What does it take to be the oldest? In biblical times, that usually meant being the wisest and most experienced member of a group. It often involved years of experience and training, which is why the elderly were so highly regarded in communities.
These women found themselves in unusual circumstances where they had to step up and help those around them who were at a disadvantage.
However, there aren’t many old ladies in the Bible because life expectancy was low in those days. Most people die before they ever get to be an “old lady.”
In that sense, these six women from the Bible stand out as exceptional, as some of the oldest people we read about in Scripture. So, if you want to know more about these oldest women in the Bible, read on.
6. Mary of Nazareth
Year: Approximately 48 to 51 years old
Parent(s): Joachim and Anne
photo source: Pinterest
The story of Mary of Nazareth is a fascinating one. Born in the town of Nazareth in Galilee, she was betrothed to Joseph, a carpenter. But before they could be married, Mary was visited by the angel Gabriel, who told her that she would conceive and bear a son who would be the Messiah.
Although initially skeptical, Joseph eventually believed Mary and took her as his wife. As predicted, Mary gave birth to a son, whom they named Jesus. Interestingly, the Gospels don’t say much about Mary’s life after Jesus’ birth.
We know that she was present at some of his key moments, such as the wedding at Cana and the crucifixion, but her role in his life is largely relegated to the background.
Did You Know?
Mary is often referred to as the “Virgin Mary” because she remained a virgin throughout her life. This was in keeping with Jewish tradition, which held that a woman’s virginity was to be preserved until marriage.
5. Anna the Prophetess
Year: Approximately 84 years old
photo source: Wikimedia
Anna the Prophetess was a woman mentioned in the New Testament who was a prophetess and devoted servant of God. She is described as being very old, and she lived in the temple in Jerusalem, where she worshiped God day and night.
Anna was present when Jesus was brought to the temple by his parents, and she immediately recognized him as the Messiah.
She gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to everyone who was waiting for the redemption of Jerusalem. Anna is an important figure in the Bible because she was one of the first people to recognize Jesus as the Messiah. She is a reminder that God can use anyone, no matter their age or station in life, to accomplish his purposes.
Did You Know?
She is described as a prophetess who had been married for seven years and had been a widow for 84 years, and is one of only four women mentioned by name in the New Testament.
Year: Approximately 88 years old
photo source: womeninthebible.net
Elizabeth was one of the four daughters of Aaron, the first high priest of Israel (Exodus 6:23). She was married to a man named Zacharias, who was also a priest. The couple were childless in their old age.
One day, while Zacharias was serving in the temple, the angel Gabriel appeared to him and told him that his wife would have a son, despite their age.
Zacharias was skeptical at first, but Gabriel assured him that it would be so. Elizabeth did indeed conceive, and she kept her pregnancy hidden for five months before sharing the news with her cousin, Mary, who was also pregnant (Luke 1:36-37).
Elizabeth’s son was born and was named John. He would go on to be known as John the Baptist, and would prepare the way for Jesus Christ’s ministry.
Did You Know?
Elizabeth is also mentioned in the New Testament book of Acts, where it is said that she and her husband were “righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless” (Acts 24:14).
Year: Approximately 90 years old
Children: Mahlon and Chilion
photo source: readthemike.com
The story of Naomi in the bible is a fascinating one. She was married to a man named Elimelech, who died leaving her with two sons. These sons married Moabite women, but they too eventually died, leaving Naomi alone.
While grieving her losses, Naomi decided to return to her homeland of Bethlehem. Along the way, she met a woman named Ruth, who became her loyal friend and companion.
Together, they arrived in Bethlehem, where Ruth worked tirelessly to provide for Naomi. The story of Naomi and Ruth is one of enduring friendship and love, even in the face of great adversity. It is a story that teaches us that hope and compassion can triumph over even the darkest of circumstances.
Did You Know?
In a culture where women were largely dependent on men, the death of a husband could mean financial ruin and social ostracism. Naomi’s story highlights the strength and resilience of women, even in the face of great adversity.
2. Mary Magdalene
Year: Approximately 100 years old
Parent(s): Eucharis and Cyrus
photo source: Smithsonian Magazine
Mary Magdalene is mentioned in the Bible as one of the women who traveled with Jesus and supported his ministry financially (Luke 8:1-3). She is also mentioned as being present at Jesus’ crucifixion and burial (Matthew 27:55-61; Mark 15:40-47; Luke 23:49-56; John 19:25-42).
Some biblical scholars believe that Mary Magdalene may have been the unnamed woman who anointed Jesus’ feet with expensive perfume in the story of the anointing at Bethany (Matthew 26:6-13; Mark 14:3-9), although this is not certain.
In the early centuries after Jesus’ death, some Christian writers claimed that Mary Magdalene was a prostitute who had been healed by Jesus and had reformed her ways. However, there is no evidence for this claim in the Bible or other early Christian writings.
In the Middle Ages, Mary Magdalene became associated with the legend of the “holy Grail” and was sometimes portrayed as a mythical figure who could bestow spiritual wisdom on those who sought it.
Did You Know?
Today, Mary Magdalene is revered as a saint by both the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox churches. July 22 is celebrated as her feast day.
Year: 127 years old
Parent(s): Terah and Edna
photo source: Tara Sun Ministries
Sarah was the wife of Abraham and the mother of Isaac, and is considered the oldest woman in the Bible. She was originally named Sarai, but God changed her name to Sarah when He promised that she would be the mother of a great nation.
Sarah was a very beautiful woman, and Abraham was afraid that other men would want to take her away from him, so he asked her to pretend to be his sister when they were in Egypt.
This led to Sarah being taken into Pharaoh’s harem, but she was eventually released and returned to Abraham. Sarah was a faithful woman who trusted in God’s promises, even when it seemed impossible.
When Abraham was old and Sarah was past the age of childbearing, she bore a son, Isaac, as God had promised. Sarah is an important figure in both the Old and New Testaments. She is commended for her faithfulness, and her story is a reminder that God always keeps His promises.
Did You Know?
Sarah was born into a wealthy family in the Mesopotamian city of Ur. She was later taken captive by a group of nomadic people, who sold her into slavery in Egypt.