The Messiah Anna Longed For

The Plight of the Widow

Did you know there are over one hundred references to widows in the Bible? These references take three primary approaches:

  1. God directing His people to take care of the widows and provide for them. When Boaz allowed Ruth to glean, he was following this precept of God. Widows were allowed to harvest the leftovers of whatever crop they happened to be near at the time. Also, part of the annual tithe was supposed to feed the Levite, the widow and the orphan.
  2. God condemning His people for stealing from the widow. This theft includes failing to allow the options in number 1, but it also mentions moving their property boundaries, taxing them unfairly, or forcing them into servitude.
  3. Lastly, the references mention rules and provisions for a widow to remarry. If her deceased husband had brothers, that was to be her first choice.

That last one would scare me more than the second. Just because two men are brothers, doesn’t mean they are at all alike in character, morals and godliness. What might drive a young widow to the temple to serve God? What if the brother that the family planned to foist on her was not a good and honorable man?

We don’t know why Anna went to the temple other than that she loved Yahweh. And yes, that is enough. But human lives tend to be messy and confused. Therefore, I can’t help but wonder what other doors God closed to make sure that Anna was there, in the temple, when he needed her to testify to His Son.

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