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Bible Dictionaries

Holman Bible Dictionary

Barren, Barrenness

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Term used to describe a woman who is unable to give birth to children: Sarai (Genesis 11:30 ), Rebekah (Genesis 25:21 ), Rachel (Genesis 29:31 ), Manoah's wife (Judges 13:2 ), Hannah (1 Samuel 1:5 ), and Elizabeth (Luke 1:7 ,Luke 1:7,1:36 ). Also described as “solitary” (Job 3:7 ), “desolate” (2 Samuel 13:20; Isaiah 49:21; Isaiah 54:1 ), or “dead, deadness” (Romans 4:19 ). Barrenness was considered a curse from God (Genesis 16:2; Genesis 20:18; 1 Samuel 1:5 ), which explains Elizabeth's statement that God had taken away her “reproach among men”—that she was a sinner and cursed by God as evidenced by her barrenness (Luke 1:25 ). The barrenness of Sarai, Rebekah, and Rachel (the mothers of the Israelite nation) is significant in that their ability to finally bare children is a sign of the grace and favor of God toward His elect people.

Copyright Statement
These dictionary topics are from the Holman Bible Dictionary, published by Broadman & Holman, 1991. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman & Holman.

Bibliography Information
Butler, Trent C. Editor. Entry for 'Barren, Barrenness'. Holman Bible Dictionary. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/eng/hbd/b/barren-barrenness.html. 1991.

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