Bible verses about widows remind us that even if cultures marginalize widows, they are close to God’s heart and at the center of church mercy ministry
From the very beginning of the church, the apostles called Christians to care for widows. The most famous passage in the Bible about widows carries that very message, and it is the inspiration for our yearly Look/After campaign: “Religion that is pure and undefiled before God the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world” (James 1:27).
We’ve compiled all the mentions of widows in the Bible to help us appreciate God’s concern for widows and our call to care for them.
Bible Verses About Widows, ESV
Genesis 38:11 – Then Judah said to Tamar his daughter-in-law, “Remain a widow in your father’s house, till Shelah my son grows up”—for he feared that he would die, like his brothers. So Tamar went and remained in her father’s house.
Exodus 22:22 – You shall not mistreat any widow or fatherless child.
Exodus 22:24 – and my wrath will burn, and I will kill you with the sword, and your wives shall become widows and your children fatherless.
Leviticus 21:14 – A widow, or a divorced woman, or a woman who has been defiled, or a prostitute, these he shall not marry. But he shall take as his wife a virgin of his own people,
Numbers 30:9 – (But any vow of a widow or of a divorced woman, anything by which she has bound herself, shall stand against her.)
Deuteronomy 10:18 – He executes justice for the fatherless and the widow, and loves the sojourner, giving him food and clothing.
Deuteronomy 14:29 – And the Levite, because he has no portion or inheritance with you, and the sojourner, the fatherless, and the widow, who are within your towns, shall come and eat and be filled, that the LORD your God may bless you in all the work of your hands that you do.
Deuteronomy 16:11 – And you shall rejoice before the LORD your God, you and your son and your daughter, your male servant and your female servant, the Levite who is within your towns, the sojourner, the fatherless, and the widow who are among you, at the place that the LORD your God will choose, to make his name dwell there.
Deuteronomy 16:14 – You shall rejoice in your feast, you and your son and your daughter, your male servant and your female servant, the Levite, the sojourner, the fatherless, and the widow who are within your towns.
Deuteronomy 24:19-21 – “When you reap your harvest in your field and forget a sheaf in the field, you shall not go back to get it. It shall be for the sojourner, the fatherless, and the widow, that the LORD your God may bless you in all the work of your hands. When you beat your olive trees, you shall not go over them again. It shall be for the sojourner, the fatherless, and the widow. When you gather the grapes of your vineyard, you shall not strip it afterward. It shall be for the sojourner, the fatherless, and the widow.
Deuteronomy 26:12-13 – “When you have finished paying all the tithe of your produce in the third year, which is the year of tithing, giving it to the Levite, the sojourner, the fatherless, and the widow, so that they may eat within your towns and be filled, then you shall say before the LORD your God, ‘I have removed the sacred portion out of my house, and moreover, I have given it to the Levite, the sojourner, the fatherless, and the widow, according to all your commandment that you have commanded me. I have not transgressed any of your commandments, nor have I forgotten them.
Deuteronomy 27:19 – “‘Cursed be anyone who perverts the justice due to the sojourner, the fatherless, and the widow.’ And all the people shall say, ‘Amen.’
Ruth 4:5 – Then Boaz said, “The day you buy the field from the hand of Naomi, you also acquire Ruth the Moabite, the widow of the dead, in order to perpetuate the name of the dead in his inheritance.”
Ruth 4:10 – Also Ruth the Moabite, the widow of Mahlon, I have bought to be my wife, to perpetuate the name of the dead in his inheritance, that the name of the dead may not be cut off from among his brothers and from the gate of his native place. You are witnesses this day.”
1 Samuel 27:3 – And David lived with Achish at Gath, he and his men, every man with his household, and David with his two wives, Ahinoam of Jezreel, and Abigail of Carmel, Nabal’s widow.
1 Samuel 30:5 – David’s two wives also had been taken captive, Ahinoam of Jezreel and Abigail the widow of Nabal of Carmel.
