I am enjoying the series on Nine Women of the Bible that I am teaching at my church. We had a great discussion last week on the Woman of Samaria, and this week we’ll talk about Martha, the woman who hosted Jesus and his disciples many times in her home. When I wrote the book on her, I wondered why she was not married, so invented a suitor refusal and her duties taking care of the family. No mother was evidenced in the household. It is always fun to go back in history and explore the life and times of my subjects. I get to know them. We have the Scriptures to go by, but so many times they only give us a small snapshot of an event. Details are left out. I do always include all Scriptures involved, but with “poetic license” I invent other characters, scenarios, and conversations. By the time I finish the book, I feel like I really know that woman and have an insight to her life.
Sometimes when I read commentaries, it is disconcerting to find several points of view! They are Biblical scholars, learned men, ministers, but they don’t always agree. In the end, what they have written is really just a very scholarly opinion. Sometimes the facts don’t line up with their portrayal and I’m left with questions that are unanswered or unsolved. For instance, I always wondered, in the Book of Ruth, why Elimelech left Judea during the famine. (He was a prince of Israel, and the Lord hadn’t indicated he was to leave!) He crossed the Jordan, across from Jericho, into the fertile grazing fields of his kinsmen, the tribes of Rueben, Dan and the ½ tribe of Manasseh, who had asked Joshua for permission to settle there as they were herdsmen. Elimelech had herds of animals, but the Scriptures say he went to the land of the Moabites and settled. To do that he would have had to pass through the land of his kinsmen, cross the mighty Arnon River with his flocks and herds to settle where the Moabites were! They had been defeated by the Amorites and destroyed, and those who survived fled across the Arnon River to settle. The Amorites were defeated and destroyed by the army of Israel under Joshua, so there were no Moabites there, even though it was called the Fields of Moab. Anyway, it was confusing.