The biblical Deborah drove a tent peg through an enemy commander’s head. Rebekah was the wife of Isaac who helped her favourite son deceive his father and win the deathbed blessing usually given to the eldest. Sarah laughed when God told her she would conceive in her old age, and she was more than awful to her handmaid, Hagar. These, along with many others, Rachel, Hannah, Sarah, Esther, remain semi/popular girls’ names today.
If you don’t count the ‘bad’ ones, there are plenty of other righteous women that have been almost completely neglected when it comes to baby names. Out of the four mentioned women in Jesus’ genealogy in the Gospel of Matthew — Tamar, Rahab, Ruth, Bathsheba — only Ruth is at least a common name. After Tamar was twice widowed, her father-in-law, Judah, promised he would give her a husband when his next son was a little older. He didn’t. She dressed as a prostitute and he slept with her. The line of Judah continued. Rahab was already in business as a prostitute when Israelite spies turned up to scout out her town. When her people came looking for the spies, she lied to them to protect them. The author of Hebrews names her for her faith. Finally, the married Bathsheba was enjoying some naked times on the roof when she caught the king’s eye and somehow things escalated. She later became the mother of the wise Solomon, carrying on the Davidic line which gave birth to Jesus.
Is it just possible that Christendom covered its eyes when its sacred texts named particular women as both sexual and righteous?