Q: #498. How many widows are mentioned in the Bible?

By: Steve Shirley

    A: The Bible uses the word "widow(s)" 81 times (55 times OT - Heb. = "almanah" / 26 times NT - Gr. = "chera"). I have looked up every one of these uses. I have also scanned through a list of every woman mentioned in the Bible, and run an online search looking for an answer to this question. I now have a list of widows in the Bible, but I have a feeling I am missing a few. (If you think of one, let me know.)

     Several problems make this difficult. For example, one is that we aren't always told that a woman is a widow, when she likely is. Another is that there are some widows who weren't widows for long. An example of the first problem is Mary, the mother of Jesus, who I believe became a widow at some point during Jesus' life, with her husband Joseph dying (I discuss this here.). I also believe the mother of Mark in the New Testament may have been a widow. In regards to the second problem, we have examples like Bathsheba, who became a widow because David had her husband murdered. However, David then married her (2 Sam 11:1-26). We also have Abigail, whose husband died, but shortly afterwards David married her too (1 Sam Ch. 25)(2 Sam 2:2).

     Keeping in mind the above issues, following is the best list of widows in the Bible that I could come up with (not counting the women listed above).

Widows In The BibleVerses
1. Tamar (daughter of Judah)(Gen 38:6-11) (widowed twice)
2. The mother of Huram from Tyre(1 Kin 7:13-14)
3. The widow of Zarephath(1 Kin 17:8-24)
4. Zeruah, mother of Jeroboam(1 Kin 11:26)
5. The widow with two sons(2 Kin 4:1-7)
6. Naomi(Ruth 1:1-5)
7. Orpah(Ruth 1:1-5)
8. Ruth(Ruth 1:1-5) (later remarried Boaz)
9. Anna (more on Anna here)(Lk 2:36-38)
10. The widow of Nain(Lk 7:11-16)
11. Widow with the two mites(Lk 21:1-4)(Mk 12:41-44)
12. Widows mourning the death of Tabitha(Acts 9:36-41)

     The Bible tells us in many places that God will care for and defend widows: (Ps 68:5)(Deut 10:18)(Prov 15:25)(Ps 146:9)(Deut 24:17). There are also commands from God for us to take care of widows (1 Tim 5:3-16)(Isa 1:17)(Jer 7:6-7)(Zech 7:10)(Acts 6:1-6). God will punish those who cause harm to widows (Ex 22:22-24)(Deut 27:19)(Jer 22:3-5)(Mal 3:5)(Mt 23:14)(Mk 12:38-40)(Lk 20:46-47).

     In the Old Testament, God commanded the Israelites to give a portion of every third year tithe to widows (Deut 14:28-29)(Deut 26:12-13), as well as a portion of the freewill offerings at the Feast of Weeks and Tabernacles (Deut 16:9-14). Also, part of each harvest was to be left in the field for them (Deut 24:19-22).

     There was a custom regarding widows called a "Levirate Marriage," which I explain in the next question.

     Perhaps the best and most well-known verse in the Bible regarding widows is found in the book of James:

(James 1:27) Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.

     A few other interesting verses on widows can be found in: (Mk 12:18-27)(Lk 18:1-8)(Rom 7:1-3).

More Questions & AnswersAsk A QuestionGo To JesusAlive.ccAccept Jesus TODAY!

How To Leave A Comment

    Cross Icon

    My Blog

Find Us On Facebook Follow Us On Twitter



Questions & Answers

What The Bible Says About...

Essential Christian Doctrine

Jesus "IS" God

Is God Real?

Studying The Word

Did You Know?

Inspirational Quotes

Bible Study Outlines

New Testament Survey

Read The Bible Online

My Testimony