2 Samuel 2:2 – So David went up there, and his two wives also, Ahinoam of Jezreel and Abigail the widow of Nabal of Carmel.
2 Samuel 3:3 – and his second, Chileab, of Abigail the widow of Nabal of Carmel; and the third, Absalom the son of Maacah the daughter of Talmai king of Geshur;
2 Samuel 14:5 – And the king said to her, “What is your trouble?” She answered, “Alas, I am a widow; my husband is dead.
1 Kings 7:14 – He was the son of a widow of the tribe of Naphtali, and his father was a man of Tyre, a worker in bronze. And he was full of wisdom, understanding, and skill for making any work in bronze. He came to King Solomon and did all his work.
1 Kings 11:26 – Jeroboam the son of Nebat, an Ephraimite of Zeredah, a servant of Solomon, whose mother’s name was Zeruah, a widow, also lifted up his hand against the king.
1 Kings 17:9 – “Arise, go to Zarephath, which belongs to Sidon, and dwell there. Behold, I have commanded a widow there to feed you.”
1 Kings 17:10 – So he arose and went to Zarephath. And when he came to the gate of the city, behold, a widow was there gathering sticks. And he called to her and said, “Bring me a little water in a vessel, that I may drink.”
1 Kings 17:20 – And he cried to the LORD, “O LORD my God, have you brought calamity even upon the widow with whom I sojourn, by killing her son?”
Job 22:9 – You have sent widows away empty, and the arms of the fatherless were crushed.
Job 24:21 – “They wrong the barren, childless woman, and do no good to the widow.
Job 27:15 – Those who survive him the pestilence buries, and his widows do not weep.
Job 31:16 – “If I have withheld anything that the poor desired, or have caused the eyes of the widow to fail,
Job 31:18 – (for from my youth the fatherless grew up with me as with a father, and from my mother’s womb I guided the widow),
Psalm 68:5 – Father of the fatherless and protector of widows is God in his holy habitation.
Psalm 78:64 – Their priests fell by the sword, and their widows made no lamentation.
Psalm 94:6 – They kill the widow and the sojourner, and murder the fatherless;
Psalm 109:9 – May his children be fatherless and his wife a widow!
Psalm 146:9 – The LORD watches over the sojourners; he upholds the widow and the fatherless, but the way of the wicked he brings to ruin.
Isaiah 9:17 – Therefore the Lord does not rejoice over their young men, and has no compassion on their fatherless and widows; for everyone is godless and an evildoer, and every mouth speaks folly. For all this his anger has not turned away, and his hand is stretched out still.
Isaiah 10:2 – to turn aside the needy from justice and to rob the poor of my people of their right, that widows may be their spoil, and that they may make the fatherless their prey!
Isaiah 47:8 – Now therefore hear this, you lover of pleasures, who sit securely, who say in your heart, “I am, and there is no one besides me; I shall not sit as a widow or know the loss of children”:
Jeremiah 7:6 – if you do not oppress the sojourner, the fatherless, or the widow, or shed innocent blood in this place, and if you do not go after other gods to your own harm,
Jeremiah 15:8 – I have made their widows more in number than the sand of the seas; I have brought against the mothers of young men a destroyer at noonday; I have made anguish and terror fall upon them suddenly.
Jeremiah 22:3 – Thus says the LORD: Do justice and righteousness, and deliver from the hand of the oppressor him who has been robbed. And do no wrong or violence to the resident alien, the fatherless, and the widow, nor shed innocent blood in this place.
Jeremiah 49:11 – Leave your fatherless children; I will keep them alive; and let your widows trust in me.”
Lamentations 1:1 – How lonely sits the city that was full of people! How like a widow has she become, she who was great among the nations! She who was a princess among the provinces has become a slave.
Lamentations 5:3 – We have become orphans, fatherless; our mothers are like widows.
Ezekiel 19:7 – and seized their widows. He laid waste their cities, and the land was appalled and all who were in it at the sound of his roaring.
Ezekiel 22:7 – Father and mother are treated with contempt in you; the sojourner suffers extortion in your midst; the fatherless and the widow are wronged in you.
