Have you heard of Anna the Prophetess? Don’t worry if you haven’t, she’s only in three verses of the Bible. At the end of the Nativity. In just one gospel. Surely she wasn’t that important, then?
But the Bible never includes a person for the sake of adding colour to the narrative. So why is Anna included? Why did Luke, the meticulously detailed doctor, decide to mention her?
I’m sure that a minister or theology minister would be able to give you several reasons for Anna’s inclusion. And I suspect they would have placed the passage into a context that involved the Nativity, the temple or Simeon, who was also in the temple. I, however, will not be placing Anna in such a context (criminal, I know) and will most likely be taking a route most ministers wouldn’t take.
Who is Anna?
So she is a prophetess in the temple. Not only that but Luke 2 v37 tells us that she never left the temple, spending 24 hours a day, 7 days a week worshipping God. How did she have the time to be in the temple continuously? Anna was widowed after seven years of marriage, freeing her to spend her time praying and fasting.
Luke’s telling of the Nativity suggests that Anna saw the Jesus as a baby/toddler. Her response was “to speak of him to all who were waiting for the redemption of Jerusalem.” Her devotion to God along with the gift of prophecy meant she realised when she had realised who Jesus was. She could not keep the news to herself.
Comparison to the Proverbs 31 Wonder Woman
So how does the prophetess compare with the married wonder woman of Proverbs 31? She isn’t married. She doesn’t have any children to care for. She has no business of her own. There is nothing to suggest Anna had developed the practical skills recalled in Proverbs 31.
Yet I would still list Anna in my Hall of Biblical Wonder Women.
- Anna fasted everyday (Luke 2 v 37). Everyday! To do such a feat for one day is hard enough. To fast everyday would require and incredible strength of character. Proverbs 31 v 17 and 25 talk about how the ideal woman should be dressed with strength. The strength of character required for regular fasting is evidence that Anna was dressed in strength.
- As a widow after only seven years of marriage, it is likely that Anna had seen her fair share of mourning and grief. I can’t help but feel that where Proverbs 31 says “she laughs at the time to come” that Anna would have known exactly how this felt.
- Making a choice to spend all your time in the temple, praying, fasting and worshipping, is a definite sign of devotion. Such devotion can be interpreted as fearing or respecting God. It is such a trait that is the final one of Proverbs 31, giving it the greatest impact.
Anna the Biblical Wonder Woman
So she may not fit any of practical aspects of the Proverbs 31 model. However, Anna’s brief depiction shows that she was a woman totally devoted to God. With such characteristics, I have no choice but to include her as a Biblical Wonder Woman.
The post Anna || A Biblical Wonder Woman? first appeared on CounterCultural.CounterCouture.