When we think about amazing women of the Bible, we often think of the big names like Sarah, Mary, Ruth or Rahab. While these are rock stars of faith, many lesser-known women in the Bible can also teach us about courageous faith.
Let me introduce you to 10 amazing women in scripture you may not know. They’re witnesses that God has eternal purpose for each of us wherever He places us.
All but one of these women are named in scripture. Even when our work feels ordinary or unseen, our brave faith never goes unnoticed by God. These women were game-changers in their families and in God’s kingdom.
Because it’s remarkable faith, not remarkable renown, that leaves an eternal mark.
Let’s get to know these incredible lesser-known women of the Bible.
10 Remarkable Women Who Left a Mark
Jehosheba bravely rescued her nephew, Joash, from his murderous mother.
When Joash was a year old, his oldest brother, Judah’s ruling king, was killed. Joash’s mother, daughter of Israel’s wicked King Ahab and Jezebel, claimed the Judaic throne and sought to annihilate all heirs of King David, putting her sons to death.
Jehosheba, stole Joash “away from among the royal princes who were about to be murdered” and hid him with his nurse. For six years, Joash was hidden safely in the temple until the priest and rulers of Judah declared him king. Joash turned Israel back to God, bringing godly reforms and restoring the temple. More importantly, Jehosheba’s courageous faith preserved the royal line of King David that Satan attempted to wipe out. God had promised a Savior through David’s lineage and He used Jehosheba, meaning “Jehovah has sworn”, to empower that promise.
Jael was minding her business when an opportunity to do God’s business landed on her doorstep.
For 20 years, a Canaanite king and his ruthless general, Sisera, armed with 900 iron chariots, had oppressed Israel. After Israel cried out to God, the prophetess Deborah told Barak God commanded him to attack Sisera. When Barak refused to go without Deborah, she prophesied God would bring Israel victory but give the honor of killing Sisera to a woman.
Sure enough, Israel struck down all of Sisera’s troops. Sisera fled on foot to northern Israel seeking refuge in Jael’s tent because her husband, Heber the Kenite was an ally. When Sisera asked for water, Jael gave him milk, known to induce sleep. And when Sisera fell into exhausted sleep, Jael drove a tent peg through his temple, killing him.
God honored Jael in a victory song forever recorded in scripture: “Most blessed of women be Jael…most blessed of tent-dwelling women…She struck Sisera, she crushed his head, she shattered and pierced his temple…where he sank, there he fell—dead.”
(Read more in Judges 4-5)
3. Naaman’s slave girl
This young, unnamed Hebrew was taken captive to Syria, but never let her hard circumstance diminish her big faith in a good God.
When her master, Naaman, a highly decorated Syrian soldier, contracted leprosy, she urged him to go to Elisha for healing. Naaman set out for Israel with letters from the Syrian king to Israel’s king, who tore his robes in despair, disbelieving Naaman could be healed and worrying it would lead to war.
Naaman was healed, however, after bathing seven times in the Jordan River as Elisha instructed. But more importantly, Naaman was spiritually transformed declaring, “Now I know that there is no God in all the world except in Israel.”
Rather than becoming bitter against her master, this young Hebrew slave extended bold compassion. The big faith of this unnamed girl stands in stark contrast to the puny faith of Israel’s king.
(Read more in 2 Kings 5:1-19)
4 and 5. Shiprah and Puah
Shiprah and Puah courageously defied a man-made edict to obey God’s higher law.
They were Hebrew midwives during Israel’s slavery in Egypt. The more harshly Pharoah oppressed Israel, the more the Hebrews proliferated. So Pharaoh gave a command to the Hebrew midwives: kill every Hebrew baby boy on delivery.
But Shiprah and Puah feared God and refused Pharaoh’s command. When Pharoah demanded to know why, they claimed Hebrew women had their babies too quickly for them to intervene.
Shiprah and Puah chose to stand for life even if it cost their own. Their courageous faith to disobey Pharoah allowed a young mama to deliver a baby boy named Moses, whom God would use to deliver His people from Pharoah.
(Read more in Exodus 1:8-22)
In a culture where women could easily be devalued, Achsah stands out as a prudent woman whose courageous ask provided for her family.
Achsah was the daughter of Caleb, who offered her as bride to the man who conquered Debir. That man was Othniel, Achsah’s cousin. While Achsah is often described as the reward for Othniel, I think Othniel was the reward for Achsah. Caleb valued his daughter enough to find a husband who proved his leadership, bravery and faithfulness.
Achsah’s dowry was land in the Negev—a waterless parcel that would be difficult to farm or raise animals on. So Achsah approached her father with a request, not a complaint, trusting his fairness: “Give me a blessing…give me also springs of water.” Caleb gave her two springs.
Achsah’s wise resourcefulness is like the Proverbs 31 wife who is more precious than jewels. “The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will have no lack of gain. She does him good, and not harm, all the days of her life.” (Prov. 31:11-12, ESV) Othniel could trust Achsah’s prudence alongside him as he later became Israel’s first judge.
Joanna showed tenacious faith when nearly everyone else deserted Jesus.
Joanna was married to King Herod’s chief steward. An unlikely convert, she became a loyal follower after Jesus healed her. She traveled with Jesus from village to village, supporting him and possibly the other apostles out of her own means. She followed him to Jerusalem and when the crowds and apostles turned against Jesus, betrayed him, denied him and abandoned him, Joanna was one of several women who stayed through his crucifixion, following his body to the tomb.
It was Joanna and these women, not Peter or the apostles, who were first to see the empty tomb and learn Jesus had risen. What an honor to tell the disciples that Jesus was alive! Joanna’s loyal faith meant staying with Jesus when hope seemed lost and witnessing the miracle that Hope was alive.
8. and 9. Lois and Eunice
If you’re worried about raising children for the Lord in a godless culture or less than ideal family situation, look for encouragement to Lois and Eunice. Lois was Timothy’s grandmother and Eunice his mother and both show us the power of influence as a mother and grandmother.
Eunice was Jewish while Timothy’s unnamed father was Greek. Many scholars believe he died while Timothy was young and Timothy was raised by his mother and grandmother. Paul mentioned them by name, noting their authentic faith. “I am reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also.”
Later Paul emphasized Timothy’s godly upbringing, telling him to remember “what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.”
The godly upbringing by this single mom and grandmother formed the foundation of Timothy’s faith on mission with Paul, pastoring the Ephesus congregation and carrying on the gospel work Paul entrusted to him.
10. Zelophehad’s daughters
This is actually about five women, all daughters of Zelophehad: Mahlah, Noah, Hoglah, Milcah, and Tirzah, whose courageous faith ushered in protective rights for women.
They approached Moses and Israel’s leaders with a request. Because their father had died in the wilderness with no son, and because the census counted males only, they would enter the Promised Land without land or provision. Thus, they asked for their father’s rightful share to pass to them.
Moses took this new dilemma to God who answered: “The daughters of Zelophehad are right. You shall give them possession of an inheritance among their father’s brothers and transfer the inheritance of their father to them.” This became a new law in Israel.
But this created another problem: the land would go outside the tribe if the daughters married outside the tribe. God declared another new law: the daughters could marry anyone they wished within the tribe of Manasseh to preserve the tribal allotment. The five daughters’ courage to seek justice led to permanent protections for widows and orphans.