Acsah—an inspiration for International Women’s Day

The Stones of Gilgal novels retell the powerful stories of the era of Joshua from the viewpoint of seven real (but minor) biblical characters including two very strong women, Rahab and Acsah.

In honor of International Women’s Day, may I introduce Acsah  (Judges 1:12-15)

Daughter of Joshua’s closest friend, the heroic Caleb. Future wife of Othniel, the greatest hero of her time. Acsah is only given a few verses in the Bible, but that brief appearance reveals a strong, independent woman who could stand up to either one of those heroic men when something needed to be done.

“Being a woman is a terribly difficult task, since it consists principally in dealing with men.” —Joseph Conrad

Balaam’s Curse introduces us to Acsah as a seventeen-year-old girl fresh from a sheltered life in the wilderness. Through the series, you will watch her mature and grow into the nobility of her ultimate rolea godly woman in ungodly times. Finding herself in an unprecedented cultural shift, Acsah develops an ever-stronger sense of who she is. Fiercely independent, she learns to lay aside her pride and seek help when she needs it. She stands up for what is right, even when she finds herself standing alone. But she is not too proud to admit being wrong. As she faces fear, her faith reservoirs deepen. Her culture does not allow women to be warriors, but she learns that there are many ways to battle evil.

Achsah? Acsah? Aksah? When I first began writing The Stones of Gilgal series, I chose the spelling Acsah for the name of Celeb’s daughter. That was the spelling used in the New International Version fifteen years ago. I chose it over the more common, “Hebrewish” spelling Achsah. Not only did I think this spelling would appear less intimidating to my readers, but it didn’t tempt me to try sounding “Hebrew” when speaking of her and risk showering listeners with a spray of saliva. But all that is history. The latest NIV has moved on to a new spelling, Aksah. As a parent does not update the spelling of her child’s name according to fickle fashion, I am not changing the spelling of my “child” now that I know her so well. No matter the spelling, this inspirational woman from the ancient days of the Old Testament is worth getting to know.

As the Stones of Gilgal saga unfolds, you will watch Acsah become an oak of righteousness, planted by the Lord between two larger-than-life Old Testament heroes—but never out-shadowed by them.

Balaam’s Curse
A River to Cross