Ezekiel 22:25 – The conspiracy of her prophets in her midst is like a roaring lion tearing the prey; they have devoured human lives; they have taken treasure and precious things; they have made many widows in her midst.
Ezekiel 44:22 – They shall not marry a widow or a divorced woman, but only virgins of the offspring of the house of Israel, or a widow who is the widow of a priest.
Zechariah 7:10 – do not oppress the widow, the fatherless, the sojourner, or the poor, and let none of you devise evil against another in your heart.”
Malachi 3:5 – “Then I will draw near to you for judgment. I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers, against the adulterers, against those who swear falsely, against those who oppress the hired worker in his wages, the widow and the fatherless, against those who thrust aside the sojourner, and do not fear me, says the LORD of hosts.
Matthew 22:24 – saying, “Teacher, Moses said, ‘If a man dies having no children, his brother must marry the widow and raise up offspring for his brother.’
Mark 12:19 – “Teacher, Moses wrote for us that if a man’s brother dies and leaves a wife, but leaves no child, the man must take the widow and raise up offspring for his brother.
Mark 12:42 – And a poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which make a penny.
Mark 12:43 – And he called his disciples to him and said to them, “Truly, I say to you, this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the offering box.
Luke 2:37 – and then as a widow until she was eighty-four. She did not depart from the temple, worshiping with fasting and prayer night and day.
Luke 4:25 – But in truth, I tell you, there were many widows in Israel in the days of Elijah, when the heavens were shut up three years and six months, and a great famine came over all the land,
Luke 4:26 – and Elijah was sent to none of them but only to Zarephath, in the land of Sidon, to a woman who was a widow.
Luke 7:12 – As he drew near to the gate of the town, behold, a man who had died was being carried out, the only son of his mother, and she was a widow, and a considerable crowd from the town was with her.
Luke 18:3 – And there was a widow in that city who kept coming to him and saying, ‘Give me justice against my adversary.’
Luke 18:5 – yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will give her justice, so that she will not beat me down by her continual coming.’”
Luke 20:28 – and they asked him a question, saying, “Teacher, Moses wrote for us that if a man’s brother dies, having a wife but no children, the man must take the widow and raise up offspring for his brother.
Luke 21:2 – and he saw a poor widow put in two small copper coins.
Luke 21:3 – And he said, “Truly, I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all of them.
Acts 6:1 – Now in these days when the disciples were increasing in number, a complaint by the Hellenists arose against the Hebrews because their widows were being neglected in the daily distribution.
Acts 9:39 – So Peter rose and went with them. And when he arrived, they took him to the upper room. All the widows stood beside him weeping and showing tunics and other garments that Dorcas made while she was with them.
Acts 9:41 – And he gave her his hand and raised her up. Then, calling the saints and widows, he presented her alive.
1 Corinthians 7:8 – To the unmarried and the widows I say that it is good for them to remain single, as I am.
1 Timothy 5:3-5 – Honor widows who are truly widows. But if a widow has children or grandchildren, let them first learn to show godliness to their own household and to make some return to their parents, for this is pleasing in the sight of God. She who is truly a widow, left all alone, has set her hope on God and continues in supplications and prayers night and day,
1 Timothy 5:9 – Let a widow be enrolled if she is not less than sixty years of age, having been the wife of one husband,
1 Timothy 5:11 – But refuse to enroll younger widows, for when their passions draw them away from Christ, they desire to marry
1 Timothy 5:14 – So I would have younger widows marry, bear children, manage their households, and give the adversary no occasion for slander.
1 Timothy 5:16 – If any believing woman has relatives who are widows, let her care for them. Let the church not be burdened, so that it may care for those who are truly widows.
James 1:27 – Religion that is pure and undefiled before God the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.
Revelation 18:7 – As she glorified herself and lived in luxury, so give her a like measure of torment and mourning, since in her heart she says, ‘I sit as a queen, I am no widow, and mourning I shall never see.’
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