Women. The popular ones have no substance. The quiet ones, well, they don’t get to be prom queens. Still, most “substantial” women I knew may not have a conversation-starting beauty but have definitely made a mark of their own, in an unassuming and silent manner. Mind you, these women are far from being the girls described in Janis Ian’s song, “Seventeen.” These self-made goddesses chose to be known for the strength of their character rather than the size of their… uhhmmm… cup. To them, I dedicate this post (especially to you who accused me of being anti-feminist solely because I came from San Carlos Seminary).
The Gospel of Luke portrays a strongly feminist Jesus which the girls would find endearing. The rest of the Bible, well, they’re decidedly masculine. But every now and then, there lights a biblical scene where the day is saved by a female touch. We’ve known a few, like Mother Mary, Mary Magdalene, Ruth, Judith, Esther, etc. but on this post, I chose five relatively unknown heroines in the Old Testament who rose to the challenge of their femininity and won for themselves the dignity that they deserve. I threw in the bible chapter where they can be found so you’ll know I’m not pulling your leg. Now, without much ado, I present to you my top five coolest Low-Profile Chicks in the Old Testament. Yep, I said Chicks. Sue me.
On our fifth place is occupied by the beguiling Abigail. Not a slacker on the beauty department, Abigail (1 Samuel 25) had a king on her second marriage, no less than David himself. Unlike Bathsheba, another wife of David, who charmed him by bathing naked on a garden, Abigail won the heart of this biblical hearthrob with her sense of diplomacy. When David was but a renegade general in King Saul’s army, he sought refuge not in Oakwood nor in Manila Pen but in Abigail’s house. Abigail’s first husband, who watches only ESPN and JackTV hasn’t heard of this general and so rejected David’s request. Abigail, who learned of David through tsismisan sa palengke, knew better so she whipped out her piche-piche and pancit malabon recipe from her top drawer and summoned her maids to cook them as she went in haste to, of all places, a spa/beauty parlor. David was already peeved enough to destroy the house who refused him hospitality but was immediately appeased when he saw a fully made-up and french-nailed Abigail with her bilaos of kakanin. Abigail’s husband went into cardiac arrest when he learned who is he dealing with and so the widowed Abigail, with her memorable kakanin and her sexy sense of prudence, was taken as David’s wife.
Our number four slot goes to the courageous Deborah! Deborah (Judges 4 & 5) was an Israelite housewife and mom who sidelines as a prophetess and songwriter. Her cool factor lies on the fact that she’s the first and only female judge during the Era of Judges. This means that not only can she cook a mean lasagna, she also knows how to lead a battle as well. So well in fact that the general of Israel’s army had her as his adviser and a sort of personal bodyguard. Deborah means “bee” in Hebrew, a name that fits her perfectly. As Ricky Martin’s She Bangs aptly puts it: “She looks like a flower but stings like a bee.”
Our second runner up on our search for the Little Miss Pretty Unknown is Tamar. For Tamar (Genesis 38), her cool factor lies on the fact that after getting widowed twice, she managed to trick her biyenan, Judah, to have sex with her and so bear him sons. Her little story of determination and adriotness, just 22 verses long, is replete with scandals: deception, blackmail, incest, prostitution, unprotected sex with older men, provocative dresses and withdrawal method as contraception. Tamar’s tale is plain too racy for me to elaborate on my post but interesting enough for you to actually read her story, so go ahead, Google it. Hmmm… nahiya pa. Sige na, search mo na!
Up on our number two cool chick is the business-minded Rahab. Rahab (Joshua 2) is an HRM graduate who decided to open her own breakfast-and-bed at the outskirts of downtown Jericho. Such trade for an unmarried lady however wasn’t as dignified as it is today. You see, when she started accepting male travellers to stay for a night, neighbors called her a babaeng bayaran. But who can resist Rahab’s little inn, with its cheap rate and rooms with scenic views of the city? Not even the spies of Joshua, apparently, who rented a suite room at Rahab’s for their stakeouts before the Israelite’s takeover. The stakeout was soon discovered, but when the mayor of Jericho sent armies to arrest the spies, Rahab had a dose of Stockholm syndrome and went to hid her endangered tenants. For a price, of course, as Rahab, a true-blue palengkera, struck a bargain with the spies to protect them in return for the safety of her own family. This deal was honored with a symbolic “red ribbon on the window” scheme and since then, Rahab’s reputation was redeemed and became a respected member of the Israelite community. Thus, Rahab’s story has the following moral lessons: Good location defines your business. Don’t mind the gossips. Love your customers. Pray to God often. And finally, when it comes to the welfare of your family, always strike the best deal.
And now, for our number one coolest low profile chick in the Old Testament. She is no other than… Hagar! Far from that sword-wielding Viking from the Philippine Star’s comic page, Hagar (Genesis 16 & 21) is a certified probinsyana from the south (Egypt, actually) working as a domestic helper in Middle East for the the posh residence of Ser Abraham and Ma’am Sarah. Hagar’s tale is a classic sob story of housemaids: Nabuntis ni Ser, binugbog ni Ma’am, pinalayas nang walang sweldo. But our God isn’t blind to Inday Hagar’s sorry plight. Yahweh saved her and spoke to her. Twice. He even blest her and her baby. Twice. It’s a privilege not shared by any other women in the Old Testament. Hagar, a battered tsimay who found favor with Yahweh is a fitting image of redemption for a pinay domestic helper who left her homeland to slave her way in hope of a better life. Life may be hard for a stranger in a foreign land, but God is always near, always ready to save, always ready to bless. Inday Hagar, the little atsay that could, is our number one coolest biblical chick that deserves our recognition.