MIRIAM'S WELL: Stories About Women in the Bible by Alice & J. Cheryl Exum Bach

MIRIAM'S WELL: Stories About Women in the Bible

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KIRKUS REVIEW

In the manner of their Moses' Ark (1989), the authors offer a dozen more dramatically retold Old Testament stories, with notes explaining word use, sources, and poetic details. Some of these (e.g., the Hagar or Abigail stories) are based on little more than anecdotes, yet the women are important, if obscure, and their lives affected or changed the history of the Jewish people. Some of the greatest stories are also included: the entries on Esther, Judith, and (best of all) Ruth and Naomi have dramatic sweep and satisfying conclusions. A final chapter, ""A Mosaic for Miriam,"" presents seven additional women in briefer but still effectively fictionalized form: Jezebel, Job's wife, Delilah, etc. Young readers will enjoy the themes of weakness over strength and survival by trickery, the vitality of the women who prevail, and also, probably, the Biblical gore. Some of the more rampant sex, like what was going on before Lot left Sodom, is ignored, and Ruth sleeps ""beside"" Boaz, but Judith gets close to ""bed"" with Holofernes. Older readers will be intrigued by the intelligent introduction and notes revealing the many sources: variant translations, midrashim, Jewish tradition, archaeology. Leo and Diane Dillon provide a handsome jacket painting and attractive vignettes that serve as chapter heads. Bibliography.

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 1991
Page count: 171pp
Publisher: Delacorte