Mary in the Old Testament might seem like a foreign concept to many if they have never studied the Holy Scriptures in detail or understand the biblical vocabulary term, Typology. Like many of the Christian teachings and mysteries, the doctrines and devotions to the Blessed Virgin Mary have their roots in the Holy Scriptures. Over time, many of these devotions to Mary as well other teachings of the Church, organically developed throughout the centuries. With the Holy Spirit directing the Church, the Church Fathers helped develop these teachings to what we have today.
If you read the Old Testament correctly, through the eyes of the Church that is, you will see that Old Testament is really all about Jesus Christ. The Old Testament points directly to the coming of Jesus Christ beginning with the Protoevangelium (First Gospel) in Genesis 3:15. Throughout the Old Testament, we see typology. This is where persons, places, and events are foreshadowed and then fulfilled in the life of Christ in the New Testament. Just as we see this for Jesus, we see this for Mary as well.
Although there are specific scriptures verses that speak of this in the Old Testament, for today’s post and the next week’s post, I would like to focus on eight Old Testament women who foreshadow the life of Mary and are fulfilled by her in the New Testament. For this week we will focus on: Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel, and Miriam.
You will need your Bible for this blog post, so make sure you have it handy.
1. Sarah, wife of Abraham: Read Genesis 17:15-27, 18, and 21:1-7.
Sarah bears Isaac in old age and in a miraculous way. Mary bears Jesus, although she is not sterile, also in a miraculous way. Sarah is the “mother of nations”, since Abraham is the “Father of many nations.” Mary, at the crucifixion, when Jesus gives her to St. John, becomes the “Spiritual Mother” of all nations. Even if people and nations reject Mary, she is still their mother.
2. Rebecca, wife of Isaac and mother of Jacob: Read Genesis 27:15-29.
Rebecca encourages Jacob to dress in the clothes of Esau, so that he can receive the blessing and inheritance from Isaac. Esau did care for his inheritance and Jacob tended to the household. St. Louis de Montfort says, Mary, who encourages us to take the inheritance of God the Father fulfills the foreshadowing of Rebecca clothing Jacob. Mary also clothes Jesus in human flesh and offers him to the Father to secure the blessing for humanity. Jesus received his flesh/DNA from Mary.
3. Rachel, the beautiful wife of Jacob: Read Genesis 37
Where Rachel is beautiful, the Blessed Mother is the Total Beautiful One. Rachel is the mother of Joseph, who is sold into slavery for 20 pieces of silver and in the end, saves his people. Mary is the Mother of Jesus, who is also sold for silver (30 pieces) and is the savior of all humanity.
Joseph is a typological figure of Jesus Christ. Joseph goes into Egypt and eventually his family follows him; Jesus goes into Egypt with his family – St. Joseph and the Blessed Mother. Joseph feeds all of Egypt with grain and wheat; Jesus feeds all of humanity with his Body and Blood in the Holy Eucharist.
4. Miriam, Sister of Moses and Aaron: Read Exodus 2:1-10 and Numbers 12
Moses represents the Law and is the Mediator of the covenant between God and the Israelites (Read Ex. 19). Miriam is also the sister to Aaron, who is the first Levitical Priest.
There is some serious foreshadowing going on between Miriam and Mary –
a. Miriam mediates to save the mediator. It was Miriam who put together Pharaoh’s daughter and the mother of Moses. His own mother nursed him. Mary, like Miriam, also mediates to save the Jesus when they escape into Egypt. As our Spiritual Mother, Mary brings her intercessions and acts as the mediator between Jesus and us.
b. Miriam is the closest relative to the Law Giver, Moses (Jesus fulfills the Law) and the Priest, Aaron (Jesus is the Royal High Priest). Miriam is at the “Tent of Meeting” in the presence of the Ark of the Covenant. The Ark was God’s presence among the Israelites. Mary is the New Ark of the Covenant who bears the eternal presence of God.
c. The name, Miriam, means bitter, sorrow, and star (In Hebrew means Mary). She represents the sorrow and the bitterness of the state the Israelites find themselves in Egypt. Mary, as the Mother of Jesus, has a mission of sorrow that becomes redemptive. She is the Co-Redemptrix in the New Covenant.
Reflections for this week:
– What is your relationship like with Mary, as your Mother? If you are a Mother, how is your relationship with your children? Does it need to be fixed?
– Mary gives us the flesh of Jesus, how often do you go to Holy Adoration and adore the body of Jesus? Go to Holy Adoration this week.
– Being a Priest or Bishop is hard work. It takes a lot of prayer. Say a prayer for our Priests and Bishops each day this week. Pray that more men will answer the call from God.
– Give praise and thanksgiving for Jesus Christ and His Blessed Mother for all the blessings you have in your life this day.
My Class Notes from Mary in the Modern World Course at Franciscan University of Steubenville
Miravalle, M. (2006). Introduction to Mary. Goleta, CA : Queen Publishing.