial job gleaning in the fields, which is how she met her next husband, Boaz, and became part of the line of David.

I was called upon to sleep in King David's bed in his old age, so he could get warm.

1 Kings remarks on Abishag's beauty, but also notes that David did not have sexual relations with her. Abishag is mentioned in one of Robert Frost's poems as an example of great beauty.

My rape led my brother to commit a retaliatory murder.

The unfortunate Tamar was tricked by her half-brother Amnon into bringing him food when he was supposedly ill, then he sexually assaulted her. Two years later, Absalom took his revenge, having Amnon killed.

I was the sister of Moses and a prophetess in my own right.

Miriam was key in saving Moses' life. She stood by when her infant brother was placed in the river, and suggested to Pharaoh's daughter, who found the reed basket, that a Hebrew woman be found to nurse the baby. Then clever Miriam ran to get their mother.

I was resentful because my sister sat listening to Jesus while I did all the housework.

Jesus and his disciples had come to be guests in the home of Mary and Martha of Bethany. Martha complained that Mary wasn't helping with the housework, but Jesus said that Mary had chosen "the better part."

I gave the poetic speech now called "the Magnificat."

When Mary visits Elizabeth, she speaks or sings a song of joy at being chosen to bear the Savior. Now called the "Magnificat" for its first line ("My soul magnifies the Lord"), it can be read in Luke 1:46 - 55.

I was King David's first wife.

Michal was Saul's daughter, and the relevant passages about her indicate that she loved her husband, choosing to help him, instead of her father, when the two were at odds. Sadly, there is little indication that Michal's love was reciprocated.

Like my husband, I literally fell down dead after cheating the early church.

In Acts, Ananias and Sapphira both die after holding back a portion of the proceeds of a land sale. The early church took communal resources very seriously! Nowadays, pastors are likely to stress that the pair's sin was not so much in keeping money for themselves as lying about it.

I was the only female judge of Israel.

Before Israel had a monarchy, it was led by judges, including Deborah. Her Song of Praise, in Judges chapter 5, is thought to be one of the earliest-written parts of the Bible.

I kept Haman from having my cousin Mordecai hanged.

Esther interceded with her husband, the king of Persia, not only on behalf of her cousin, but all the Jews, whom Haman wanted wiped out. The festival of Purim remembers Esther's successful persuasion of her husband -- which ended in Haman's death.

I am believed to be the dancer who asked Herod for the head of John the Baptist.

Though the passage in question only refers to "Herod's daughter," it's Salome who takes the historical blame for John the Baptist's death, which she requested as a reward for dancing at a banquet. She is said to have been manipulated into doing so by her mother, Herodias.

I was a queen, until I was thrown from a window to my death.

Because of Jezebel's fondness for face paint and fine clothes, her name has long been associated with women of loose morals. Now, it's also the name of a tongue-in-cheek, quasi-feminist blog for women.

I came to Israel to visit and exchange gifts with King Solomon.

The queen of Sheba might have been on a simple trade mission. But it's implied she also wanted to test out Solomon's famous wisdom, as she's said to have posed him questions that he answered to her satisfaction.

I was an early church leader along with my husband Aquila.

"Priscilla" is a diminutive form of the Roman name Prisca. Perhaps because of this Biblical figure, the name "Priscilla" has survived to the present day whereas "Prisca" is largely obsolete.

I'm colorfully known as "the Harlot of Jericho."

In the book of Joshua, Rahab was a prostitute who helped two Hebrew spies who were scouting the city of Jericho. In both the Jewish and Christian traditions, she is viewed as an example of a sinner's redemption.

First married to Nabal, I became one of King David's wives.

Nabal was a wealthy landowner who insulted David in the days before he was king. Abigail smoothed things over and kept David and his men from attacking Nabal, but according to the book of 1 Samuel, Nabal was struck down by God not long after.

I was the true mother of the infant that Solomon suggested be cut in half.

This story, still taught in Bible schools as an example of Solomon's great wisdom, says that the infant's true mother refused to allow him to be cut in half, but the other woman was in agreement with Solomon's judgment. It makes sense if you believe most women would approve infanticide as long as they weren't related to the child. Or that said woman would enjoy having half a dead baby. Yeah, we can buy that.

I was blessed with a daughter-in-law, Ruth, who stuck with me in hard times.

Naomi's daughter-in-law was the faithful and gentle Ruth. Ruth's speech to her mother-in-law, "Whither thou goest, I shall go ..." is a famous passage that can be read (not surprisingly) in the book of Ruth.

I was Hosea's wife, though my name has become a man's name.

The Lord commanded the prophet Hosea to take a "wife of whoredom." His relationship to his unfaithful wife becomes a metaphor for God's love for the errant people of Israel.

I was Job's wife, who urged him to "curse God and die."

Job's wife is seen as turning on him at his lowest point. But an interesting commentary in the UK's Guardian suggested that a literal reading of the key verb is "bless" God. Has she been unfairly maligned all this time?

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