Women of the Bible: Pilate’s Wife and Jesus’ Women Supporters

In honor of Women’s History Month, we’re highlighting significant named and unnamed women of the Bible. The CEB Women’s Bible provides helpful indexes of all these named and unnamed women as well as over 140 insightful profiles. Written by female pastors, scholars, and faith leaders, these profiles encourage us to witness the stories and valuable contributions of biblical women. Below are the profiles of Pilate’s wife (from Matt 27:19) and Jesus’ women supporters (from Matt 27) written by Danielle Shroyer.

Pilate’s Wife

In contrast to the male disciples, women gathered around Jesus in the last weeks of his life in powerful and prophetic ways. Pilate’s wife was the second woman to show up in the passion story, after the woman who anointed him for burial in 26:6-12. After a troublesome dream, she urged her husband to “leave that righteous man alone.” Though this didn’t stop him, it caused him enough doubt to wash his hands of Jesus’ innocent blood. Like the magi, Pilate’s wife was Gentile who heeded a sign about Jesus that even the faithful ignored.

Jesus’ Women Supporters

Women were the central witnesses to the death and resurrection of Jesus. The disciples, however, were absent and showed up after Easter only on the mountain as the women had instructed them. The women were present every step of the way. A woman anointed Jesus for burial (26:6-12), Pilate’s wife advocated for Jesus’ life (27:19), the women held vigil with Jesus as he endured the cross (27:55), and they kept watch at the tomb (27:61). On the first Easter, Mary Magdalene and Mary returned to Jesus’ grave to find the tomb empty and became the first evangelists of the gospel (ch. 28). Contemporary Israelite society assumed that men alone were to lead in matters of religion and devotion. These women offer an alternative story.

For this week only, The CEB Women’s Bible is 50% off. This is a Bible for those passionate to hear the Scripture speak to issues facing women today.