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A Word That Meant So Much!

A Word That Meant So Much!

“WOMAN.” That is the way Jesus sometimes addressed individuals of the opposite sex. For example, when healing a disabled person who had been bent double for 18 years, he said: “Woman, you are released from your weakness.” (Luke 13:10-13) Jesus even used this customary form of address, which was considered polite in Bible times, when speaking to his own mother. (John 19:26; 20:13) But there was another word that was more than polite.

The Bible uses an especially kind and tender word when referring to certain women. Jesus used it when he spoke to a woman who had suffered from a flow of blood for 12 years. The way she approached Jesus was not in strict harmony with God’s Law, which stated that a person in her condition was unclean. It could be argued that she should have kept herself separate from others because of her condition. (Lev. 15:19-27) But she was desperate. In fact, “she had suffered much at the hands of many physicians and had spent all her resources, and she was no better but, rather, had become worse.”​—Mark 5:25, 26.

The woman quietly made her way through the crowd, approached Jesus from behind, and touched the fringe of his outer garment. Her flow of blood stopped immediately! The woman hoped that she could escape notice, but Jesus asked: “Who touched me?” (Luke 8:45-47) At this, the frightened and trembling woman fell down before Jesus “and told him the whole truth.”​—Mark 5:33.

To put the woman at ease, Jesus kindly said: “Take courage, daughter!” (Matt. 9:22) According to Bible scholars, the Hebrew and Greek words for “daughter” can be used metaphorically as an expression of “kindness and tenderness.” Jesus went on to give her more reassurance by saying: “Your faith has made you well. Go in peace, and be healed from your grievous sickness.”​—Mark 5:34.

“Daughter.” That was how the wealthy Israelite Boaz addressed the Moabitess Ruth. She too had reason to feel unsure of herself because she was gleaning barley on the land of a man unknown to her. “Listen, my daughter,” said Boaz. He then urged Ruth to keep on gleaning in his fields. Ruth fell facedown before Boaz and asked why he had been so kind to her, a foreigner. Boaz answered by giving further reassurance: “A full report was made to me of all you have done for your mother-in-law [the widow Naomi] . . . May Jehovah reward you for what you have done.”​—Ruth 2:8-12.

What fine examples Jesus and Boaz are for Christian elders! At times, two elders may meet with a Christian woman who is in need of Scriptural help and encouragement. After seeking Jehovah’s direction in prayer and listening carefully to what their sister says, the elders will be in a position to give her reassurance and comfort from God’s Word.​—Rom. 15:4.