Strength Through the Ages

Following are two meditations from Clothed With the Sun: Biblical Women, Social Justice and Us, by Joyce Hollyday. The forthcoming book, titled after the woman in Revelation 12 who is empowered by the glory of God, contains 50 meditations pairing biblical and contemporary women, each with questions for individual or group reflection.

Joyce Hollyday, a contributing editor for Sojourners, has traveled widely as a writer, activist, and retreat leader. She lives in North Carolina’s mountains, where she works with survivors of domestic abuse. —The Editors

Rizpah (2 Samuel 3:6-10; 21:1-14)

It rends the heart to read the story of Rizpah. She is one of the most tragic figures in the Bible. She was a concubine, a sexual slave. The one who laid claim to her was King Saul, a man of great power.

After Saul’s death, his son Ishbaal accused Abner, the commander of Saul’s army, of raping Rizpah. The charge had nothing to do with Rizpah’s humanity or dignity but with a violation of the king’s property; the rape was considered an act of treason. Furious at the accusation, Abner transferred his loyalties to the house of David.

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Sojourners Magazine November 1994
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