This is most clearly conveyed in the collection's culmination -- a lengthy portrayal of Rizpah
, a concubine to Saul and the mother of sons who were killed by David when he ascended to the throne.
The stories of Rizpah
(2 Samuel), Zacchaeus (Luke), and Amos furnish models for righteous resistance to overwhelming power, reconciliation, and vocal protest, respectively.
In a series of fifteen sonnets entitled Female Characters of Scripture (Blackwood's, April 1833), for example, Hemans revisits biblical female figures (from Judah to Miriam, from Ruth to Rizpah
, and from the Virgin Mary to Mary Magdalene) to honor them and to reclaim their legacy.
The five women and two girls studied in this book are Miriam, the sister of Moses in her childhood role; Rizpah
, a concubine of king Saul; the wise woman of Abel Beth Maacah, an important character in the story of Absalom; the anonymous wife of Jeroboam, the first king of North Israel; the widow of Zarephath; an Israelite slave girl who sent Naaraan to be cured in Israel; and Athaliah, the only reigning queen in the Bible.
We are left with "the image of this woman, this mother, this Rizpah
Bat Aiah, who for six months watches over the corpses .
Horning calls to mind the story of Rizpah
in 2 Samuel.
Sometimes we are privy to their Bible-study conversations, around the widow of Zarephath, say, or the obscure and agonizing text of Rizpah
, the grieving mother.
, Prisca, Margaret Laurence, Jean Vanier, Tolstoy, Jane Austen, Wole Soyinka
saw her husband, King Saul, die on the battlefield and knew that he was not given an honourable burial.
McCullough is also the president and CEO of Daughters of Rizpah
, a nonprofit evangelistic outreach ministry, and the owner of a Christian bookstore, Biblion--The Family Bookstore, in Brooklyn.
Twelve autobiographical stories are told: Adah and Zillah, Dinah, Madam Potiphar, Zipporah, Rahab, Ruth and Orpah and Naomi, Rizpah
, Tamar and Tamar, Zeruiah, Huldah, the anonymous woman from the Song of Songs, and the medium of Endor.
But in those times we can remind ourselves of the story of Rizpah
, a woman with very little, who changed her world simply by doing what she could.